Bucay - DILG-CAR Official Website

Municipality of Bucay, Abra

Vice Mayor: LUDEVINA G. CO
Land Area (Hectares): 10,216
Population*: 17,126
No. of Registered Voters**: 11,647
Income Class: 5TH CLASS
No. of Barangays: 21

History and Government


The first inhabitants of Bucay are the Tinguians, commonly known as Itnegs. The Itnegs, noted for their hardwork and resourcefulness, are jungle-dwelling, with their daily activities preoccupied with crude agriculture, hunting and fishing. The rolling and terraced ricefields in the hilly areas of the municipality attest to the Itnegs hardwork and resourcefulness in agriculture. Aside from agriculture, fishing and hunting, the Itnegs also are noted for their quality woven cloths, moulded bamboocrafts and pottery items.



History records show that sometime in 1846, an expedition of Spanish conquistadores led by Fr. Jesus Blanco arrived at a settlement in Bucay, now barangay Labon. The Spaniards found the natives unbelligerent and submissivebecause they were afflicted with an epidemic close to malaria. Fr. Blanco purportedly established rapport with them by initiating a cure for the epidemic. From out of a boiled juice of a native vine called "makabuhay", a panacea was connected and afflicted natives were made to drink it for their recovery. It was said that the name "Bucay" is a corruption of the word "makabuhay".



The influx of Ilocanos followed Fr. Blanco's expedition and very soon, settlements grew, usually along the rivers and creeks. One suitable area where the Poblacion is now located is a wide strip of flat land located immediately west of the Abra River.



The Spanish authorities at the time saw it suitable for development and proclaimed Bucay on October 29, 1946 the first capital town of Abra. Poblacion streets were constructed in a nice criss-crossing pattern that residential and institutional blocks were cut out almost identical to one another. Like all other early Spanish settlements, the church, town hall and plaza were successively put up including footpaths leading to nearby settlements with provisions of deterrent structures against the hostile headhunting tribes from nearby settlements. One evidence of such structures is the presence of the Casa Real facade in the municipality.



Bucay maintained its stature as Abra's capital for 13 years, from 1846 to 1861. The Spanish Military Governor, Don Joaquin de Pratt, convinced of the greater potential and accessibility of Bangued decreed the trasfer of the capital of Abra to Bangued sometime in 1862. Bucay was then left in the stewardship of its local leaders. The first Gobernadorcillo of Bucay was Don Esteban Alzate. Don Alzate was followed by 12 other rich and educated persons who served as Gobernadorcillo up to 1893. All that the officials can do at that time was to maintain peace and order and initiate the cultivation and development of agricultural lands. The vast prime agricultural lands west of the Poblacion, terracing up to the foot of the mountains, may have been owned by the few that at the time that it is now the site of the Bucay Corporate Farm, known in Abra as the showcase of the modern rice farming.



With the coming of the Americans, the educational system was improved and the first attempt to link Bucay with the other municipalities that came into existence was made. The attempt saw socio-cultural enrichment of the town until World War II broke out.


The Japanese invading forces proved to be the exact opposite of what the Spaniards and Americans did to the town. The former set up their own educational system, side by side with their hostility and abuses causing the residents to evacuate and take refuge in the mountains.


Then came liberation. People became conscious of the government thus development and reconstruction began. Various settlements grew in a desperate pattern consisting of the municipality's 21 barangays.



The gradual transformation of the municipality is attributed to the foresight, dedication and vision of the men who held the reins of the municipality.



During the Spanish Era and the Revolutionary Period: Don Esteban Alzate (1847-1849), Don Pedro Alzate (1850-1852), Don Apolinario Alzate (1853-1855), Don Fulgencio Talaga (1856-1858), Don Igmidio Pia (1859-1861), Don Domingo Rosales (1865-1870), Don Geronimo Benedito (1871-1873), Don Agustin Benedito (1874-1876), Don Justo Llanes (1877-1879), Don Francisco Querubin (1880-1885), Don Andres Bernardez (1886-1888), Don Narcizo Torres (1889-1893), Don Marcos Alzate (1894-1896), Captain Marcos Alzate (1897-1900), Captain Ismael Alzate (1901-1903) and Captain Placido Angco (1903-1904).



During the American and Commonwealth Rule: Placido Angco (1904-1905), Gervacio Crisologo (1905-1906), Pablo Flores (1906-1907), Samuel Torres (1907-1910), Vicente Querubin (1910-1911), Antonio Llanes (1911-1916), Samuel Torres (1916-1919), Juan Arias (1919-1922), Pablo Flores (1922-1931), Juan Arias (1931-1934), Santiago Bernardez (1934-1936), Mariano Bello (1936-1941) and Luis Bernardez (1941-1942).



