“Dingars shall be the center of trade, agriculture and industry in the eastern part of the Ilocos Norte and shall become self-reliant and sustainable community that satisfies the basic needs of its constituents.”
“The political, civic and religious leaders shall give the residents a life of peace, integrity and stability; enhance the social and economic status of their inhabitants; and render dedicated and zealous public service.”
Establishment of the Town
one of the early towns of Ilocos Norte which was established by Juan de Salcedo is the municipality of Dingras. Records of the Augustinian friars show that Dingras was founded by Salcedo in 1598 in the name of St. Joseph as its Patron Saint before Ilocos Norte was divided into Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur in 1819 by the Royal Cedula of February 2, 1818. Its founding was after the establishment of the towns of Batac founded in 1580, San Nicolas founded in 1854, Laoag in 1585. It was succeeded by Paoay, founded in 1593, and Bacarra founded in 1594. After the founding of Dingras in 1598, the other municipalities of Ilocos Norte were established including Badoc in 1714, Sarrat and Vintar in 1724. Creations of other towns were carved out of Dingras like Piddig in 1775, Banna, Santiago (now Solsona), and Marcos in 1960.
Corollary to this, the ruin, town plaza, Spanish ancestral houses, convents, public market of the town were built in accordance of the encomienda system imposed by the Spanish colony. These edifices are living proofs of the glory of Spain in its early days. Owing to a decree issued by that time, these important edifices were built through forced labor performed by the natives where male Filipinos between the ages of 16-60 render services for forty days every year.
Who Finds Dingras
When Capt. Juan De Salcedo was going north in his expedition, he stopped at laoag. He found the natives wearing necklace, bracelets and trinkets of gold. He also found gold dust among their articles of trade. This surprised the capt., so he inquired about the source of their wealth. He was told that some 20 kilometers east of laoag, there was region where gold was as abundant as the leaves of the tress. The news interest the captain, but history failed to record whether or not Salcedo reached the region. The other people heard the news were to find that there was a little or no truth about the reports. Instead of tracing Salcedo’s steps, they paid their attention to the inviting plains and its rivers.
They cut the big tress and cleared the wide plains, and began to build crude homes and till the soil, planting crops like rice, corn and camote. Soon some intelligent people came to settle. More lands were cleared and much wider areas were cultivated until it became a prosperous settlement.
The encomienda system is the form of government commissioned by the Spanish Governor General throughout the foundation of the early established municipalities by Spanish colonizers. This system began in Spain. Originally, encomiendas were assigned to religious orders, charitable groups and Spaniards. The assignment of the grant carried the right to collect tribute from the natives living within the boundaries of the grant. Spaniards were assigned land grants as a reward for their services rendered to the crown. The appointed encomenderos in obedience to the order must have to order it.
Along the encomendero system, construction of churches within the town must built at the center of the community. Near it a plaza was laid out. Surroundings the public square were stone houses of the Spanish residents and the principalia. All the natives were also prevailed to built their houses not far from church.
It is said that the first people of the place were of Indonesian origin. Later, the civilized Malays occupied the northern sides of the river and moved southward to occupy Naguillan which called Bagut. As settlers increased in number, they moved eastward to occupy the barangay now known as Cacafean and Matantanobog.
About the end of the 18th century, these ethnic groups were raided by the Christian from the lowlands. Among their brave warriors were, Onze, Angin, Langao Dugguing. These leaders lead their warriors in many furious battles, however, they where defeated because of their inferiority, both in numbers and in numbers. Thus, more immigrants occupied the lowlands and the ethnic people retreated to the mountains where their descendants can be located up to now.
The last group to occupy the area were civilized Malays who drove away the Indonesians. The latest immigrants were from Sarrat, Piddig, San Nicolas; others came from Ilocos Sur, Abra and La Union.
The Rice Granary of Ilocos Norte