Isabela (province)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Flag of Isabela
Official seal of Isabela
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
RegionCagayan Valley (Region II)
FoundedMay 01, 1856
CapitalIlagan City
 • TypeProvince of the Philippines
 • GovernorFaustino "Bojie" G. Dy III (NPC)
 • Vice GovernorAntonio "Tonypet" T. Albano (Independent)
 • Total12,414.93 km2 (4,793.43 sq mi)
Area rank2nd out of 81
 Includes Santiago
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total1,489,645
 • Rank17th out of 81
 • Density120/km2 (310/sq mi)
 • Density rank66th out of 81
 Includes Santiago
 • Independent cities1
 • Component cities2
 • Municipalities34
 • Barangays1,018
including independent cities: 1,055
 • Districts1st to 4th districts of Isabela (shared with Santiago City)
Time zonePHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code3300 to 3336
Dialing code78
ISO 3166 codePH-ISA
Spoken languagesGaddang, Ybanag, Ilokano, Tagalog, English
Jump to: navigation, search
Flag of Isabela
Official seal of Isabela
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
RegionCagayan Valley (Region II)
FoundedMay 01, 1856
CapitalIlagan City
 • TypeProvince of the Philippines
 • GovernorFaustino "Bojie" G. Dy III (NPC)
 • Vice GovernorAntonio "Tonypet" T. Albano (Independent)
 • Total12,414.93 km2 (4,793.43 sq mi)
Area rank2nd out of 81
 Includes Santiago
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total1,489,645
 • Rank17th out of 81
 • Density120/km2 (310/sq mi)
 • Density rank66th out of 81
 Includes Santiago
 • Independent cities1
 • Component cities2
 • Municipalities34
 • Barangays1,018
including independent cities: 1,055
 • Districts1st to 4th districts of Isabela (shared with Santiago City)
Time zonePHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code3300 to 3336
Dialing code78
ISO 3166 codePH-ISA
Spoken languagesGaddang, Ybanag, Ilokano, Tagalog, English

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 in corn with 1,209,524 production.[3]

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


Prior to 1856, there were only two provinces in the Cagayan Valley: Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya. The Province of Cagayan at that time consisted of all towns from Tumauini to Aparri in the north and all other towns from Ilagan, Roxas southward to Aritao comprised the Province of old Nueva Vizcaya. In order to facilitate the work of the Catholic missionaries in the evangelization in the Cagayan Valley, a royal decree was issued on May 1, 1856 that created 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 Nueva Vizcaya; while Cabagan and Tumauini were taken from the Cagayan province. The province was put under the jurisdiction of a governor with the capital seat at Ilagan , where it remains at the 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.[4]

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 reorganized as a province under the American regime through Act No. 210, passed August 24, 1901.[5] Its first provincial governor was Rafael Maramag, a former Municipal President (then a term for Municipal Mayor) of the capital town Ilagan. Rafael Maramag was also the first Municipal President of Ilagan and was succeeded by his brother Gabriel. Isabela was ruled by the Dy family for 34 years, from 1969 to 2004. The dynasty started with the patriarch of the family, Faustino Dy, Sr. who served as the Cauayan Mayor from 1965–1969 and as a Governor of Isabela for 22 years (1969–1992). He was replaced by his son, Benjamin G. Dy in the gubernatorial seat from 1992 to 2001. Another Dy took the gubernatorial seat in 2001 when Faustino Dy Jr. won the 2001 elections after having served first as a Representative of the 2nd district of the province from 1992 to 2001. It was only in the 2004 elections that the Dys' ruling over the gubernatorial seat was taken away from the family when Grace Padaca won.

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. 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. In 1942, the Japanese Imperial forces occupied Isabela. In 1945, liberation of Isabela commenced with the arrival of the Philippine Commonwealth troops under the Philppine Army, Constabulary and USAFIP-NL units and recognized guerrillas attacked by the Japanese Imperial forces in World War II. Isabela today is the premier province of the north, one of the most progressive in the country and Cauayan, the agro industrial center and the commercial center of region 2 is a component city while Santiago, the Commercial Center of Region 02, was declared an independent city on July 7, 1994.

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 and Isabela became the “melting pot of the north”.[4]

In 1995, Republic Act Number 7891 was passed legislating that Isabela be divided into two new provinces: Isabela del Norte and Isabela del Sur.[6][7] A referendum was held on the same year with a strong majority voting not to separate the province.[8]

In 2012, the capital town of Ilagan officially became a city, winning 96% of the votes in the plebiscite conducted in August 11, 2012.[9][10] The night after the voting, COMELEC Commissioner Armando Velasco declared Ilagan as the new component city of the province.[11]


View of the Sierra Madre from Cabagan

Isabela comprises an aggregate land area of 10,665 square kilometers, 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 comprising parts of the Sierra Madre. Isabela is one of the provinces which is often hit by typhoons due to its location.


