LGU - Santol - History

Santol, a Balaoan northeastern rancheria became a township in 1908 under the sub-province Amburayan, Mountain Province. An Igorot named Lakay Camilot was its first municipal president.

In 1920, a new province out of the old Lepanto-Amburayan sub-province was planned to showcase the socio-cultural integration amongst lowlanders, mountaineers and the Bagos. Three towns (San Gabriel, sudipen and Santol) were proposed for the planned province to be named Harrison, a former American Governor-General who championed filipinization and integration.

However, protest resolutions were filed by the leaders of these municipalities unanimously objecting to their inclusion because of historical, economical, cultural and geographical reasons. The proposal did not push through hence it died a natural death.

In 1922, Mountain Province relinquished Santol which became a municipal district of La Union. Santol was elevated into a regular municipality status in 1949 by virtue of Executive Order No. 214 issued by President Elpidio Quirino.

The town of Santol is considered a safe harbor for there had been no distinct destruction of lives or properties during the historic events regarding wars and calamities. Such was true during the Spanish regime and Japanese occupation. Evidence of this is that Barrio Mangan was set aside as the place of the military emergency hospital. It was also here where the center of distribution of food supplies for army personnel was located while Barrio Banbanaba was site of message center directly in touch with all the barrios of Balaoan, Santol, San Gabriel and Sudipen.

Santol Central and Cadanglaan came to be the final ground for training volunteers during the days nearing the landing of the Liberation Forces while Sammauting was the hiding place for the guerillas.

There are two accounts as to how Santol derived its name. the first version states that the place was once a favorite hunting ground for people interested in sculpture of religious images. In one of their hunts for material sculpture, they saw a huge tree called Santol. The size of the tree was so remarkable that several images were carved out from a single trunk, thus made it their main material in wood carving. If this story is to be believed, then it would account for the scarcity of Santol trees in the municipality today.

According to the second and more popular version, Santol got its name from this legend. The Spanish soldiers passed by the place but the women did not understand Spanish and presumed the soldiers were asking the name of the fruits they were carrying. One of the women answered – “santol, Apo.”. the soldiers also did not understand the dialect and all they remembered was the word Santol, hence, the name of the place.