Agoo

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Agoo
Municipality
Agoo town center along the National Highway with the steeple of Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity on the right
Agoo town center along the National Highway with the steeple of Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity on the right
Official seal of Agoo
Seal
Nickname(s): Premier Town of La Union and Ilocos Region; Home of Dinengdeng Festival
Motto: "Agoo, Kay ganda"
Location in the province of La Union
Location in the province of La Union
Agoo is located in Philippines
Agoo
Agoo
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 16°19′30″N 120°22′7″E / 16.32500°N 120.36861°E / 16.32500; 120.36861Coordinates: 16°19′30″N 120°22′7″E / 16.32500°N 120.36861°E / 16.32500; 120.36861
Country  Philippines
Region Ilocos (Region I)
Province La Union
District 2nd District
Founded December 8, 1578[1][2][3]
Barangays 49
Government[4]
 • Mayor Sandra Y. Eriguel
Area[5]
 • Total 52.84 km2 (20.40 sq mi)
Population (2015)[6]
 • Total 63,692
 • Density 1,200/km2 (3,100/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2504
Dialing code 72
Income class 1st class[7]
Website agoolaunion.gov.ph

Agoo (Ilocano: Ili ti Agoo) is a first class municipality in the province of La Union, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 63,692 people.[6]

Its name is usually attributed to "aroo" or "agoho," a pine-like evergreen tree (Casuarina equisetifolia or Whistling Pine) that thrived in the western coast during the pre-Spanish Period.[3][8]

History[edit]

Agoo's administrative dates back further than most Philippine municipalities, with the town being established within the same decade that the Spanish colonizers arrived on the Island of Luzon.[1] The history of the settlement now known as Agoo dates back even further, with both documentary and artifactual evidence supporting the assertion that it was a major port of call for foreign traders before it was formally established by the Spaniards.[2]

Before the Spanish[edit]

Before the province of La Union was established, Agoo was part of Pangasinan, and was a settlement of people of the "same race as those of Pangasinan." [1] These people traded with Chinese merchants long before Columbus even sailed to the new world, as shown by the porcelain and pottery excavated from the site of the Catholic church during its renovation - now kept in the Museo de Iloko.[3]

Later, the Japanese came and established their first settlement in the Philippines.[3] At this time, Agoo's coast was shaped in such a way that it was a good harbor for foreign vessels coming into Lingayen Gulf. Miguel De Loarca referred to Agoo as “El Puerto de Japon” - the Japanese Port.[2]

Rosario Mendoza-Cortes, in her book "Pangasinan 1572-1800" suggested that Agoo was likeliest to be the region's primary port of call for Japanese and Chinese traders - the only other candidate being Sual, Pangasinan. This was because there was a Japanese colony there, because traders at Agoo would have access to a greater number of people, and it was nearer to China and Japan. The main product traded from the area was deer pelt, which was shipped to Japan.[2]

Agoo's role as a port deteriorated when the Spanish closed the Philippines to foreign trade. When foreign trade was allowed again, it was Sual that became the dominant port.[2]

Sighting by Juan de Salcedo[edit]

In 1572, Juan de Salcedo, fresh from his conquest of Southern Luzon, was ordered by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to explore Northern Luzon and “pacify the people in it”.[2]

In June 1572, he was traversing the Angalakan River, when he saw and attacked three Japanese ships. When they fled, Salcedo followed them until they landed at a Japanese settlement. After paying tributes, the Japanese were allowed to remain. These Japanese would leave when the port of Agoo was later closed, but not without first teaching the natives their methods of fish culture, rice cultivation, deerskin tanning, duck breeding, and weapons manufacturing.[2]

A permanent settlement was established in Agoo in 1578 when two Franciscan Missionaries, Fray Juan Bautista Lucarelli of Italy and Fray Sebastian de Baeza of Spain, constructed a thatch and bamboo church in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Agoo encompassed a vast land area that spanned the modern day towns of Rosario, Santo Tomas, Tubao, Pugo, Aringay, Caba, Bauang and the a place called "Atuley" or present day-San Juan. Agoo became the center of the campaign of pacification and conquest, not only of the surrounding towns that would later become La Union, but of the mountain tribes in the Cordilleras as well.[2]

The two missionaries formally proclaimed Agoo as a civic unit. naming it after the river along whose banks it was built. At the time, the riverbank was forested with pine-like trees locally called "aroo" or "agoho" (Casuarina equisetifolia, or Whistling Pine).[2]

In another claim of the town's origin, Agoo was said to be derived from a variety of flying fish (chileopogon agoo) by which the Japanese settlers called it thereafter.

