Sometime in 1800, there lived a group of people called Agsalog (Igorot) in the East Hinterlands of Golot (Mountain Province). Some groups of these people were hospitable, while some were fierce fighters, head hunters, animal rustlers, robbers. Increasing number of the latter kind of people worsens the already impoverished state of their place. Tired of such constant inconveniences, some hospitable and peaceful people plotted to leave after holding a secret meeting. They grouped themselves into three: one group to head for the North, another to the South and the third to the West. Being Igorots with customs and traditions firmly instilled by their ancestors, they observed their usual religious rites before starting the journey. A number of chickens were offered to Kabunian (God) and his son Lumawig. It is a peace offering meant to appease the gods in order not to cause their wrath. After the ceremony, a safe and peaceful passage to a wonderful land destined especially for them is expected. The night after the ceremony (was held), the peaceful people started their journey. They moved silently under cover of the tall, thick trees and the shining stars up above served as their guide. Among those who traveled to the west, one group reached and decided to stay in a place, which is now LIDLIDDA. Members of this group had such names as CONAY, CAOAS, DIGAY, CAOENG, DAN-E, GUMANAB, ANGGON, CALUGAY and others. Along the way, they met obstacles and hardships such as going up and down high mountains, crossing deep rivers and steep creeks and the constant feeling of hunger and tiredness. After twenty days of hiking, they arrived in a place that looked suitable for building homes. It was a valley with grassy plains, a river along its sides, creeks, brooks, and wells. There were plenty of fishes, wild animals and fowls for food. The surrounding hills and mountains abundantly covered with tall trees and bamboo could provide them shade and fruit. The immediate belief that soon a peaceful, progressive and happy community would be positively established in the said place compelled the travelers to stop their seemingly nomadic existence and settled on the area.
They made a begnas (fiesta) to express their gratitude to Kabunian because of their successful journey. Within three days after the fiesta, they started digging and pulling out the thick tall grasses which they called “Ledda” to convert the land into rice paddies. Years passed and the population increased. The inhabitants started to search further places for food and dwelling. One time, a group of hunters saw smoke near the seashore from atop of the mountains west of the place. Eager to see what was there, they bravely hiked to the place. Suddenly they came to reach a street and houses. The people who inhabited the place were Ilokanos, who were also kind and friendly. An elderly rich man met them and told them of his great desire to visit their place. He said that he wanted to make friends with them as well as barter with their goods. He further expressed his desire to teach religion to the tribe. The impressionable elderly man’s offer was highly appreciated. The rich man along with his neighbors bundled some clothes, utensils, reading and writing materials and went with the hunters. After a few hours, they reached the top of ‘BAGGIING HILL’ where they rested. The rich man anxiously asked how far more to go. A hunter stood and said, “dita ti lugar mi, murdong ti patad a lugar a kaleddaan”(“Sir, our home is located there at the edge of that plain covered with those tall grasses”). As they approached the place, they noticed a lush and abundant growth of the grass (LEDDA or Talahib). The natives came around and made friends with the strangers. As a show of respect and hospitality, they performed their native dances and songs and offered rice wine along with other delicious and nutritious foods. The rich man and his companions were exhilarated to meet these peaceful people.
Appreciating the place due to the hospitality shown by the natives in the form of dances, songs and nutritious foods, the visitors named the place as Lidlidda in memory of the thick tall grasses (LEDDA) and blessed the area that was made into productive ricefields.
The place Lidlidda is where the river valleys of the two rivers, the Sta. Maria River in the north and the traversing Lidlidda River in the south, begin after descending from their steep divides. The river banks based from anecdotal interviews and records were known to be a lush and abundant growth of the grass Talahib (Saccharum spontaneum L.). Talahib is a grass considered as indicator of sedimentary environments high with the soil nutrients phosphorus. It is consequently found as opportunistic species along base of mountains associated to rock weathering, erosion and landslides. Along floodplains of rivers this species is dominant and it is found in thickets, as floodplains are environments seasonally renewed with said nutrients. Talahib in Iluko is ledda and its plural form is ledledda. Northern Iluko tongue typically pronounces ledda as lidda and ledledda as lidlidda.
