Agoo town center along the National Highway with the steeple of Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity on the right

Nickname(s): "Home of Dinengdeng Festival"
Motto: "Agoo, Kay ganda"

Location in the province of La Union

Location within the Philippines

Coordinates: 16°19′30″N 120°22′7″E / 16.32500°N 120.36861°E / 16.32500; 120.36861Coordinates: 16°19′30″N 120°22′7″E / 16.32500°N 120.36861°E / 16.32500; 120.36861
Country  Philippines
Region Ilocos (Region I)
Province La Union
District 2nd District
Founded December 8, 1578[1][2][3]
Barangays 49
  Mayor Sandra Y. Eriguel
  Total 52.84 km2 (20.40 sq mi)
Population (2010)[6]
  Total 60,596
  Density 1,100/km2 (3,000/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2504
Dialing code 72
Income class 1st class[7]

Agoo (Ilocano: Ili ti Agoo) is a first class municipality in the province of La Union, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 60,596 people.[6]

Its name is usually attributed to "aroo" or "agoho," a pine-like evergreen tree (Casuarina equisetifolia or Whistling Pine) that thrived in the western coast during the pre-Spanish Period.[3][8]


Agoo's administrative dates back further than most Philippine municipalities, with the town being established within the same decade that the Spanish colonizers arrived on the Island of Luzon.[1] The history of the settlement now known as Agoo dates back even further, with both documentary and artifactual evidence supporting the assertion that it was a major port of call for foreign traders before it was formally established by the Spaniards.[2]

Before the Spanish

Before the province of La Union was established, Agoo was part of Pangasinan, and was a settlement of people of the "same race as those of Pangasinan." [1] These people traded with Chinese merchants long before Columbus even sailed to the new world. Later, the Japanese came and established their first settlement in the Philippines.[3] At this time, Agoo's coast was shaped in such a way that it was a good harbor for foreign vessels coming into Lingayen Gulf. Miguel De Loarca referred to Agoo as “El Puerto de Japon” - the Japanese Port.[2]

Rosario Mendoza-Cortes, in her book "Pangasinan 1572-1800" suggested that Agoo was likeliest to be the region's primary port of call for Japanese and Chinese traders - the only other candidate being Sual, Pangasinan. This was because there was a Japanese colony there, because traders at Agoo would have access to a greater number of people, and it was nearer to China and Japan. The main product traded from the area was deer pelt, which was shipped to Japan.[2]

Agoo's role as a port deteriorated when the Spanish closed the Philippines to foreign trade. When foreign trade was allowed again, it was Sual that became the dominant port.[2]

Sighting by Juan de Salcedo

In 1572, Juan de Salcedo, fresh from his conquest of Southern Luzon, was ordered by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to explore Northern Luzon and “pacify the people in it”.[2]

In June 1572, he was traversing the Angalakan River, when he saw and attacked three Japanese ships. When they fled, Salcedo followed them until they landed at a Japanese settlement. After paying tributes, the Japanese were allowed to remain. These Japanese would leave when the port of Agoo was later closed, but not without first teaching the natives their methods of fish culture, rice cultivation, deerskin tanning, duck breeding, and weapons manufacturing.[2]

A permanent settlement was established in Agoo in 1578 when two Franciscan Missionaries, Fray Juan Bautista Lucarelli of Italy and Fray Sebastian de Baeza of Spain, constructed a thatch and bamboo church in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Agoo encompassed a vast land area that spanned the modern day towns of Rosario, Santo Tomas, Tubao, Pugo, Aringay, Caba, Bauang and the a place called "Atuley" or present day-San Juan. Agoo became the center of the campaign of pacification and conquest, not only of the surrounding towns that would later become La Union, but of the mountain tribes in the Cordilleras as well.[2]

The two missionaries formally proclaimed Agoo as a civic unit. naming it after the river along whose banks it was built. At the time, the riverbank was forested with pine-like trees locally called "aroo" or "agoho" (Casuarina equisetifolia, or Whistling Pine).[2]

In another claim of the town's origin, Agoo was said to be derived from a variety of flying fish (chileopogon agoo) by which the Japanese settlers called it thereafter.