Development by the Augustinians[edit]

Most of the town's early development can be attributed to the efforts of the Augustinian Order. They took over from the Franciscans and administered the town off and on throughout the Spanish occupation until the secular priests took over in 1898.[2]

They changed the town's patron saint to Santa Monica. They established a school where reading, writing, industrial works, and catechism were taught. They relocated the town center, laid out the streets and public buildings, and established roads leading to the nearby towns.[2]

To facilitate the construction of churches, public buildings and bridges, they taught the people brick and lime making, brick-laying, and stone-quarrying. They introduced the “moro-moro”, the singing of “pasyon”, new farm implement and new plants.[2]

Father Aquilino Garcia constructed a church, and by the end of the 15th century the image of Nuestra Señora de Caridad (Our Lady of Charity) was installed in it. This church was destroyed in 1796 and a new one was built when the original settlement was moved to what has ever since been the town center. The church was then claimed to be the largest and grandest in northern Luzon during that time. Ruins are scattered althroughout the town's center and some are visible at this point of time.[2]

Integration into La Union[edit]

On March 2, 1850, the province of La Union was created by Governor–General Antonio Maria Blanco. It comprised the north-western towns of Pangasinan and the towns of Ilocos Sur south of the Amburayan river. Agoo was the oldest town to be integrated and was listed as having a population of 6,936 people.[2]

Japanese Invasion of Lingayen Gulf[edit]

In the early morning of 22 December 1941, Agoo was one of several beachheads taken by the invasion force of General Masaharu Homma during the Japanese Invasion of Lingayen Gulf and became one of the Japanese staging points for the Battle of Rosario.[9]

Establishment of the South Provincial High School and the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University[edit]

On July 23, 1945 the Municipal government, then led by Mayor Miguel Fontanilla, established South Provincial High School in response to education-oriented citizen Ramon Mabutas' calls for the establishment of a public high school. South Provincial High School turned Agoo into a center of education for Southern La Union, and became one of the constituent state-run schools that were combined by Presidential Decree 1778 in order to create the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in 1981.[10]

Alleged Marian Apparitions[edit]

Main article: Judiel Nieva

The town came into focus for the alleged Marian apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Judiel Nieva. Nieva reported seeing the Virgin Mary, popularly known as Our Lady of Agoo atop a Guava tree, a statue weeping with blood became highly sensationalized. Religious pilgrimages among Filipino Catholics increased by the millions as people flocked to see the phenomenon. The alleged apparition and healing events came into the attention of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, who in turn began an investigation and later released an ecclesiastical ruling that the apparitions were non-supernatural in origin in 1993.

Election and Drug Related Violence (2010-Present)[edit]

Since 2010,[11] either the Municipality Agoo has been regularly declared an election hotspot[11][12][13] due to incidences of violence[12][13][14] during national and local election periods. Major incidents include the murder of former Tubao Vice Mayor Lazaro Gayo outside his law office near Agoo's Municipal Hall,[12] and an alleged assassination attempt on Tubao Mayor Dante Garcia in the same year;[15][14] and an alleged assassination attempt on former Congressman Eufranio Eriguel in 2016.[16]

Media[12][17][13] attributed the violence to "intense rivalry"[12][17] between incumbent Congressman Eufranio Eriguel and his 2010 opposing candidate, former Rep. Thomas Dumpit Jr.,[12][17] and later to "clashes between the followers"[13] of Congressman Eriguel and his 2013 opponent, former Army General Mario Chan.[13]

In 2013, the declaration of the towns Tubao, Agoo, Caba, and Aringay as election hotspots compelled the Philippine National Police to temporarily remove the police chiefs of the four towns during the election period,[13] a decision which was protested by incumbent politicians in both towns, including then-Congressman Eriguel and his wife, then-Mayor Sandra Eriguel.[13]

Also during the 2010s, a number of drug-related incidents in Agoo came to national attention.[18][19][20] This resulted in the sacking of the police chief of Agoo, along with those of the Southern La Union towns of Bauang, Naguilan, and Tubao.[21]

On August 16, 2016, former Congressman Eriguel was included by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the local government officials and legislators allegedly involved in illegal drug trade[22] in his "I am sorry for my country" speech.[23][24] Eriguel and a number of other Southern La Union politicians denied these allegations.[25]

New city proposed in merger of Agoo and Aringay[edit]

On June 11, 2014 then-representative Eufranio Eriguel filed House Bill 4644 to establish the first city in the second district by merging the municipalities of Agoo and Aringay. The bill was co-authored by La Union first district Rep. Victor Ortega and Abono party-list Rep. Francisco Emmanuelle Ortega III,[26] and was deemed necessary because neither Aringay nor Agoo alone could meet the requirements to create a Philippine city: a population of 150,000; an annual income of P100 million minimum a year; and a land area of 100 square kilometers. (As of 2014, the national census showed that Agoo and Aringay have about 65,000 and 47,500 residents, respectively. Agoo posted more than P90 million, and Aringay made P15,000 million in annual earnings, respectively)

