|Region||Cagayan Valley (Region II)|
|Governor||Edgar R. Lara|
|Area|| 9,002 km²|
|Total (2000)|| 993,580|
- For other uses, see Cagayan (disambiguation).
Cagayan is a province of the Philippines in the Cagayan Valley region in Luzon. Its capital is Tuguegarao City and is located at the northeastern corner of the island of Luzon. Cagayan also includes the Babuyan Islands to the north. The province borders Ilocos Norte and Apayao to the west, and Kalinga and Isabela to the south. Cagayan province is distinct from the city in Mindanao named Cagayan de Oro, and is far away from Cagayan Islands of Palawan.
Present day chroniclers say that the name was derived from the word “tagay,” a kind of plant that grows abundantly in the northern part of the province. Thus, “Catagayan” which means a place where the tagay grows abundantly was shortened to “Cagayan,” the present name of the province.
The majority of people living in Cagayan are of Ilocano descent, mostly from migrants coming from the Ilocos Region. Originally, the more numerous group were the Ybanags, who were first sighted by the Spanish explorers and converted to Christianity by missionaries. This is why the Ibanag language spread throughout the area prior to the arrival of Ilocanos.
Aside from Ilocanos and Ybanags, Malauegs, Itawits, Gaddangs, groups of nomadic Aetas, as well as families of Ibatans who have assimilated into the Ybanag-Ilocano culture make Cagayan their home. More recently, a new group from the south, the Muslim Filipinos, have migrated to this province and have made a community for themselves. In addition to this, Tagalog-speaking people from the Southern Luzon have also settled in the area. Because of this influence from other majority groups like the Ilocano from the west and the Tagalog from the south, the smaller ethnic groups living in the valley could potentially go extinct.
The province's agricultural production is concentrated on two areas. The Cagayan River Delta produces rice, corn, vegetables, and rootcrops. The region near the boundary with Isabela contains a number of large tobacco plantations.
Agricultural products also are of peanut, beans, and fruits. Livestock products include cattle, hogs, carabaos, and poultry. Fishing various species of fish from the coastal towns is also undertaken. Woodcraft furniture made of hardwood, rattan, bamboo, and other indigenous materials are also available in the province.
The mountain ranges yield good hardwoods, as well as rattan and other forest products used in cottage industries. Fishing is a major industry in the coastal areas.
The province forms the lower basin of the Cagayan River. The eastern coast is hilly and mountainous because of the Sierra Madres. The northern coast is low and marshy, while the western boundary with Kalinga-Apayao is either hilly or low and swampy. Between the low mountains are large valleys.
The Babuyan Islands, about 40 to 60 km north of the Luzon mainland, are part of Cagayan. The group is noted for active volcanoes, such as Babuyan Claro and Camiguin Volcano. Didicas Island was once known as Didicas Rock until a submarine volcano erupted in 1952 and formed the island. The general in the Sierra Madres in the east has rainfall that is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. The rest of the provinces is relatively dry from November to April and wet the rest of the year.
Seasons in the province are not very pronounced. Relatively dry season occurs during the months of March to June and rainy season from July to October, although it is relatively cold during the months of November to February.
Cagayan has 28 municipalities and one city divided into three congressional districts. It has 816 barangays. Tuguegarao City (as of December 18, 1999) is the provincial capital, regional seat, and center of business, trade, and education. It has a land area of 144.80 square kilometers and a population of 120,645 as of 2000.
The province is bounded by the Philippine Sea on the east; on the south by Isabela province; on the west by the Cordillera Mountains; and on the north by the Balintang Channel and the Babuyan Group of Islands. About two kilometers from the northeastern tip of the province is the island of Palaui; a few kilometers to the west is Fuga Island. The Babuyan Group of Islands, which includes Calayan, Dalupiri, Camiguin, and Babuyan Claro, is about 60 nautical miles north of Luzon mainland.
The province comprises an aggregate land area of 9,002.70 square kilometers, which constitutes three percent of the total land area of the country, making it the second largest province in the region.
The province could have gotten its name from the Ilocano word carayan or "big river," referring to the Rio Grande De Cagayan, the longest river in the country, which bisects its valley from north to south. Or it could have been derived from the tagay trees (tall hardwood) that grew along the river banks. It is possible that the area was called Catagayan, meaning "where the tagay abounds." The earliest inhabitants were the Aetas, short dark-skinned nomads belonging to the Negrito family. They were followed by Indo-Malay immigrants who came to be known as Ibanags. Before the Spaniards banks and were trading with the Chinese and other merchants from neighboring countries.
In 1572, Juan de Salcedo explored Cagayan Valley. By 1583, all the territories east of the Cordillera Central Mountains and north of the Caraballo Mountain Range formed one political unit called "La Provincia de Cagayan." Its capital was Nueva Segovia (now the town of Lal-lo, near Aparri).
In 1581, Captain Juan Pablo Careon came to Cagayan with one hundred fully-equipped soldiers with their families by order of Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñaloza, the fourth Spanish Governor-General of the Philippines, to explore the Cagayan Valley and to convert the natives to Christianity as well as to establish ecclesiastical missions and towns throughout the valley. This was the first batch of Spanish settlers in the Cagayan Valley who introduced Spanish culture and Latin civilization, enriching primitive culture, customs, and tradition.
