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Santiago (Philippine city)

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This article is about a city in Northeastern Luzon. For the municipality in Agusan del Norte, see Santiago, Agusan del Norte. For the municipality in Ilocos Sur, see Santiago, Ilocos Sur. For other uses, see Santiago (disambiguation).
Independent Component City
Santiago City
Lungsod ng Santiago (Tagalog)
Santiago Isabela 4.jpg
Official seal of Santiago
Trading, Commercial, and Financial Center of Cagayan Valley
Investment Hub of the Northern Philippines
Queen City of the North
Map of Isabela highlighting the location of Santiago
Map of Isabela highlighting the location of Santiago
Santiago is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 16°41′N 121°33′E / 16.683°N 121.550°E / 16.683; 121.550Coordinates: 16°41′N 121°33′E / 16.683°N 121.550°E / 16.683; 121.550
Country Philippines
Region Cagayan Valley (Region II)
Province Isabela (geographically only)
District 4th District of Isabela and Santiago City
Founded May 1858
Cityhood July 6, 1994
Barangays 37
 • Mayor Joseph Salvador Tan
 • Total 275.50 km2 (106.37 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 132,804
 • Density 480/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Santiagueños
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 3311
Dialing code 78
• Income Increase PHP 1.068 billion (2014)
• Expenses Decrease PHP 763.89 million (2014)
• Assets Increase PHP 3.590 billion (2014)
Income class 1st class

Santiago, officially Santiago City (Filipino: Lungsod ng Santiago), is an independent component city located between southwestern part of Isabela and northwestern boundary of Quirino in Northeastern Luzon island of the Philippines.[4] It is the gateway to the vast plains of Cagayan Valley. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 132,804 people.[3]

Santiago is situated 326 kilometres (203 mi) north of Metro Manila. The city sits on a vast area of predominantly flat and fertile land in the Cagayan Valley, surrounded by the Caraballo Mountains to the south, the Great Sierra Madre to the east and the Cordillera Mountain Range to the west.

Though geographically located within the boundaries of the province of Isabela, Santiago City is administratively and legally independent from the province as stated in Section 25 of the LGC.[5]


The origin of Santiago City can be drawn from the first native settlement discovered by the early Spanish missionaries at the bank of the old Carig River (now Diadi River) from which its original name, Carig, was derived. The early inhabitants were the Gaddangs and the Ibanags. When the Spanish settled in, the city was named Pueblo of Santiago Apostol de Carig, with Santiago as the Spanish name of Saint James the Apostle. In the early 1950s, the Municipal President Vicente Carreon changed the name to simply Santiago. Santiago remained a municipality for 84 years.

Santiago was originally a part of the province Cagayan (comprising the whole Cagayan Valley region), which was reorganized as a political subdivision in 1583 with Nueva Segovia as its capital. On May 1, 1856, when the Province of Isabela was carved out by a Royal Decree, Santiago was among the towns relinquished to the newly created province. The first five barrios after the Cadastral survey in 1927 were Patul, Batal, Nabbuan, Buenavista and Dubinan.

It was said that there were only about three Filipino-owned sari-sari stores in Santiago in 1917. The settlers acquired most of their merchandise and other provisions from Chinese traders in Echague, the landing zone for products intended for Santiago and other towns, owing to its proximity to the Cagayan River.

It was when the Villa-Verde Trail was opened when things were set in motion. It facilitated the entry of immigrants from various provinces in Luzon to the Cagayan Valley and Santiago absorbed a sizable share of these travelers. The new route served as an impetus for growth and introduced new technologies and business opportunities, and made Santiago a melting pot of different cultures.

In 1942 during World War II, the Japanese forces entered and occupied the town of Santiago. In 1945, the town was liberated by the Filipino soldiers of the 1st, 2nd, 11th, 12th, 13th and 15th Infantry Division and the USAFIP-NL 11th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the 1st Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary and the recognized guerrilla fighter units.

Santiago survived through world wars, although badly damaged, and from then on developed to become the leading trading and commercial city in Cagayan Valley.


On December 17, 1993, the bill converting Santiago into an independent component city was approved by the Lower House spearheaded by the former Mayor Pempe Miranda. On the following year, the Senate Committee on Local Government approved another public hearing dated February 23, 1994.

