Bangar, La Union

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Bangar,LaUnionjf9790 08.JPG
Official seal of Bangar
Map of La Union showing the location of Bangar
Map of La Union showing the location of Bangar
Bangar is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 16°54′N 120°25′E / 16.9°N 120.42°E / 16.9; 120.42Coordinates: 16°54′N 120°25′E / 16.9°N 120.42°E / 16.9; 120.42
Country  Philippines
Region Ilocos (Region I)
Province La Union
District 1st District
Founded 1700
Barangays 33
 • Total 37.36 km2 (14.42 sq mi)
Population (2015 census)[2]
 • Total 35,947
 • Density 960/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2519
IDD:area code +63 (0)72
Income class 3rd class[3]

Bangar is a first class municipality in the province of La Union, (located in the northern region of the Philippines). According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 35,947 people.[2]


The name Bangar (pronounced: Bang-gar) derives from the bangar tree (pronounced ba- ngar; Sterculia foetida), which were once abundant in the general area of the present town. The bangar is notable for the foul odor that emanates from its flowers.

Barangay names[edit]

  • Agdeppa — Notorious criminals were once often executed with their arms outstretched, and the place was thus called agdeppa, meaning outstretched arms.
  • Alzate — named after a Spanish colonial officer called General Alzate, who manned the garrison in that place against the local revolucionarios. It is said that the Amburayan River which partly flowed through Bangar was a favourite swimming hole for Spaniards and the early illustrados.
  • Bangaoilan — Once called "Anonang", the town was renamed because of the abundance of a poisonous plant called bangaoil.
  • Barraca — This barrio was formed from the two sitio of Binyadura and Nagpalcan. Barraca was adopted as the common name after residents of both hamlets signed a pact to end a violent feud between them.
  • Cadapli — This was taken from the Ilokano words cadcadapa ("crawling") and apli ("mat"). This name was adopted after several robbers hiding in the forests near this barrio were caught whilst sleeping on straw mats (apli). They were then severely flogged and punished until they were left crawling (cadapa).
  • Caggao — Named after a parasite called cagaw, which once infested the place.
  • Luzong — This place was formerly three sitio: Pideng, Butak and Dalimuno. Quicksand caused the disappearance of working animals has been found in the area, hence the name "Luzong", which was derived from the Ilocano word lusong ("stuck").
  • María Cristina — It is said that a visiting American once asked the village's name from a beautiful girl. Thinking that the stranger was asking for her name, the maiden answered "María Cristina".
  • Mindoro — The name was derived from the Spanish Minas de oro ("gold mine"). At that time there were gold dust and nuggets in the river beside the village, and people used to pan these and sell them to the rich. General Alzate gave the village its present name.
  • Nagsabaran — This name was given to the place because the national road branched out to that barrio. "Nagsabaran" means "place where [the road] branches out."
  • Paratong — The old name was Libtong, which means "lagoon". During the Spanish Era, the prefix "lib" was changed into "para" which literally means "for".
  • Quintarong — Once named Daya ti Sabangan ("east of the mouth of the river"), the place was a reputed hideout of native pirates called tirong whom villagers often saw running after one another (kinnamat in Ilocano). The present name now is "Quintarong".
  • Reyna Regente — The village was named after a certain pre-Colonial queen who once ruled the area. Called Reyna Regente by later generations, it is said that she was ruthless. Her unnamed youngest daughter succeeded her, and unlike her mother was a wise and benevolent monarch.
  • Rissing — The old name Pa-o was taken from a big tree in the area; when and how it become Rissing is unknown.
  • San Blas — The place was named after a man who was reputedly known for his wisdom and was named after Saint Blaise.
  • San Cristobal — Named after the town's patron saint, Saint Christopher.
  • Sinapangan — Named after the sapang tree which grew abundantly in the place.
  • Ubbog — The term ubbog means "spring". Long ago, water would well up through the earth even with little effort.


The northernmost town of La Union, alongside Sudipen, Bangar is also the smallest municipality in the province with an area of 3,736 hectares (9,230 acres).[1] It is bounded by the South China Sea to the west, Sudipen to the east and Balaoan and Luna to the south-west. The Amburayan River flows to the north of Bangar, separating it from Tagudin, Ilocos Sur.


