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was then known generally as Pangasinan when Spanish forces adopted the name of the coastal villages which they first occupied, to refer to the whole place (Cortes; 1974, pp. 1-2). Thus  in pre-hispanic times, Pangasinan referred only to the coastal areas while Caboloan to the inland plains .

Today, the political formation of Pangasinan is bounded on the west by the province of Zambales, on the north by Lingayen Gulf, the northeast by La Union province, on the east by Nueva Ecija, and on the south by the provinces of Tarlac and Pampanga. From the time of the conquest of Santiago Island in Bolinao by Juan de Salcedo’s men in May 1572, historians and scholars placed Zambales and La Union and some parts of Tarlac under Pangasinan. Interestingly however, in a letter dated 9 December 1572, the account of the tributes collected by Martin de Goiti listed Bolinao as another province separate from Pangasinan (The Philippines Under Spain, Book III; 1991, p.17). Sometime in the middle of the 18th century, the province of Zambales was created. La Union became a province in 1850 and towns which were previously under Pangasinan such as Rosario, Sto. Tomas, Agoo, Aringay, Caba, San Fernando, and Bacnotan were now considered to belong to the new created province. The creation of Tarlac as a province in 1875 removed the towns of Gerona, Paniqui, Camiling and Moncada from the territorial jurisdiction of Pangasinan. A number of municipalities were reterritorialized while new ones were created under the American Government (Cortes; 1990, p.5).

In 1903, the western towns of Bolinao, Anda, Alaminos, Bani, Agno, Burgos, Mabini, Dasol, and Infanta which were part of the province of Zambales from mid-18th century, were turned over to Pangasinan for lack of funds and administrative problems (PF-NGOs; 1st ed., 1995). These towns were classified previously as Zambal because residents in these areas, particularly Bolinao and Anda speak the Sambal language. It is only after these were reclassified as Pangasinan towns when residents of Bolinao called their language distinctively, Bolinao. Another reason why these were under Zambales before 1903, is because they could not be reached from the capital of Lingayen on foot. The rolling formation of these towns from the Zambales ranges and the thick forests prevented commercial interaction between the residents of these areas and the coastal towns from Sual to San Fabian and the interior towns from Aguilar to Malasiqui and Mapandan. Bolinao can only be reached through the coastal waters with the use of native boats such as baloto, lanson, viray, lampitaw and ponting (Bolinao Town Fiesta Souvenir Program; 1998). This isolation made Sual the westernmost town in Pangasinan. The topographic factor also explains why these western towns lagged behind the central plains in terms of progress and urbanization. Sual only became significant when in 1855, a port was established as a result of the opening of the Philippines to international trade by the British in 1834. In fact, Sual’s ancient port area boasts of more berths than Subic’s according to some observers.

The provincial government has been more concerned with the industries and investment potentials in the densely populated central plains and the coastal towns of Lingayen Gulf than in these sleepy western towns. Because the central towns are more populous, voters in these areas are prioritized in the allotment of election campaign funds. State concern over the material life of the central plains is best concretized with the construction of the dike (1935) and continuous fortification of it to prevent the Agno river from inundating the agricultural municipalities from the city of San Carlos to Tayug

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