On May 5, 1994, by virtue or Republic Act 7720 signed by President Fidel V. Ramos, Santiago was pronounced as an independent component city, the first in the Cagayan Valley Region. This made Santiago self-governing and independent from the province of Isabela. Republic Act 8528 repealed this statute transforming it to a component city. It was not until December 29, 1999, when the Supreme Court contested the validity of the latter decision and favored Santiago to be once again an independent component city.

Awards and Recognition[edit]

In 2015, Santiago was given a Presidential Award for the Most Child-Friendly City for the Independent Component Cities category under the administration of Mayor Joseph Salvador Tan. Also, the city is Hall of Fame awardee for winning the Red Orchid Awards—a recognition from the Department of Health for the strict enforcement of tobacco control measures—for three years in a row.


The total land area the city is 80% flat or nearly level land in the portions of northwestern, eastern and western parts of the city. While adjacent areas have gently undulating and moderately rolling areas, and the remaining areas constitutes steeply undulating and rolling lands. The Balintocatoc Hills is the highest point in the city.

The geographic coordinate of the city lies between 16º35’00” to 16º47’30” north latitude and 121º25’00” to 121º37’00” east longitude.


The city has a climate with no pronounced wet or dry season. Usually, the city has considerably dry climate with minimum rainfall. The average yearly temperature is measured at 24.9 °C (76.8 °F). Annual and daily temperature variation is minimal. Temperature ranges are usually from 18 to 35 °C (64 to 95 °F).

Climate data for Santiago
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 27
Average low °C (°F) 20
Average rainfall mm (inches) 162
Average rainy days 14 12 11 11 16 19 16 14 16 18 18 15 180
Source: World Weather Online[6]


Population Census of Santiago City
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 90,787 —    
1995 98,542 +1.55%
2000 110,531 +2.49%
2007 126,244 +1.85%
2010 132,804 +1.86%
Source: National Statistics Office[3][7]


The dominant religion in the city is Roman Catholic (Saint James the Apostle Parish in Barangay Centro West and Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Barangay Rizal). However, other Christian sectors are also present in Santiago such as Iglesia ni Cristo, United Methodist Church, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Being a hurried district full of different cultures, such as Indians, Muslim, and Chinese, several religious groups have also opened their places of worship to the public, such as Chinese Temple, the Muslim Mosque, and the Sikh Temple.


Robinsons Place Santiago as of January 18, 2014

Home of several business enterprises, banking institutions, educational entities, as well as manufacturing companies, Santiago City is considered the Commercial and Trading Center of Cagayan Valley and tagged as the Investment Hub of the North.[8]

Robinsons Land Corporation has recently launched Robinsons Place Santiago as its pioneer mall in Cagayan Valley. Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. entered Cagayan Valley by building Camella Isabela. It has recently launched another project named as Camella Santiago. The head-office of Grupo Marilens, the largest homegrown corporation in the region, is in Santiago City. Three of the biggest TV networks in the country (i.e.ABS-CBN, GMA7, TV5) stationed their regional networks in the city. San Miguel Corp., Pepsi Cola, Purefoods, Digitel and PLDT also operate in the city while different car companies abound(i.e. Mitsubishi, Nissan, Suzuki, Hyundai, KIA, Ford, Chevrolet, Peugeot, Foton and other car companies as well as Yamaha and Honda Motors). The National Food Authority competes with local traders to stabilize prices.

Santiago City houses some of the biggest hospitals in the region. The University of La Salette Hospital is said to be the biggest having a capacity of at least 350 beds. De Vera's Medical Center, Callang General Hospital and Medical Center and Santiago Adventist Hospital are also equally equipped private hospitals. The Southern Isabela General Hospital and Flores Memorial Hospital are now considered medical centers.

Despite rapid industrialization, agriculture is still the untoppled source of livelihood. The main crops are rice, corn, high value fruits and vegetables. The city is where imposing grain stations can be found. Rice mills abound. It is the pivotal place for crops where harvests from Ifugao, Kalinga, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, and parts of Isabela are transported either to Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Pangasinan or Batangas. In addition to the city's product is muscovado sugar which the local government has been promoting for export.

Family Plaza Mall (Before Puregold Santiago)

During the Miranda Flagship, the city Government adopted the parental AxR Hybrid rice seed production as its flagship program for agriculture, which produces the offspring F1 Hybrid rice seed. This rice variety makes phenomenal yield of 249 per ha. doubling the income of Santiago City farmers per cropping, and is expected to bring Santiago City over 2 billion in income and also additional taxes of 17 million and the national government of 33 million per year.

