Not long after the foundation of Sablan as a municipality, the Spanish-American war broke out. Sablan became a bloody scene between the American troops, where the Negros or black Americans were the first ones who faced the Spaniards. There was a man-hunting sort of war. They moved from one place to another to hide. The Negros asked for food from the owner of the house they found along the way when they feel hungry. It was said that there were abuses made by the Negros. They chased the Igorot girls even during the war. However, the Negros lost in war. They retreated but when they came back, they had with them the reinforcement with the union of the Black and White Americans.
Even with the help of the recruited natives by the Spaniards, the Americans won in the battle. There was the distribution and burning of all houses. For this reason, the settlers of Disdis (Sablan) moved to Bayabas, Teytey, Salat, Matal-og, Sawili and other places.
When the Americans won, they remained in the territory. The natives were happy and they accepted them. For this reason, the Americans were not hard up in influencing the natives. The Americans bought pigs and fed the natives. They also distributed money and they were praised by the people.
Since the Spaniards were defeated, the Americans became the ruling power of the place. The Americans organized a government in their own form. Garoy was elected as the first municipal president under the American regime.
Under the municipality of Sablan, a government was organized in 1926. There was an incident that happened between Bato and Bentres. They argued about politics and other personal matters. This made Bato and Bentres established another municipality in Libong now in the territory of Burgos. The created municipality has been an office until now which is also at present, a dispute if what province would it belong, either Benguet of La Union.
Most of the employees in offices were Ilocanos. However, most of the policemen consisted of natives. They wore G-string and had a piece of wood (Batuta) as their arm/defense.
Road constructions were the first project done during the American period. The workers were recruited by term in the construction of the Baguio-Naguilian road. Workers were not only from Sablan but also from Bontoc, Kiangan and some from the lowlands, like Mr. Orogo and Mr. Moya, who settled here permanently. The construction started on both ends of Naguilian and Baguio until they met here in Sablan.
The salary of the workers started with the amount of fifteen centavos to twenty centavos. The adults were paid higher wages as shown by their “cedula”. When the “cedula” amounted to fifty centavos, they were paid 1.00 peso. The foremen were the Kastila and the capataz were Ilocanos. In some instances, they hire the Igorots as constructors and most of them were Bontocs wherein the Ibalois were afraid of, to join them.
The Ilocanos settled here not only for employment but also for positions like Mr. Gaona, who was employed as a sanitary inspector. Likewise, the Ilocanos came here because of road construction. Mr. Orogo worked as a Blacksmith for the making of tools for the road construction. The tools were usually kept in the municipal building.
Commisaria was built in Poblacion. It was here where they store the food supplies. The present residence of Mr. Ciano Ticol was the former stable where they kept the horses. The workers were rationed three cans (salmon) of rice and six dried fish per day. The read construction had influenced some people who made rice wine and were sold to the workers during the day. A bottle of two by two was sold for twenty centavos. One of the sellers of rice wine was Mrs. Ulin Sinong.
During the construction of the road, a road tax was implemented which amounted to 2.00 pesos and 1.00 peso for the “cedula”. Those who cannot afford to pay were being forced to work for ten days or sometimes called “Dias Dias”. The total of 3.00 pesos was only good for one year. Municipal officials were exempted from the payment but they were responsible for the recruitment of workers.
The Asin road which was started by the Spaniards which was supposed to be route of the train was continued by the Americans. However, when the money for the construction was being delivered by an American ship, it was bombarded by Aliman. So the proposed plan for Asin reamed uncontinued, but was constructed by men and became only a road.
When the construction was finished, it was only stone filled on the surface. However, these made it easy for the travelers and for the transportation of products. In the year 1914-1916, the first transportation used was the cart (cariton) which was pulled by an animal like horses or carabaos. During night time, the lighted carts were like train heading to Baguio.
Later, the first machine car was introduced which an iron wheel has lined with rubber. This was owned by Mr. Smith and Mr. Steward who were both black Americans. This car when passing along the road, made much noise and it always jumped due to the rugged road. Along the road, they placed telephone booths. One was in Bolis, Sablan Central, Calot, Irisan then to Baguio. These were operated with the use of batteries and handled by Ilocanos and few Ibalois such as Mr. Bosoy. The purpose of the telephone was to give signal for the incoming and outgoing of cars because the road was narrow, and caution them to meet in a certain place where there is a wider space.
Garoy was elected by the standing of the voters in lined with him, followed by Cando who was elected by color. The candidates before were placed with colored sash and the voters had to pick the color of their choice and drop it in a box.
