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PINILI ASSOCIATION OF HAWAII, U.S.A.                                                                   PINILI, the CHOSEN
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PINILI, THE CHOSEN

by: James Zafaralla and Rex Gabur



        In the years before 1900, Pinili was once a thick forest, the abode of wild hogs and herds of deer. There were few farmers who cultivated a very small portion of the land.

       During the Filipino-American War in 1900. General Gregorio Aglipay gathered men in Ilocos Norte to resist the Americans. The priest, soldier and vicar of the revolution selected the thickest forest mountain, (site of Pinili Poblacion) as refuge. As part of their military strategy, the soldiers would climb the tallest Tamarind tree to watch the approaching enemies. The same tree, now taller than before, to this date, still stands as the silent witness of that great historical event in the life of General Gregorio Aglipay. This mountain which entrenched the hiding place, was once the battle ground between the brave and free-loving Ilocano soldiers and the persistent and more- equipped Americans. Nevertheless, the Ilocano soldiers were subdued due to less superior firearms and war tactics.

       The Filipino-Amrican War was over shortly and the people most of them were SANDATAHAN, Filipino soldiers without guns, only knives (bolos), agreed to settle down. Two leaders, Ignacio Lafradez and Gabriel Pagdilao, who were inspired by General Gregorio Aglipay, who envisioned the organization of a municipality, were imprisoned for being suspected as initiators of rebellion, but for lack of evidence, they were set free.

       From prison to Cul-labeng, they reassembled and decided to clear and build their houses. They unanimously approved the name Pinili, inspired by their leader, General Aglipay who selected this place his retreat of hide-away. The word PINILI, in English means selected or chosen. Thus, they chose PINILI as the name of the town, in honor of their leader.

       Several men from the original group helped in the organization and sought the approval of the municipal status of the town. Ruperto Valbuena, Mariano Coloma, Buenaventura Lacuesta, Faustino Panilo, Cirilo Fontanilla, Feliciano Duque, Leoncio Pagdilao, Andres Coloma, and many others, petitioned and worked for the separation of Pinili from Badoc, Paoay, and Batac. Pagdilao and Lafradez countinued leadership until they died on March 31 and April 15 of the same year 1919. They died without seeing the realization of their dream. However, Ruperto Valbuena and Mariano Coloma, took over the leadership and followed up the request, through General Aglipay, who called the attention of Senator Santiago A. Fonacier, Rep. Faustino Adiarte and Provincial Governor Cayetano Ligot to give support to their cause. The bill was approved and on December 30, 1919, the Governor-General, Francis Burton Harrison, signed Executive Order No. 92.s1919 ordering the establishment of the Municipality of Pinili effective January 1, 1920.