The proposed city would have two districts under a city mayor and city vice mayor along with 14 councilors in the Sangguniang Panlungsod,[26] new positions for which the former municipal officials could run despite having the terms limits of their offices.[27]

The proposed bill sparked protests from the people of Aringay who did not want the merger with Agoo because it would subject them to the same high local taxes as Agoo, and because of concerns that Aringay would lose its cultural identity.[26] The proposed merger did not push through within term of the 16th congress.[26]

Demographics[edit]

Population census of Agoo
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 42,698 —    
1995 47,721 +2.11%
2000 51,923 +1.83%
2007 57,952 +1.53%
2010 60,596 +1.64%
2015 63,692 +0.95%
Source: National Statistics Office[6][28]
Agoo Town Hall

Local government[edit]

Just as the national government, the municipal government of Agoo, is divided into three branches: executive, legislative and judiciary. The judicial branch is administered solely by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The LGUs have control of the executive and legislative branch.

The executive branch is composed of the mayor and the barangay captain for the barangays.Local Government Code of the Philippines, Book III, Department of Interior and Local Government official website.

The legislative branch is composed of the Sangguniang Bayan (town assembly), Sangguniang Barangay (barangay council), and the Sangguniang Kabataan for the youth sector.

The seat of Government is vested upon the Mayor and other elected officers who hold office at the Town hall. The Sanguniang Bayan is the center of legislation, stationed in Agoo Municipio.[29]

Elected Officials[edit]

  • Hon. Stefanie Ann Y. Eriguel, M.D., Municipal Mayor
  • Hon. Henry Balbin,Municipal Vice-Mayor
  • Sangguniang Bayan Members: HON. ERWINA C. ERIGUEL-Sangguniang Bayan Member, HON. ROMANO F. NIÑALGA-Sangguniang Bayan Member, HON. DOMINADOR P. RIVERA-Sangguniang Bayan Member, HON. RENATO D. BALDERAS-Sangguniang Bayan Member, (Second Row) HON. REYNALDO V. OLLER-ABC President (Ex Officio), HON. CRISOGONO LL. COLOBONG, JR.-Sangguniang Bayan Member, HON. ROGELIO R. DE VERA-Sangguniang Bayan Member, HON. JOSEPHUS R. KOMIYA-Sangguniang Bayan Member (Third Row) HON. EVAN PAULO E. TAGAPULOT, SK Federation President (Ex Officio), HON. LEONARD FLORENT O. BULATAO-Sangguniang Bayan Member.[30]

Barangays[edit]

The 49 barangays of the Municipality of Agoo[31]
Rank Barangay Population Rank Barangay Population Rank Barangay Population
1 San Nicolas West 2,382 18 Macalva Sur 1,332 35 Capas 941
2 San Agustin East 2,322 19 San Joaquin Norte 1,270 36 Santa Fe 845
3 San Antonio 2,209 20 San Agustin Norte 1,240 37 San Manuel Sur 837
4 San Manuel Norte 1,960 21 San Agustin Sur 1,210 38 San Roque East 793
5 San Isidro 1,895 22 San Juan 1,126 39 Ambitacay 789
6 Santa Barbara (Poblacion) 1,887 23 San Julian East 1,096 40 San Jose Norte 787
7 Nazareno 1,874 24 Macalva Norte 1,095 41 San Nicolas East 769
8 Santa Ana 1,860 25 San Pedro 1,089 42 Santa Rita East 755
9 San Marcos 1,849 26 Santa Rita Sur 1,088 43 San Julian Norte 739
10 San Julian West 1,795 27 San Vicente Sur 1,086 44 San Nicolas Norte (Poblacion) 717
11 San Jose Sur 1,667 28 San Vicente Norte 1,052 45 Santa Rita West 677
12 Consolacion (Poblacion) 1,662 29 San Francisco 1,026 46 Purok 617
13 Balawarte 1,550 30 San Nicolas Central (Poblacion) 1,020 47 Macalva Central 615
14 Santa Rita (Nalinac) 1,546 31 Santa Rita Norte 1,020 48 San Julian Central 613
15 San Miguel 1,513 32 San Antonino 1,002 49 San Nicolas Sur (Poblacion) 535
16 San Roque West 1,438 33 Santa Monica 995 Agoo Total 60,596
17 San Joaquin Sur 1,436 34 Santa Maria 975

Tourism[edit]

The redeveloped Imelda Garden
Jose D. Aspiras ancestral house
The Giant Eagle of the North Park (Symbol of Marcoses' power). The edifice was designed by Arch. Anselmo Day-ag.