Why the thickets term in the locality for the grass that is Lidlidda, became so `remarkable, that it was chosen as name of the place over the term Kaleddaan or Kaliddaan, can be explained in two relevant relations. First, Lidlidda emphasizes the importance of the plant while Kaliddaan emphasizes the place where the grass is abundant. Why it was chosen as name can be taken from the connotations that the thickets were important historic biomarker during the olden day civilizations. As one entrance-exit of the main trade route that was then linking the Northern Ilocos, Abra and Cordillera to the Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya area (Scott 1974) a marker for journey was indispensable. It could have been that people descending from the Tiagan area going to the Santiago-Burgos-Sta. Maria area or to the Candon area, or people ascending from the lowlands to the Tiagan area used the lidlidda thickets as biomarker. Upon seeing them as biomarker, the descending traveler would then have in mind that Candon or Sta. Maria was already close, or that Tiagan was to be approached. To new travelers or messengers in the case of movements against the Spaniards, the same was a significant locator.
The above account reflects that the name of the town could have not been named even by the first settlers or re-settlers of the town but by their ancestors whose settlements were in the Central Cordillera yet maintaining their trade relations with the lowlands. So that before becoming a hamlet, it was already a popular site and called Lidlidda by passers by or visitors.
Lidlidda During the Spanish Period
Lidlidda was a rancheria under the Pais del Ygorrotes during the Spanish regime. While Bugui, now one of Lidlidda’s modern day barangays, became a rancheria of the Comandancia de Tiagan in 1847, Lidlidda and Labut were described as part of Ilocos Sur (Pavia and De Vigo 1872) particularly under the Pueblo de Candon (Paper No.50: Commandancia de Tiagan). There was a decreto on June 23, 1886 that these two rancherias along with the other 42 rancherias would be annexed to the Commandancia de Tiagan and this was confirmed by the Gobierno General on October 25, 1887. However this was contested by the Gobernador de Ilocos Sur on November 11, 1889 and therefore the attempt was aborted.
In 1890, the sub-province of Bangued, Abra occupied the western part of Ilocos Sur. During this period, a person by the name Mr. Ortega, of Filipino race, was the Governor, who gave orders to all heads of townships under his jurisdiction. San Esteban town was then in-charge of Lidlidda locality so that it was under the control of the Presidente of San Esteban. It did not last long however, because the people of Lidlidda launched a general campaign meeting to request the Hon. Gov. Ortega to make Lidlidda a township.
The governor delegated the Presidente of San Esteban town to assist in appointing Mr. Manog Caoas, the choice of the people, as the first Presidente of Lidlidda Township. The original barrios of Lidlidda then were: Callitong, Patac, Sabangan Pinggan, Bessang, Balugang, Mapanit, Banucal, Bequi-Walin, Camatlioan now San Vicente, Nalasin now Poblacion Norte, Kuwangi now Poblacion Sur, Suysuyan, Carcarabasa, Taft now Bugui, Calungbuyan, Labut, and Tay-ac. After Caoas term (1908-1010), a man named Andan Domaoa became the second Presidente. Before his term ended, he had been convinced to move that the barrios of Callitong, Patac, Sabangan Pinggan, Bessang, Balugang, and Mapanit be separated and made part of the town of Burgos, Ilocos Sur.
