Isabela (province)

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Isabela
Province
Flag of Isabela
Flag
Official seal of Isabela
Seal
Nickname(s): Queen Province of the Philippines; Rice Granary of the North
Map of the Philippines with Isabela highlighted
Map of the Philippines with Isabela highlighted
Coordinates: 17°00′N 122°00′E / 17.000°N 122.000°E / 17.000; 122.000Coordinates: 17°00′N 122°00′E / 17.000°N 122.000°E / 17.000; 122.000
Country Philippines
Region Cagayan Valley (Region II)
Founded May 01, 1856
Capital Ilagan City
Government
 • Type Province of the Philippines
 • Governor Faustino "Bojie" G. Dy III (NPC)
 • Vice Governor Antonio "Tonypet" T. Albano (Independent)
Area[1]
 • Total 12,414.93 km2 (4,793.43 sq mi)
Area rank 2nd out of 81
  Includes Santiago
Highest elevation[2] (Mount Dos Cuernos) 1,785 m (5,856 ft)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 1,489,645
 • Rank 17th out of 81
 • Density 120/km2 (310/sq mi)
 • Density rank 66th out of 81
  Includes Santiago
Divisions
 • Independent cities 1
 • Component cities 2
 • Municipalities 34
 • Barangays 1,018
including independent cities: 1,055
 • Districts 1st to 4th districts of Isabela (shared with Santiago City)
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 3300 to 3336
Dialing code 78
ISO 3166 code PH-ISA
Spoken languages Gaddang, Ybanag, Ilokano, Tagalog, English
Website provinceofisabela.ph

Isabela is a province of the Philippines, the second largest province in the country next to Palawan. It is located in the Cagayan Valley region in the island of Luzon. Its capital is Ilagan City and borders, clockwise from the south, Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Kalinga, and Cagayan. This primarily agricultural province is the rice and corn granary of Luzon due to its plain and rolling terrain. In 2012, the province was declared as country's top producer of corn with 1,209,524 metric tons.[4]

It is the 10th richest province in the Philippines in 2011, the only province of Northern Luzon to be included in the list.[citation needed] The province has four trade centers in the cities of Ilagan, Cauayan, Santiago and the municipality of Roxas.

History[edit]

Prior to 1856, the Cagayan Valley was divided into only two provinces: Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya. The Province of Cagayan at that time consisted of all towns from Tumauini to Aparri in the north. All other towns from Ilagan southward to Aritao comprised the Province of the old Nueva Vizcaya. In order to facilitate the work of the Catholic missionaries in the evangelization of the Cagayan Valley, a royal decree was issued on May 1, 1856 creating the Province of Isabela consisting of the towns of Gamu, Old Angadanan (now Alicia), Bindang (now Roxas) and Camarag (now Echague), Carig (now Santiago City) and Palanan, all detached from the Province of Nueva Vizcaya; while Cabagan and Tumauini were taken from the Province of Cagayan. The province was placed under the jurisdiction of a governor with Ilagan as the capital seat, where it remains up to present. It was initially called Isabela de Luzon to differentiate from other places in the Philippines bearing the name of Isabela. The new province was named in honor of Queen Isabella II of Spain.[5]

Although the province did not play a major role in the revolt against Spain, it is in Palanan that the final pages of the Philippines Revolution was written when the American forces led by Gen. Frederick Funston finally captured General Emilio Aguinaldo in the area on March 23, 1901. Isabela was re-organized as a province under the American regime through Act No. 210, passed August 24, 1901.[6]

Humanitarian aid for victims of Super Typhoon Megi in Divilacan.

The Americans built schools and other buildings and instituted changes in the overall political system. However, the province’s economy remained particularly agricultural with rice replacing corn and tobacco as the dominant crop. World War II stagnated the province's economic growth but it recovered dramatically after the war. In 1942, the Japanese Imperial forces occupied Isabela. In 1945, liberation of Isabela commenced with the arrival of the Philippine Commonwealth troops under the Philippine Army, Constabulary and USAFIP-NL units and recognized guerrillas attacked by the Japanese Imperial forces in World War II. Today, Isabela is the premier province of the northern Philippines, the richest in the valley and one of the most progressive in the country.

A new wave of immigration began in the late 19th and 20th centuries with the arrival of the Ilokano who came in large numbers. They now constitute the largest group in the province. Other ethnic groups followed that made Isabela the “melting pot of the north”.[5]

In 1995, Republic Act Number 7891 was passed legislating that Isabela be divided into two new provinces: Isabela del Norte and Isabela del Sur.[7][8] A referendum was held on the same year with a strong majority voting not to separate the province.[9]

In 2012, the capital town of Ilagan officially became a city, after winning 96% of the votes in the plebiscite conducted in August 11, 2012.[10][11] The night after the plebiscite, COMELEC Commissioner Armando Velasco declared Ilagan as the new component city of the province.[12]

Governors[edit]

After Isabela was re-organized as a province under the American regime in 1901. Its first provincial governor was Rafael Maramag, a former Municipal President and also the first Municipal President of the capital town Ilagan who was succeeded by his brother, Gabriel. Afterwards, Isabela was ruled by the Dy family for 34 years, (1969-2004). The dynasty was started by the patriarch of the family, Faustino N. Dy, Sr., who served as the Mayor of Cauayan from 1965 to 1969 and was able to sit as the provincial governor of Isabela for 22 years (1969–1992). He was succeeded by his son, Benjamin G. Dy in the gubernatorial seat from 1992 to 2001. Another Dy took over the gubernatorial seat in 2001 when Faustino Dy Jr. won the 2001 elections after having served as the district representative of the 2nd Legislative District of the province from 1992 to 2001. It was only in the 2004 elections that the family's power over the gubernatorial seat was taken away from them when Grace Padaca won over Faustino Dy Jr. She was the first woman to serve as the governor of the province. After having served for (6) six years (2004-2010), she was defeated in the 2010 National Elections by Faustino "Bojie" G. Dy III who is now serving for his 2nd term since 2010.

