ETYMOLOGY AND CREATION OF THE TOWN
Unlike other municipalities with legends as to how the names of their communities evolved that of Nueva Era was simple. It was ordered by then Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison when the town was created.
The town of Nueva Era originated from the eight (8) settlements of Padsan, Cabittauran, Paor Patoc, Pagpagong, Garnaden, Bugayong, Uguis and Tibangran. When the Spaniards set foot on the northern part of the country in 1572 to spread Christianity, the settlements were organized as rancherias each of which under the independent control of the chief. Acting on the petition of the chieftains of the rancherias of Paor and Patoc, the same were merged into one rancheria.
In 1915, when the chieftains of the rancherias were summoned by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, the village heads thought it best for them to unite and form a town. Under the guidance of the Provincial Governor, they passed a pertinent resolution.
Pursuant to the provision of Section 2391 of the administrative code and with the favorable recommendations of the Honorable Secretary of the Interior and the Provincial Board of Ilocos Norte, the Governor-General issued Executive Order No. 66 on September 30, 1916 approving the formation of a new township effective July 1, 1916.
SOCIAL – CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
The original inhabitants/settlers of the town were the tingguians, descendants of the malay migrants. With their idiosyncrasies, these ethnic groups were distinguishable from other immigrants. Their culture was assimilated with those of the migrants from the towns of Badoc and Batac (Ilocos Norte) and from as far as Ilocos Sur and Abra. Thus, the “tingguian” mother tongue was mixed with Ilocano dialect. They have sing-song intonation putting too much emphasis at the end of the sentence. They do not pronounce the letter “r” instead, “l” was pronounced as “r”.
The tingguians have peculiar characteristics. The women wore beads around their arms, necks and heads, with their hair parted at the middle. Some of them are pagans and believe in “anitos”. They believe that in order to free the villagers from sickness and diseases, they should have in their possession what they called “pacder”. Also, the entrance of the town, a little structure is built where coconut, grains of rice, pieces of meat and other offering are placed. Furthermore, in order to cure their patients, they perform the “aropag”, a ritual where an offering or sacrifice is made by an old woman who acts as their priestess. The woman dance the “aropag” and speak with the anitos seeking their help to save the life of the sick person.
The geographical condition of Nueva Era attracted the early settlers. Between the rolling verdant hills are fertile lowlands which they converted into productive fields. The Papa River and Bongo River and other several streams are the main tributaries of Padsan River which are the source of water to irrigate farmlands in the lowland. Above all is the presence of the mountains where wild animals are hunted and crops are planted by way of “kaingin” system. The forest also served as their refuge, a good place for them to hide from soldiers and intruders whom they hated much. Thus, from about a hundred settlers at the time the settlements were chartered as a town, the number of residents increased.