During the term of Cando, tax was imposed and started in the amount of twenty-five centavos per hectare. The plain area amounted to fifty centavos per hectare. The plain area amounted to fifty centavos per hectare. The registration for cattles was also charged for 1.00 peso per head. This was the reason why the people hated Cando during his term but later, they came to realize the advantage. People from Pappa moved to Bayabas also because of taxation. Besides, the land was unproductive for kaingin so they moved to another place for they said that it’s useless to be paying taxes without a good yield. The measurement of the land was free but the boundary post was paid for 5.00 pesos.
He also bought the land for only 100.00 pesos from Stefa who was an Ilocano. He converted it into a rice field which he learned from Bineng, La Trinidad. They were the first who introduced and started the construction of ricefields together with Quiño and Palaez in Bayabas, while Caslangan in the Triple “B” portion. Cando made use of the natives who cannot pay for the road tax. He let them work in the construction of his rice field and paid for them. The planting of the “kintoman” was first done during wet season.
The officials before used G-string paired with long sleeves. But later, it was their obligation to use long pants called “debontal” with leather placed in the legs and they wore shoes.
There was an ordinance during the American period that the Igorots usually went down to trade with the lowlanders in La Union. Those who wore G-strings were caught and put them in a cell which was the order of Governor Cortez. They were given free underwear for which they had to change their G-strings before they were allowed to go. The G-strings were burned.
Schools were improved in this town as early as 1930’s. On the Triple “B” side, Bagong was in1935, Balluay was in 1937 and Banengbeng was in the 1950’s, so the children from Banengbeng had their schooling in Bineng, La Trinidad. Most of the teachers were Ilocanos like Mr. and Mrs. Dumo, Mrs. Cacdac, Patacsil, Mr. Marzan and Mr. Alfredo Abaco from Pangasinan. The grades were only from Grades one to four in which, everything was given free such as pencils, papers and books. Later, a fee of 2.00 pesos was collected in grade four.
During the term of Ticol as mayor, people were forced to go to school. He was very strict and those who made absences were punished with a whip of meter stick or they’ll be locked in a room in accordance with the absences they made. They were not allowed either to speak in their own dialect. Those who failed to speak in English were fined with fifteen centavos. It was aid that there was also a night class from 6:00 o’clock to 7:00 o’clock in the evening.
During this period, Don Francisco Romero, a Kastila had settled here for good. He bought the land of Mr. Mateo Carias which was measured to be one hundred (100) hectares. When he came here, he named the place Palali in which he derived it from a tree called Palali, a bare fruit tree which bore edible but sour fruits. This place was formerly a forest and the boundary was a very big tree which was marked. However, due to the making of kaingin, it was changed to a block of cement which was engraved. Workers at the start were not hired. They just made kaingins out of the forest and they didn’t share their products. But later, they shared their products for 10% to 30%. No tenant stayed long because the soil produced less.
Mr. Manuel Pacalso was said to be a courageous man as told by a lawyer. He claimed that a part of the Romero land was his own. Mr. Pacalso lost in the case but it didn’t mean the end of the dispute. The other land adjacent to it was demanded by him. However, some part was approved but the other parts are still a dispute up to the present. Likewise, other parts are still a dispute up to the present. Likewise, there is also a trouble about inheritance among the family.
Romero was said to be a former Capitan of the Spanish Army. Since he longed for peace, he resigned and married a Filipina named Adel Aguinaldo from __________________. They bought land and named it to his wife.
Farming was still a diversified occupation among the people during the American period. They were successful in wet-rice farming. Later, new plants were introduced such as coffee, pineapples wherein the spiny pineapple was changed to Hawaiian specie. Also, bananas like lacatan, which is the best quality of all bananas. These were good yielding products and people were influenced to become businessman like Mr. Pacalso, who started the method of buying and selling fruits and vegetables. Later, trucks were used to bring the fruits and vegetable to Manila. This type of business was a success so Mr. Angel and Mr. Quilacio followed and until now, it is a usual practice among the people.
It was told that ten suckers of bananas (lacatan) was brought to Sablan and was propagated and was spread. It was during this time that the height of producing fruits and vegetables resulted in the creation of “Garden Day”, which was a display of different kinds of fruits and vegetables and other kinds of exhibits and prizes were given. An amount of twenty centavos was collected and used for food for the people gathered in this occasion.
Communication was also introduced to the people. The natives who owned property such as land and animals were given a notice through letter. Formerly, people had only one name where two or three have the same names so the address were placed or added with first, second or third in accordance to their ages (Primera, Segunda, Tircera). This made difficulty so it resulted in the forming of sure names which the others had taken Segundo as their surname.
In 1934, a church was established in Sablan Central. Later in December 8, 1941, the first fiesta was celebrated and the Garden Day was replaced.