The coming of Spaniards in Sablan contributed less in the progress of the natives but more on disadvantages.
It is written in history that the main purpose of the Spaniards was to spread Christianity. When they came to Sablan, the natives did not willingly accept them so they moved northward where they imposed Christianity so the people in the north of Sablan are more advanced than the natives of the main place.
The Spaniards came from the lowlands. When Sablan was organized, it was first called Disdis which denoted the passing way. They had a trail from Santo Domingo going to Naguilian Roan. When they reached the “Ap-aponan” which was the resting place for travelers located in the old Sablan then to Monglo, formerly called Baukan. From Monglo, the road goes up then to Balon then Banangan up to Yagyagan, which connect in Pinalyoc which lead to La Trinidad. The Spanish expedition under the leadership of Guillermo Galvey marched through Gallano River from Aringay. The trail was continued to Batuan passing through Ampusa then to Yagyagan, Pinalyoc then to Puguis.
Disdis was the name of the resting place which was not much known to the people. The settlers who had a long stay in this place observed that during summer, the “Sabdang” tree grew abundantly particularly along the river. When it blooms, it gives a beautiful red bright color. When the flowers fall down to the river, it caused sore eyes to the swimmers. This unique character of the tree was named after the place now called Sablan. Before, the settlers named it Disdis-Sablan. Later, the name Disdis was removed leaving Sablan as the permanent name which carried up to the present.
In the coming of the Spaniards, they used horses or the natives as Cargadors called the “polectas”. The “polectas” used to carry the Spanish officials, the doñas or señoritas from the boundary then passed to the adjacent place, and they gave them to the “polectas” if they reached the other boundary. The natives did not receive any compensation instead they even received slashes of rattan which was a punishment when they made mistakes.
The Ilocanos from the lowlands were also influenced by the Spaniards. They were also being carried by the natives to the place where they work as employees of Spanish Government. Sometimes horses fall down to the deep ravine because of the narrow and steep trail. The dead horse was not wasted because the natives cook them for their food.
At first, they built the municipal building in Pappa, which composed of Ilocano employees and some Igorot officials. The clothing they used before was G-string but the officials wore additional long sleeves as their upper garment. Igorot officials knew how to speak Spanish. The first capitan was Luis Marino, followed by Bato Bentres who served for three terms (1 term was 2 years) then followed by Kirst and Kosep.
Officials during that time like the Capitan and the secretario were being served by the natives for seven days without compensation. They were called “manbeki”. This was a continuous service. After the first batch, composed of 5 men, another batch will be served again by the natives and this was done on a rotation basis. The natives were slashed with rattan whenever they disobey their officials. They worked from sunrise to sunset and they were not allowed to go home until they finished their term. They guard the farms from wild animals, pastured the animals and planted camote and other crops. They must do whatever the officials instruct or command. It was said that Capitan Gabol was the first one who used Baston during his term.
A church was also built in Pappa which was made of bamboo slats. The priest was a Spaniard. When he visits the place, he had his assistants who were Ilocanos. This church might be the reason why they brought up two big bells from La Union to the old Sablan, with the use of carabaos. It was said that the bells were brought to La Trinidad.
The place called Pappa was said to have derived its name from the word “Santo Papa” whom they claimed to have ascended in this place together with “Santa Maria”, who spread Christianity and baptized the people. Pappa includes the sitios of Dalayap, Bangao, Timoy and Badawid.
They built a school which was also made up of bamboo and cogon. They also used the houses as a classroom. Most of the teachers were Ilocanos.
Pappa was formerly a part of La Union which was formerly called a “Naguilian View Park” because from here, there is a panoramic view of Naguilian.
The natives cannot bear the abuses they received from the Spaniards, so the natives organized themselves and revolted against the Spaniards. This incident was called “attake”. The Igorots walked by nights and they scared the people who served under the Spaniards by rolling them a ball of fire where they hid themselves. They used a password “camote”. With the continuous trouble in that place, the municipality/office was moved to Libtong, Burgos. But this place was often visited by the rebels, so it was again moved to the sitio Camboli. When peace was restored, the townsite was moved back to Pappa.
This incident was followed by an epidemic, where they felt the symptom of chilling followed by a high fever. So in the afternoon, they were buried and the ones who were not buried on that day will die the following day. This epidemic lasted for one month. This caused the people spread out and moved to other places. Some moved to Amocao, Salat, Monglo and Palali.
When this epidemic vanished, this area was peaceful, and few houses remained in Pappa. Until such time that tax was imposed which amounted to 25 centavos per individual.
Later, some of the old men who were in Bayabas, such as Don Camacho and Pataras, thought of separating Disdis, for unknown motives from Bayabas but the municipality was made into one which they built in Sablan and transferred the municipal building from Pappa.
Garoy was chosen as the first Capitan of this newly created town now called Sablan.