Santa, Ilocos Sur

Santa, Ilocos Sur

Santa is a 4th class municipality in the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 13,918 people in 2,811 households. As of 2007 the Mayor is Jeremy Jesus P. Bueno III, while former Mayor Jesus B. Bueno Jr--his father--is Vice Mayor.


Santa is politically subdivided into 26 barangays.

* Ampandula
* Banaoang
* Basug
* Bucalag
* Cabangaran
* Calungboyan
* Casiber
* Dammay

* Labut Norte
* Labut Sur
* Mabilbila Norte
* Mabilbila Sur
* Magsaysay District (Pob.)
* Manueva
* Marcos (Pob.)
* Nagpanaoan

* Namalangan
* Oribi
* Pasungol
* Quezon (Pob.)
* Quirino (Pob.)
* Rancho
* Rizal
* Sacuyya Norte
* Sacuyya Sur
* Tabucolan

Creation of the Municipality

According to Augustinian maps of 1831 and 1834, Santa was founded in 1576. The Augustinian established missionary centers in the towns of Vigan in 1575 and Santa in 1576. On the founding of Bantay in 1591 as a pueblo, Santa was made its “visita” until 1713 when it became an independent vicariate. The prestige of the town was boosted in 1802 when the provisional diocese was established and was housed in the rectory of Santa until 1834.

Historical Roles and Events

The “Malong Revolt” disturbed the quiet life of the town in 1660-1661 when Andres Malong of Binalatongan rose in arms to protest the abuses in the collection of tribute and in the conscription of men for “palo y servicios”. Malong proclaimed himself “King of Pangasinan” and tried to extend his kingdom by sending his Count Pedro Gumapos in Ilocos.

Gumapos pursued the retreating Spaniards who sought refuge in Agoo (in present-day La Union). The Spaniards and the loyalists made their last stand in Pideg, Santa, Ilocos Sur. Pedro de la Peña, who was defending Pideg Pass, sheltered the great number of the rebels who camped in Narvacan and offered them free passage across Pideg Pass.

On December 14, 1762, Diego Silang led the “caillianes” (common man or townsfolk) in the most obstinate insurrection against the Spaniards in the 18th century. He crystallized the discontent of the “caillianes” caused by the imposition of tribute and forced labor. He proclaimed a “Free Ilocos” and made Vigan its capital.

When the Spaniards failed to stop Diego Silang in combat, Miguel Vicos, aided by Pedro Becbec, betrayed Diego Silang by murdering him. Gabriela, the wife of Diego Silang, with the help of her uncle, Nicolas Cariño, continued her husband's fight, and defeated the Spaniards and their loyalist soldiers in the battle of Banaoang, Santa on August 24, 1763.

Disasters and calamities occurred in Santa. A destructive flood called “Layos Bungsot” (literal: "Flood of Rotting") of 1852 eroded the first poblacion founded in 1576 and caused the town center to be transferred to a new site, which is about four (4) kilometers south of the first site.

Fr. Pedro Torrices started the new church in 1849-1855 and Fr. Luis Lagar finished it in 1875.

In 1905, another destructive flood, “Layos Nawnaw” (literal: "Dissolving Flood") motivated the people to transfer the poblacion to Pasungol in the southern part of the town in 1907.

Don Domingo Bueno y Ramirez, the Presidente Municipal, transferred the new government and the new poblacion was laid out. Circumferencial roads were constructed. A hermita, made of bamboo and cogon, was put up and a one-storey primary school building was laid out.

The guerilla activities of Gen. Manuel Tinio dominated the Philippine-American War in Ilocos. The civil government of Ilocos Sur began to function in 1889 with Don Mena Crisologo; former Ilocos Sur delegate to the Malolos Congress as the first Civil Governor.

On the resumption of the Commonwealth Government, Pres. Osmeña appointed Hon. Sixto Brillantes after being elected assemblyman of the second district of Ilocos Sur.

On December 19, 1941, the Japanese soldiers landed in Santa. The people fled to the mountains where they suffered from privations, hunger and diseases. The Japanese soldiers held a garrison at the south of Quirino Bridge and massacred seventy (70) civilians in Barrio Rizal on January 26, 1954.

