BRIEF HISTORY OF AGOO
Agoo was founded in 1578 by Franciscan missionaries and was the first town in the province of La Union.
As to its name “Agoo” was derived from “aroo tree” that used to abound along the banks of a small river that traversed the town. Some referred to as “arojo” but finally the town got its name as it has been referred to ever since.
Another connotation of the name Agoo is legendary and probably just a Folktale. As the tale goes, a certain son named AGO wen with his father to the forest to cut woods. At noontime the father called his son Ago to join him for lunch; the son upon hearing his name being called answered “O”.
It so happened that passers-by heard the resounding sound AGO-O and thinking that the place they just passed was called AGO-O, they related their experience to their companions and hence the name of the place was called AGOO.
It is believed that the first people inhabiting Agoo were the Negritos (Pugot-black) some kind of aborigines who came from the mainland Asia. The settlers probably came from the northern coast of Java and they were called Pangasinenses.
According to Miguel de Loarca’s “Relacion de las Islas Pilipinas (1582) – “The beliefs of the early inhabitants of Agoo, as a part of Pangasinan were based on spirits and hierarchy of deities… and their clothing was similar to those used by other inhabitants.
Centuries later, Chinese merchants carried their goods in boats and established trade relations with the inhabitants of Agoo even before the time of Christopher Columbus.
Agoo had trade relations first with the Chinese and later with the Japanese on bartering basis. Due to this trade relation, the Japanese later established in Agoo their first settlement in the country, probably about the second quarter of the 15th century.
The Japanese chose Agoo as their trading center because it must have been an ideal and safe anchorage and shelter for vessels from the open sea. Agoo then became the harbor along with Sual (Pangasinan) for foreign vessels coming from Lingayen Gulf.
No wonder that Agoo received the connotation of “EL PUERTO DE JAPON”, as Miguel de Loarca referred to it later. At that time, Agoo which was then located at the inner estuary of the Lingayen Gulf, was a flourishing entry point of Japanese trade.
Agoo was surprisingly declared as a town in 1578, the first in the province of La Union. “Surprisingly” because no town was founded before the year 1580 according to Father Felix de Huerta.
Agoo became the vantage point and the center of campaign for the spread of Christianity in the SOUTHERN ILOCOS REGION.