Bacarra History, Philippines
Anyone is usually in awe with simplicity. It is in simple means where innate character comes out, leaving a mark of uniqueness. The third oldest town in Ilocos Norte, Bacarra, is no exception for being a place with ease and individuality.
Since the Augustinians founded Bacarra in 1590, it has been through a lot of struggles with its place on the map and even how its name was derived.
Interesting, indeed! It used to be an encomienda in 1591, a visita of Laoag in 1603 and an independent ministry in 1614. However, the important thing is that it has its identity now: A fourth-class municipality in Northern Ilocos where around 29,668 people lived, as per 2000 official survey.
Spanish government ruled the town in 1778 leaving much influence in terms of clothing, festival observance, home and church structures. As to how it got its name, folks accounted that inhabitants were fishing when the Spaniards passed by asking the name of the place. One of the fishermen uttered “Bacbacarra, Señor” thinking it was the name of the fish that was asked of. They didn’t speak Spanish, that’s why. It’s funny how they started calling the place Bacarra since then. The second theory was that there were many cows (baca) grazed in pasture lands before. Thirdly, some townsmen told that early inhabitants treasured some rice baskets named bacar. These etymology versions explain why even up to now, the place has some residents earning a living by fishing, farming, weaving and horse-raising. The hardworking group comprises mostly of farmers who raise different crops as rice, corn, mongo, beans, camote, squash, onion and garlic referred to as “white gold”.
Forced labor was present in Bacarra under the Spanish conquerors, but it didn’t last forever. The town was later appreciated not only as a tourist spot but also as a historical landmark. The Roman Catholic Church and the Bacarra Bell Tower speak of the town’s religious means. Just like the other cities in the country, the town is administered by mayors and councilors unlike before when 131 town executives took charge. Quite a number of professionals from Bacarra have gone abroad for work. It’s been dubbed the “Home of the Balikbayans” after winning second place in the nationwide contest as the home of the many balikbayans (overseas Filipino workers coming home).
The prestige the town has, not to mention its etymology and conservative lifestyle, is definitely matchless. For a simply unique historical quest and fun adventure, Bacarra is a destination to hop in.
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