Geography[edit]

View of the Sierra Madre from Cabagan

Isabela comprises an aggregate land area of 10,665 square kilometres (4,118 sq mi), representing almost 40 percent of the regional territory. It is the largest province in the island of Luzon and the second largest province in the Philippines in terms of land area. It is located on the right-most part of the Northern Luzon facing the Pacific Ocean and encompassing parts of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Isabela is one of the typhoon-prone provinces in the country due to its location.

Physical[edit]

The province is divided into three physiographic areas. The eastern area, straddled by the Sierra Madre mountain range, is rugged and thickly forested. A substantial portion is uncharted. These unexplored hinterlands are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, and some are under government reservations. It is home to one of the world’s largest remaining low-altitude rainforests, with numerous unknown endemic species of flora and fauna and exceptional biological diversity in the protected area known as the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park. Isabela has 600,000 hectares (1,500,000 acres) of Cagayan Valley’s 900,000 hectares (2,200,000 acres) of forest cover.[13][14]

The highest point of the province is located near the border with Cagayan. Mount Dos Cuernos peak has an elevation of 1,785 metres (5,856 ft) located in San Pablo, Isabela near the border with Maconacon. Other notable peak in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park is Mount Cresta in Divilacan with an elevation of 1,672 metres (5,486 ft).[15]

The western area is a sprawling fertile valley hemmed by the Central Cordillera. It is criss-crossed by the mighty Cagayan River, Siffu river, and Magat River.

Mallig Plains Region[edit]

Mallig Plains Region is a region in the western part of the province of Isabela. Its name was derived from the rolling terrains or kilometers of plain lands in western Isabela. The municipality of Roxas serves as the business center of the region. It consists the municipalities of Quezon, Mallig, Quirino, Burgos, Aurora, San Manuel and Roxas.

Political subdivisions[edit]

Isabela is politically subdivided into thirty four (34) municipalities, two (2) component cities and one (1) independent component city. The province is represented in the Philippine House of Representatives with four (4) legislative districts.

Political map of Isabela, Philippines
City/Municipality Income & Legal Classification District[16] Population
(2010)[17]
Area
(km²)[16]
Density
(per km²)
Mayor (2013-2016)
Cauayan City1
3rd class component city
3rd 122,335 336.40 363.7
Bernard Faustino L. Dy
Ilagan City2
3rd class component city (capital)
1st 135,174 1,166.26 115.9
Josemarie L. Diaz, DMD
Santiago City3
1st class independent component city
4th 132,804 255.50 519.8
Engr. Joseph S. Tan
Alicia
1st Class municipality
3rd 64,687 154.10 419.8
Ian Paul L. Dy
Angadanan
3rd Class municipality
3rd 40,143 204.40 196.4
Lourdes S. Panganiban
Aurora
3rd Class municipality
2nd 33,045 115.56 286
William T. Uy
Benito Soliven
4th Class municipality
2nd 27,337 184.40 148.2
Benjamin E. Sanglay
Burgos
4th Class municipality
2nd 22,521 73.10 308.1
Ruben A. Tegui
Cabagan
1st Class municipality
1st 45,732 430.40 106.3
Rodolfo B. Albano
Cabatuan
3rd Class municipality
3rd 37,299 72.00 518
Chariton L. Uy
Cordon
3rd Class municipality
4th 40,877 144.00 283.9
Laurencio P. Zuniega
Delfin Albano
4th Class municipality
1st 25,422 189.00 134.5
Thomas A. Pua Jr.
Dinapigue
1st Class municipality
4th 5,484 574.40 9.5
Reynaldo D. Derije
Divilacan
2nd Class municipality
1st 5,034 889.49 5.7
Bulan C. Bulan
Echague
1st Class municipality
4th 74,680 680.80 109.7
Melinda G. Kiat
Gamu
4th Class municipality
2nd 28,657 129.40 221.5
Nestor M. Uy
Jones
1st Class municipality
4th 44,218 670.14 66
Leticia T. Sebastian
Luna
5th Class municipality
3rd 18,091 45.70 395.9
Jaime N. Atayde
Maconacon
3rd Class municipality
1st 3,615 538.66 6.7
Ma. Lycelle Kate M. Domingo
Mallig
4th Class municipality
2nd 28,345 133.40 212.5
Pedro A. Flores
Naguilian
4th Class municipality
2nd 29,491 169.81 173.7
Edgar R. Capuchino
Palanan
1st Class municipality
1st 16,094 880.24 18.3
Angelo A. Bernardo
Quezon
4th Class municipality
2nd 24,522 189.90 129.1
Daryl G. Gascon
Quirino
4th Class municipality
2nd 22,285 126.20 176.6
Jossie Maria L. Juan
Ramon
2nd Class municipality
4th 49,812 135.17 368.5
Wilfredo L. Tabag
Reina Mercedes
4th Class municipality
3rd 23,497 57.14 411.2
Anthony P. Respicio
Roxas
1st Class municipality
2nd 57,699 184.80 312.2
Benedict C. Calderon
San Agustin
4th Class municipality
4th 21,797 278.40 78.3
Virgilio A. Padilla
San Guillermo
4th Class municipality
3rd 18,423 325.49 56.6
Marilou N. Sanchez
San Isidro
5th Class municipality
4th 22,758 71.90 316.5
Ray Socrates L. Velasco
San Manuel
4th Class municipality
2nd 30,407 112.77 269.6
Faustino Michael T. Dy III
San Mariano
1st Class municipality
2nd 51,438 1,469.50 35
Dean Anthony Domalanta
San Mateo
1st Class municipality
3rd 60,792 120.60 504.1
Crispina R. Agcaoili, MD
San Pablo
2nd Class municipality
1st 22,040 637.90 34.6
Antonio Jose T. Miro
Santa Maria
4th Class municipality
1st 22,939 140.00 163.9
Gilbert M. Masigan
Santo Tomas
4th Class municipality
1st 21,688 60.70 357.3
Leandro Antonio P. Talaue
Tumauini
1st Class municipality
1st 58,463 467.30 125.1
Arnold S. Bautista
1 Became a component city on March 30, 2001 under Republic Act 9017.
2 Became a component city on August 11, 2012 under Republic Act 10169.[18]
3 Became an independent component city on July 6, 1994 under Republic Act 7720.