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, while others are government reservations. 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. Its mountains rise to a peak of about 8,000 feet, and are 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. The area is popularly known as the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park. Isabela has 600,000 hectares of Cagayan Valley’s 900,000 hectares of forest cover.[12][13]


Isabela is subdivided into 34 municipalities and three (3) cities.

Political map of Isabela, Philippines
City/MunicipalityIncome & Legal ClassificationDistrict[14]Population
(per km²)
Mayor (2013-2016)
Cauayan City1
3rd class component city
Bernard L. Dy
Ilagan City2
3rd class component city (capital)
Josemarie L. Diaz, DMD
Santiago City3
1st class independent component city
Joseph S. Tan
1st Class municipality
Ian Paul L. Dy
3rd Class municipality
Lourdes S. Panganiban
3rd Class municipality
William T. Uy
Benito Soliven
4th Class municipality
Benjamin E. Sanglay
4th Class municipality
Ruben A. Tegui
1st Class municipality
Rodolfo B. Albano
3rd Class municipality
Chariton L. Uy
3rd Class municipality
Laurencio P. Zuniega
Delfin Albano
4th Class municipality
Thomas Jr. A. Pua
1st Class municipality
Reynaldo D. Derije
2nd Class municipality
Bulan C. Bulan
1st Class municipality
Melinda G. Kiat
4th Class municipality
Nestor M. Uy
1st Class municipality
Leticia T. Sebastian
5th Class municipality
Jaime N. Atayde
3rd Class municipality
Ma. Lycelle Kate M. Domingo
4th Class municipality
Pedro A. Flores
4th Class municipality
Edgar R. Capuchino
1st Class municipality
Angelo A. Bernardo
4th Class municipality
Daryl G. Gascon
4th Class municipality
Jossie Maria B L. Juan
2nd Class municipality
Wilfredo L. Tabag
Reina Mercedes
4th Class municipality
Anthony P. Respicio
1st Class municipality
Benedict C. Calderon
San Agustin
4th Class municipality
Virgilio A. Padilla
San Guillermo
4th Class municipality
Marilou N. Sanchez
San Isidro
5th Class municipality
Ray Socrates L. Velasco
San Manuel
4th Class municipality
Faustino Michael C T. Dy III
San Mariano
1st Class municipality
Dean Anthony Domalanta
San Mateo
1st Class municipality
Crispina R. Agcaoili
San Pablo
2nd Class municipality
Antonio Jose T. Miro
Santa Maria
4th Class municipality
Gilbert M. Masigan
Santo Tomas
4th Class municipality
Leandro Antonio P. Talaue
1st Class municipality
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.[16]
3 Became an independent component city on July 6, 1994 under Republic Act 7720.

The province has ten (10) first class municipalities and two (2)third class cities and one (1) first class independent city. Ilagan City, which became a city 13 years after its failed cityhood in 1998 of proposal 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 support the municipality to become the Philippines' first agro-ecological city.[17]

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.


Members of the Isabela Provincial Council (2013-2016)
PositionName of Provincial Official
Provincial GovernorFaustino De Guzman Dy III
Provincial Vice GovernorAntonio Taguinod Albano
District RepresentativesRep. Rodolfo Taguinod Albano III (1st District)
Rep. Ana Cristina Siquian-Go (2nd District)
Rep. Napoleon Sanchez Dy (3rd District)
Rep. Giorgidi Buza Aggabao (4th District and Santiago City)
Provincial Board MembersKiryll Santos Bello (1st District)
Ric Justice Estrada Angobung (1st District)
Rolando Legaspi Tugade (1st District)
Faustino Uytiepo Dy IV (2nd District)
Ed Christopher Siquian Go (2nd District)
Atty. Karen Galapia Abuan (3rd District)
Manuel Alejandro Alejandro (3rd District)
Randolph Joseph Payang Arreola (3rd District)
Alfredo Victoriano Alili (4th District)
Abegail Vendiola Sable (4th District)


Population census of Isabela
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: National Statistics Office[2]

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 Ibanag (14.05 percent) and Tagalog (10.02 percent). The remaining 7.22 percent are either Gaddang, Paranan, Yogad, or are 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.


Magat Dam in the municipality of Ramon

In terms of income classification, Isabela is classified as first-class and considered as one of the richest provinces in the country 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.

SM Prime constructed its first SM Supermall in the province, the SM City Cauayan which opened last May 30, 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 which was made open for the public early this year,[18] it's 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 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.[19]


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[disambiguation needed ] 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. For rice production, Isabela contributes to around 13.05% of the country's output. The unprecedented increase in palay production of Isabela made the province the "Hybrid Rice Champion" of the Philippines. Isabela has already earned the distinction of being a major food supplier to the rest of the country particularly in rice and corn. On 2013, the Department of Agriculture declared Isabela as the "Best Corn-Quality awardee".[20] 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 covers 54.37% or 579,819 hectares of Isabela's total land area of which 62% is protection forest and 38% is production forest. The best quality of timber resources in the Philippines is 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.


