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definition - Tubao,_La_Union

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Tubao, La Union

San Isidro de Tubao
—  Municipality  —

Motto: Ti Panagkaykaysa Isu ti Bileg
Map of La Union showing the location of Tubao.
Tubao is located in Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 16°21′N 120°25′E / 16.35°N 120.417°E / 16.35; 120.417Coordinates: 16°21′N 120°25′E / 16.35°N 120.417°E / 16.35; 120.417
Country  Philippines
Region Ilocos Region (Region I)
Province La Union
District 2nd District
Founded 1886
Barangays 18
 • Mayor Dante S. Garcia
 • Total 56.80 km2 (21.93 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Total 26,402
 • Density 460/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Demonym Ilocano
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2509
Dialing code 072
Spoken languages Ilocano, Tagalog, English

Population Census of Tubao
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1995 23,039
2000 24,773 1.45%
2007 26,402 0.91%

Tubao is a 4th class municipality in the province of La Union, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 26,402 people in 4,649 households.

An inland land-locked town, Tubao is located in Region I lying along the southeastern side of La Union province. It is bounded on the north by Aringay, on the east by Pugo, on the southwest by Sto.Tomas, on the southeast by Rosario, and on the west by Agoo. It is about forty three (43) kilometers south of the capital city San Fernando, approximately 253 kilometers north of Manila and 30 kilometers west of Baguio City.

Then known as the "Home of the Native Tobacco", Tubao was famous for its tobacco leaf and cigars. It has a tobacco trade for decades where its town center was littered by huge tobacco warehouses and trading posts for tobacco. Today, corn is its prime agricultural output where Chichacorn is among its by-products.

The town has an average annual income of PHP 42,803,624 pesos.



  Origin of the Municipality's Name

"Legend states that Tubao got its name when the Spaniards led by one Father Luis Gonzaga y Espinosa, in their desire to spread Christianity, headed towards the eastern parts of Agoo. At that time, these parts of Agoo were hinterlands and heavily forested. While the Spaniards were resting under the full-grown trees, they distributed manuscripts of the cartilla and catecismo to the natives. Suddenly, they heard a loud chorus of sound "TUAO, TUAO," emanating from the top of the trees. These sounds made by the birds locally known as kalaw, (the Rufous Hornbill, Buceros hydrocorax) attracted and bewildered the Spaniards. Even as the Spaniards went further east, the sound persisted. When Father Espinosa returned from their journey, he reported an area called "TUAO." However, due to inadvertent recordings made by the Spanish authorities, the word "TUAO" was written as "TUBAO," hence, the name of the place."[1]


Tubao is an interior town in the southern part of the province of La Union that surfaced in the mid-1880s. It was a barrio in the eastern boundaries of Agoo and Aringay. The place was a former visita of the parish of Agoo. During the Spanish period, a visita was a settlement with a church but was visited periodically by a non-resident clergy whose headquarters was at the mother town. The early settlers of the barrio called it San Isidro de Tubao in honor of its patron saint whose feast is celebrated every May 14 and 15 of the year.[2]

On March 28, 1873, residents of this huge settlement composed of nine barrios from Agoo (Macoton, Amboot, Caoigue, Pideg, Damosil, Masalip, Linapew, Anduyan and Ambañgonan) together with six other barrios from Aringay (Santa Theresa, Copang, Calopaan, Bugarin, Guinitaban and San Pascual) petitioned for the creation of a new municipality.[2]

Pugo, then part of Tubao was called Rancheria Tulosa. It was in 1883 that quail (locally known as pugo) hunters who frequented the place changed the name into Rancheria Pugo after the birds.[2]

However, it was not until July 20, 1885 when a superior decreto embodied in the expediente of August 28, 1885 created the new town of Tubao. On August 21, 1885, La Union Spanish Military Governor Federico Francia proposed a review of the petition to redefine the border limits of Aringay.[2]

