Naga City (Bikol: Ciudad nin Naga; Filipino: Lungsod ng Naga) is a first class city of the Philippines. Located in the Bicol Region, a peninsula on the southeastern tip of the island of Luzon, it is 377 kilometers southeast of Manila, the nation's capital, and about 380 kilometers northeast of Cebu City in the Southern Philippines.
Despite having a relatively smaller land area compared to other cities in Bicol, Naga City is undeniably the region's most progressive city, popularly referred to as the "Heart of Bicol". It is the only chartered city and the commercial, educational, financial, religious, and cultural center of the Bicol region. Residents of Naga City are called Nagueños.
Naga City is at the core of Metro Naga, a fast-growing area composed of 14 municipalities and Naga City belonging to the Metro Naga Development Council. The MNDC covers the entire 2nd district of the province of Camarines Sur, and part of its 1st, 3rd and 4th districts.
Naga City is one of the main centers of education in Bicol due to the presence of numerous institutions of higher learning, including three universities: Jesuit-run Ateneo de Naga University; non-sectarian University of Nueva Caceres, the biggest university in Bicol region in terms of enrollment; and Universidad de Santa Isabel operated by the religious order of Daughters of Charity sisters and which is also the oldest normal school for girls in the Far East.
A probable fourth university in the city is Naga College Foundation, one of the region's leading schools in Criminology. The Philippine Women's University also has its Career Development and Continuing Education Center in the city, while the University of the Philippines Open University in Naga caters to distance education students.
The biggest secondary school in the region is also located in the city. Government-run Camarines Sur National High School has always registered over 10,000 enrollees every school year.
One of the leading maritime schools in the country, Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation, has two campuses in Metro Naga, one along Panganiban Drive and another in Canaman, a suburban town.
All existing schools in the city, including those already named above, offer computer courses. However, specialized computer schools have been mushrooming due to popularity of computer courses, both degree and short-term. AMA Computer Learning Center (www.amaes.edu.ph) and STI College are mong the more competitive and well-known computer school chains in the country that have established campuses in the city. AMA Computer Learning College has two campuses located along Barlin Street and Magsaysay Avenue, while STI College is located along Panganiban Drive. Other specialized computer schools include Worldtech Resources Institute (WRI), Philippine Computer Foundation College (PCFC) and CCDI.
Transportation and Communication
Naga City is easily accessible by air and land transport. A 35- to 45-minute trip through the Naga Airport located in Pili town to and from the Manila Domestic Airport is available. Air Philippines flies directly from MDA six times a week. By land, the city is a 7 to 8-hour ride from Manila via Quirino Highway or 10 hours via Daet, Camarines Norte. It is approximately 22 hours from Cebu with ferry transfers in Sorsogon, the southernmost province of Bicol. Daily rail services to and from Manila are provided by the Philippine National Railways but these were discontinued due to systems upgrading.
Communicating with Nagueños is a breeze because of several telephone and mobile phone companies present in the city. Bayantel and Digitel are the main telephone operators in the city. Other companies which compete keenly for the city's telecommunications market have also put up calling stations scattered all over the city. These are PLDT, PT&T, among others. Major mobile phone operators Globe, Smart, and Sun Cellular enjoy wide patronage.
ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation had expanded its network in Bicol by putting up ABS-CBN Naga as its regional station. Local shows such as TV Patrol Bicol and Bicol Espesyal are aired in the whole region via ABS-CBN Naga. ABC5 also airs shows in the city through its affiliate station People's Broadcasting Network (PBN TV 5 Naga). Global Media Arts Broadcasting Network (GMA Broadcasting Network) has also shown interest in putting up its originating station in the city for its nationwide expansion.
Naga City has the most number of radio stations of any locality in the region, some of which operate 24 hours daily. These include RMN DWNX-FM, acknowledged as the most popular local radio in the FM band heard regionwide and even abroad through its interactive website. Other leading stations include ABS-CBN's My Only Radio 93.5 Naga and GMA's Campus Radio 101.5 Naga. Both stations have 10-kilowatt transmitters capable of regionwide broadcast.
