Ecological Profile

Historical Background

The origin of City of Santiago can be traced out to the first native settlement discovered by the early Spanish missionaries at the bank of the old Carig River (now Diadi River) from which its name was derived. Carig, according to Ibanag dictionary, means “tall and straight tree”. These trees abounded the place where the antique Carig was at the gently rolling land of Dalayag (now the area between Barangay Buenavista and Barangay Ambalatungan) near the said river. It was founded as a political pueblo on May 4, 1743, with Santiago the Apostle as Patron Saint. In 1746, the political pueblo or center of political government was transferred to the site of Patul. From there, it has grown and evolved, following several phases of history to become, at present, a bustling trading and commercial center, and first city of Region 02.

As to how Carig metamorphosed to what it is now, City of Santiago, accounts vary according to facts and legend. This research has been unearthed from factual information and evidences. Before the Spanish evangelizers gained foothold on the frontier of this place, it was already known as Carig. The early inhabitants were the Gaddangs and the Ibanags. During the Spanish era, it was called Carig, Santiago de Carig, Pueblo de Carig”. The only surviving document now at the national archives regarding the early towns of Isabela, contains the name Santiago de Apostol de Carig. On October 12, 1903, during the American occupation, Carig and Cordon were combined with the Municipality of Echague. Actually, it was part of the strategic move to reduce the 15 municipalities. From 1903 to 1909, Carig had been annexed to Echague. Until on January 1, 1910, during the municipal reorganization, the Americans issued Executive Order No. 02 making Carig a municipality again. This marked the birth of this town but was re-named as SANTIAGO. Take note that the Apostol de Carig was deleted from its official name Santiago Apostol de Carig. Based on the “Historical and Cultural Life of the Barrios of Santiago”, fruition of the cooperative project of the Historical Committee of Santiago in the early 1950s composed of selected public teachers, Kapitan Vicente Carreon, the Municipal President of the town that time, changed the name of Carig to Santiago, in honor of St. James the patron saint of old Carig. Santiago remained as a municipality for 84 years. On May 5, 1994, by virtue of R.A. 7720, the municipality was converted to independent component city. But R.A. 8528 repealed this statute on Feb. 14, 1998 changing it from independent-component to Component City of Santiago. As a consequence, a petition was filed before the Supreme Court contesting the validity and legality of said law. The High Tribunal finally decided on December 29, 1999 favoring the existence of an independent component City of Santiago.

Santiago was originally a part of the province of Cagayan, which was already reorganized as a political subdivision in 1583 with Nueva Segovia as its capital, comprising the whole Cagayan Valley. When Nueva Vizcaya was created as a politico-military province by the decree of Gov. Gen. Luis Lardizabal on May 21, 1839 which was later confirmed by a Royal Spanish decree on April 10, 1841, three great mission-regions had been organized: 1) DIFFUN – Calanusian (Reina Mercedes), Cauayan, Camarag and Carig; 2) PANIQUI – Bayombong, Lumabang (Solano), Bagabag; and 3) ITUY – Bambang, Buhay (Aritao) and Dupax. On May 1, 1856, when the Province of Isabela was carved out by a Royal Decree from Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya, Santiago was among those towns ceded to the newly created province.

“Before the coming of Spaniards, there was no FILIPINO people, but only people, in the archipelago that was, in later times, to be called the Philippines”, according to Antonio Molina, a noted historian.

At the arrival of the Spaniards there was no town in the actual sense of this word, nor was there any kind of unity among the different tribes or clans throughout the Islands.

The first task of the missionaries was the creation of towns and municipalities. What the missionaries virtually and invariably did everywhere was to group the converts and to make them settle down in one place. The first choice of a location was not always a happy one with regards to sanitation and the manifold requirements of civil life. As a rule, the missionaries, however, made the right choice which resulted to most of the towns of the Philippines in the places originally designed by them. All the elements of civility was introduced to the locality: the house for each family, the church, the convent and the schools for children.

Isabela’s spiritual conquest as well as civil conquest came as early as 1598, establishing missions in Cagayan (now San Pablo, 1598), then Southward to Tumauini (1610), Ilagan (1612), Reina Mercedes (then called Ifugao or Calanusian), Camarag (1753), and Carig now City of Santiago, (1743). The Dominicans left Isabela after the Philippine revolution, and the Ilocos diocesan clergy took over the parishes of Isabela, aided by the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart (Belgian Priest) from 1910 to 1948. From 1948 to present, the missionaries of our Lady of La Salette have assisted the diocesan priests.