The province has ten (10) first class municipalities, two (2) third class cities and one (1) first class independent component city. Ilagan City, which became a city 13 years after its failed cityhood proposal in 1998, it is now Luzon’s largest and the country’s fourth biggest city after Davao City, Puerto Princesa and Zamboanga City in terms of land area. The Municipality of San Mateo is the "munggo" capital, and the provincial government fully supports the municipality to become the Philippines' first agro-ecological city.[19]

Government[edit]

Members of the Isabela Provincial Council (2013-2016)
Position Name of Provincial Official
Provincial Governor Faustino G. Dy III
Provincial Vice Governor Antonio T. Albano
District Representatives Rep. Rodolfo T. Albano III (1st District)
Rep. Ana Cristina S. Go (2nd District)
Rep. Napoleon S. Dy (3rd District)
Rep. Giorgidi B. Aggabao (4th District and Santiago City)
Provincial Board Members Kiryll S. Bello (1st District)
Ric Justice E. Angobung (1st District)
Rolando L.Tugade (1st District)
Faustino U. Dy IV (2nd District)
Ed Christopher S. Go (2nd District)
Atty. Karen G. Abuan (3rd District)
Manuel A. Alejandro (3rd District)
Randolph Joseph P. Arreola (3rd District)
Alfredo V. Alili (4th District)
Abegail V. Sable (4th District)

Demographics[edit]

Population census of Isabela
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 1,080,341 —    
1995 1,160,721 +1.35%
2000 1,287,575 +2.25%
2007 1,401,495 +1.18%
2010 1,489,645 +2.24%
Source: National Statistics Office[3]

According to the 2010 Philippine Census, Isabela is the most populated province among the five provinces in Cagayan Valley (Region II). It has a population of 1,489,645 people and comprising 46 percent of the 3.2 million people in the region. At the national level, the province contributed 1.58 percent to the total population of 88.57 million. There were 254,928 households in the province in 2007.

For all ages, the sex ratio in Isabela was about 105 with 660,627 males and 626,948 females in the 2000 Census of Population and Housing (Census 2000). There are more males than females below 50 years old.

Ilokano are the most prominent group in Isabela. Of the total household population, 68.71 percent classified themselves as Ilokanos. The next two prominent groups (ethnic) are the Ybanag (14.05 percent) and Tagalog (10.02 percent). The remaining 7.22 percent are either Gaddang, Paranan, Yogad, or from other ethnic groups.

Major languages in Isabela are Ilokano followed by Ibanag, Yogad, Gaddang. People especially in the capital and commercial centers speak and understand English and Tagalog/Pilipino.

Economy[edit]

Magat Dam in the municipality of Ramon

The economy of Isabela is at the fulcrum of an ever increasing growth curve. In terms of income classification, it is rated as first-class province and considered among the richest and most progressive province in the Philippines and the most progressive in Region 02 courtesy of the three key cities strategically located in the province. The three cities and some towns in the province are showing signs of progress.

Trade and Industry[edit]

Strategically located at the center of Cagayan Valley region, Isabela is acknowledged to have demonstrated strengths in business and industry. Thus, it has come to be known as the “Regional Trade and Industrial Center” of north-eastern Luzon.

The cities of Cauayan and Santiago and the capital city of Ilagan are the principal commercial centers of Isabela. Metro Manila-based malls and fast food chains have recently opened in these key trading hubs. To date, 84 banking branches operate in the province, with most of the commercial banks providing automated teller machines for the convenience of their clients.

