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Bacnotan town center
Bacnotan town center
Official seal of Bacnotan
Nickname(s): The Honey Capital of the North, The Cement Capital of the North
Map of La Union showing the location of Bacnotan
Location within La Union
Bacnotan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 16°43′N 120°21′E / 16.717°N 120.350°E / 16.717; 120.350Coordinates: 16°43′N 120°21′E / 16.717°N 120.350°E / 16.717; 120.350
Country  Philippines
Region Ilocos (Region I)
Province La Union
District 1st District
Founded 1599
Barangays 47
 • Total 76.60 km2 (29.58 sq mi)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 40,307
 • Density 530/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2515
Dialing code 072
Income class 1st class[3]

Bacnotan is a first class municipality in the province of La Union, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 40,307 people.[2]

Ilocano is the primary language spoken. English and Filipino are the languages used in government and business while English is the medium of instruction in schools.

Economic activities in Bacnotan mostly involve farming, fishing, bee-keeping, pebble extraction, tourism and Portland cement manufacture. Bacnotan is the seat of the beekeeping industry in La Union. A mining engineer from Bacnotan who saw the limestone deposits in Dumarang (renamed Quirino) also saw deposits of coal and traces of gas.

Schools in Bacnotan include the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, the North Provincial High School (now Bacnotan National High School), the Bacnotan Elementary School, other elementary schools located in various barangays, and a prep school operated by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Bacnotan.

Bacnotan is 283 kilometres (176 mi) north of Manila and can be reached using the MacArthur Highway, or by airplane via Canaoay Airport in San Fernando City.


Bacnotan is located at 16 deg 43' 11.83" N 120 deg 21' 08.568" E. It is bounded on the north by Balaoan, on the east by San Gabriel, on the south by San Juan, and on the west by the South China Sea.

The western side of Bacnotan faces the South China Sea and has a long stretch of black sand beaches, indicating a large amount of magnetite. Some portions of the seashore have pebble and limestone deposits. The beaches, stretching about 16 kilometers, are suitable for fishing, boating, swimming, snorkeling, diving and surfing.

Although San Juan is a favorite place among serious surfers, the waves in Quirino have been discovered to be likewise excellent for surfing.

The Baroro River, located at the southern boundary of Bacnotan, provides fresh water fishing, aquaculture farming and recreation.


Climate in Bacnotan is dry from November to May and wet from mid-May to October. The south-west monsoon brings an abundant rainfall experienced during the wet season. The relatively dry season is caused by the north-east monsoon passing over the Cordillera Mountain Range. Average temperature is 27.2 °C (81.0 °F).


Bacnotan is politically subdivided into 47 barangays,[1] listed here with their respective populations as of May 1, 2010.[2]

  • Agtipal — 514
  • Arosip — 453
  • Bacqui — 468
  • Bacsil — 719
  • Bagutot — 210
  • Ballogo — 920
  • Baroro — 2,489
  • Bitalag — 1,562
  • Bulala — 1,219
  • Burayoc — 395
  • Bussaoit — 634
  • Cabaroan — 1,751
  • Cabarsican — 1,103
  • Cabugao — 477
  • Calautit — 690
  • Carcarmay — 543
  • Casiaman — 867
  • Galongen — 982
  • Guinabang — 872
  • Legleg — 537
  • Lisqueb — 854
  • Mabanengbeng 1st — 323
  • Mabanengbeng 2nd — 339
  • Maragayap — 537
  • Nagatiran — 645
  • Nagsaraboan — 1,100
  • Nagsimbaanan — 661
  • Nangalisan — 741
  • Narra — 1,203
  • Ortega — 873
  • Oya-oy — 503
  • Paagan — 571
  • Pang-pang — 231
  • Pangdan — 1,142
  • Poblacion — 3,466
  • Quirino — 986
  • Raois — 925
  • Salincob — 544
  • San Martin — 798
  • Santa Cruz — 1,212
  • Santa Rita — 608
  • Sapilang — 878
  • Sayoan — 418
  • Sipulo — 934
  • Tammocalao — 1,263
  • Ubbog — 596
  • Zaragosa — 551


The town of Bacnotan was formally founded in 1599 as part of Ilocos Sur. In 1785, during the administration of the Governor-General Jose Basco, Bacnotan became a part of Pangasinan. When La Union was created in 1850, Bacnotan was one of the 12 towns that formed the province.

In the past, Bacnotan was only a vast expanse of wilderness inhabited by natives with a rudimentary form of government. There was a time when it was ruled by a despotic chieftain who had absolute control over all his constituents. Disobedience to his directives meant severe flogging of the culprit. After several years under the tyrannical rule of the chieftain, the people overthrew him and flogged their chieftain to death. The word "basnutan" means "flog" in the local dialect, and become a byword among the inhabitants, hence the name of the town. During the Spanish period, the name of the town was changed from "basnutan" to "Bacnotan" as shown by documents which are still kept intact at the National Archives in Manila.

The town's history is linked with the deeds of heroic men who fought, bled, and died for their own native land. At the turn of the century, during the Spanish–American War, Dumarang (now known as Quirino), was a scene of carnage and plunder.

During the first days of World War II, invading Japanese forces reached Bacnotan on December 21, 1941.

On January 4, 1945, the tides of war changed in La Union as Filipino and American soldiers captured the strategic Baroro Bridge in Bacnotan, which connects the rest of Northern Luzon to San Fernando. It was followed by the historic Battle of San Fernando and Bacsil Bridge. The victory ensured the liberation of La Union Province by joint Filipino and American troops at the end of World War II.

After the war, Bacnotan became the provisional seat of provincial government, since San Fernando was then in ruins. As a consequence of this transfer, the La Union National High School was also moved to Bacnotan. When things went back to normal, the provincial government was again moved to San Fernando and the La Union National High School followed afterwards. The transfer of the provincial high school in Bacnotan resulted in the establishment of the North Provincial High School (now Bacnotan National High School.)

In 1949, the vast mineral deposits of limestone used in portland cement production were noticed in Barrio Dumarang (now Quirino) by a mining engineer who was then a municipal councilor at that time. Because of the desire to create economic activity, the municipal council, through the efforts of this mining engineer, invited potential investors to set up a Portland cement plant. Within a year, a cement plant called Cebu Portland Cement (CEPOC), was established. On May 11, 1957, CEPOC, a government-owned corporation, was sold to the privately owned Bacnotan Consolidated Industries (BCI). BCI is the manufacturer of "Union Cement". In 2004, BCI was sold to Holcim Cement.

On June 18, 1960, the La Union Agricultural School was established. Nestling at the foot of the mountains of Barangay Sapilang, the agricultural school progressed and was later named Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University. Its campus occupies an area of about 6 square kilometers.


Population census of Bacnotan
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 29,568 —    
1995 32,634 +1.87%
2000 35,156 +1.61%
2007 38,743 +1.35%
2010 40,307 +1.45%
Source: National Statistics Office[2][5]

Notable people from Bacnotan[edit]

Bacnotan has produced notable personalities in various endeavors. Some of them are as follows:

  • Erlinda Fadera-Basilio — Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland; first woman Vice President of the UN Human Rights Council. Currently Philippine ambassador to China, Mongolia and North Korea.[6]
  • Fr. Bienvenido Nebres — longest-serving university president of Ateneo de Manila University



  1. ^ a b "Province: La Union". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Archived from the original on 1 January 1970. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  4. ^ "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 1 July 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Province of La Union". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Bacnotan,, Retrieved 17 March 2016

External links[edit]