Isabela's coast in Divilacan

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.

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 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 from Santa Ana, Cagayan.

Mineral and energy[edit]

Also found in the province are large deposits of copper, gold, zinc & chromite, manganese and nickel. It 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 is relatively a new industry being developed in the province. Support services and accommodation facilities are likewise being developed. Tourism focuses mainly in the three cities of Santiago, Cauayan and Ilagan and its surrounding area with the Presence of Magat Dam tourism complex and places of interest. Tourism is also being developed in the coastal areas of Palanan where white sand beaches can be found.

Places of Interest[edit]

Tourist AttractionLocation
Sierra Madre Natural Forest ParkEastern Coast of Isabela
Maconacon FallsMaconacon, Isabela
Hanging BridgeMaconacon, Isabela
White Sand Beaches -Typical of coastal areas along the Sierra Madre Mountains of Cagayan Valley.coastal towns of Dinapigue, Palanan, Divilacan
Dibulo FallsDinapigue, Isabela
Dinapigue Sea WallDinapigue, Isabela
Bonsai ParkDinapigue, Isabela
Waterworld Grand ResortRamon, 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 VizcarraRamon, Isabela
Balai na IlaganIlagan City
Queen Isabela II Monument and Park(infront of the Isabela Provincial Capitol in Ilagan City)
Pinzal FallsIlagan City
Abuan RiverIlagan City
Ilagan SanctuaryIlagan City
Sta. Victoria CavesIlagan 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 IslandDivilacan, Isabela
Water Impounding DamRoxas, Isabela
Borubor FallsRoxas, Isabela
Honeymoon IslandDivilacan, Isabela
La Salette Shrine - located in Balintocatoc Hills, contains life-sized statues of religious icons.Santiago City
ObeliskJones, Isabela
Dimanek FallsLocated near boundary ridge between Palanan and San Mariano, Isabela
Crocodile Watching (Crocodylus Mindorensis)San Mariano
Aguinaldo Shrine -Historic Capture and Heroism of General Emilio AguinaldoPalanan, 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 BeachPalanan, Isabela
Sta. Maria Triangular ParkSta. Maria, Isabela
MororanTumauini, Isabela
Camp Samal -"haven of scouts"Tumauini, Isabala
Sinavulluan CavesTumauini, Isabela
Villa Diana ResortCordon, Isabela
Punta Amelita ResortCordon, Isabela



Bambanti FestivalProvince of Isabela
Isabela DayProvince 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 FestivalCabagan
Pinilisa FestivalJones
Balatong (Munggo/ Mung bean) FestivalSan Mateo
Pagay FestivalAlicia
Kankanen FestivalCabatuan
Binnadangan FestivalRoxas
Nateng FestivalMallig
Gakit FestivalAngadanan
Nuang Festival - Carabao RaceSan Agustin
Gawagaway-yan FestivalCauayan City
Mangi FestivalTumauini
Baka FestivalSan Pablo
Mammangi Festival, Binallay FestivalIlagan City
Sabutan FestivalPalanan

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ "Isabela, top producer of corn". Bureau of Agricultural Statistics. Department of Agriculture (Philippines). Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Brief History of Isabela". Fly Philippines. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Act No. 210, passed August 24, 1901.
  6. ^ Republic of the Philippines, Commission on Elections (26 May 1995). "Resolution No. 2796 .". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Catindig, Raymund (February 28, 2011). "Marcos Mania still alive in Isabela 25 years after EDSA". Valley Journal News Online. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Isabela's Ilagan now a component city Philippine Star. Retrieved 08-15-2012
  10. ^ Ilagan now 4th city in Cagayan Valley Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 08-15-2012
  11. ^ [ILAGAN KICKS OFF CITYHOOD BID] Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 08-11-2012
  12. ^, Isabela gov sees big job ahead vs illegal logging
  13. ^ iWitness: Si GOB at ang mga BUGADOR, 08/25/2008
  14. ^ a b "Province: ISABELA". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ Ilagan cityhood gets Senate nod Philippine Star. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  17. ^ More than ‘munggo’: Isabela’s San Mateo is an agro-ecological city in the making , Business Mirror, July 06, 2013. Retrieved July 08, 2013
  18. ^ "Robinsons Place Santiago Grand Opening Invitation". Flickr. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  19. ^ Top 10 Highest earning Philippine province Nobert Bermosa website. Retrieved 06-17-2012.
  20. ^ "P3-M premyo ng Isabela bilang Best Corn Quality Awardee - See more at:". Bombo Radyo. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 

External links[edit]