The brief history of Sta. Maria, Pangasinan was taken from written records of different people who have resided in the municipality many years ago and also from records still existing from the hands of some prominent men in the community. In addition of this, some former officials of the municipality have given some accounts of past events.
Many years ago, the Province of Pangasinan was composed of only a few towns that boundaries stretched as far as the farthest barangay. At that time, religion was the basis of educating the masses, and the town of San Carlos became the center of religious activities. From time to time, missionaries of different orders went to carry out religious activities, as required to them. While in the routinary visit, a certain priest went to Asingan, then the most eastern town of Pangasinan. Believing that visiting the town could further extend his services, he set foot at a place that could be developed into a prosperous community, being inhabited by contented people consisting a few Ilocano families. He found the people hospitable and easily conversed with, thus he thought of giving the place a name. It was Virgin Mary’s day then (according to a religious calendar he consistently brought with him in his travels), and to commemorate that day, he with simple but impressive solemnity, proclaimed the place STA. MARIA.
In the course of time, prominent people found the place surrounded by marshes, and therefore beyond their capability to improve it, transferred the town site from Namagbagan (now a barangay of Sta. Maria) to the present site of the place. The town site is near clay promontory (Pila in the vernacular dialect) which formed an impregnable defense against the early erosion of the Agno River, a kilometer away from the site. With this, they thought of annexing “Pila” to the original name, making SANTA MARIA DE PILA a name beyond the confines of the province of Pangasinan.
SANTA MARIA was formerly barrio of the municipality of Tayug. It was founded on January 10, 1855 and became a town under the rule of a captain. In 1877 when its inhabitants have applied from the municipality of Tayug to rule again their town. This application was granted and it became a town under the rule of a captain in the person of Eugenio Vinluan. This kind of ruling continued up to 1900 under different Captains as follows: Jacinto Anulacion, Rosendo Anulacion, Calixto Ortiz, Cipriano Pasamonte, Domingo Apiado, Laurencio Bautista, Telesforo Carbillon, and Pedro Padillo.
During the Spanish-American war, Americans arrived in this locality and from that time the ruler is called President. In 1901, election of the President of the town was held, electing one Patricio Lamagna, the first elected president of the town during the Military Government of the United States in our land; and because of his administration, he was given a two-year term.
Again, in 1903, the municipality of Sta. Maria was fused to the town of Tayug until 1906 for same reason stated earlier. But in 1907, special election was held for the purpose of turning municipalities fused with bigger towns. Thus, the municipality of Sta. Maria became permanent. Alejandro Gonzales was elected and ruled up to 1910. Mariano de Guzman whose term ended in 1912 succeeded him. From this fate to the present, came a succession of Presidents, Alcaldes, and Mayors and the period of their terms: Eugenio Munar (1912-1915); Francisco Cendaña (1916-1918); Esperidion Rodriguez (1919-1921); Claudio Bugayong (1922-1924; 1927-1937); Eliodoro Cardeñas (1925-1927); Valentin Valdez (1938-1940); Honorato M. Rodriguez (1941-1951); Arturo C. Cachila (1952-1968); Eusebio Macaraeg (1968-1972); Romeo A. Aragon (1972-1986); Jose C. Ginez (1986-1997); Pinky O. Ginez (1999-June 2001); Jose C. Ginez (July 2001-April 2010); and Teodoro A. Ramos (July 2010 to present).
The municipality of Sta. Maria primarily functions as a supplier of agricultural products. From its vast plain lands, it produces abundant rice, corn, and vegetables more than enough for the town’s consumption. The surplus is exported to other municipalities that have insufficient supply of these. Besides, the town also produces raw materials, such as tobacco, for small and big industries of the municipality, province and region. Numerous industries and activities sprouted in the town with the construction of more roads connecting the town to other municipalities and more developed provinces and cities.
At present and in the years ahead, the town will continue to serve and to be a satellite municipality supporting the other urban centers.