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Agoo History, Philippines

Speaking of religiosity and sweetness, the city of Agoo has it. Its name is derived from “aroo” or “agoho” (a pine-like evergreen tree or whistling pine) that in itself has sweetness to savor. Not only is it the oldest city of La Union, it also has a miraculous story behind which later made a big bang.

The continuous devotion among people in Agoo is incomparable. The earthquake in 1892 stirred a controversy when the image of Nuestra Senora de Caridad inside Agoo Basilica was not damaged at all.

Tracing back its history, Agoo was built in the 15th century with the help of Father Aquilino Garcia. It was later destroyed in 1796 but a new one was created in the original town center.

What used to be the 16th century Agoo Parish Church was refurnished and later acknowledged as a Basilica Minore by the late Pope John Paul II in 1981. In March 1993, millions of people flocked to witness Mary’s apparition. Religion was an integral part of the city’s development, and it still is. Thanks to the Augustinian friars who handed down the legacy of catechism and building construction. Now, Agoo is acclaimed as a first-class spot and a rising educational hub in Northern Luzon.

This first-class municipality in the province of La Union was already a thriving settlement even before Spanish rule. Agoo was discovered when Juan Salcedo was ordered by explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to do a Northern exploration. When the Japanese started to rule, Agoo’s coast was shaped strategically for a good harbor of foreign vessels sailing through Lingayen Gulf. The city was once referred to as “El Puergo de Japon” (Japanese Port) by Miguel De Loarca.

Agoo was under Pangasinan from 1572 until La Union was formally established in 1850. The people’s diligence has made a good effect in the town’s economy. This can be attributed to how early settlers like the Negritos, Malays and Indians influenced the natives of Pangasinan to deal with Chinese and Japanese merchants. The Japanese merchants also taught some of the locals the skills of fishing, cultivating rice, deerskin tanning, duck breeding and weapon manufacturing. Up to this date, these are still practiced in some households. There was an influx of Ilocano immigrants, thus Agoo got Ilocanized. That justifies why Ilocano language is considered now as native language by the townsmen. As of 2000, there were 51, 923 people residing in Agoo.

Agoo is, without a doubt, striving for prosperity. It has elevated in terms of economic status from third to second. Being a minor urban settlement, it’s gearing towards becoming an eco-tourism center and hug for inter-regional transport route.

Agoo is your gateway to the Northern tip, so hop on with a smile.

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