The city is host to two local cable TV companies. These are Naga Cable TV and Caceres Cable TV serving almost the whole of the region. SkyCable is also available. Naga City is also host to 4 internet radio stations, mainly, Cool Radio Naga, Cool FM 96.7 (Formerly X FM Naga), Zone105 Naga City, and ROV Music Naga City and another internet radio station serving the city with its location outside of the city, Power Tambayan 92.3 FM Naga City (Formerly Power 92.3 FM).
- Bicol Broadcasting System: Channel 2
- PBN Bicol: Channel 5
- GMA Network: Channel 7
- National Broadcasting Network: Channel 8
- ABS-CBN: Channel 11
- Studio 23: Channel 24
- ACQ-Kingdom Broadcasting Network: Channel 26
- Quality TeleVision: Channel 28
- Radio Mindanao Network:Channel 32
- SR Broadcasting Company: Channel 58
- Corner Television Inc.: Channel 66
- DWRB - 567 Radyo ng Bayan
- DZLL - 603 DZLL
- DWRN - 657 Radyo Pilipino
- DZLW - 711 Radyo Isarog
- DWNW - 756 IBC Radio
- DZGE - 855 Radyo Numero Uno
- DWAR - 891 Radyo Oragon
- DWMT - 981 DZRH Naga
- DZNG - 1044 Bombo Radyo
- DZKN - 1323 ACI News Naga
- DZTR - 89.5 The Beat
- DWMY - 90.3 Star FM
- DWNX - 91.1 RMN Naga
- DZLR - 91.9 Mixx FM
- DWAC - 93.5 MOR For Life!
- DZHY - 94.3 Crossover Naga (TBA)
- DWQJ - 95.1 Home Radio
- DZRB - 95.9 Mom's Radio
- DZOK - 97.5 OK FM
- DWRV - 98.3 The Mother's Touch
- DWYN - 99.1 Love Radio
- DWEB - 99.9 WEB
- DWQW - 101.5 Campus Radio
- DWNN - 102.3 Wish 102.3 (Soon)
- DZKN - 103.1 Monster Radio (Soon)
- DWOS - 103.9 DWOS
- DWQN - 104.7 Power 104
- DZFW - 105.5 Oomph Radio (Soon)
- DWBQ - 106.3 Energy FM
- Cool Radio Naga
- Cool FM 96.7 (Formerly X FM Naga)
- Zone105 Naga City
- ROV Music Naga City
- Power Tambayan 92.3 FM Naga City
- Bikol Reporter
- Bicol Mail
- Vox Bikol
Banking and Finance
Naga City is the acknowledged financial center of Bicol with more than 50 banks locating their branches in the city. The city hosts the regional offices of Philippine National Bank (PNB), Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank), and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC). A number of banks have several branches in the city, like Metrobank, RCBC, Equitable PCI Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Banco de Oro Universal Bank (BDO UniBank). A leading thrift bank, RCBC Savings Bank, enjoys wide patronage of both Filipino and Chinese businessmen. Robinsons Bank of the Gokongwei group has also set up its branch in the city. The two biggest rural banks in the country, Bank of Makati and the Golden 7 Bank (G7Bank), a consistent Most Outstanding Rural Bank awardee, are also found in the city. Two small albeit very active banks, Asia United Bank and Philippine Farmers Bank, are the two latest banks to open in the city.
With its burgeoning local economy that has outpaced other local economies in Bicol, Naga City is undeniably the center of business and industry in the entire region, even being named as the Most Business-Friendly City by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry for three successive years. It has several commercial business districts. It has a lifestyle center, three shopping malls plus a number of strip malls scattered at the heart of the CBD-I, popularly known as Centro.
