The Annual Semana Santa Procession during Holy Tuesday and Good Friday continues to attract visitors, guests and tourists to this small town of Ilocos Sur to witness the beautiful images of Saints and tableaus depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ carried during the solemn procession. And during Holy Saturday the coastal Barangays are full of picnic goers mostly are visitors and Balikbayans.
The Spaniards named the pueblo (the equivalent of a municipality in present-day terms) San Esteban (formerly known as Cabagbagototan) because they have received reports of a vagabond named Iban having been stoned to death and beheaded by hostile natives in the place called "Naglawlawayan," which is an early place of worship by the natives, and currently the site of the municipal cemetery. "Iban" is the Ilocano equivalent of "Stephen," hence the pueblo being named San Esteban.
San Esteban was founded by Agustinian friars in 1625, but was always attached to Nueva Coveta (present-day Burgos) and to the municipality of Santiago until 1911. It was once a visita of Narvacan because of a shortage of ministers.