  • Agdeppa
  • Alzate
  • Bangaoilan East
  • Bangaoilan West
  • Barraca
  • Cadapli
  • Caggao
  • Central East No. 1 (Poblacion)
  • Central East No. 2 (Poblacion)
  • Central West No. 1 (Poblacion)
  • Central West No. 2 (Poblacion)
  • Central West No. 3 (Poblacion)
  • Consuegra
  • General Prim East
  • General Prim West
  • General Terrero
  • Luzong Norte
  • Luzong Sur
  • Maria Cristina East
  • Maria Cristina West
  • Mindoro
  • Nagsabaran
  • Paratong No. 3
  • Paratong No. 4
  • Paratong Norte
  • Quintarong
  • Reyna Regente
  • Rissing
  • San Blas
  • San Cristobal
  • Sinapangan Norte
  • Sinapangan Sur
  • Ubbog


1700 marked the official foundation of Bangar under the patronage of Saint Christopher when it became a mission field. However, Christianity was brought as early as in the later part of 1500 when Bangar was still a visita (chapelry) of Tagudin, with a community of 2,800 inhabitants already in existence. The highly skilled, industrious and peace-loving people were primarily engaged in rice and cotton planting. The beautiful and sturdy handwoven products made by the women of that time even found their way to Europe and it was said that some of this materials were used as boat sails by the European sailors. Among the more famous handwoven products made by them were blankets bearing different designs, clothing materials and mosquito nets. Since chemicals for coloring were very scarce those days, bark of trees and fruits were used to dye all those handwoven products.

The old town was made of three "pueblitos" (small towns) namely: Villa-Cruz, San Rafael and San Anastacio. Near these "pueblitos" were small communities of "Igorotes Infieles" who paid tribute to the Governor.

Through the "Superior Decreto" (Executive Decree) signed by Governor General Antonio Maria Blanco on March 2, 1850, the town of Bangar was made a part of the newly created province of La Union . Before that Bangar, Purao (Balaoan) and Namacpacan (Luna) were part of Ilocos Sur. As years passed by, barrios were formed.

Education during Spanish times consisted of the learning of the "Cartilla" and the "abecedario". Roman Catholic Religion was taught hand in hand with good manners. However, formal education was being taught to students belonging to the higher class of the society. Spanish social life had greatly affected the "Indios" and in no time, Castilian manners were very evident among them.

The social class of an individual was easily distinguished by the kind of attire one wore. Male peasants were distinguished by their simple "camisa de chino" and loose pants tied to the waist by braided strings. Female peasants wore simple loose blouses and ankle length skirts, with a "camison," made from cotton fabric, worn underneath. The peasantry were usually barefooted, and if there was anything worn on the feet, it was the "kammadang" (wooden shoes) or a pair of slippers.

Men of the upper class of society were distinguished by the barong and "camisa de chino" made of fine fabric, and trousers cut in the western style. He wore socks and leather shoes and on the head was a hat which was usually plumed. A walking cane in various styles and colors and encased in gold, silver or bronze was indispensable. He never smoked without using a pipe.

The upper class lady was very fastidious. She had her hair done in a brushed up coiffure. They curled their hair by using the stem of the papaya leaf and iron rod which was heated over burning charcoal. However, so much care was given in using this method. Other women preferred to tie their hair in curls in the evening and untie it in the morning. Ladies wore the "Maria Clara" or the camisa with embroidered and stitched butterfly sleeves and matching "panuelo". They used "alfiler" (pins) made of gold or silver. A comb called "peineta," usually fan shaped and encrusted with silver or gold, adorned their hair. The skirt, which is usually billowy, was made from very fine fabric from China. Underneath she wore a long "camison" and over it the "nuagas." The outer skirt was still topped by beautiful imported lace. A perfumed fan and a big handkerchief trimmed with lace and hanging on the right side of the skirt tucked to her waist line was part of the attire. On Sundays and holidays of obligation, a "mantilla" made of lace which covered the head down to the waist and tucked to the hair by a gold pin was a must for the Holy Mass. On the feet, the lady wore a "zapatilla," usually half heeled, adorned with artificial rhinestones. A gold pendant hanging from a gold necklace around the neck was also part of the attire. The "tamborine," a gold necklace with intricate designs was also worn on special days.

American type of education was implemented with the coming of the Americans in 1898. Education had a very high standard back then that one who finishes the fourth grade could teach those who are in the lower years.

The beginning of World War II was felt in Bangar on December 8, 1941, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. A lantern competition which was sponsored by Rev. Jose Brillantes, the parish priest, was hastily cancelled and the church goers had to hurry home after the Holy Mass as they immediately prepare for evacuation.

On December 20, 1941, the Japanese Army entered Bangar. They put up sentries along the national road and they had one at the Municipal building and another at the plaza. The Japanese occupation required all the citizens to display and pin small Japanese flags outside the pocket of the shirt or blouse with the name of the holder written in Japanese. According to them, this was to distinguished peaceful citizens from guerrillas.

During the part of 1944, on the day Bangar was celebrating the birthday of Emperor Hirohito with a program at the town plaza, a truck load of Japanese soldiers arrived with a lone Filipino who was said to have been captured somewhere in Bacnotan. It was told that the Japanese took the Filipino behind the southern school building and ordered him to dig what was to be his own grave. Upon sensing that his hours on earth were counted, the Filipino suddenly grabbed and unsheathed the sword of an officer who was standing nearby and in one hit motion with the sword, the officer almost got beheaded. This stunned the Japanese soldiers and the Filipino was able to escape unhurt. The whole town was gripped in terror, since this would mean Japanese reprisals.