During the Japanese Occupation: Manuel Alzate, Ernesto Bernardez, Andres Flores (1942), Mariano Bello (1943-1944) and Luis Bernardez (1944-1945).



During the Post-War Era to the Present: Luis Bernardez (1946-1947), Cirilo Catriz (1947), Alfredo Gonzales (1948-1951), Julio Gonzales (1952-1963), Cojeto Paligutan (1963), Alfredo Gonzales (1964-1971), Rudolfo Bernardez (1972-1986), Basiliso Paligutan (1986-1987), Alfredo Gonzales (1987), Rudolfo Bernardez, Jr. (1987-1988), Basiliso Paligutan (1988-1992) and Luisito Bernardez (1992 to present).



These town leaders of the various political regimes steered Bucay to what it is today.



Now, Bucay is next to Bangued in terms of income, revenue and population. It has 21 barangays as follows: Abang, Bangbangcag, Bangcagan, Banglolao, Bugbog, Calao, Dugong, Labon, Layugan, Madalipay, North Poblacion, Pagala, Pakiling, Palaquio, Patoc, Quimloong, Salnec, San Miguel, Siblong, South Poblacion and Tabiog.  



1) Abang 820
2) Bangbangcag 1,088
3) Bangcagan 616
4) Banglolao 598
5) Bugbog 698
6) Calao 721
7) Dugong 1,532
8) Labon 632
9) Layugan 1,002
10) Madalipay 369
11) Pagala 1,262
12) Palaquio 994
13) Pakiling 708
14) Patoc 787
15) North Poblacion 1,123
16) South Poblacion 579
17) Quimloong 526
18) Salnec 370
19) San Miguel 653
20) Siblong 972
21) Tabiog  1,076


    *   - 2010 NSO Census of Population
    **  - 2010 Partial Data from COMELEC



Its Land

Nestling on the western side of the Cordillera ranges, approximately 17 km. southeast of Bangued and approximately 20°75" latitude and 40° longitude, Bucay is bounded on the north by the municipalities of Tayum and Lagangilang, on the east by the municipalities of Licuan-Baay and Sallapadan, on the south by the municipality of Manabo, and on the west by the municipalities of Villaviciosa, San Isidro, Peñarrubia and Bangued. Bucay's deep valleys, wide plains and sloping hills are shut off by rugged mountains, except on the northern side where Abra River meanders towards the coastal plains of Ilocos Sur.


Topographically, Bucay is bounded on the eastern and western regions with secondary mountain ranges and with two rivers - the Baay River on the north and the Ikmin River on the south. It is dotted with moderately rolling hills with the barangays commonly situated on the available plains, usually near creeks and other water bodies.


Climate in the municipality belongs to Type I characterized by two pronounced seasons - the wet and the dry. The wet season starts from May and ends on September while the dry season starts in October ending in April. Typhoons and rains usually occur in the months of July and August.



Out of Bucay's land area of 12,603 has., the built-up area comprises 335 has. or 2.7% of the total municipal land area, an agricultural area of 2,133.5 has. or 16.9%, forest area of 6,634.5 has. or 52.6% and open grassland with 3,500 has. or 27.8%. Nearly all the barangays of the municipality are forested areas except barangays Poblacion, Labon, San Miguel and Pagala.

The only mineral found in the municipality is limestone which is a basic ingredient in the manufacture of cement. The mineral was temporarily quarried by the Cellophil Corporation during its short existence in the municipality.


Its Inhabitants

The people of Bucay originated from the western lowland tribes of southern Ilocos Norte who are also referred to as Ilaud Itnegs or Western Tinguians. They were the first settlers of Bucay. However, 95.53% of the municipality's population speak Ilocano while only 3.80% speak Tinguian with the remaining 0.67% speaking other dialects.



On religious affiliations, 96.23% of the populace belong to the Roman Catholic Church with Iglesia ni Cristo having a 2.32% following and other religious sects comprising the remaining 1.45%    



At present, Bucay has a population of 14,499 with a total of 2,642 households. It has an average household size of 5.49 with a population growth rate of 1.56%. Analyzing the population against the land area, the municipality has a population density ratio of two persons per hectare.


Tourist Attractions and Places of Interest


  • Casa Real
  • Borokibok Resort



By: DILG-CAR, Copyright 1999
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Land Area (sq. Km.): 19,611.10
Population (2010): 1,616,867
No.of Registered Voters: 832,131
No.of Provinces: 6
No.of Municipalities: 75
No.of HUCs: 1 (Baguio)
No.of Component Cities: 1 (Tabuk)
No.of Barangays: 1,176
Legal Basis of Creation: EO 220
Date of Creation: 07/15/1987
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