Heritage in Resurrection: Lost Towns of Ilocos Norte

Originally authored on November 30, 2015

The hardest to find is not what’s far; it is what’s near.

After declared lost for centuries, the towns of Bangbang (now part of Bangui), Adang (now Adams), and Vera (still unknown) are expected to regain its existence. The yearning to locate them stemmed from Fr. Ericson Josue’s discovery of 1860’s document petitioning for the re-establishment of the town of Bangbang. For fear of tirong or pirate attacks, it was reported abandoned by the community and they transferred to parts of Bangui.

His initial research led him to clues where Bangbang may have been located – a valley near the Banban River in Bangui town. There is a cove where windmills are located and its terrain may speak of a good civilization because there is a river which faces the sea. The document revealed that Bangbang existed from the time of Spanish conquest in 1591, that even the ruins of the old church can be seen in the area. He also found traces of other visitas or peripheral missionary areas including Adang and Vintar.

Josue believes that the original town of Adang is now the remote municipality of Adams. It was said that when the friars arrived, they found naked men and called them Adan, hence the name “Adang”.

He’s still yet to find evidence of the possible location of Vera but History professor Regalado Jose believed that within Bangui and near the village of Bangbang is a mountain peak called Vera – probably that peak used to host the town of Vera.

An archivist and curator of the diocesan museum and the chair of its heritage committee, Fr. Ericson Josue, a native of Pasuquin, chanced upon the story of these lost towns while poring over old Spanish documents when he was on a study trip to take up Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Universidad de Navarra in Spain.

Back home, inspired to write an article which can morph into a book, Josue was in continuous search of the Bacarra Box 1, a 313-year-old 3-inch thick pile of 1702-1759 baptismal entries which could shed light on the lost towns’ early existence.

Lo and behold, Typhoon “Lando” unearths the key. While cleaning an old bodega, two janitors stumbled upon the thick pile of documents soaked in floodwater under the wooden cabinet which used to house the archives. Earlier on, as a result of termite problem, the manuscripts were all taken out of the archives section – which could have saved the documents when they fell off the cabinet.

Soon when the drying is done, the lost towns of Ilocos Norte shall be revived! The chance for its people to know deeper their identity as individuals and community leads to a sense of direction, a guidepost for tomorrow’s generation!

* – credits to the owner/s for the pictures

 

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