Agoo has interesting attractions and main festival/events:

Cultural and Architectural Attractions[edit]

Nature Attractions[edit]

Festivals[edit]

  • Dinengdeng festival and Patronal Town Fiesta (8th, April 26 to May 4, 2012 - “Lifting Agoo to New Heights Through Dynamic, Dedicated and Visionary Leadership.” 101 Dinengdeng recipes, an Agoo/Ilocano vegetable delicacy of Ilocanos festivity meantat DMMMSU-South La Union Campus Grandstand, Agoo)[36]
  • Agoo Kilawin (Ceviche) Festival, December 28, 2011

Other Attractions[edit]

  • Dona Toribia Aspiras Annex (back of Town hall)
  • San Roque West-San Roque East fish ponds
  • Aspiras-Palispis Highway (formerly the Agoo-Baguio Road), connecting Agoo to Baguio City

Notable people[edit]

Image gallery[edit]

Panorama of Agoo hills and rice-fields

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c de Loarca, Miguel (1582). Relacion de Las Yslas Filipinas. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Mendoza-Cortes, Rosario (1582). Pangasinan 1572-1800. 
  3. ^ a b c d Sals, Florent Joseph (2005). The history of Agoo : 1578-2005. La Union: Limbagan Printhouse. p. 80. 
  4. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Province: La Union". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  7. ^ http://www.nscb.gov.ph/activestats/psgc/province.asp?provcode=013300000
  8. ^ General Information
  9. ^ Dull, Paul S (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941- 1945. Naval Institute Press. pp. 29–31. ISBN 1299324614. 
  10. ^ http://www.dmmmsu.edu.ph/index.php/transparency/about-us/history
  11. ^ a b Cantos, Joy (January 8, 2010). "5 pang lalawigan 'hotspot'". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Inquirer, Philippine Daily. "Cops eye 'hot spot' tags on 2 towns in La Union". newsinfo.inquirer.net. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "Police chiefs pulled out of La Union hot spots". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  14. ^ a b Aquino, Miriam (2012-11-23). "Civic groups hold peace rally in La Union". Philippine Information Agency. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  15. ^ PIA | Philippine Information Agency | Civic groups hold peace rally in La Union
  16. ^ "Binay supporter Eriguel survives attack in San Fernando, La Union". InterAksyon.com. 2016-04-30. Archived from the original on 2017-02-16. Retrieved 2017-02-16. 
  17. ^ a b c PALISADA, THE REGIONAL DRIFT | STANLEY. "2010 Elections: The Battles of Luzon - Stanley Palisada (Part 1 of 3)". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  18. ^ Fuente, Stacy Dela. "This elementary teacher in La Union sells drugs for unbelievable reasons". Kami.com.ph - Philippines news. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  19. ^ News, Carmela Jimenez, ABS-CBN. "Thousands of drug users, pushers face La Union governor". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  20. ^ "5 suspected drug dealers arrested in La Union". GMA News Online. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  21. ^ "Top cops in 4 La Union towns sacked amid probe of 'drug' mayors". Rappler. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  22. ^ "FULL TEXT: Duterte's speech linking government officials to illegal drugs". The Philippine Star. August 7, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-09-21. Retrieved August 24, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Duterte names officials linked to drugs". Rappler. 7 August 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-02-09. Retrieved 24 August 2016. 
  24. ^ "FULL TRANSCRIPT: Duterte's exposé vs drug-tagged officials". ABS-CBN News. 7 August 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-02-06. Retrieved 24 August 2016. 
  25. ^ "'Narco mayors': Politics behind supposed links to illegal drugs". Rappler. Archived from the original on 2017-02-16. Retrieved 2017-02-16. 
  26. ^ a b c d Lazaro, Freddie G. (2014-08-23). "Agoo-Aringay merger, mariing tinututulan". Balita. Archived from the original on 2017-02-20. Retrieved 2017-02-14. 
  27. ^ Capuno, Joseph J. (2013). "Fiscal transfers and gerrymandering under decentralization in the Philippines" (PDF). UP School of Economics Discussion Papers. 2013-4. 
  28. ^ "Province of La Union". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  29. ^ Brief History
  30. ^ Municipal Officials
  31. ^ "2010 Census of Population and Housing: Population Counts - Cordillera Administrative Region" (PDF). National Statistics Office (Philippines), April 4, 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  33. ^ Land Bank Of The Philippines, Petitioner, V. Eduardo M. Cacayuran, Respondent, Municipality Of Agoo, La Union, Intervenor., G.R. No. 191667 (2015-04-22).
  34. ^ "Supreme Court affirms former Agoo mayor guilty in loan scam". Northern Philippines Times. 2010-04-26. 
  35. ^ Major Tourist Spots
  36. ^ 8th Dinengdeng Festival & Patronal Town Fiesta

External links[edit]