On December 28, 1944, the Japanese burned many houses in the town proper and raided the camp of the guerrillas in barrio San Cristobal.

Underground movement was very strong during the Japanese occupation of Bangar. Many residents joined the guerrillas which had put up camps in San Cristobal. Further in the mountains at Lonoy, they also joined Camp "121". Colonel Volkman and Major Agtarap led the guerrilla movement. Arms which are supplied to guerrillas landed at Paraoir and men had to carry bolos during night time.

The first Americans to reach Bangar during the liberation were a certain Captain Roberts with his men.

During the Northern Luzon Campaign, Filipino soldiers of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and units of the 2nd, USAFFE 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th Infantry Divisions and the USAFIP-NL 121st Infantry Regiment started the liberation campaign in Bangar in 1945 and helped guerrilla resistance fighters and the U.S. liberation forces against Japanese Imperial Army forces towards the end of the war.[further explanation needed]

Today, Bangar is known for its handwoven cloth called abel and blacksmithing (panday). Agricultural products include rice, corn, sugar cane, peanuts, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and Virginia tobacco.

Spanish-era curates of Bangar[edit]

  • Rev Francisco de Alvear, OSA — 1696-1698
  • Rev Manuel Miranda, OP — 1805-1809
  • Rev Benito Tesauro, OSA — 1853-1864
  • Rev Evaresto Guadalupe, OSA — 1866-1887


Population census of Bangar
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1903 9,851 —    
1918 10,923 +0.69%
1939 12,484 +0.64%
1948 14,988 +2.05%
1960 16,381 +0.74%
1970 19,761 +1.89%
1975 20,752 +0.99%
1980 23,715 +2.70%
1990 25,966 +0.91%
1995 28,374 +1.68%
2000 31,491 +2.26%
2007 33,335 +0.79%
2010 34,522 +1.28%
2015 35,947 +0.77%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[2][5][6][7]

In the 2015 census, the population of Bangar, La Union, was 35,947 people,[2] with a density of 960 inhabitants per square kilometre or 2,500 inhabitants per square mile.


The town has 16 public elementary schools, 2 national high schools, 1 private school offering complete pre-elementary, elementary, and high school, 1 specialized high school, 1 technical-vocational school, and 1 tertiary school.

Public Elementary schools
  • Ag-Na Elementary School
  • Bangaoilan Elementary School
  • Bangar Central School
  • Cadapli Elementary School
  • Caggao Elementary School
  • Gen. Prim Elementary School
  • Luzong Norte Elementary School
  • Luzong Sur Elementary School
  • Ma. Cristina Elementary School
  • Mindoro Integrated School
  • Paratong Elementary School
  • Pudoc Elementary School
  • Rissing Elementary School
  • RUS Elementary School
  • Sinapangan Elementary School
  • Ter-Con Elementary School
Saint Christopher Academy
Public High Schools
  • Dona Francisca Lacsamana de Ortega Memorial National High School
  • Casacristo National High School
Private Schools
  • St. Christopher Academy — the oldest school in Bangar, founded in 1945
  • St. Bernard College of Health Service — the only school in Bangar offering tertiary level
Specialized School
  • Regional Science High School for Region I — a magnet school established during the school year 1994-1995 by virtue of DECS Order No. 69, s.1993. The school, with a curriculum that specialize in science and research (different from Special Science Program/ Engineering and Science Education Program schools) is operated and supervised by the Department of Education.
Vocational schools
  • TSI Technical Institute — the only technical/vocational school in Bangar, located in at Brgy. Rissing.


  • The feast of the patron saint of Bangar, St. Christopher, is celebrated every July 25.
  • Town fiesta of Bangar is celebrated every December 26 and 27.
  • Abel-Panday festival was first celebrated during 2005 town fiesta of Bangar. However, the festival was discontinued, and was revived again last December 2008, during the town fiesta.

Places of interest[edit]

  • Saint Christopher Church — construction was started in 1696 by Fr. Francisco Alvear, a Spanish Augustinian priest born in Liaño, Santander, Spain who died in Bangar in 1698. It is the only church with three bell towers.
  • Saint Christopher Convent — was built by Fr. Francisco Guadalupe sometime between 1866-1887.
  • Amburayan River — the setting of the Ilocano epic Biag ni Lam-ang penned by the poet Pedro Bucaneg
  • Imelda Cultural Stage — project by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos through the sponsorship of the former Minister of Tourism Jose D. Aspiras and constructed by Engr. Bernardo Vergara, then General Manager of the Philippine Tourism Authority



  1. ^ a b "Province: La Union". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Census of Population (2015). "Region I (Ilocos Region)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Retrieved 2015-04-04. 
  4. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region I (Ilocos Region)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  6. ^ Census of Population (1995, 2000 and 2007). "Region I (Ilocos Region)". Total Population by Province, City and Municipality. NSO. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Province of La Union". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 

External links[edit]