Spankingly new Avenue Square along Magsaysay Avenue is Bicol's premiere lifestyle center. It has two modern 400-seater convention center (Avenue Convention Plaza); restaurant/ music bar (Lolo's Music Bar); restaurants (Max's Restaurant, Naga Oriental Wok, Shakey's, Peaberry, Little Asia); a specialty coffee shop (The Coffee Beanery); dermatology clinic (Skin Systems); European salon (David's Salon); signature flip-flops shop (Havaianas); and nationwide franchising drugstore (Mercury Drug), among other well-known stores.
LCC Central Mall Naga; Robertson Mall; and Nagaland eMall, housing Robinsons Supermarket, are the city's other major shopping malls. Bichara Theater Mall; Emily Arcade; Divisoria Mall; and Paseo de Caceres, which has a Chinese-theme Roman Catholic chapel - Navidad de Naga Chapel - are just some of the city's strip malls.
SM Prime Holdings and Landco Pacific Corp. have both expressed interest in the city's capability of hosting bigger shopping complexes. SM has started to lease its first mall site in Bicol located at Naga's CBD-II while preparing construction plans. On the other hand, Landco is expected to start construction of its Pacific Mall Naga during mid-2007.
A number of restaurants-cum-bars and bistros are found along Magsaysay Avenue, dubbed Naga City's "Malate District". Chili Peppers, Bob Marlin, Grilling Point, Molino Grill, Juno's, ClubM8, and CocoLeaf are just some of the few exciting joints found there. Aside from these restobars that seem to sprout everywhere in Naga, numerous popular fastfood chain outlets abound like Jollibee, McDonald's, Chowking, Pizza Hut, Max's Restaurant, Greenwich, KFC, and Shakey's, among other.
Naga City is also the first city in the Bicol region to host specialty food restaurants like Naga Oriental Wok (fine dining Chinese), Hokkien (casual Chinese), Makiyaki (Japanese), Peaberry (fine dining Mediterranean), Resto di San Giuseppe (casual yuppie), and Green Earth Cafe (health food). For coffee enthusiasts, coffeeshops have also sprung up in strategic places around the city, the more popular being Mudbugs Coffee & Co., Aljosh Cafe, Starmark Cafe, Beanbag Coffee,The Coffee Beanery, Cafe Frederico, Coco Cafe, Cafe Trevi, and Cafe R.
Quite interestingly, Naga's investor-friendly economy has encouraged growth and development of homegrown business chains like New South Star Drugstore, Graceland Foods Industries and Bigg's which are successfully competing nationwide with industry leaders Mercury Drug, Goldilock's and Jollibee, respectively.
Indigenous people in Naga had their own culture before colonizers from Europe introduced western culture, particularly their own religion.
Colonial Spain Influence
The city celebrates the Feast of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia Our Lady of Peñafrancia, acknowledged as Patroness of the Bicol Region, starting second Friday of September each year. The start of the feast, which is the largest Marian devotion in the country, is signalled by a procession (called Traslacion) which transfers the centuries-old image of the Blessed Virgin Mary from its shrine at the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore to the 400-year old Naga Metropolitan Cathedral. Coinciding with nine days of novena prayer at the cathedral, the city celebrates with parades, pageants, street parties, singing contests, exhibits, concerts, and other activities. Finally, on the third Saturday of September, the image is returned shoulder-borne by so-called voyadores to the Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia via the historic Naga River.
The city is the center of Roman Catholicism in the region because it is the ecclesiastical seat of the Archdiocese of Caceres whose jurisdiction covers five suffragan dioceses -- Legazpi, Daet, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Virac and one prelature, Libmanan . This dominant faith is supported by the presence of old and influential Catholic institutions, from universities to churches, notably Ateneo de Naga University; Universidad de Sta. Isabel; Naga Metropolitan Cathedral; Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia; Peñafrancia Shrine; and Our Lady of Peñafrancia Museum. Moreover, every September each year for the past century or so, the city has hosted and continues to host the country's largest Marian devotion, the annual 10-day Peñafrancia Festival.
