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    History of Santa Lucia

    ANTA LUCIA is one of the oldest towns in the Ilocos Region. It was known as Kaog and Dumangague during the Spanish times, bounded on the east by the interior town of Salcedo, Ilocos Sur “formerly Baugen” and the Cordillera Mountain, on the west by China Sea, on the north by City of Candon and on the south by Sta. Cruz, another town of Ilocos Sur. It has a total land area of 4700.8545 hectares and a population of 28,242 (MSWDO/MBN 2010 Census) scattered among its Thirty-Six (36) barangays. Municipality of Santa Lucia belonged to the 2nd Congressional District of Ilocos Sur.

    The name SANTA LUCIA was given in 1586 by the Augustinian friars in honor of the town’s Patron Saint Lucy through the Ecclesiastical Power of Spain in Manila. But the original name was Kaog before the evangelization of Igorots who inhabited the town and later became Dumangague during the Spanish colonization in the year 1572 by Captain Juan de Salcedo, a Spanish conquistador colonized the region of Ilocos Sur and founded Vigan as capital of the province.

    Mythical Origin

    Before the evangelization of Igorots inhabiting KAOG (now Santa Lucia, Ilocos Sur), turmoil and chaos usually visit this rich settlement. Although historical accounts are silent on the civilization of these Igorots, it was presumed by early historians that these were uncivilized, tattooed in their faces, their noses and earlobes pierced, clothed in G-strings. It was their usual practice to embark on head-hunting expeditions in the lowlands and seacoast areas. They usually do these once a year in connection with their Tagnawa (sacrifice rituals) to their God or Kabunian, where these select at least the head of a Christian convert as a sacrificing offering. A head is placed in Sakurang (a long light bamboo) and placed in the middle of their village where they dance in merriment to the tune of their primitive music gongs, flutes and cymbals.

    Oral history handed from generation to generation until today claim that these Igorots (Prof. Otley Beyer point to as the original Kankanaeys or Ibalois living in the western foothills of the Cordilleras, are fierce-looking, armed to the teeth with spears, axes, blowguns, kampilans and poisoned arrows. Adept at ambuscades and lightning raids over Christian settlements to the west in the middle of the night in pitch darkness, these Igorots were reported to have inflicted several casualties in the settlement of Kaog. These were the Spanish Peninsulas, friars, and converts.

    When the present town (Sta. Lucia) was evangelized, it was told heavy downpours could be witnessed by inhabitants and with their naked eyes, saw the delicate figure of small beautiful woman carrying over her head an earthen jar (caramba) wending her way to the east following carefully a tiny foot trail leading to the dense forest growth, east below the foothills of the Western Cordilleras. This beautiful woman was ivory white, with silky brown hair spread downwards reaching to her ankles, and much to the surprise of witnesses could never be wet in spite of the strong intermittent rains and fury of the wind. At the sight of the woman, the burikan, (tattooed) Igorots fled to the east for their safety.

    One Local historian during the late Spanish period, Claro Tiburcio Ridad, in an unpublished manuscript claimed that converts in the pueblo of Kaog band themselves together and armed with talunasans, homemade cannons, spears and arrows ran after the marauders. It was said that if the Igorots were taken prisoners, Christians would torture them with barit-barit, a thorny vine, abundant in the settlement of Cabaritan and also leaves (an itchy plant) abundant in Lupa-lupa, a sitio some ten kilometer east.

    It was on January 5, 1586, when the ministry of Santa Lucia was finally established by Augustinian friars, the Image of the Virgin and Martyr Saint Lucy arrived from Mexico and stalled inside the new town church. The people claimed that the image looked like the beautiful woman. It was at this instance that the clergy recommended to the authorities of Spain through ecclesiastical powers in Manila to change the name Kaog and later Dumangague to a new Santa Lucia in honor of the patron saint and celebrated the Feast day every 13th of December.

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