On November 10, 1885, real orden No. 901 affirmed the July 20th superior decreto. On November 16, 1885, Francia acknowledged the existence of the "nuevo pueblo de Tubao" from the barrios that were yielded by Agoo and Aringay. Hence, Tubao became the 14th town of La Union. Four months later, on March 8, 1886, Governor Federico Francia inaugurated the town.[2]

19th Century Gallery

  Other Notable Events

  • Capt. Santiago Fontanilla, headed 130 men with four officers and 87 rifles. He fought against the Americans. When he narrowly escaped capture in Kapangan, he abandoned personal equipment which included a horse and Colt .45 pistol both belonging to Colonel Gutierrez, his commander.[4]
  • During World War II, the town became a center for all evacuees who fled their homes in the neighboring municipalities. Because of its mountainous terrain on the east, it was also an ideal site for the guerrillas who fought the Japanese forces.[5]
      President Diosdado Macapagal inaugurating the Masalip Dam Irrigation project in Tubao, La Union. June 17, 1962
  • Among those who found refuge and passage in the town were top officials of the land led by then Executive Secretary Manuel Roxas who was later captured by the Japanese in 1942, Senator Quintin Paredes, Speaker Laurel and Teofilo Sison.[5]
  • Notable among the events that transpired in this town was the establishment of a Japanese garrison beside the Roman Catholic Church. Even the residence of former Mayor Antonio Verceles became the staff house of all the Japanese officers. Hence, its preservation from the mass burning of houses during the Japanese retreat.[5]
  • On June 17, 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal inaugurated the multi-million peso Masalip River Irrigation Project together with First Lady Eva Macapagal.
  • In 1974, then Tourism Minister Jose Aspiras brought Miss Universe Amparo Muñoz of Spain and other beauties to Tubao for a tour.

  Past Local Chief Executives

For 378 years, from 1521 to 1899, Local Chief Executives of the “pueblos” or towns were appointed by the Spaniards and in the year 1901 up to 1910 they were appointed by the Americans. Afterwards, election was the mode of selection.

Early local government was covered by the Maura Law which was passed in 1893 that changed the title or designation of town heads from gobernadorcillo to capitan municipal. It was ruled by the members of the Tribunal Municipal, the "cabezas de barangay" and the "principales" (the local oligarchy as delegates), who elect the members of the Tribunal Council.

The following local officials held the positions either as Tenientes Absolute Gobernadorcillos, Capitanes, Presidentes Municipal and Municipal Mayors, for the terms opposite their respective names:


  • Don Felipe Lloren 1886-1889 (appointed)
  • Don Carlos Orencia Gonzales 1890-1891 (appointed)


  • Don Buenaventura Dacanay 1892-1893 (appointed)
  • Don Santiago Fontanilla 1894-1895 (appointed)
  • Don Miguel Halog 1896-1897 (appointed)
  • Don Catalino Zarate 1898-1899 (appointed)
  • Don Santiago Fontanilla 1899-1900 (appointed)
  • Don Teodorico Asprer 1901-1902 (appointed)
  • Don Ambrocio Oribello 1902-1903 (appointed)
  • Don Dionisio Tabora 1904-1906 (appointed)
  • Don Fabian Fangonil 1907-1908 (appointed)
  • Don Dionisio Tabora 1909 (appointed)


  • Don Feliciano Zarate 1910-1912
  • Don Vicente Estolas 1913-1916
  • Don Juan Verceles 1916-1919
  • Don Marcos Acosta 1919-1921
  • Don Isabelo Leones 1921-1925
  • Don Calixto Lloren 1925-1928
  • Don Basilio Halog 1928-1934
  • Don Mariano Viloria 1934-1937
  • Don Basilio Halog 1938-1942
  • Don Emilio Laroya 1942-1944 (appointed)
  • Don Gregorio Mapalo 1944-1945 (appointed)
  • Don Basilio Halog 1945-1946 (appointed)


