Narvacan, officially the Municipality of Narvacan, is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 44,006 people.
Narvacan is politically subdivided into 34 barangays.
Narvacan was discovered by a Spanish expeditionary force sent from Vigan by the military officer and navigator, Captain Juan de Salcedo. The Spanish expeditionary force was shipwrecked along the town's coast. When they were being rescued by the natives, the Spaniards asked the natives what was the name of their place. The resident's leader replied in an Ilocano dialect by asking the Spaniards "Nalbakan?" (Are you shipwrecked?). The Spaniards thought this to be the answer to their question, and from then on the place was referred to as Narvacan.
Salcedo befriended the small tribe of indigenous valley peoples that resided in the area while Spanish families established a township in 1576. As part of the modern township, a Roman Catholic parish was established by the Augustinian religious order on 25 April 1587. The Narvacan parish would become one of the first Roman Catholic parishes in present-day Ilocos Sur.
Narvacan was organized under the traditions of the royal government of Spain. The Habsburg royal family served as the heads of state which in turn appointed Santiago de Vera as President of the Royal Audiencia – governor over the region in which Narvacan was situated. In 1589, Governor Vera appointed Nicolas de Figueroa as the first Encomendero de Narvacan – principal administrator of the town and its neighbors in the encomienda system. His role eventually evolved into the office of alcalde —
In the 2015 census, the population of Narvacan was 44,006 people, with a density of 360 inhabitants per square kilometre or 930 inhabitants per square mile.
Its residents are largely Roman Catholic. A sizeable minority of Iglesia ni Cristo, Methodist Christians, and Jehovah's Witnesses are present. The local language is Ilocano.
Situated near the western coastline of the island of Luzon, Narvacan is located in a valley surrounded by mountains. A fertile region with a cool tropical climate, the principal crops of Narvacan are corn, cotton, indigo, rice, sugarcane and tobacco.
The Narvacan School of Fisheries, a branch of the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC), has been located in Sulvec since 1964. It is also the base of operations of the Philippine Army’s 503rd Infantry Brigade which oversees the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units.