Santa Ignacia, Tarlac City
Before the settlers from the Ilocos province, led by a man whose family was “Madriaga” set feed on the soil of Sta. Ignacia, the locality was a mere prairie. Together with his companions they settled in a place named “Binaga” which now called Nabagbagan-Nambalan. The place was so called “Binaca” in view of the fact that thousands of cattle were herded in that locality. As time went on, more immigrants from Cabugao, Sarrat, Tagudin, Bacarra, Badoc, Candon, and Paoay, all towns in the Ilocos regions arrived with all their personal belongings placed in their covered carts.
According to Treasurer Jose Pedroche, a local historian, those early pioneers employed the kaingin systems in clearing the lands, which was densely covered with cogon and talahib. Cattle raising and little agriculture were the early industries of the place. Later, the land area cultivated gradually increased simultaneously with the increased population. With the locality progressing Binaca in 1845 became a barrio of Camiling with Don Manuel Natividad, its first Teniente Basal. In 1875, the barrio became a town with Don Felipe Cabugasa, its Gobernadorcillo. It was in the same year when Binaca was changed to Sta. Ignacia in honor of her patron saint.
During the period of development, Binaca has been the target of a series of attack. In 1851, a great number of ruffians visited the place and carry away work animals and personal belongings. To harass the residents, they even went to the extent of harming whoever resisted. The inhabitants were nevertheless discouraged and instead worked harder to make up for their losses. In 1888, robbers forced their way in town and looted private properties including the “Timbre del Tribunal” (official seal) which was, however, recovered during the administration of Capitan Municipal, Don Vicente Laoang, somewhere around the year 1894.
One of the most significant events that occurred at a later period, which should never be forgotten in the town’s history, was when General Pedro Pedroche and his men attack the town at the height of the town fiesta. In the encounter, the chief of police, a brother-in-law of General Pedroche and three policemen and a number of civilians were killed from bullet wounds. The tragic event arose when the chief of police refused the offer of Gen. Pedroche that he is his adviser.
In 1896, Don Eulogio Madriaga, and then Capitan Municipal received an order from the parish priest of Camiling to move the town nearer the mother town of Camiling for security reasons. Don Eulogio Madriaga as subordinate official has no other alternative but to obey orders, hence the transfer of the town from Nambalan to its present site. Around the year 1899, during the administration of Don Manuel Briones, Presidente Municipal, the local revolutionary government was inaugurated in Sta. Ignacia but no sooner that that erstwhile Philippine Republic fell in favor of the Americans and new administration under the United States began.
One of the first steps undertaken by the governing powers was the re-organization of the municipalities in the province. On recommendation of the Philippine Commision of 1902 it was held that smaller towns, which cannot stand by themselves, were to be reverted into barrios, the same to be attached to towns close to them. Thus, Sta. Ignacia along with Pura, San Clemente, Mayantoc, Mariones O’donnel and Murcia ceased to exist as towns. For almost ten years, since 1903, Sta. Ignacia remained a barrio of Camiling. The people of Sta. Ignacia were not at ease and they were restless. At least they agitated with aims to regain what lost in them. Under the initiative of Don Silvestre Lacuin, popularly known as Don Beting together with his co-workers in the persons of Don Eulogio Madriaga, Don Alipio Pascasio, Don Santiago Aviguetero, Don Florencio Antonio and the incumbent Teniente Basal, Don Simeon Hilario and backed up by the sympathy of the people for their movements they had sought all legal means to regain the status lost of their beloved town. In due course, they had met so many drawbacks but were never discouraged in their fight for the common cause despite stiff opposition of the Camiling Municipal Council as influenced by the Camiling’s great like Don Gregorio Romulo, Gregorio Clemente and Don Benson. Due to insistent demand, the people of Sta. Ignacia at last sought the intervention of Honorable Provincial Board of Tarlac and which by sheer good luck; the petition thus presented was finally considered favorable.