  • Hon. Francisco Quesada 1946-1947 (appointed)
  • Hon. Gregorio Mapalo 1947-1951
  • Hon. Florencio Baltazar, Sr. 1951-1967
  • Hon. Lorenzo Baltazar 1967-1971
  • Hon. Antonio Verceles 1971-1986
  • Hon. Conrado Baltazar 1986-1987 (appointed)
  • Hon. Arcadio Diaz II Dec. 1987-Feb. 1988 (interim)
  • Hon. Antonio Verceles 1988-1998
  • Hon. Violeta Verceles 1998-2004
  • Hon. Dante Garcia 2004-PRESENT

Old, Departed Landmarks & Buildings

  Tubao Parish and the Legacy of the Belgian Missionaries

During the Spanish period until the 20th century, religion (Roman Catholicism) played a major role in the life of the people of Tubao. Tubao was a visita of the Parish of Agoo. A chapel and a convento of light materials were erected in 1884. Ten years later, the parish of Tubao was founded. Its first pastor, Father Juan Garcia arrived only after two years, in the month of March 1896. The cause of the delay was the subsidy to be voted upon in the Cortes of Madrid. The missionary started gathering materials for a new church and a convento but could not carry out his plan as he left already in January 1898; it would take more than 30 years before these projects would materialized.[6]

  Msgr. Gerard Martens, Founder of the Tubao Catholic School in 1915. He started the construction of the Tubao Catholic church building in 1925. Born in Holland in 1885 and died in Indonesia in 1949.

It should be noted however, on March 8, 1900, during the tense period of the Filipino-American War, the people of Tubao petitioned against the return of the friars.[7]

Up to 1912, the condition of the young parish was unstable and precarious. The priests did not stay long and several times, Tubao was without a spiritual father. In 1908, it became again a visita, but of Aringay this time.[6]

Conditions were better in Pugo. Although smaller and never given a pastor in the Spanish time, it had a Dutch-born resident priest since 1909, Rev. Gerard Martens. When Tubao lost its priest once more in 1911, the pious Christians sent a petition to the Bishop requesting his Excellency to send a missionary of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae) in case no Filipino priest should be available. They had to be patient for a few months. About the 20th of November 1911, Father Morice Vanoverbergh arrived from Bauko, a CICM sister mission of Bontoc. His stay was short. About the 8th of February, 1912, he learned that Father Jules Sepulchre, one of the founders of the mission in Bontoc and Bauko became ill upon his return to Bauko. Father Vanoverbergh went on horseback to visit him climbing the Santo Tomas mountain and arrived in Bauko on the 14th of February just in time for the burial. Father Jules Sepulchre died in Bontoc Hospital the day before. Father Vanoverbergh was asked by his superior to take over that mission. After two months, Father Martens was transferred to Tubao and stayed for eighteen years.[6]

During his stint, Father Martens extended the boundaries of the church yard and constructed the main part of the church. He built and rebuilt in 1916 the chapel in barangay Santa Teresa and gave a school chapel to Caoigue in 1917 and an ermita to Anduyan in 1926. He acquired the rectory which was put up in Spanish time. He also started a primary school in Anduyan and Caoigue in 1913. In June 1915, he opened a Grade I class on the ground floor of the rectory or convent to be later named Tubao Catholic School and conducted a parish census. A Belgian missionary from the same congregation (Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae) Rev.Father Charles Beurms, assisted Father Martens and became the first director of the school. Father Martens also founded "The Apostleship of Prayer" (1912) and "Los Defensores de la Libertad" which later became the "Cabsat ni San Isidro."[6]

Tubao Old Rectory.jpg

In 1922, the first group of Belgian missionary sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Immaculati Cordis Mariae) arrived headed by Mother Marie Andrea and followed by Mother Marie Ambroise in 1923. The latter became the first principal for the Tubao Catholic high school with the opening of the First Year class. In 1924, the Second Year class was added.

