Gregorio del Pilar (Concepcion), Ilocos Sur
Nestled like a basin amidst the mountains of Cordillera, the rustic town of Gregorio del Pilar, Ilocos Sur is one of the more interesting yet little-explored places in the Philippines. The town offers splendid tourism potentials as its over-a-century old historical spots combine with the beauty and unspoiled appeal of its natural and cultural treasures.
The town’s population in 2000 was only about 4,500 but its lands area covers 104 square kilometers. It holds territorial jurisdiction over the western side up of the Cordillera to the peak of Mt. Tirad. Its people are a mix of Ilocanos and Igorots hence, they consider themselves “bag-o”, meaning, “mixed”. Its first Igorot settlers were among the early Cordillerans who built the region’s fascinating rice terraces including perhaps the famous Banaue Rice Terraces and the Payoh or rice terraces of Gregorio del Pilar town.
It’s foremost historical spot is the Tirad Pass National Park on Mt, Tirad where the valiant Gen. Gregorio del Pilar and most of his men perished in one of the most famous battles during the Filipino-American war of 1899.
As a tribute to the gallantry of these Filipino patriots this town, formerly called Concepcion (in honor of its patron saint, Nuestra Senora de Concepcion), is later named after the young general named Gregorio del Pilar who fought to the death against the Americans at Tirad Pass, by virtue of Republic Act No. 1246 on June 10, 1955.
High in ther summit of this mountain is a distinctive natural feature,” gaping mount” or Pettak. One of the taller mountain in the region, Mt. Tirad is an eco-tourist spot is sure to attract mountain trekkers.
Among the town’s other wonders is its ancient Sacred Burial cave, which used to house mummified remains exhibited in a major museum in Metro Manila and the Burgos Museum in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Although this burial cave has already been disturbed, plans are underway to open them only for limited public viewing so as to preserve its archeological and anthropological integrity.
The recognition of the town’s historico-ecological-cultural potentials paved the way for a memorandum of agreement between the Municipality of Gregorio de Pilar and the historical society Sampaka to develop and implement “an Ecological-Historical Tourism plan.”
The improvement of the quality of life inhabitants continues to be the primordial vision of the Local Government Unit by delivering basic services within its reach and providing access to other minimum basic needs of every family. Thereby leading to a self-reliant and peaceful community with the active participation of empowered citizenry nurtured by an environment of genuine democracy.
To uplift quality of life of every individual such as that every one can freely participate in decision-making and community development of self-reliant indigenous community ever proud to share humble resources and cultural community.
Empowered Community in harmony with other Local Government Units and with the environment by implementing sustainable development programs, projects and activities.