Since the start of 21st century, a growing number of foreign and local investors have selected Isabela as site of their business ventures. Heading the list are Isabela’s top three investors, namely: Mindanao Grains Processing Company, Inc. in Reina Mercedes, SN Aboitiz Power- Magat Inc. in Ramon.

Universal Leaf Philippines has built a tobacco processing plant in Reina Mercedes. The Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. subsidiary and San Miguel Corporation’s Cosmos division both operate bottling plant in Ilagan City, while RC Cola and Pepsi Cola have beverage operations in Cauayan City and Santiago City, respectively.

In the rice industry, substantial investments have been made by Valiant Rice Mills Corporation in San Mateo, Family Choice Grains Processing Center in Cabatuan, Golden Season Grains Center in Luna, Herco Agro Industries in Santiago City, JDT Silver Grains Center, New Cauayan Goldyluck Grains in Cauayan City and the La Suerte Rice Mill Corporation in San Manuel.

Retail giants SM and Robinsons have set up shops in the cities of Ilagan and Santiago and in the municipalities of Tumauini and Roxas with the opening Savemore and Robinsons Supermarket, respectively. They are located in Isabela’s new malls, Northstar Mall and Talavera Square Mall and Xentro Mall owned and operated by homegrown investors. Fast food chains such as Jollibee, McDonalds, Greenwich, Chowking, Mang Inasal, KFC, Goldilocks and Red Ribbon all have outlets in Isabela. Puregold, a large retail chain is currently operating two (2) supermarkets in Cauayan City, one (1) in Santiago City and one (1) in Roxas while Purefoods and B-Meg have set up their provincial office and plant in Santiago City and Echague, respectively.

SM Prime constructed its first SM Supermall in the province, the SM City Cauayan which opened on 30 May 2014. It is located in Cauayan City. The second largest mall operator in the Philippines, Robinsons Land, also opened its first mall in the region, Robinsons Place Santiago, in 2014.[20] It is located along National Highway, Mabini, Santiago City. The company is also set to construct their second mall in the province which will be in Cauayan City.

The “big three” oil companies- Shell, Petron and Chevron – have numerous gasoline stations in Isabela, as do new petroleum industry players Total, Eastern Petroleum, Flying V and SEAOIL Philippines. Land transportation operators Victory Liner, Baliwag Transit, Five Star Bus Company, Dagupan Bus Company Inc., Dalin Liner, GV Florida Transport and Nelbusco have terminals and depots in the province.

Leading car, motorcycle and truck manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi Motors, Isuzu Motors, Kia Motors, Nissan, Ford, Chevrolet, Suzuki, Hyundai, Foton, Peugeot, MAN SE, Yamaha and many other companies entered the province over the past years.

Telecom firms Globe, PLDT/Smart and Digitel/ Sun Cellular operate cellular sites and fixed telephony facilities throughout Isabela.

Big real estate developers like Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. entered the province with the opening of Camella Isabela and Camella Santiago both in Santiago City. The company is also set to launch its newest project, the Camella Cauayan in Cauayan City.

The province of Isabela is the richest in Cagayan Valley. It is also the Top 10 Richest Province in the Philippines last 2011, being the only province of Northern Luzon to be included in the list.[21]

Agriculture[edit]

Agriculture is the biggest industry in Isabela. As the country’s top corn producing province, it contributes 21% of the annual national yellow corn production. Asia’s largest post-harvest corn processing facility, the Mindanao Grains, is located in the town of Reina Mercedes.

As second highest rice-growing province nationwide, Isabela produces 15% of the aggregate national rice production on an annual basis. Being a surplus producer of the Filipinos’ staple crop, the province’s rice sufficiency rate is at 224%, which means that Isabeliños produce more than they consume and are in fact responsible for supplying the rice requirements of Metro Manila and many other provinces. The unprecedented increase in palay production of Isabela made the province the "Hybrid Rice Champion" of the Philippines.

High-value agricultural crops grown in Isabela include monggo, tobacco, coffee, banana, and mango. Its livestock and poultry industries are also on the rise, especially dairy processing, hog production, cattle breeding, and commercial poultry raising.

Farming is highly mechanized as most of the agricultural lands are irrigated. With the presence of the Isabela State University, joint ventures and other foreign assisted projects and the Magat Dam contribute to the high productivity in agriculture. It is also the hub of trade and commerce and other economic activities due to its central location in the region. The wood industry used to be a top earner for the province but due to the logging ban imposed in the Cagayan Valley Region, activities in this industry considerably declined. However, furniture making using narra wood and other indigenous forest materials continue to exist.

Isabela is one of the most progressive provinces of the Philippines having been adjudged as the most outstanding province on food security in the Gawad Sapat Ani Awards 2000. For corn production, Isabela ranks first among the top ten corn producing provinces for cy 2004, contributing 15.70% to national production. On 2013, the Department of Agriculture declared Isabela as the "Best Corn-Quality awardee".[22] Ilagan City was tagged as the "Corn Capital of the Philippines" for being the biggest corn producer among the 34 municipalities and 2 cities of the province as well as in the whole country.

Forestland[edit]

Forestland covers 54.37% or 579,819 hectares of Isabela's total land area of which 62% is protected forest and 38% is production forest. The best quality of timber resources in the Philippines are found in Isabela's forest. Isabela's vast forest resources are now being ecologically manage to effect sustainable forest-based resource not only for the wood working industry but to secure a balanced ecosystem. Some 54% of the province`s total area is covered by forestland, of which 62% is part of the protected area while 38% is designated as production forest. The woodwork industry continues to operate under a regulated system, particularly the making furniture using indigenous materials.