The lot on which the church building and the convent of the Sisters were built on was bought from Doña Laureana Novicio de Luna, mother of the famous Luna brothers -- Juan Luna and Antonio Luna.[6]

In was in 1923 when the priests acquired the house of Don Urbano Dacanay for P1,000 pesos, west of the plaza, and housed in it the newly founded Tubao Catholic High School. It was named the Msgr. Martens Building. This building was destroyed in World War II during the liberation from the Japanese occupation. In January 1951, Father Albert Van Nuffelen sold the lot back for P1,800 pesos to the relatives of the former owner viz., Mr. Bernardino Madriaga and Milagrina Oller who built their house on it.[6]

From 1930 to 1933, during Father Alois Proost's term, the church sanctuary and sacristies were completed. He donated the big church bells. He organized a scout band, a string band and the first and best girl scout unit in the Philippines. He also added Third and Fourth year classes in the Tubao Catholic High School established by Father Martens before. A primary school was also opened in Pideg (1931) and Amallapay (1933?).[6]

From 1934 to 1935, Father Morice Van Overbergh installed the tiled floors on the church. He was a scholar and did outstanding work in botany, anthropology and linguistics.[6]

The parish priests expanded the church yard and bought more lots in the 1920s up to the 1950s. In 1927, a land was bought from Baltazar Dulay for P200 pesos, north of the church. A few years later, the sacristy was built on this property. Another lot, west of the sacristy, was bought from Don Francisco Zandueta (La Union Governor from 1910–1912) and was partly occupied by a bamboo warehouse for storing tobacco rented by Chan Chin Ko Baltazar, father of Florencio Chan Baltazar who later became municipal mayor. The warehouse was converted into three classrooms for boys of the intermediate class. In 1940, Father Carlos Desmet procured the means to have a new school building within the premises to replace the old bamboo shack. It was the Sancho Building named after Msgr. Sancho, the bishop of Nueva Segovia who helped with the means. Again, this building was razed to the ground during the war. Today the area is an open field of the school.[6]

More lots were acquired from Doña Maxima Zarate in October 1950 by Father Albert Van Nuffelen where the present high school building now stands; Alfredo Milanes, Felix Garcia, Teodoro Ramos, Timoteo Ramos for the lots at the eastern side of the church in 1951. The northern section of the school garden was bought from Valeriano Mapalo by Father Jose de Hayes in 1957.[6]

During the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1944, classes were suspended.In as much as the bombs destroyed the old Martens and Sancho buildings, primary classes were sought in the house of Benedicto Verceles, southeast of the rectory or convent while intermediate and high school classes were held in the convent.[8]

Tubao Catholic Schoo.jpg

Father Albert Van Nuffelen, parish priest from 1949-1954 constructed two new buildings and named these the new Martens and Sancho buildings, south and north of the present basketball court which he also built.[9]

In 1954, Father Jose de Hayes became parish priest and school director. He proposed the school to have a Christian name. In 1956, Tubao Catholic School was renamed SAN ALBERTO MAGNO ACADEMY (SAMA) in honor of Saint Albert the Great and his predecessor, Father Albert Van Nuffelen.[9]

In 1963, Father Henry Geeroms initiated and sought means to construct another building which was located at the back of the Sancho building to house a library, a laboratory and four classrooms. Today, that building has been demolished and a new building now has been constructed in its place.[9]

During the Golden Jubilee in 1965, the school populace was 1,393 including the 115 pupils of Caoigue. But enrollment gradually dwindled due to the opening of free public schools in the different barangays. Elementary classes were phased out in 1973 due to financial constraint.[9]

In 1966, Father Jaime Quatannens, organize the credit union/cooperative to find an alternative lending facility other than those provided by unscrupulous moneylenders. On August 13, 1966, with 39 pioneer-members and a starting paid-up capitalization of Three hundred fourteen pesos (P 314.00), the Tubao Credit Union, Inc. as originally named was formally organized and registered with the Cooperative Administration Office (CAO) under RA 2023 and approved on October 26, 1966 under Registration No. 001503.