Development by the Augustinians

Most of the town's early development can be attributed to the efforts of the Augustinian Order. They took over from the Franciscans and administered the town off and on throughout the Spanish occupation until the secular priests took over in 1898.[2]

They changed the town's patron saint to Santa Monica. They established a school where reading, writing, industrial works, and catechism were taught. They relocated the town center, laid out the streets and public buildings, and established roads leading to the nearby towns.[2]

To facilitate the construction of churches, public buildings and bridges, they taught the people brick and lime making, brick-laying, and stone-quarrying. They introduced the “moro-moro”, the singing of “pasyon”, new farm implement and new plants.[2]

Father Aquilino Garcia constructed a church, and by the end of the 15th century the image of Nuestra Señora de Caridad (Our Lady of Charity) was installed in it. This church was destroyed in 1796 and a new one was built when the original settlement was moved to what has ever since been the town center. The church was then claimed to be the largest and grandest in northern Luzon during that time. Ruins are scattered althroughout the town's center and some are visible at this point of time.[2]

Integration into La Union

On March 2, 1850, the province of La Union was created by Governor–General Antonio Maria Blanco. It comprised the north-western towns of Pangasinan and the towns of Ilocos Sur south of the Amburayan river. Agoo was the oldest town to be integrated and was listed as having a population of 6,936 people.[2]

Japanese Invasion of Lingayen Gulf

In the early morning of 22 December 1941, Agoo was one of several beachheads taken by the invasion force of General Masaharu Homma during the Japanese Invasion of Lingayen Gulf and became one of the Japanese staging points for the Battle of Rosario.[9]

Establishment of the South Provincial High School and the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University

On July 23, 1945 the Municipal government, then led by Mayor Miguel Fontanilla, established South Provincial High School in response to education-oriented citizen Ramon Mabutas' calls for the establishment of a public high school. South Provincial High School turned Agoo into a center of education for Southern La Union, and became one of the constituent state-run schools that were combined by Presidential Decree 1778 in order to create the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in 1981.[10]

Alleged Marian Apparitions

Main article: Judiel Nieva

The town came into focus for the alleged Marian apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Judiel Nieva. Nieva reported seeing the Virgin Mary, popularly known as Our Lady of Agoo atop a Guava tree, a statue weeping with blood became highly sensationalized. Religious pilgrimages among Filipino Catholics increased by the millions as people flocked to see the phenomenon. The alleged apparition and healing events came into the attention of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, who in turn began an investigation and later released an ecclesiastical ruling that the apparitions were non-supernatural in origin in 1993.

Recent incidents

Following an assassination attempt on Tubao Mayor Dante Garcia in September 2012, the Civil Society Group (CSG) and the La Union police therefore held a rally at Freedom Park in Agoo to protest a series of unsolved extrajudicial killings in Tubao and Agoo. The public indignation was led by Reverend Mariano C. Apilado of Peace Builders La Union, Melvin Macusi of Amnesty International, Danilo Balino from the Commission on Human Rights and Fr. Leo Nedic of TIGNAY-PPCRV, other Human Rights Groups, Kanlungan, Bannuar and leaders of the Catholic and Protestant churches.[11][12]


Population census of Agoo
YearPop.±% p.a.
1990 42,698    
1995 47,721+2.11%
2000 51,923+1.83%
2007 57,952+1.53%
2010 60,596+1.64%
Source: National Statistics Office[6][13]
Agoo Town Hall

Local government

Just as the national government, the municipal government of Agoo, is divided into three branches: executive, legislative and judiciary. The judicial branch is administered solely by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The LGUs have control of the executive and legislative branch.

The executive branch is composed of the mayor and the barangay captain for the barangays.Local Government Code of the Philippines, Book III, Department of Interior and Local Government official website.

The legislative branch is composed of the Sangguniang Bayan (town assembly), Sangguniang Barangay (barangay council), and the Sangguniang Kabataan for the youth sector.