Fisheries[edit]

Isabela's coast in Divilacan

Potential investments in fisheries are being developed by the government and other private business entities. Isabela has a fertile fishing ground on the Pacific Coast. The reservoir of the Magat Dam is utilized for fish cage operations for tilapia production for domestic markets. Another thriving industry in Isabela is aquaculture, sustained by inland fishing through 1,108 hectares of developed freshwater fishponds and 450 hectares of fish cage culture at Magat Dam Reservoir. Rich marine resources could be found in Coastal Isabela’s seaboard municipalities of Maconacon, Divilacan, Palanan, and Dinapigue.

Airports and sea ports[edit]

There are three airports in the province. The Cauayan Airport is the primary airport in the province serving a trip to Manila and Tuguegarao. The other two are the Palanan Airport in Palanan and Maconacon Airport in Maconacon. The country’s leading passenger airline Cebu Pacific services the Cauayan-Manila-Cauayan Route. Light planes operated by Cyclone Airways and WCC Aviation’s Sky Pasada Have flights from Cauayan Domestic Airport to the community airports in Palanan and Maconacon. The province has two minor seaports, the Divilacan Port and Palanan Port in the coastal towns of Divilacan and Palanan. The trade going to the ports come primarily from major seaports in Cagayan such as Port of Aparri in Aparri, Cagayan, and Port of San Vicente and Port Irene, both in Santa Ana, Cagayan.

Mineral and energy[edit]

Large deposits of copper, gold, zinc & chromite, manganese and nickel have been found in Isabela. It also has extensive deposits of non-metallic minerals such as limestone, clay, marbles, guano, sand & gravel, and boulders. Indigenous energy sources such as natural gas and hydroelectric capabilities have been found to be abundant in the valley. Many of its mineral reserves have yet to be fully tapped.

Tourism[edit]

In recent years, tourism has become an income-generating industry for Isabela. New hotels and resorts have opened, mostly in the cities of Ilagan, Cauayan, Santiago, and the towns of Tumauini, Gamu, Roxas, Alicia, Ramon, San Mariano and Cordon. Top tourist attractions are the centuries-old churches; Magat Dam Tourism Complex, which houses Southeast Asia’s biggest dam; Santa Victoria Caves, Pinzal Falls and Ilagan Sanctuary at Fuyo National Park; the white sand beaches in the coastal municipalities of Maconacon, Divilacan, Palanan, Dinapigue and islands of Coastal Isabela; the world’s biggest wooden lounge chair or butaka in Ilagan City; and various festival and fiestas, most famous of which is the Bambanti Festival annually celebrated every February, and the commemoration of the birth of the province during Isabela Day every May.

Places of Interest[edit]

Tourist Attraction Location
Sierra Madre Natural Forest Park Eastern Coast of Isabela
Maconacon Falls Maconacon, Isabela
Hanging Bridge Maconacon, Isabela
White Sand Beaches -Typical of coastal areas along the Sierra Madre Mountains of Cagayan Valley. coastal towns of Dinapigue, Palanan, Divilacan
Dibulo Falls Dinapigue, Isabela
Dinapigue Sea Wall Dinapigue, Isabela
Bonsai Park Dinapigue, Isabela
Waterworld Grand Resort Ramon, Isabela
Magat High Rise Dam - Asia’s biggest dam project at the time of its construction. It serves the primary function of power generation and irrigation. Its reservoir area of 4,450 hectares has a great potential for water-based recreation like fishing, boating and water skiing, among others. Ramon, Isabela
Camp Vizcarra Ramon, Isabela
Balai na Ilagan Ilagan City
Queen Isabela II Monument and Park (infront of the Isabela Provincial Capitol in Ilagan City)
Pinzal Falls Ilagan City
Abuan River Ilagan City
Ilagan Sanctuary Ilagan City
Sta. Victoria Caves Ilagan City
World's Largest Butaka - It is 11 feet 4 inches high, 20 feet 8 inches long, and 9 feet 7 inches wide. It weighs 2,368 kilos and was constructed by 25 workers in 29 days. Ilagan City
Desert Island Divilacan, Isabela
Water Impounding Dam Roxas, Isabela
Borubor Falls Roxas, Isabela
Honeymoon Island Divilacan, Isabela
La Salette Shrine - located in Balintocatoc Hills, contains life-sized statues of religious icons. Santiago City
Obelisk Jones, Isabela
Dimanek Falls Located near boundary ridge between Palanan and San Mariano, Isabela
Crocodile Watching (Crocodylus Mindorensis) San Mariano
Aguinaldo Shrine -Historic Capture and Heroism of General Emilio Aguinaldo Palanan, Isabela
Dilaknadanum is the home Agta people, another minorities on the coast of Isabela. Such a beautiful place, with forest, beaches, rivers and small farmsteads uprivers. Palanan, Isabela
Dicotcotan Beach Palanan, Isabela
Sta. Maria Triangular Park Sta. Maria, Isabela
Mororan Tumauini, Isabela
Camp Samal -"haven of scouts" Tumauini, Isabala
Sinavulluan Caves Tumauini, Isabela
Villa Diana Resort Cordon, Isabela
Punta Amelita Resort Cordon, Isabela