Other religions are represented by Iglesia ni Cristo, (INC) whose imposing church is a landmark in itself along Panganiban Drive; Seventh Day Adventist and Bible Baptist whose churches are located along exciting Magsaysay Avenue; while other Christians go to the Methodist Church which is among the old structures along Peñafrancia Avenue.
Major religions not to be left out are the Muslims with their own place of worship (mosque) at Greenland, Barangay Concepcion Pequeña; Hindus, with their colorful church along Basilica Road, Barangay Balatas; and Taoists, with their shrine along Lerma Street, Barangay Triangulo.
Before the coming of Spanish colonizers, Naga was already a flourishing village off the riverbanks of the Naga River. It was an important village with comparatively sophisticated weaponry and surprisingly advanced culture.
For hundreds of years from the time that Spanish colonialist occupied the place, what is today Naga has been a center of trade, education and culture, and the seat of governmental and ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Bicol.
In 1573, on his second expedition to this region, the conquistador Juan de Salcedo landed in a village and named it "Naga" because of the abundance of Narra trees ("Naga" in Bikol) about the place. In 1575, Captain Pedro de Chávez, the commander of the garrison left behind by Salcedo, founded on the site of the present business center (across the river from the original Naga) a Spanish city which he named la Ciudad de Cáceres, in honor of Francisco de Sande, the governor general and a native of the city of Cáceres in Spain. It was still by this name that it was identified in the papal bull of August 14, 1595 that erected the See of Cáceres (together with those of Cebú and Nueva Segovia) and made it the seat of the new bishopric.
In time, Spanish city and native village merged into one community and became popularly known as Nueva Cáceres, to distinguish it from its namesake in Spain. It had a city government as prescribed by Spanish law, with an ayuntamiento and cabildo of its own. At the beginning of the 17th century, there were only five other ciudades in the Philippines. Nueva Cáceres remained the capital of the Ambos Camarines provinces and later of the Camarines Sur province until the formal creation of the independent chartered city of Naga under the Philippine Republic.
The bishops of Cáceres occupied a unique place in the Philippine Catholic hierarchy during most of the Spanish regime. By virtue of the papal bull of Gregory XIII, ecclesiastical cases originating in the Spanish Indies, which ordinarily were appealable to the Pope, were ordered to be terminated there and no longer elevated to Rome. Decisions of bishops were made appealable to the archbishop and those of the latter to the bishop of the nearest see. Thus, in the Philippines, the decisions of the archbishop of Manila were subject to review by the bishop of Cáceres whose jurisdiction then extended to the province of Tayabas (present-day Quezon). In this sense, bishops of Bikol were delegates of the Pope and could be considered primates of the Church of the Philippines.
This was the reason why bishops of Cáceres and archbishop of Manila were sometimes engaged in interesting controversies in the sensational Naga case and in such issues as canonical visitation and the secularization of the parishes. As papal delegate, Bishop Francisco Gaínza, then concurrently bishop of Cáceres, sat in the special ecclesiastical tribunal which passed upon the civil authorities' petition to divest Fathers Burgos, Gómez, and Zamora of their priestly dignity. Gaínza did not only refuse the petition but also urged their pardon.
With the advent of the American rule, it was reduced to a municipality. In 1919, it lost its Spanish name and became officially known as Naga. It acquired its present city charter in 1948, and its city government was inaugurated on December 15 of the same year by virtue of Republic Act No. 305. Rep. Juan Q. Miranda sponsored this legislative act which put flesh into the city's bid to become among the only few independent component cities in the country.
Situated at the center of the Bikol peninsula and surrounded on all sides by rich agricultural, forest and fishing areas, Naga is also at the confluence of the Naga and Bikol Rivers. Thus, it has always been an ideal place for trade, and as center for schools and church and government offices.
Naga is politically subdivided into 27 barangays.
- Official website of Naga City
- Naga City Wikimap
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- 2000 Philippine Census Information