The seat of Government is vested upon the Mayor and other elected officers who hold office at the Town hall. The Sanguniang Bayan is the center of legislation, stationed in Agoo Municipio.[14]

Elected Officials


The 49 barangays of the Municipality of Agoo[16]
Rank Barangay Population Rank Barangay Population Rank Barangay Population
1 San Nicolas West 2,382 18 Macalva Sur 1,332 35 Capas 941
2 San Agustin East 2,322 19 San Joaquin Norte 1,270 36 Santa Fe 845
3 San Antonio 2,209 20 San Agustin Norte 1,240 37 San Manuel Sur 837
4 San Manuel Norte 1,960 21 San Agustin Sur 1,210 38 San Roque East 793
5 San Isidro 1,895 22 San Juan 1,126 39 Ambitacay 789
6 Santa Barbara (Poblacion) 1,887 23 San Julian East 1,096 40 San Jose Norte 787
7 Nazareno 1,874 24 Macalva Norte 1,095 41 San Nicolas East 769
8 Santa Ana 1,860 25 San Pedro 1,089 42 Santa Rita East 755
9 San Marcos 1,849 26 Santa Rita Sur 1,088 43 San Julian Norte 739
10 San Julian West 1,795 27 San Vicente Sur 1,086 44 San Nicolas Norte (Poblacion) 717
11 San Jose Sur 1,667 28 San Vicente Norte 1,052 45 Santa Rita West 677
12 Consolacion (Poblacion) 1,662 29 San Francisco 1,026 46 Purok 617
13 Balawarte 1,550 30 San Nicolas Central (Poblacion) 1,020 47 Macalva Central 615
14 Santa Rita (Nalinac) 1,546 31 Santa Rita Norte 1,020 48 San Julian Central 613
15 San Miguel 1,513 32 San Antonino 1,002 49 San Nicolas Sur (Poblacion) 535
16 San Roque West 1,438 33 Santa Monica 995 Agoo Total 60,596
17 San Joaquin Sur 1,436 34 Santa Maria 975


The redeveloped Imelda Garden
Jose D. Aspiras ancestral house
The Giant Eagle of the North Park (Symbol of Marcoses' power). The edifice was designed by Arch. Anselmo Day-ag.

Agoo has interesting attractions and main festival/events:

New city proposed in merger of Agoo and Aringay

Rep. Eufranio Eriguel has filed a measure to establish the first city in the second district by merging the municipalities of Agoo and Aringay.

“It is high time that there is a city that will boost the commerce, industry and trade for the people of these towns that bring progress and development,” he told reporters last week in an interview here at the town hall.

Eriguel filed House Bill 4644 last June 11, after officials of both towns agreed to the unification to meet the requirements of population (150,000), annual income (P100 million minimum a year) land area (100 square kilometers).

His co-authors for the bill are La Union first district Rep. Victor Ortega and Abono party-list Rep. Francisco Emmanuelle Ortega III.

The national census showed that Agoo and Aringay have about 65,000 and 47,500 residents, respectively. While Agoo posted more than P90 million in annual earnings, Aringay made P15,000 million. Their integration into a city will mean an annual share of P500 million in the internal revenue allotment (IRA), according to the proposed bill.

“With this IRA, we will have more infrastructure projects and as a city, we will have more employment, economic activities, businesses, increase basic services, and among others,” Eriguel said.

Agoo, covering 51.35 km2 (19.83 sq mi), is considered the educational, trade and commerce hub of the province’s southern section, comprising 49 barangays. With 122.07 km2 (47.13 sq mi), Aringay has 24 barangays engaged in planting rice and tobacco, raising mushrooms among other agricultural activities.

The proposed city will have two districts under a mayor and vice mayor along with 14 councilors in the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

Notable people

Image gallery

Panorama of Agoo hills and rice-fields


  1. 1 2 3 de Loarca, Miguel (1582). Relacion de Las Yslas Filipinas.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Mendoza-Cortes, Rosario (1582). Pangasinan 1572-1800.
  3. 1 2 3 Sals, Florent Joseph (2005). The history of Agoo : 1578-2005. La Union: Limbagan Printhouse. p. 80.
  4. "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  5. "Province: La Union". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 "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.
  8. General Information
  9. Dull, Paul S (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941- 1945. Naval Institute Press. pp. 29–31. ISBN 1299324614.
  11. PIA | Philippine Information Agency | Civic groups hold peace rally in La Union
  12. Aquino, Miriam (2012-11-23). "Civic groups hold peace rally in La Union". Philippine Information Agency. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
  13. "Province of La Union". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  14. Brief History
  15. Municipal Officials
  16. "2010 Census of Population and Housing: Population Counts - Cordillera Administrative Region" (PDF). National Statistics Office (Philippines), April 4, 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  17. 8th Dinengdeng Festival & Patronal Town Fiesta
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
  19. Major Tourist Spots

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Agoo, La Union.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/5/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.