After the previous leadership, The Navarro Administration added more life in culture and strengthen the livelihood of the people. The Navarros' spearheaded a unique program for farmers in planting on mid-summer and harvest by early September side-by-side in focusing on high-value fruits.

Central Business Districts[edit]

Santiago City has the widest and most well-kept business district in Cagayan Valley. Its public market of more than 6 hectares is one of the biggest distribution centers in the Philippines. In terms of cleared checks at the clearinghouse, the volume of transactions in the city is among the top five in the country. At present, there are about 5,300 registered business establishments in the city while new business permits have been issued to investors from as far as Manila. The city has 40 banks, the most-numbered in the region. The Santiago City Government has installed more than 50 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in strategic areas to monitor public safety and traffic flow in the city. Also, the installations of sodium-vapor and solar-powered streetlights were made to illuminate the roads and prevent accidents (e.g. vehicular accidents) and help lessen the crime rate or the proliferation of criminals especially at night.

1. Pan-Philippine Highway (Maharlika Highway) - the main Central Business District of the city, where midrise buildings used for commercial establishments such as banks, hotels, educational institutions, among others are found. This stretches from Toyota Isabela in Sinsayon to Colby City in Batal.

2. L.C. Barrera and Panganiban Streets - dubbed as the old downtown of Santiago. These intersecting streets are the arterial roads for the Old Public Market distinguished by the Skylight roofing system and organized gate entrances.

3. Camacam Street/Santiago-Saguday Road - where the New Public Market is found distinguished by the modern three-level Arcades 1 and 2. This road leads to the cemeteries, to Balintocatoc Hills where an eco-tourism area is being developed, and to Mangosteen Natural Gas Project.

4. R.C. Miranda Road (City Road) - parallels the Maharlika Highway. Banking institutions, car and motorcycle showrooms, hospitals, hotels, and places of worships thrive here. This stretches from Dubinan East to Calao East.

5. Mabini Circle - this area is considered the shopping and entertainment district of the city. Car companies, shopping malls (i.e. M1 Mall, Robinsons Place Santiago), hotels, and nightclubs are found here.

6. M.T. Alvarez Avenue (Fourlanes) - where the multi-million Integrated Transport Terminal and Commercial Complex is found. Satellite and regional offices of government agencies are concentrated here. Different establishments can likewise be found here such as the Xentro Mall and SM Savemore Market. This road also leads to Camella Isabela and the area where the city airport terminal is set to be built.

7. Patul Road/Santiago-Diffun Road - where different service-oriented establishments and numerous housing subdivisions are located. Gasoline stations, restaurants, as well as a hospital are found here.

8. Santiago-Tuguegarao Road - stretches from San Andres to Rizal. The City Hall, gas stations, hotels (i.e. Charina's, Monte Carlo, Diocitas, Gatioan), places of worship, mini market, and recreation centers are located here.

Local government[edit]

The city is governed by a mayor-council system. There are 10 City Councilors. The council is the official government body of the city, also known as Sanguniang Panglungsod. Council agenda is presided by the City Vice Mayor. However, being an independent-component city with its own charter, it is not subject to the jurisdiction of Isabela province, of which it is geographically a part. No native was ever elected mayor of Santiago since the Philippine became a Commonwealth and Republic.

List of the current elected officials:[1]

  • Mayor Joseph Salvador Tan
  • Vice-Mayor Marcelino Cabucana, Jr.
  • Sangguniang Panglungsod Members
    • Coun. Arlene Alvarez-Reyes
    • Coun. Celine Abaya-Siquian
    • Coun. Wolfrando Lugod
    • Coun. Vinchy Aggabao
    • Coun. Aisen Faith Marrero
    • Coun. Nicasio Bautista III
    • Coun. Kathrina Sable
    • Coun. Hex Alvarez
    • Coun. Andong Dirige
    • Coun. Brenda Ragsac-Luna


Santiago City is politically subdivided into 37 barangays.[2]