After 68 years, the Belgian CICM and ICM sisters handed the school administration in 1984 to the Diocese of San Fernando, La Union and the last ICM principal was Sister Cleofe Bacon who left in 1998.[9]

The Sancho building was damaged by the July 16, 1990 earthquake and was renovated. Only the first floor remains of the original building built by Father Van Nuffelen. The Martens building now houses the Saint Isidore School for grade school classes which was revived in the late 1990s.


Tubao is politically subdivided into 18 barangays.

  • Amallapay
  • Anduyan
  • Caoigue
  • Francia Sur
  • Francia West
  • Garcia
  • Gonzales
  • Halog East
  • Halog West
  • Leones East
  • Leones West
  • Linapew
  • Lloren
  • Magsaysay
  • Pideg
  • Poblacion
  • Rizal
  • Santa Teresa


Rural topography is seventy percent (70%) alluvial plains and thirty percent (30%) uplands. Highest portion is located in Barangay Rizal, which is more than five hundred (500) meters above sea level. Flat lands are found in the middle portion of the town, in between its southern and northern hilly sections.


  • 0-8 percent where slope of land is nearly level and gently sloping accounts 2,664 hectares. Most of these are located in Sta. Teresa, Leones East, Poblacion and Gonzales with some part of Linapew, Francia Sur, Halog East and lower lands of Rizal;
  • 8-30 percent slope which are rolling to moderately steep with the lowest share of 60 hectares, mostly found in Halog East and West;
  • 30-50 percent slope of land which are steep comprising an area of 1,070 hectares and are found in Amallapay, Pideg and some part of Lloren, Magsaysay and Anduyan;
  • 50 percent and above are very steep slopes of land found mostly in Rizal and the boundary lines of Pideg, Linapew and Amallapay. This accounts 1,427 hectares.

  Climate and Temperature

The climate prevailing in the municipality is characterized by two distinct seasons, dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year.

Annual main rainfall as recorded by PAGASA is 217.8 ml with a peak of 1,059.6 millimeters in December. The mean temperature is 27.5 Celsius. It rises to as high as 29.2 Celsius in May and goes down as low as 25 Celsius in January. Monthly average number of rainy days is 11.2, while relative humidity is 78.9.

Direction of the wind blowing in the area is mostly from southwest to northeast due to southwest monsoons. The area has a natural shield of winds blowing from the east because of the Cordillera mountain ranges. During summer, in the absence of any weather disturbance, wind blows from west to east as natural sea breeze.

  Soil Type

Soil types are found as follows: San Manuel silt loam in Barangay Sta. Teresa with an approximate area of 336 hectares; Umingan Clay loam in Poblacion and Anduyan; Barcelona Clay in Barangay Leones; Mountain soils, annam clay loam and Bauang clay in Sta. Teresa, Halog, Gonzales, Anduyan, Linapew and Garcia.


  1. ^ Ereccion de pueblos, La Union
  2. ^ a b c d e Ereccion de pueblos, La Union: 13th bundle. This contains the "Expediente sobre la provincia de La Union, 1885," por El Señor Gobernador politico militar Federico Francia
  3. ^ Scott, William Henry (1986) Ilocano Responses to American Aggression 1900-1901 23.
  4. ^ Scott, William Henry (1986) Ilocano Responses to American Aggression 1900-1901 58.
  5. ^ a b c Excerpt from the 153rd Foundation Anniversary program of La Union, 231-232.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Baltazar, Florencio Sr. (1961) A Short History of Tubao Parish 12-13.
  7. ^ Scott, William Henry (1986) Ilocano Responses to American Aggression 1900-1901 186.
  8. ^ Excerpt from 2005 90th SAMA Foundation Day and Grand Alumni Homecoming Souvenir Program 5.
  9. ^ a b c d e Excerpt from 2005 90th SAMA Foundation Day and Grand Alumni Homecoming Souvenir Program

  External links



All translations of Tubao,_La_Union

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