Churches[edit]

  • Saint Rose of Lima Church in Gamu is famous for its Spanish architectural design. Built in 1726 during the Spanish time, the church façade was made of layered bricks and stones dating back during the 17th century and considered a pilgrimage church because of its antiquity. The feast of their patron, Saint Rose of Lima is celebrated every 23 August.
  • Shrine of Our Lady of the Visitation of Guibang in Gamu is located along the national highway frequented by travelers passing the Maharlika Highway. It is now as famous as the Guibang Basilica Minore because it also comes alive on July of every year when religious pilgrims from all walks of life come to offer prayers of good health, peace and abundance, among many other intentions. The image of the Our Lady of the Visitation was canonically crowned by the Most Rev. Carmine Pocco, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines on May 26, 1973 at the former St. Ferdinand Cathedral (now St. Ferdinand Parish Church in Ilagan City, Isabela. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines at its 52nd Annual Bishop’s Meeting held in Tagaytay City in January 24–26, 1986 have approved the petition of His Excellency, the late Most Rev. Miguel Purugganan, former Bishop of the Diocese of Ilagan for the Church of Our Lady of the Visitation of Guibang to be called a National Shrine.
  • Parish Church of St. Mathias in Tumauini. Work on the church started in 1783. It has been faithfully restored after being damaged during World War II and is acknowledged as the most artistic brick structure in the Philippines. The cylindrical bell tower is the only one of its kind in the country.
  • Our Lady of the Pillar Church (Cauayan City)
  • San Pablo Church in San Pablo, the oldest town of Isabela founded by Padre de Santo Tomas on Nov. 30, 1646, or about 210 years before Isabela was made a province. Its six-level bell tower including the circular apex is made of adobe. It is said to be the oldest in Isabela and the tallest in Cagayan Valley.
  • Our Lady of Atocha in Alicia, Isabela. The church and convent as seen today in the town of Alicia, beautiful and solid, was built by Fr. Tomas Calderon, OP and inaugurated in 1849, with Fr. Francisco Gainza, OP, then vicar of Carig (now Santiago City). Famous for their antique Spanish architectural designs, these churches are found along the national highway and are accessible by land transport.
  • St. James Parish Church (Santiago City)
  • St. Clare Monastery (Gamu)
  • Cathedral of Saint Michael the Archangel (Gamu)
  • St. Ferdinand Parish Church (Ilagan City)
  • Our Lady of La Salette Church (Roxas)