  • Abra (rural)
  • Ambalatungan (rural)
  • Balintocatoc (rural)
  • Baluarte (rural)
  • Bannawag Norte (rural)
  • Batal (urban)
  • Buenavista (urban)
  • Cabulay (rural)
  • Calao East (Pob.)
  • Calao West (Pob.)
  • Calaocan (urban)
  • Centro East (Pob.)
  • Centro West (Pob.)
  • Divisoria (rural)
  • Dubinan East (Pob.)
  • Dubinan West (Pob.)
  • General Malvar (Pob.)
  • Luna (rural)
  • Mabini (Pob.)
  • Nabbuan (rural)
  • Naggasican (rural)
  • Patul (urban)
  • Plaridel (Pob. & urban)
  • Rizal (urban)
  • Rosario (urban)
  • Sagana (rural)
  • Salvador (rural)
  • San Andres (urban)
  • San Isidro (rural)
  • San Jose (rural)
  • Santa Rosa (rural)
  • Sinili (rural)
  • Sinsayon (urban)
  • Victory Norte (Pob.)
  • Victory Sur (Pob.)
  • Villa Gonzaga (rural)
  • Villasis (Pob.)

Culture and Tourism[edit]

Town center

Majority of the population speaks Tagalog and Ilocano. English is the medium of instruction in schools and is generally understood and spoken especially in the business community.

Tourism is a new industry in the city. Serving as the jump-off point in Northeastern Luzon for tourists, many landmarks are developed. Tourist spots near Santiago are Quirino Province, Magat Dam in Isabela, Banaue Rice Terraces in Cordillera, and white sand beaches in Aurora Province facing the Pacific Ocean.

Places of Interest[edit]

  • Calvary Hills and The Chapel of Transfiguration – located at Dariuk Hills, Balintocatoc. The place offers a pilgrimage venue for the Holy Week where life-size Stations of the Cross are presented from the foot of the hill going all the way up to the top where a Chapel was so designed to face the rising sun. The Chapel of Transfiguration offers pilgrims a commanding silence befitting a place of worship and can also be utilized for masses and retreat venues.
  • Balay na Santiago – this used to be the municipal hall of Carig, the old name of Santiago, located at Calao West and now serves as a multi-purpose function hall for art and music exhibitions and different occasion. The building itself is of the bahay-na-bato style popular during the Spanish colonial era.
  • Santiago Concrete Water Tank (Philippines' Tallest Mural) - This concrete water tank has been a landmark in Santiago City since the early 1970s. It is almost 30 meters high, and towers over the whole city, visible from almost anywhere. It was constructed through the help of then Congressman Delfin Albano of the lone district of Isabela, and under the leadership of then Mayor Dodo Miranda. It was turned into a colorful mural and is now considered a City Heritage Treasure.
  • Museo de Pattaradday – this museum at Centro East houses Santiago City’s collection of artifacts, relics, dresses and antique furniture showing the culture and traditions that are typical in this region of Northeastern Luzon.


  • Balamban Butterfly Festival - On the year 2014, a new festival was conceptualized by the city government to celebrate Santiago's cityhood anniversary. Balamban which means butterfly is a cultural dance of lowland Christians that originated in Santiago City. The dance depicts the graceful movement and fluttering of butterflies that throng Dariuk Hills' scented gardens. It is usually danced during wedding celebrations in Santiago.
  • Pattaradday Festival - From 2006 to 2013 during the Navarro administration, Santiago's cityhood anniversary was celebrated through Pattaradday, a concept owned by a private organization called Pattaradday Foundation Inc. Pattaradday means unity in Ibanag. Ibanags are historically said to be the first settlers of the locality. It celebrated the unity of the ethno-linguistic groups that have merged in the city to make it the melting pot of culture of Region II. The festival won Hall of Fame in the Search for Best Tourism Event in the Philippines conducted by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines. It featured different festivities participated in by many street dances from all over the country.
  • Feast of St. James the Apostle (Santiago de Carig) - Celebrated every July 25 of the year is the Feast of Saint James the Apostle, the Patron Saint of the city. It features the life history of the patron saint as it saves the Christians against the Moros through Sarswela and the Grand Batalla of the Moro-Moro, a dance choreography depicting the battle.


Serving as a bridge to the region's provincial network, numerous bus terminals are present in the city. These include, Victory Liner, Nelbusco, GV Florida Transport, Five Star Bus Company among others. By air via Cauayan Airport.

The Integrated Transport Terminal and Commercial Complex has also been established to cater for all public utility jeepneys, buses, and vans that operate from nearby provinces and localities to the city.


Notable school institutions located in the city are the University of La Salette and Northeastern College, one of the oldest schools in the region. The Southern Isabela College of Arts and Trades - TESDA is the biggest vocational school operating in the city.