Lidlidda Became a Municipality by the Jones Law of 1916
Government reorganization was the first American program for the war-torn Philippines. Commission Acts were legislated too quickly to cope-up with the needed control. Philippine Commission Act. No.82 was enacted and effected on Jan. 31,1901 to organize municipalities. All pueblos under the Spanish rule automatically became municipalities under this Act except all non-christian tribes who will be treated differently depending upon the recommendation of the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes which was to be created sooner by Act No.253. Act No. 83 enacted on Feb. 6, 1901 which was an act for the organization of provincial governments kept Ilocos Sur to continue to be a province. When Ilocos Sur reorganized its municipalities under Act Nos. 205 and No. 934, dated Aug. 16, 1901 and Oct. 8, 1903 respectively, Lidlidda has not been yet included as one municipality. Act No. 1397, known as the Township Act, with effectivity date of Sept. 14, 1905 was also applied to Ilocos Sur, however, the lack of further document to confirm if the town of Lidlidda got included. It could be seen however that under E.O. No. 12 of 1919, survey was done on Mar. 8-9, 1915 and an area of 18,028 sq. m was reserved and approved for school purposes for the Township of Lidlidda on June 26, 1915. This means that the town turned a township under the Township Act. Act No. 2657 known as the Administrative Code of the Philippine Islands, which was enacted on December 31, 1916 confirms that Lidlidda is one of the townships of the Province of Ilocos Sur which still include the sub-province of Abra. This Act was amended by Act No. 2711, (Amending the Administrative Code of the Philippine Islands) which was approved on Mar. 10, 1917 and effected Oct. 1, 1917 which confirmed that Lidlidda and Banayoyo were among the 27 organized municipalities of Ilocos Sur, while Alilem, Angaki, Concepcion, San Emilio, Sigay, Sugpon, and Suyo were municipal districts.
In accordance to Sec. 2 of Act No. 2824; Act No. 82 and Chapter 57 of the Administrative Code of 1917, Lidlidda was organized as municipality by E.O. No. 34 of 1919, the E.O. took effect on MARCH 5, 1919.
The first town “Presidente” was MANOG CAOAS, the people’s choice to lead the township of Lidlidda. He established the “Presidencia” in Nalasin made up of indigenous materials. He was succeeded by ANDAN DOMAOA, also from Nalasin (now Poblacion Norte). The third Presidente was MIGUEL SEGUNDO of Demang (now Poblacion Sur). He transferred the “Presidencia” at Kuwangi, Poblacion Sur made up of stones and lime. It was built by the people through “Ragup” or voluntary group work. However, this was destroyed by the guerillas during the war because it was utilized by the Japanese soldiers as garrison. NARDO BAGBAGUEN succeeded Miguel Segundo after which it was given back to MIGUEL SEGUNDO again. During his second term, he initiated the establishment of Carcarabasa Primary School at Suysuyan and Nalasin Primary School at Nalasin. Likewise, he initiated the establishment of the first religious chapel made up of stones and lime, the United Methodist Church at Tay-ac which was introduced by a group called ‘Mision Cristiana’. Segundo was succeeded by CARDO SIBNANG also of Demang. The 7th town executive was SALIOA SALIB-O, succeeded by MANUEL ‘’Pansil’ DE LOS SANTOS. During his term, a religious group called ‘Sagrada Familia’ was initiated in Carcarabasa led by PEDRO DAOA from San Gabriel, La Union. When BONIFACIO TAWALI took over, the missionaries introduced a religious sect known as ‘Iglesia ni Cristo’ (Church of Christ) founded by FERICO RAYRAY of Vigan. (These group first conducted evangelism in Poblacion Sur and Suysuyan and later on spread to other barangays). All these Presidentes (Salib-o, de los Santos, Tawali) were also from Poblacion Sur. The 10th Presidente DAN-E SEGUNDO and the 11th, ELMEM MANUGAN were both from Poblacion Norte. Then leadership was returned to Poblacion Sur when BASILIO BAGBAGUEN became the 12th Municipal Mayor during the war. Unluckily, he was killed by the guerillas because he was suspected as supporter of the Japanese soldiers due to wrong information of someone who was too jealous of his good leadership and intelligence. ANDAN DOMAOA* succeeded him again and he had a hard time working with both the Japanese and the guerillas. He