Festivals

Festival City/Town
Bambanti Festival - Honoring the bountiful harvest of the province and its emerging agro-industrial prowess, Isabela celebrates the Bambanti (Scarecrow) Festival. The festivity showcases the scarecrow dancing spectacles and agricultural booths. The municipalities and cities exhibit their respective culture, beliefs, traditions, origins and products. Annually, the event can drew at least 250,000 crowds all over the Cagayan Valley Region, the biggest in the history of annual festivities in the region. It has become Isabela’s showcase of its rich cultural heritage and pristine natural beauty that made this province as the socio-cultural hub of the north. Bambanti" is an iluko word for scarecrow. It is known to be a truly world class celebration in the valley. Province of Isabela
Isabela Day - Anniversary of the establishment of the civil government of Isabela in honor of Queen Isabela II. It is noted for being the grandest and most awaited celebration not only in the valley but also in Northern Luzon as well. Activities like agro-industrial trade and tourism fairs, parades, sports events are conducted to entertain visitors. Also, one of the highlights of the celebration is the most prestigious of its kind in the country, the Miss Isabela which is an extravagant, colorful pageant featuring the candidates from each town/city of the province who exemplify Isabela’s youth and vibrancy. A grand fusion of fashion, music and dance with particular focus on Isabela’s tourism attractions and its leader. Province of Isabela
Pattaraday Festival - Pattaraday which means unity is an Ybanag word, it is celebrated on the occasion of the founding anniversary of Santiago. It celebrates the unity of the ethno-linguistic groups that have merged in the city to make it the melting pot of culture of Region 02 and contributed to the city’s progress and development-unity in action. Highlighted with the presentation of the Comedia – a moro-moro dance made famous by the Spaniards to stress the power of Christian Religion over the Moorish non-believers; other activities include beauty pageant, grand batalla presentations and a grand street dancing parade and exhibition with performers from other cities, provinces and regions. Santiago City
Pansi Festival - "Pansi" is an Ybanag word for "pansit", a noodle dish topped with chopped "karahay" or "lechon kawali" in Tagalog. The town became noted for its famous local product which is the "Pansit Cabagan". Pansi Festival is the official festivity of the municipality of Cabagan. Cabagan
Pinilisa Festival Jones
Balatong (Munggo/ Mung bean) Festival - In San Mateo, mungo beans are not just a rich source of protein. It is also so packed with economic potential that it is referred to as “black gold”. For a town bent on maximizing the development potentials of its resources, the Balatong Festival draws attention to yet another product. In previous years, the annual town fiesta promoted duck-related products during the Pato Festival. San Mateo
Pagay Festival - The "Pagay Festival" is held annually every September 28 in conjunction with the founding anniversary of the town of Alicia. It used to be called Alicia Town Festival, but was redefined and renamed to Pagay Festival in 2010 by Mayor Cecilia Claire N. Reyes. The festival aims to uphold the town's cultural identity and heritage and to promote the municipality’s primary agricultural product called, pagay (Ilocano word for rice)- the municipality’s major livelihood economy and trade mark. The festival is widely participated by the community which features various competitions (e.g., rice planting, harvesting, and cooking among others), street dance showdown, beauty pageant (Mutya ng Alicia), battle of the bands, and exhibits. However, the Pagay Parade is the main highlight of the festival that features decorated carabaos, various rice crop floats, and people marching with colorful costumes which attracts tourists and visitors. Alicia
Kankanen Festival - Cabatuan is also the home of the luscious Kankanen Festival, a showcase of native delicacies made of glutinous rice. Mayor Alma Dayrit and the Rural Improvement Club started this annual tradition in 2003 and done on the Foundation Day rites of every year. Cabatuan
Binnadangan Festival - A yearly celebration of Pagay Festival (Palay Festival) held every July 4. The Festival was popularly known as the Araw ng Roxas Celebration but it was declared formally as Pagay Festival during the reign of Mayor Benedict Calderon. It is celebrated because of the rich agricultural bounty of Roxas, being one of the towns that produce large stocks of rice. The festival features a Parade comprises mostly by Politicians and participating schools from different parts of Roxas, kuliglig contest and cooking of the biggest rice cake that was also featured in the national television. Major events include a Street Dance Competition from different schools and Palarong Bayan. Due to a conflict in the name of the festival, by which the town of Alicia, Isabela celebrates the same. It was changed to Binnadangan Festival by former Mayor Harry Soller. The Binnadangan comes from an Ilocano word meaning Bayanihan and was also derived from the former name of the town during the 1600s. The festival ends with a long Pyromusical. Roxas
Dikit Festival - Known for being an agricultural municipality, the Municipality of Aurora annually celebrates its Dikit Festival every 28th to 30th of April. Dikit is an Ilokano term meaning glutinous rice. The festival is celebrated to showcase this mouth-watering delicacy and its by-products which are bibingka, muriecos, inangit, tupig, kalamay and tinudok, among others. Farmers in Aurora plant this glutinous rice served to guests during special occasions. Aurora
Nateng Festival Mallig
Gakit Festival - The Gakit Festival is an annual festival held at the Cagayan River. Participants of the festival offer fruits, vegetables, poultry, and livestock as thanksgiving for their abundant bounty. The practice also reminds Angadanians of their tradition of planting crops and raising poultry in their own backyards for their own consumption. The Gakit Festival also aims to show Angadanians that progress can only be achieved if they are united as one. A key detail of the Gakit Festival is the hand-made bamboo rafts which are used by the participants of the Festival. Each bamboo pole, if alone, has no value. It cannot float reliably on a river nor can it be used to transport anything. But if many bamboo poles are tied together as one, it can be made into a raft which can float and sail on calm or rough waters while transporting people and products. Angadanan
Nuang Festival - Despite the introduction of mechanized agriculture, the carabao (Bubalus Bubalis Carabanesis) remains a farmer’s indispensable helpmate in the fields. This beast of burden is honoured in the Nuang Festival of San Agustin as are the products the carabao enables farmers to produce. The town boasts of over 300 heads and farmers bring them over to the poblacion (town center) for the festival. To get the cattle there, they either guide the animals onto the ferry and keep them quiet for the short river crossing or find the shallowest point of the river, take off their clothes then lead them across. San Agustin the town supplies carabao milk to other towns where carabao milk candy is produced. The festival also serves as a venue for promoting other major products such as corn (Zea mays) and bananas (Musa paradisiaca L.). San Agustin
Gawagaway-yan Festival - The City Fiesta and the Feast of Our lady of the Pillar are celebrated annually on April 10-13 and October 10-12 respectively. Since its conversion into a component city on March 30, 2001, the City Government started to celebrate its founding anniversary with the conduct of “Gawagaway-yan Festival aimed to preserve the rich cultural heritage of the city. It is highlighted by street dancing, beauty contest, trade fair, cultural parade, parlor games, free concert, band exhibition and other variety shows performed by local and Manila-based talents as well. Cauayan City
Mangi Festival - Aside from its exquisite church, one of the most enduring legacies of the Spanish colonial era lives on, quite literally in Tumauini, corn(Zea mays). It was one of the plants that came aboard the galleons and became one of the primary crops of the Philippines. It is interesting to note that corn seems to have transcended being a mere crop in Tumauini. The late National Artist for Dance, Ramon Obusan traced the origins of a traditional dance inspired by the crop to Tumauini. Thus, a corn inspired festival seemed especially appropriate for Tumauini. Tumauini
Baka Festival - A survey revealing quite number of ranches in San Pablo led to the establishment of the Baka Festival. Held on January 15 it is expected not only to be the highlight of future patronal fiestas of San Pablo but also to sustain efforts to promote the local cattle industry and the products that have been developed since a convergence project was located in the municipality. The festival is a fine time to see cowboys of San Pablo display skills that are reminiscent of the American Wild West. San Pablo
Mammangui Festival - It is a celebration or rather called by Ilagueño farmers as a thanksgiving activity for a bountiful harvest. "Mammangui" is an Ybanag word which means to harvest "corn", which is the primary crop in the city of Ilagan, the "Corn Capital of the Philippines". Since the assumption in office of Mayor Josemarie L. Diaz, Mammangui Festival was proclaimed as the official festivity of Ilagan. During the celebration, different activities such as parlor games, cultural and trade fairs, colorful street dance, cook fest, sports events, cheerdance competitions, float parade and many others are conducted by the city government to showcase the past to present day transition of Ilagan's rich tradition and cultural heritage. Highlights of the celebration are the annual beauty pageants namely Little Miss Mammangui, Miss Gay Mammangui and the Miss Mammangui, which is one of the most prestigious of its kind in the valley and a free concert featuring local celebrities. It is annually celebrated every 29th-31st of May. Ilagan City
Binallay Festival - Ilagueños have made the binallay a symbol of the noble characteristics they aspire to have as individuals and as a community. These include being masipag (hardworking), matiyaga (patient), matalino (intelligent), and makadiyos (God fearing). According to them, they are patient because the process of preparing binallay is tedious and involves steaming the rice cake twice, hardworking because it is difficult to prepare the rice cake (the glutinous grains are ground the traditional way, with a stone mill), intelligent because it requires a special technique to peel the wrapper off so that none of the cake is wasted and God fearing because it is a delicacy associated with the Holy Week. They regard the white cake as a representation of the body of Christ and the laro as his blood. As part of their penitence during Holy Week, binallay is the only food that Ilagueños eat. It is a rice cake that holds a special significance in the collective psche of Ilagueños, their religious life and their culinary heritage. Not surprisingly, they have named their town festival after it. Every May, their signature product takes center stage twice, once during the festival itself and during the Isabela Day celebrations earlier in the month when it usually has a wider audience. Ilagan City
Sabutan Festival - In March, Palanan holds the Sabutan Festival. It is named after the local name for pandan (Pandanus tectorius) which is plentiful in the town. The people of Palanan are fine craftsmen who weave dyed and natural colored strips into a variety of bags, hats, and placemats, among other items that have both traditional and contemporary designs. For the festival, the sabutan products are not only sold, these are also used as a theme and are fashioned into costumes and décor. Palanan