  • University of La Salette
  • Northeastern College
  • AMA Computer College - Santiago
  • Santiago City Polytechnic College
  • Isabela State University Annex
  • Patria Sable Corpus College
  • Southern Isabela Colleges of Arts and Trades (SICAT-TESDA)
  • STI College Santiago
  • Cagayan Valley Computer and Information Technology College (CVCITC)
  • Superior Institute of Science and Technology
  • Metropolitan School of Science and Technology
  • Santiago City Colleges

Secondary (Junior and Senior High Schools)[edit]

  • University of La Salette - High School Dept.
  • Northeastern College High School Dept.
  • Santiago Cultural Institute
  • Infant Jesus Montessori School - High School Dept.
  • Santiago City National High School
  • Cagayan Valley Christian Leading School
  • Children First School
  • Rizal National High School
  • Cabulay National High School
  • Divisoria National High School
  • Patul National High School


  • Infant Jesus Montessori School
  • University of La Salette - Grade School
  • Northeastern College - Elementary Department
  • Santiago Cultural Institute
  • School of Saint James the Apostle (Formerly La Salette Elementary)
  • Children First School
  • United Methodist School
  • Santiago Adventist Elementary School(SAES)
  • Cagayan Valley Christian Leading School
  • Alvarez - Ramales School Foundation, Inc. (Santiago Campus)
  • Miracle Christian Academy
  • Isabela Christian School
  • Sacred Vision Learning Center
  • Santiago North Central School SPED Center
  • Little Angels Child Development Center
  • Kiddie Toes Montessori School
  • Wesley Elementary School
  • Galilee Integrated School
  • Santiago North Central School and other North district schools
  • Santiago East Central School and other East district schools
  • Santiago West Central School and other West district schools
  • Santiago South Central School and other South district schools


Phone and Internet services[edit]

Santiago City is served by landline, mobile phone, and internet service provider companies like the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Digitel Telecommunications (PLDT-Digitel). Major mobile phone providers in the area include Globe, Smart, and Sun Cellular.

Television networks[edit]

AM Stations[edit]

  • DWRH: DZRH Santiago, Isabela 648 (Manila Broadcasting Company)
  • DZNC: Bombo Radyo 801 (Newsounds Broadcasting Network)
  • DWDY: DWDY 1107 (Northeastern Broadcasting Service)
  • DWSI: Sonshine Radio 864 (Sonshine Media Network International) (Formerly Angel Radyo)
  • DZMR: DZMR 1143 (Far East Broadcasting Company)
  • DWET: Life Radio Santiago 1179 (End-Time Mission Broadcasting Service)

FM Stations[edit]

  • DWND: DWND 88.5 (Northeastern Broadcasting Service)
  • DWHT: Hot FM 92.5 (Hot FM Philippines)
  • DWTR: Yes FM 93.7 (Pacific Broadcasting System)
  • DWIP: Love Radio Network 94.5 (Manila Broadcasting Company)
  • DWWC: Big Sound FM 95.3 (Vanguard Radio Network)
  • DWIT: Star FM 96.1 (Consolidated Broadcasting System Inc.)
  • DWMX: Mix FM 97.7 (Catholic Media Network)
  • DZMZ: Radyo Maria 102.1 (Radyo Maria Network)
  • DWER: Rock 104.5 (Kaissar Broadcasting network Inc.)

News programs[edit]


  • Manila Bulletin - 2nd floor Philtrust Building, Pan-Philippine Highway, General Malvar

Shopping Center[edit]

  • Robinsons Place Santiago
  • Xentro Mall
  • M1 Mall
  • Savemore Santiago (Dubinan East)
  • Centro Department Store (Panganiban)
  • Santiago Commercial Center
  • Puregold Santiago
  • Happy Go Shopping Center

Notable people[edit]

  • Peter Musngi, the voice of ABS-CBN both in radio and television
  • Heherson Alvarez, a Philippine politician (Former Senator of the Phils.)

Sister Cities and Twin Cities[edit]




  1. ^ a b "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: ISABELA". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Santiago City Local Government Office". Website. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Republic Act No. 7160 LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF 1991". The LawPhil Project. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Average High/Low Temperature for Santiago City, Philippines". World Weather Online. Retrieved 5 Nov 2013. 
  7. ^ "Province of Isabela". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Department of Tourism Region 2". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 

External links[edit]