Santo Tomas, La Union

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Not to be confused with Santo Tomás La Unión.
Santo Tomas
Official seal of Santo Tomas
Location in the province of La Union
Location in the province of La Union
Santo Tomas is located in Philippines
Santo Tomas
Santo Tomas
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 16°15′49″N 120°23′38″E / 16.26361°N 120.39389°E / 16.26361; 120.39389Coordinates: 16°15′49″N 120°23′38″E / 16.26361°N 120.39389°E / 16.26361; 120.39389
Country  Philippines
Region Ilocos (Region I)
Province La Union
District 2nd District
Founded 1764
Barangays 24
 • Mayor Marietta Calonge Carbonell
 • Total 64.00 km2 (24.71 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 35,999
 • Density 560/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2505
Dialing code 72
Income class 4th class[4]

Santo Tomas (Ilocano: Ili ti Santo Tomas; Pangasinan: Baley na Santo Tomas),is a fourth class municipality in the province of La Union, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 35,999 people.[3] South of Agoo and north of Rosario, the municipality is 230 kilometres (140 mi) from Manila, the passageway of Manila-Ilocos Route.


The 24 barangays of the Municipality of Santo Tomas[5]
Rank Barangay Population Rank Barangay Population
1 Patac 2,978 14 Cupang 1,398
2 Tubod 2,485 15 Balaoc 1,373
3 Damortis 2,265 16 Lomboy 1,319
4 Bail 2,227 17 Tococ 1,140
5 Namboongan 2,214 18 Raois 1,046
6 Namonitan 2,050 19 Fernando 1,003
7 Casantaan 1,991 20 Balsaan 875
8 Ubagan 1,786 21 Linong 634
9 Poblacion 1,696 22 Ambitacay 581
10 Casilagan 1,557 23 Narvacan 559
11 Pongpong 1,504 24 Malabago 449
12 Cabaruan 1,454 Santo Tomas Total 35,999
13 Baybay 1,415


Population census of Santo Tomas
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 27,352 —    
1995 28,192 +0.57%
2000 31,204 +2.20%
2007 33,604 +1.03%
2010 35,999 +2.54%
Source: National Statistics Office[3][6]


Santo Tomas has attractions and interesting points.

Santo Tomas' coastal areas are suitable for fishing, hence, making the town famous worldwide for its Damortis dried fish (daing stalls along the national highway) local trade and exports. Local puto, Bibingka, Nilatekan and Patopat are the delicacies expertly prepared by the locals.

The town holds its Daing Festival held every April 20 and annual town Fiesta every April 24 and 25. Its Pamahalaang Bayan (Municipal Town Hall) is nestled on top of a hill.[7]

The town boasts of the Agoo–Damortis Protected Landscape and Seascape and the 2002.10-hectare BFAR Mariculture Park-Portal project at south-western portion of Barangay Narvacan cove which has 2 Cage Structures, a Mooring system, Boundary Markers, Floating Guard House and Wharf. Its marketing facility is at Damortis Fish Port and Ice Plant.[8]

DENR designated Regional Center for Inland Fisheries Research, Santo Tomas is proud of its Institute of Fisheries (fisheries and fishery education diploma courses about fisheries technology with major in different fields).[9] In this regard, the town's "Nutri-Enriched Seaweed Noodles" bagged the First Place in the Aquatic Technology Competition and Marketplace, Phil. Council Aquaculture and Marine Research and Development on January 28, 2010.

La Union's Damortis barangay of Santo Tomas is dubbed as the 'Tabo-an of the North’ because of its priceless 'danggit' (often associated with the small malaga), the dalag-baybay, espada, sapsap, pusit, turay, dilis, and shrimp, a local fish, 1 foot basasong, dried bangus (milkfish), patis (fish sauce), alamang, and bagoong.[10]

Shrine of Nuestra Señora del Mar Cautiva Parish Church[edit]

Shrine of Nuestra Señora del Mar Cautiva Parish Church

The natives are deeply religious as demonstrated by their devotion to the Senora Virgen del Mar Cautiva (Virgen of the Sea, patron saint of the town fishermen, whose Feast Day is celebrated every 26 April) at Poblacion, and the Holy Guardian Angels.[11][12]

Santo Tomas' cultural treasure is the 1785 Holy Guardian Angels Parish Church, which celebrates the Patronal Fiesta on October 2. Its Parish Priests are Father Raul S. Panay & Fr. Emmanuel Bahiwag[13] under the Vicariate of St. Francis Xavier under Vicar Forane, Fr. Joel Angelo Licos,[7][12] under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Fernando de La Union (Latin: Dioecesis Ferdinandopolitanus ab Unione, Dioecesis Ferdinandopolitana ab Unione, Suffragan of Lingayen – Dagupan), a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines. The diocese was established in 1970 from the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia.[14][15]

In 1845, Padre Santiago Romero, Kura Paroko's devotion to the "Virgin of the Rosaries" caused the carving of 3 religious statues for the Church: the Blessed Mother, St. Michael the Archangel and the Holy Guardian Angels (patron of the Church).

"Matutina" through the China Sea is held yearly on July, where the 3 images are inserted in 3 boxes and delivered to Santo Tomas by sailboat.

In Bolinao, Pangasinan, Jolo pirates seized the "Matutina" and threw the 3 boxes of the statues into the sea, after severing the left forearm of the Virgin Mary. The 2 boxes sank but the Virgin's miraculously floated dry and sent to Santo Tomas parish priest.

Nuestra Señora del Mar Cautiva statue was enthroned at the Church on July 19, 1845 amid innumerable miracles, conversions, healing, including safe and easy childbirth.[16]

Augustinian friar, Padre Lorenzo Rodriguez replaced the holy statue's lost arm with a golden forearm, then with ivory arm but to no avail, until the natives merely used metal strings to tie the same, until this day.[13]


Panoramic view of Santo Tomas


  1. ^ "Cities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Province: La Union". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "2010 Census of Population and Housing: Population Counts - Cordillera Administrative Region" (PDF). National Statistics Office (Philippines), April 4, 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Province of La Union". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Local Government Units: Municipality of Santo Tomas - Province of La Union :: Official Website
  8. ^ BFAR Mariculture Portal
  9. ^
  10. ^ La Union town is the 'Tabo-an of the North’ because of its 'danggit' - Yahoo! News Philippines
  11. ^ Holy Guardian Angels Parish Church
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ a b Luzon Shrines: Nuestra Senora del Mar de Cautiva
  14. ^ Catholic-Hierarchy
  15. ^ Diocese of San Fernando de La Union
  16. ^ The mystery behind the ivory forearm of the Blessed Virgin Mary image in Sto. Tomas Church La Union | Tarabitab- All About Ilocos, Pangasinan and Baguio City Philippines

External links[edit]