Father Geronimo Ulloa was the first Spanish missionary to reach Carig in 1673. It was in 1736, when another attempt was made towards the Christianization of the region south of Gamu. Three of the five priests succumbed to climate and difficulties but the survivors Father Jose Tomas Martin and Pedro Sierra penetrated deep into the territory even reaching as far as Bayombong. The results of these zealous and dedicated apostolic labors were the towns of Cauayan (1739), Carig (1743) and Camarag (1752).

Isabela originally comprised three separate administrative districts of Cagayan Province: Irraya (Cabagan-Ilagan); Diffun (Gamu-Cauayan); and Paniqui (Cagayan- Nueva Vizcaya border).

The vast regions of Isabela became Christians including Carig. But in the mountain areas, pagan Gaddangs and Mayoyaos continued to resist Spanish rule and Evangelization. Due to frequent hostile raids of aboriginal tribes who would steal and kill in lowlands, the Spanish Government commissioned Don Mariano Oscariz to lead a series of punitive campaign against the Ifugaos. These unfriendly tribes were subdued and the Dominicans established among them several mission stations. The events of 1898 put an end to all the Dominican labor in Isabela.

Later in the 19th century, other Dominicans either founded or accepted spiritual responsibility for the towns of Oscariz (1882), Reina Mercedes (1885), and Cordon (1886).

Hereunder is a conglomeration of the records on the number of inhabitants of Santiago and its leaders from 1751-1999 taken from various sources. 1751 (150 inhabitants); 1801 (1,012 inhabitants); 1850 (774 inhabitants: 1847 (2,651 inhabitants); 1903 (no record); 1918 (5,596 inhabitants) 1939 (34,154 inhabitants); 1948 (22,550 inhabitants); 1960 (39,440 inhabitants); 1970 (49,688 inhabitants); 1975 (59,247 inhabitants); 1980 (69,877 inhabitants); 1990 (90,787 inhabitants); 1995 (98542 inhabitants); 1999 (105,042 projection).

City of Santiago Elected Officials Since Its Creation

Gobernadorcillo - Spanish Regime (1743-1899)

  • Pedro Callapag
  • Valeriano Alvarez
  • Joaquin Bayaua
  • Yldefonso Carreon
  • Carapio Lumidao
  • Arcadio Alvarez
  • Olalio Abauag
  • Buenaventura Panganiban
  • Simon Abauag
  • Liberato Bayaua
  • Bernardino Abauag
  • Joaquin Camacam
  • Apolinario Camacam
  • Vicente Tumanut

Presidente Municipal - Revolutionary Republic (1899-1901)

  • Buenaventura Panganiban
  • Francisco Abauag
  • Bernardino Turingan
  • Fulgencio Camacam

Municipal President American Regme

  • Vicente Carreon
  • Manuel Bayaua
  • Vicente Alvarez
  • Vicente Carreon
  • Vicente Carreon
  • Raymundo Ibay
  • Bernardino Turingan
  • Gabriel Visaya

Alcalde Mayor - Commonwealth Government

  • Felipe Padua
  • Marcelino Facun
  • Agustin Bersamin

Municipal Mayor - Japanese Regime

  • Elino Miranda (1943 - 1945)

Municipal Mayor - Post Liberation Period

  • Federico Fernandez (1945 - 1946)
  • Bartolome Ramat (1946 - 1947)

Municipal Mayor - Philippine Republic

  • Juan Dela Cruz (1947 - 1951)
  • Andres Acosta (1951 - 1955)
  • Juan Dela Cruz (1955 - 1959)
  • Raymundo Miranda (1959 - 1970)
  • Antonio M. Abaya (1971 - 1986)
  • Gaudencio Sarrangaya III (1986 - 1988)
  • Jose C. Miranda (1988 - 1994)

City Mayor

  • Jose C. Miranda (1994 - 1998)
  • Joel G. Miranda (1998 - Oct. 10, 1999)
  • Amelita S. Navarro (Oct. 10, 1999 - June 30, 2001)
  • Rodolfo C. Camacam (July 1 - July 4, 2001)
  • Jose C. Miranda (July 4, 2001 - June 30, 2004)
  • Amelita S. Navarro (July 1, 2004 - June 30, 2013)
  • Engr. Joseph S. Tan (July 1, 2013 - Present)

Source: City of Santiago Historical Background, Clarita R. Javier, PhD, CPDO, 2000

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