continued to serve as Mayor after the war and he constructed a new town hall at Poblacion Norte. He was succeeded by AURELIO BAGUSO, SR. whose oath taking was a disastrous history because of fire which razed the whole Poblacion. The Mayor then constructed another town hall made up of wood and Galvanized Iron sheets at Poblacion Norte. During Mayor Baguso’s term, a religious sect was introduced at Poblacion Norte called the United Methodist Church. Mayor Baguso also initiated the establishment of rough road along the river coming from Burgos. This was a rugged road where the first service car of the Mayor, a Land Rover jeep, hardly trailed. When Mayor ALEJO AROLA of Poblacion Sur took over, he initiated the site survey for the opening of the municipal road coming from Banayoyo passing through the mountain. Then the leadership was returned to Mayor Baguso who pursued the opening of the road from Banayoyo. He also established the first pitcher water pumps in the barangays as source of potable water. When Mayor TOMAS GALANG took over, he built another town hall made up of concrete and G.I. sheets, and constructed the first Rural Health Center. Mayor AURELIO BAGUSO was again re-elected but was not able to finish his term because of cardiac arrest. The Vice Mayor TEODORO ANG-OAY continued his term. Then the former Mayor’s son, ROMEO BAGUSO was elected as the next Mayor for more than 10 years but was unable to finish his term also because he died of cardiac arrest like his father. It was during his term that the rice technology was started to be upgraded with the introduction of Masagana 99. Livelihood projects were also introduced and roads were improved but still unpaved. Mayor Baguso was succeeded by his Vice Mayor PONCIANO SEGUNDO who continued his unfinished term. When Mayor JESUS SAGAY took the seat in July 1992, LIDLIDDA began to be transformed into a more developed community as the Local Government Code of 1991 mandated the provision of Internal Revenue Allotment to all government units. Supported by the RA 7171 share or tobacco excise tax, more development projects were implemented. It was also during his term that Lidlidda was brought to the limelight by winning the prestigious ‘Galing Pook’ award and the ‘Order of the Fighting Cock’ in 1999 because of the famous PARAESUS BERDE Program, an envisioned eco-tourism program which was initiated as Agro-forestry project. This project was also a Hall of Famer for winning three times consecutively the LIKAS YAMAN award of the DENR. Mayor Sagay finished his 3-term period and Mayor DIOKNO GALANG succeeded him. During Mayor Galang’s term, more development projects were implemented like the repair and maintenance of irrigation dams, concreting of farm to market roads, repair of hanging bridges, maintenance of local roads, completion of the Municipal Hall Annex, completion of Farmers’ Market, financial assistance to farmers as well as the provision of fertilizers and equipments, cattle and goat dispersal program, and purchase of municipal agricultural vehicles. Mayor JESUS SAGAY was again re-elected in 2004 but he lost to Mayor CONSTANTE SEGUNDO SR. last election 2010. It is during Mayor Segundo’s term that Lidlidda garnered the prestigious “Seal of Good Housekeeping”, an award given to best performing LGUs. This could be attributed to good governance, and the implementation of more development projects like the construction of new municipal building, completion of the eco-cultural center, improvement of more barangay roads and bridges, farm to market roads, repair and construction of irrigation systems, river dredging, construction of farmers’ multipurpose halls, covered courts, schools’ improvement, assistance to farmers in the form of soft loan, supplies, and equipments, purchase of additional lots for future development projects, and establishment of more municipal enterprises for additional revenue and employment. Social welfare programs, health programs, education and public safety programs are all equally given proper attention. All these projects were made possible through the legislative support of the Sangguniang Bayan who provided the needed appropriation ordinances. Likewise, the Sangguniang Bayan headed by Vice Mayor ATTY. SHERWIN P. TOMAS also garnered 2nd place for Outstanding Legislative Council in 2009, and bagged the 1st place for 2012 for 4th to 5th class municipalities.