These turn of events, no matter how depressing and destructive they were, brought back the residents together to restore the present site of the local government.

Geographical Location

Santa is nestled in the central part of the Ilocos strip. Bounded by natural borders, this municipality presents a gorgeous poetic setting; the denuded Ilocos Range in the east, the winding Abra River in the north and immense China Sea down west. The river, the mountain and the sea contribute to its beauty which made the late Gov. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. in his visit in 1925 say, “The mountain in the east the winding, roping river in the north and the immense sea in the west make Santa a poetic town.”

Santa is 386 kilometers north of Manila and 21 kilometers south of Vigan, the capital town of the province. It can be reached by bus, jeepney and other motorized means of transport by way of the National Highway.

Physically, Santa is triangular shape. Its north border, forming the baseline of the triangular land and running in the east-west direction, follow the ever changing course of the Abra River from Banaoang Gap in the northeast corner of the town to the sea about 18 kilometers.

Land Area

Santa has an area of 4,877.99 hectares, which is distributed in twenty-six (26) barangays and constitute almost 1.895 of the entire area of the province of Ilocos Sur.


The topography of the municipality is undulating to rolling with slope ranging from 0-30%.


The type of climate in Santa is generally the same as the climate of all coastal towns of Ilocos Sur. There are two seasons in the municipality, wet and dry: dry season commence on the month of February and ended on the months of June while the wet season is during the rest of the year.


PAG-ASA’s data in temperature in the municipality was recorded 29 degrees Celsius, for the average annual temperature. April and May were recorded as the hottest months with a temperature from 29 degrees Celsius to 31 Degrees Celsius respectively while the coldest months are January and February with a temperature of 24 down to 21 degrees Celsius.


Rainfall record in the municipality is not available due to absence of equipment. However, it is believed that the rainfall record of Santa is the same as the records of other municipalities in Ilocos Sur.

Typhoon Frequencies

During the rainy season, Santa is experiencing more or less twenty typhoons a year. Flush flood is attacking the town because of the denuded mountain at the eastern part of the town. Even flood is attacking Santa due to the large amount of water flowing from Abra River which traverses in the western part of the municipality. During the typhoon last June 5, 1999, tidal waves attack Santa which destroyed some residences along coastal barangays.

Soil Type

There are three types of soil in Santa, namely: clay loam which is used for crop production, clay on the eastern part of the town and sandy loam on the western part.


Although Santa has fair type of soil, vegetative cover is good for palay, corn, vegetables and fruit bearing trees.

Mineral Resources

Major mineral resources of the municipality are gravel and sand and salt. Gravel and sand are found along the river bank of Abra River. Salt making is available along the coastal barangays of Santa because some of the residents are engaged in salt making as their means of livelihood.

Natural & Man-made Risk Areas

Flood prone areas are found at the western part of the town, which include Barangays Pasungol, Tabucolan, Calungboyan, Casiber, Rancho, Oribi and Dammay. Places located at the foot of the mountain and places beside the river banks are prone to flash floods.

Origin of the Municipality's Name

There are two probable origins to the municipality's name.

1. Since the Spanish ran out of names of saints to name the place (Santa Catalina, Santa Lucia, and Santa Maria were already taken), the place was simply named "Santa."

2. The young and old women of the place portrayed saintly looks, as shown by their long hair and long dresses, as well as their modest looks and refined ways of carrying themselves in public.

3. The Municipality of Santa was formerly called Santa Catalina de Alexandria, Virgen y Martir, after the town's patron saint St. Catherine of Alexandria. But according to folk stories, after the devastation of the town by the first flood in 1852 (Layos Bungsot), the name was shortened to Santa Catalina de Alexandria. The present name of Santa came to be, after the second flood of 1905 (Layos Nawnaw). It was believed that by changing the name after the disasters would save the town from further devastation.

External links

* [ Hon. Jeremy Jesus P. Bueno III ] - the Mayor's Friendster Account
* [ Municipality of Santa, Ilocos Sur ]
* [ Pasyalang Ilocos Sur]
* [ Philippine Standard Geographic Code]
* [ 2000 Philippine Census Information]

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