Santiago City

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Santiago City

The City of Santiago

The city of Santiago is an independent city in the province of Isabela, Philippines. Santiago is situated 79 kilometers south of Ilagan City, the provincial capital city, and about 326 kilometers North of Metro Manila. The city sits on a vast area of predominantly flat and fertile land in the Cagayan Valley, surrounded by the Caraballo Mountains to the south, the Great Sierra Madre to the east and the Cordillera Mountain Range to the west.



The origin of Santiago City can be drawn from the first native settlement discovered by the early Spanish missionaries at the bank of the old Carig River (now Diadi River) from which its original name, Carig, was derived. The earliest inhabitants were the Gaddangs and the Ibanags. When the Spanish settled in, the city was named a Pueblo of Santiago Apostol de Carig, with Santiago as the Spanish name of Saint James the Apostle. In the early 1950s, the Municipal President Vicente Carreon changed the name to simply Santiago.

Santiago remained a municipality for 84 years. Santiago was originally a part of the province Cagayan (comprising the whole Cagayan Valley region), which was reorganized as a political subdivision in 1583 with Nueva Segovia as its capital. On May 1, 1856, when the Province of Isabela was carved out by a

Royal Decree, Santiago was among the towns relinquished to the newly created province. The first five barrios after the Cadastral survey in 1927 were Patul, Batal, Nabbuan, Buenavista and Dubinan.

It was said that there were only about three Filipino-owned sari-sari stores in Santiago in 1917. The settlers acquired most of their merchandise and other provisions from Chinese traders in Echague, the landing zone for products intended for Santiago and other towns, owing to its proximity to the Cagayan River.

It was when the Villa-Verde Trail was opened when things were set in motion. It facilitated the entry of immigrants from various provinces in Luzon to the Cagayan Valley and Santiago absorbed a sizable share of these travelers. The new route served as an impetus for growth and introduced new technologies and business opportunities.

Santiago survived through world wars, although badly damaged, and from then on developed to become the leading commercial and industrial city in Cagayan Valley.

In 1942, occupied by the Japanese forces entered in the town of Santiago.

In 1945, founded to the liberation in the town of Santiago province of Isabela beginning the Filipino soldiers of the 1st, 2nd, 11th, 12th, 13th and 15th Infantry Division and the USAFIP-NL 11th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the 1st Infantry

Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary and the recognized guerrilla fighter unit against the Japanese Imperial forces under defeated during World War II.

On December 17, 1993, the bill converting Santiago into an independent component city was approved by the Lower House. On the following year, the Senate Committee on Local Government approved another public hearing dated February 23, 1994. Signing of Republic Act 7720. seated from the left; starting from the third seat is former Mayor Jose "Pempe" Miranda, President Fidel V. Ramos and House Speaker Jose De Venecia On May 5, 1994, by virtue or Republic Act 7720 signed by His Excellency, President Fidel V. Ramos, Santiago was pronounced as an independent component city, the first in the Cagayan Valley Region. This made Santiago, self-governing and autonomous city from the rule of the provincial governor. Republic Act 8528 repealed this statute transforming it back to a component city. It was not until December 29, 1999, when the Supreme Court contested the validity of the latter decision and favored Santiago to be once again an independent component city.


Santiago City is Cagayan Valley's pioneer city. It ushered more development not only in Isabela but in the whole region. It motivated other towns to grasp for more progress and to uplift the people's standard of living. The city is highly equipped with facilities in health, education and security, making it a first choice in terms of settlement.

Considered as the commercial and industrial Center of Region 2, several business enterprises, banking institutions, educational entities, as well as manufacturing companies are present in the city.

Some of the biggest companies that can be found in the city are Vista Land-Camella Isabela, ABS-CBN, GMA7, San Miguel Corp., Pepsi Cola, Purefoods, Digitel and PLDT. The National Food Authority also maintains its presence in the city, competing with local traders as a strategy to stabilize prices. Different car companies like Mitsubishi, Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu, Hyundai, General Motors, other car companies as well as Yamaha and Honda Motors maintain their presence in the city. Kia Motors and Ford Mazda are set to open their branches in this city soon.

Santiago also houses some of the biggest and highly equipped hospitals in the region. The University of La Salette Hospital is said to be the biggest having a capacity of at least 350 beds. De Vera's Medical Center, Callang General Hospital and Cagayan Valley Sanitarium are also equally equipped private hospitals. The Santiago City Emergency Hospital and Flores Hospital are now considered Medical Centers.

Agriculture, however, is still the main source of livelihood. The main crops are palay, corn, high value fruits and vegetables. The city is where imposing grain stations can be found, buying agricultural crops coming from Ifugao, Kalinga, Quirino, Nueva Viscaya, and parts of Isabela. These crops are later transported either to Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Pangasinan or Batangas. In addition, the city's new product is Muscovado sugar. The city aims not only to sell this product locally but also to export the same. Rice mills are also present.


The City celebrates Pattaradday Festival or dubbed as Araw ng Santiago. Pattaradday is an Ibanag word which means unity. 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 II and contributed to the city’s progress and development-unity in action. It is celebrated every May 1- May 6 the founding anniversary of Santiago.

In 2007, The City was given a Presidential Award for the Most Child-Friendly City under the leadership of Mayor Navarro.

Did you know?