Notable residents[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  2. ^ U.S. Corps of Engineers (1953). "Ilagan (topography map)". University of Texas in Austin Library. Retrieved on 2014-09-28.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Isabela, top producer of corn". Bureau of Agricultural Statistics. Department of Agriculture (Philippines). Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Brief History of Isabela". Fly Philippines. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Act No. 210, passed August 24, 1901.
  7. ^ Republic of the Philippines, Commission on Elections (26 May 1995). "Resolution No. 2796 .". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Robles, Chan. "REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7891 - AN ACT DIVIDING THE PROVINCE OF ISABELA INTO TWO PROVINCES NAMELY: ISABELA DEL NORTE AND ISABELA DEL SUR". Philippine Laws, Statutes & Codes, and Republic Acts. Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Catindig, Raymund (February 28, 2011). "Marcos Mania still alive in Isabela 25 years after EDSA". Valley Journal News Online. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Isabela's Ilagan now a component city Philippine Star. Retrieved 08-15-2012
  11. ^ Ilagan now 4th city in Cagayan Valley Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 08-15-2012
  12. ^ [ILAGAN KICKS OFF CITYHOOD BID http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/368552/ilagan-kicks-off-cityhood-bid] Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 08-11-2012
  13. ^ gmanews.tv/story, Isabela gov sees big job ahead vs illegal logging
  14. ^ iWitness: Si GOB at ang mga BUGADOR, 08/25/2008
  15. ^ "Mount Cresta, Divilacan, Cagayan Valley, Philippines". Google Maps. Retrieved on 2014-09-28.
  16. ^ a b "Province: ISABELA". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  18. ^ Ilagan cityhood gets Senate nod Philippine Star. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  19. ^ More than ‘munggo’: Isabela’s San Mateo is an agro-ecological city in the making , Business Mirror, July 06, 2013. Retrieved July 08, 2013
  20. ^ "Robinsons Place Santiago Grand Opening Invitation". Flickr. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  21. ^ Top 10 Highest earning Philippine province Nobert Bermosa website. Retrieved 06-17-2012.
  22. ^ "P3-M premyo ng Isabela bilang Best Corn Quality Awardee". Bombo Radyo. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  23. ^ Cleland, James E. (2008). "The Silent Sentinel", pg. 43. AuthorHouse, Bloomington, IN. ISBN 978-1-4343-5968-1.

24. http://provinceofisabela.ph Official Website of the Province of Isabela. Retrieved October 3, 2014

25. http://www.tourism.gov.ph/sitepages/FestivitiesList.aspx?festivityCode=292&monthCode=05. Retrieved October 8, 2014

26. http://www.philstar.com/nation/2014/02/01/1285254/isabelas-bambanti-festival-lures-thousands Bambanti Festival. Retrieved October 8, 2014

27. http://provinceofisabela.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=168&catid=95. Retrieved October 8, 2014

28. http://provinceofisabela.ph/index.php/tourism/festivals?showall=&limitstart=. Retrieved October 8, 2014

29. http://www.rogerswebpoint.com/historyofcabatuan.htm Retrieved October 08, 2014

30. http://www.spcicdtourism.com/#!festival/ccp2 Retrieved October 10, 2014

External links[edit]