On June 29, 1583, Juan de Salcedo traced the northern coastline of Luzon and set foot on the Massi (Pamplona), Tular, and Aparri areas. The Spanish friars soon established mission posts in Camalaniugan and Lal-lo, which became the seat of Nueva Segovia established on August 14, 1595. The Spanish influence can still be seen in the massive churches and other buildings that the Spaniards built for the spiritual and social welfare of the people.
With the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1898, ending the Spanish-American War, America took over the Philippines and enriched the culture, most notably in agriculture and education as well as in public works and communications. At the close of the 18th century, there were 29 municipalities in the province of Cagayan. When the Philippines came under American sovereignty in 1902, 35 municipalities have been founded. Since then, however, on account of the tendency at centralization and shifting of population as a result of the opening of roads and public agricultural lands, only 29 municipalities now remain.
Shapely mountain ranges within land-locked areas, riveting labyrinths of multichambered caves, lush virgin forests with awesome flora and fauna, pristine coastlines and prolific outskirt seascapes make Cagayan Valley one of the best places in the world for spelunking, trekking and gamefishing. Among the Valley's gems that make up the Region II are five provinces: Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela, Cagayan, and Batanes. Three of the region's well-known cities famed for eco-tourism and adventure are Tuguegarao, Santiago, and Cauayan.
Its regional seat is Cagayan North with Tuguegarao as the capital city. Some 485 kilometers north of Manila, Tuguegarao can be reached via 10-hour bus ride regularly plying the route. By plane, Air Philippines flies the Manila-Tuguegarao route thrice weekly.
Recently, Director Blessida G. Diwa of the Department of Tourism (DoT) Region II led the annual Cagayan Valley trade show at the Clamshell in Intramuros, Manila to wow the urbanites again with the region?s best offerings.
For the third year in a row, the Cagayan Valley exhibit at the Clamshell was expected to fetch some beefy revenue from various products: Potteries, handicrafts, furniture, wood crafts, fossilized cutflowers, processed foods, handwoven cloths, and more.
Before the Clamshell exhibit, a 12-day food festival of Ibanag, Ilocano and Itawes dishes was whipped up in Quezon City. Dubbed Pagayaya, the Ibanag word for merry-making or fun-loving diversion, the event presented Cagayan Valley's various tastes, colors and textures by way of a gastronomic journey.
"A culinary trip is one of the best means to expose the region especially to people who have not yet been to Cagayan Valley. The way we prepare our dishes shows the beauty of the heart and soul of a contented, nature-loving and very hospitable people. We relish the way we cook our food as we take pleasure and are grateful of the things that surround us," explained Diwa.
The predominantly Spanish-influenced Cagayan Valley, described by Diwa as the most peaceful region populated with the most friendly and very religious people, takes pride in its being celebrated as RP's Caving Capital, Number One of which is the seven-chambered Callao Caves nestled within the Peńablanca Protected Landscape, 24 kilometers from Tuguegarao.
Living up to its monicker as the country?s "Caving Capital," the Valley has more than 300 cave systems and the region has been hosting for the last five years the National Caving Congress, according to Diwa. For those who love to discover caves, framing marvelous limestone and other rock formations, the bat-colonized Callao Caves tops the list. It even has awesome skylights and a chapel within. Jackpot Cave in Sitio Tumallo, Bgy. Quibal, Peńablanca is touted as the country?s second deepest cave. It has a walking passage, winding streams and various-sized pools, multi-depth shafts and drops for lots of rope works.
The Odessa-Tumbali caves in Sitio Abbenditan also in Bgy. Quibal is the country?s third longest cave. Known to locals as Abbenditan Cave, its active and flood-prone passages is great for wet sport caving. Its canals and lakes are ideal for swimming.
Known as the toughest cave to conquer, the San Carlos Cave has a chamber dubbed Ice Cream Parlor. The grotto has white stalagmite clusters like scooped ice cream. Sharp, rough stones, on the other hand, dot its John the Baptist chamber, half of which is enclosed by cold running subterranean water. Here, spelunkers can learn about the art of crawling the arduous way.
"Spelunking, hiking, mountain climbing, rappelling are just some of the most popular adventures within the region," beamed Diwa.
More on water sports, the Palaui Island in Sta. Ana is a very good dive spot and goes well for snorkeling and game fishing, while Claveria and Sanchez Mira are ideal for surfing. Other engaging activities include mountaineering and trekking also in Palaui Island, bird watching and bonsai familiarity at Peńablanca and whale watching at Calayan Islands.
Beachcombers will have more than a handful of choices as the region teems with black but fine sand beaches. The coastal towns of Sanchez Mira, Sta. Praxedes, Clavaria, Buguey, Aparri, Ballesteros, Abulug, and the islands of Palaui and Fuga mount the Valley?s best beaches.
Aside from the DoT-arranged homestay program, there are about 450 rooms available for occupancy year round. There is one standard hotel, 10 budget hotels and several inns that guests can choose from, such as Villa Blanca Hotel in Ugac Norte, Tuguegarao City; Hotel Carmelita in Diversion Road, Baizain, Tuguegarao City; and Claveria Agri-Based MPCI in Centro 1, Claveria, Cagayan.
How To Get There
From Manila, Philippine Airlines flies to Tuguegarao City every Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, fare is P2,723.00 one way.
By Land, Tuguegarao City, the regional center, can be reached by airconditioned buses like Victory Liner, Baliwag Transit, EMC Bus Company, Auto Bus Company and Florida Liner, among others. Tuguegarao City is about 485 kilometers north of Metro Manila. For independent motorists, take the North Diversion road and exit at Sta. Rita.