Cagayan Province lies on the northeastern most part of Luzon mainland occupying the lower basin of the Cagayan River. It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the west by the Cordilleras, on the south by the province of Isabela and on the north by the Babuyan Channel. It is well traversed by many rivers, with Abulug and Cagayan Rivers as the largest. The province comprises an aggregate land area of 9,003 square kilometers, which constitutes three percent of the total land area of the country and is the second largest province in the region.
The Spanish Friars notably the Dominicans, brought Western culture to Cagayan. According to Fr. Francisco Rojano, the great chronicler of the province, Cagayan got its name from the Ilocano word “karayan” or river referring to the Rio Grande de Cagayan. The early Spanish settlers also called it “Rio Ibanag”. The river runs from south in Quirino to the north bisecting the whole valley.
In June 29, 1583, Don Juan de Salcedo traced the northern coastline of Luzon and set foot on the Massi, Tular and Aparri areas. The Spanish Friars soon established mission post in Camalaniugan and Lallo, which became the seat of Cuidad Nueva Segovia established on August 14, 1595. The Spanish influence can still be seen in the massive churches and other buildings that the Spaniards built for the spiritual and social welfare of the people.
With the Treaty of Paris signed in 1898, ending the war between Spain and the United States of America took over the Philippines and enriched the culture notably in agriculture and education and also in public works and communications. Commerce and trade flourished with the construction of roads and bridges linking the various towns of the province.
The Japanese forces occupied Cagayan from December 1941 to July 1945, until the Philippines got its independence in 1946.
Cagayan today is the Regional Seat. Tuguegarao City, the capital, is the seat of commerce and trade and center for learning. The province has the largest marine fishing grounds and 73 percent of the region’s potential fishpond area.
Known as the spelunkers’, trekkers’ and gamefishers’ paradise rolled in one, Cagayan provides a never-ending adventure. The province is now being promoted as an adventure and eco-tourism destination. Both foreign and local tourists continue to explore its caves, engage in game fishing expeditions, trek its mighty mountains and retreat to its centuries- old churches.
Travel to the province is a never-ending adventure. Daily flights are provided by Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines from Manila while local airline companies also provide short flights to Maconacon and Palanan in Isabela as well as in Basco, Batanes. Various bus companies from Manila and the Ilocos Region have lines to Cagayan Valley Region, while public utility jeepneys, buses, tricycles and calesas (horse-drawn carriage) are the common mode of transportation for short leisurely trips.