Santiago was formerly called Carig. It was formerly a barrio of Echague. The towns Cordon, Diffun, Saguday, San Mateo and Ramon were formerly its barrios. The first five barrios after the Cadastral survey in 1927 were Patul, Batal, Nabbuan, Buenavista and Dubinan. The area bounded by the Provincial road on the NW Carreon St on the SW Abauag St on the NE and the lot of the Methodist on the SE was the site of the first public school building before it became a market site.

The present site of the PNB was the site of the old municipal, sold to PNB during the administration of Mayor Andres Acosta for P1.00. The lot now occupied by the heirs of Santiago Lumidao fronting the NAWASA was formerly the old Spanish Cuartel. The present Dubinan School and North Central School sites were former cemetery sites.

The lime used in the construction of the church in Santiago was quarried from Potia, Mt. Province. The first rural bank in Northern Luzon is in Santiago. The La Salette Fathers headed by Fr. Conrad Blanchet arrived in Santiago on December 21, 1948. The first native Doctor of Medicine, Lawyer, CPA, Dr. of Dentistry, and Pharmacists are Dr. Pascual Fernandez, Atty. Domingo Maddumba, Lucas C. Taguinod, Dr. Jose C. Tumanut and Nenifa Carreon. Eustaquio Bayaua, reportedly a strong man, singly brought the bell up to the church tower thru the spiral stair of the old church. Pacifico Alvarez of Santiago became Division Superintendent of Schools. The long hike by the Boy Scouts was recorded by the La Salette Scouts in 1955 from Gamu to Manila under the leadership of Fr. John Pelissier, MS. No native was ever elected Mayor of Santiago since the Philippine became a Commonwealth. Santiago was liberated from the Japanese on June 13, 1945.

Must Do’s In The City

  • Climb the Calvary Hills and the Chapel of Transfiguration. Located at Dariuk Hills in Barangay Balintocatoc, the place offers a pilgrimage venue for the Holy Week where life-sized Stations of the Cross are presented from the foot of the hill going up to the top where the Chapel of Transfiguration is located. Found also at the top of the hill is the tallest image of the Our Lady of La Salette facing the City proper. The Chapel offers pilgrims commanding silence befitting a place for worship, ecumenical masses and retreat. Picnic huts, greeneries and playgrounds are also available in the area;
  • Visit the Balay na Santiago. The museum showcases a collection of the ethno-linguistic lifestyle of those who made Santiago City the melting pot of culture that is today. It shows a glimpse of the past customs and traditions that have united the multi-race Santiagueños. Balay na Santiago is located at the heart of the city along Turingan and Melegrito Streets in Barangay Calao West, Santiago City;
  • Participate in the Pattaraday Festival. Santiago City’s founding anniversary festivity is celebrated every May 1-5 of the year through Pattaradday Festival. Pattaradday, an Ybanag term means unity. Ybanags are said to be the first settlers of the locality. The festival has already won Hall of Fame in the Search for Best Tourism Event in the Philippines conducted by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines. It features the best of the best festivities participated in by many street dances from all over the country. It also features a unique gathering of the ethno-linguistic groups of the city;
  • Celebrate with Santiagueños on the Feast of St. James the Apostle. Celebrated every July 25 of the year is the Feast of Saint James the Apostle, the Patron Saint of the City. It features the life history of the patron saint as it saves the Christians against the Moros through Sarswela and the Grand Batalla of the Moro-Moro, a dance choreography depicting the battle; and
  • Have a patupat, Santiago City’s native delicacy. It is a native rice cake cooked by soaking malagkit (sticky rice) wrapped in coconut leaves in a boiling juice of sugarcane for hours. Other sugar cane products such as molasses or pulitipot, muscovado sugar, sinaklob, and sugarcane vinegar and wine are readily available.

List of hotels in Santiago city

  • Hotel Amancio
  • Morte Carlo hotel
  • Gation Hotel
  • Spring Garden
  • Diocitas Hotel
  • Greenview Lodge
  • Wilmers

Where to Buy (Malls)

  • Xentro mall (Under construction)
  • Savemore (Inside of Xentro Mall)

Where to Eat (Fast Food Chains And Restaurants)

  • Jolibee Bayan
  • Jolibee Shell (24 hours)
  • MCdonalds (24 Hours)
  • Chowking Maharlika (24 Hours)
  • Chowking (Santiago Bayan)
  • Mang Inasal
  • Cindys
  • Goldilocks (UnderConstruction)
  • Greenwich
  • Lot'sa Pizza
  • Big Brother
  • Genaros Bar and grill
  • Marilens
  • Wolmart
  • Steak house
  • Blends and bites
  • Bamboo Grill


How to Get To Santiago City

Santiago City is situated in the Province of Isabela at about 79 kilometers south of Ilagan, the Provincial Capital of Isabela and is located at about 326 kilometers north of Manila. It is about six hours drive from Manila. Public vehicle is available 24 hours in Baliwag Transit, Victory Liner, Florida Bus Line, and Nelbusco Bus Companies in Manila.

Likewise, Dalin, Royal Eagle and Dagupan Bus Line going to the City of Tuguegarao pass through the city of Santiago. It is an eight-hour drive.

By air, Cebu Pacific, Zest Airline, and Air Philippines are available flying Manila to Tuguegarao. Bus companies such as Baliwag Transit, Victory Liner, Florida Bus Line, Nelbusco, Dalin, Royal Eagle, and Dagupan Bus are available in Tuguegarao City bound for Santiago. Vans for hire are also available.