Cauayan / Isabela


Next to Nueva Vizcaya the major highway is Isabela, the chief tobacco province of the Philippines occupying the upper part of Cagayan Valley. At least runs the Sierra Madre ending at Escaparda Point in Cagayan. Its southern part is the Caraballo mountains while to the west lie the ranges traversing Ifugao, Bontoc and Kalinga. The rich mountain soil of Isabelaดs grassy plains and forests is not only good for growing tobacco and rice but is also ideal for grazing. Ilagan, the capital lies between the junction of the Cagayan and Abuluan Rivers.

As the second biggest province in Luzon, Isabela has been famous the world-over for its cigars especially during the Spanish and American regimes. Sights of attraction in the province are the name Laguilian Bridge which is the longest in the north, the Magat River and Irrigation Dam which is the biggest in the country. The old historical churches of Tumauini and San Pablo, and the Siffu Irrigation System. The three great rivers of Isabela are Cagayan, Pinacanauan and Siffu.

Near Quezon by the south, Isabela is also accessible to Baler, Aurora which is fast becoming known as the surfersด paradise. If mountain hikers would enjoy the heights of this place in the north central part of Luzon, then water sport lovers would likewise be enthusiastic to stay and recover what Isabela and its neighboring towns have to offer. Isabela welcomes idyllic activities like swimming and has fine hotels and pension houses where travelers could amply stay in full comport. With Cagayan River as the main channel of trade and commerce, Isabela also has access to places like Ifugao, Bontoc and Kalinga.


Prior to 1856, there were only two provinces in the Cagayan Valley Region: Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya. The Province of Cagayan at that time consisted of all towns from Tumauini to the north in Aparri and all other towns from Ilagan southward to Aritao comprised the Province of Nueva Vizcaya. In order to facilitate the work of the missionaries in the evangelization of the Cagayan Valley, a royal decree was issued on May 1, 1856 that created the Province of Isabela consisting of the towns of Gamu, Angadanan and Gamarang (now Echague), Carig (now Santiago City) and Palanan. The new province was named in honor of "Her Royal Highness Queen Isabela II" of Spain.

Although the province did not play a major role in the revolt against Spain, it was in Palanan that the final pages of the Philippine Revolution was written when the American forces led by Gen. Frederick Funston finally captured Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on March 23, 1901. The Americans built schools and other buildings and instituted changes in the overall political system. The province’s economy, however, 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. Isabela today is the premier province of the north, one of the more progressive in the country and Santiago, the commercial center of Region 02 has been declared an independent city last July 7, 1994.


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

Agriculture is the major industry of the people of Isabela. 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 and other indigenous forest materials continue to exist.

Potential investments are in fisheries and tourism. 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. Tourism is relatively a new industry being developed in the province. Support services and accommodation facilities are likewise being developed.

The City lies 328 kilometers northeast of Manila and is easily accessible by land from Metro Manila and most other points in Luzon. Regular bus routes to the National Capital Region are serviced by Nelbusco, Victory Liner, Baliwag Transit, Isabela Tours, Manny Trans, Dalin Liner, Deltra, Roval and by other transportation companies.

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  Information provided by Department of Tourism. Government of Philippines.


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