“The mountain in the east,
the winding roping river in the north,
and the immense sea in the west make Santa a poetic town.”
From then Governor-General of the Philippines, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
during his 1925 visit
Maybe if I steal pictures taken by my friend Louella of our town, it will prompt her to blog in WordPress sooner. She took these pictures using my camera (I was glad to grant her permission of course) when her memory card ran out space during her visit. So I think I am only half-stealing, do you think a judge will buy that?
It was her first time with her cousin Hedy to come to Ilocos. Louella has co-written a historical picture book regarding old churches in Cebu. The Ilocos region has many grand old churches built during the Spanish times and I was just more than happy to share it with them.
After traveling south to north from our town, their last day was reserved for our province’s capital of Vigan but of course it would have been a shame if we didn’t go around our humble town of Santa.
To give you a glimpse of the history of our town, here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
“Foundation of the pueblo
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.”
Our current town center is the third since its founding. Because it is bound by the Abra River in the North and the China Sea in the West, it is prone to flooding. Even though I hope and pray that this will be the last, there are no guarantees as we watch our sea shore shrinks everytime monsoon season comes.
What caught Louella’s attention were the old houses in our town, she imagined how grand they were before they were abandoned not because of the encroachment of nature but as aresult of the Ilocano diaspora.
But there are signs that some of those who have left are returning and building grander homes. Rich with hard earned cash from far away lands, the scenic views right at their footsteps or at their backyards beacons. Santa is really worth being called home again.