Once the only first class municipality in the province, Tuguegarao is now a component city, its conversion affirmed in a plebiscite held on December 18 1999.
Though not a big municipality in terms of area, with just 14,480 hectares in its name, Tuguegarao boasts of a very high rate of socio-economic development.
The word “tuguegarao” was developed from either of the following: “garao” (swift river current), “taraw” (a specie of palm tree whose trunk is used for many things) and “tuggui gari yao” (this was cleared by fire). The last seems plausible if interpreted to mean that the areas pointed to by the natives to the first Spaniards was a “kaingin.”
The written history of Tuguegarao begins with its founding as a “mission-pueblo” on May 9, 1604, with Fray Tomas Villa, O.P. as first vicar. He initiated the construction of a temporary church with Saint Peter and Saint Paul as patron saints.
It was in 1724 when the San Jacinto Chapel, the first structure to be made of brick and mortar, was constructed by the Dominicans. Then Father Antonio Lobato, O.P. laid out and developed the straight, east-west/south-north oriented streets of Tuguegarao. And in 1761, Father Lobato started the construction of the Saint Peter’s Cathedral which was finished in 1768. Father Geronimo de Zamora, O.P. was at one time parish priest of Tuguegarao. He later became Rector of the University of Santo Tomas and first president of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
The most important act the Spanish authorities made was the transfer of the provincial capital in 1839 from Lallo to Tuguegarao, in recognition of this town socio- economic progress catalyzed by the opening of the Cagayan-Manila road in November, 1738 by Fray Jose Martin.
With the provincial government came the Spanish civil and religious officials, more soldiers and the Guardia Civil. The Spanish Governors were: Don Rafael Martinez, 1886; Don Ignacio Chacon, 1890; Don Enrique Altamirano, 1894 and 1898; Don Antonio Marquez, 1895; and Don Demetrio Caminas, 1896.
During this formative period of Tuguegarao, the trend in its development was on education. In 1896, Don Vicente Nepomuceno (the man who wrote the history of Cagayan in Ybanag dialect) venture to open a school in the later part of that year. Don Ricardo Tuyuan and Don Vicente Pagalilauan were the first instructors. Spanish grammar, Latin, Greek, geography and mathematics were the subjects taught.
In 1907, the Dominicans opened another, the Colegio Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, exclusively for children, it was run by the French Religious Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres. Another school, this time for the public, was built during the term of municipal president Esteban Quinto. After further investment on educational institutions, the far-sighted Cagayanos reverted their interest to Fourth Estate. The following publications were considered reputable: El Porvenir, Don Pablo Salo’sNoticiero, Don Honorio Lasam’s El Voz del Pueblo or La Verdad (also published in Aparri), and Don Nicanor’s Sinceridad.
The United States entered the Philippine picture when President Mc Kinley passed the initiative to the U.S. Congress on April 11, 1898. At this time, General Emilio Aguinaldo who had been living in exile in Hong Kong returned to the Philippines and led a patriotic declaration of independence from Spain. The First Philippine Republic, with Aguinaldo as President, became operative in January 1899. But almost immediate, trouble started between the United States troops and Filipinos who had grown weary of foreign colonizers.
Unites States troops led by Bachelor occupied Tuguegarao on December 12, 1899 and billeted themselves at the San Jacinto College. Colonel Hood, by wire from Washington, was appointed military governor of Cagayan, dispatched soldiers to augment Bachelor’s force.
In 1902, the Filipinos were finally convinced by American assurance of Filipino self- government through peaceful means. Simultaneously, improvements in Tuguegarao were realized. The first Provincial Capitol was built during the administration of Governor Pablo Guzman. It was completed in 1909 by Governor Antonio Carag. The town hall was built during the administration of Don Antonio Soriano. The public market was built during the incumbency of Don Honorio Lasam.
The municipal board, during the administration of Governor Gracio Gonzaga, purchased the residence of George Weber, to house the provincial high school. The Cagayan Trade School was founded by Claude Andrews, an American educator. Governor Fermin Macanaya constructed the Cagayan High School building in 1922, completed by Governor Proceso Sebastian in 1923.
The peaceful life given by the Americans to the people of Tuguegarao and all Filipinos turned into chaos when Japanese forces in a simultaneous attack on the United States and the Philippines, landed in Luzon in December 8, 1944 (Immaculate Conception Day). Tuguegarao was bombed on this day.
Governor Marcelo Adduru transferred the provincial government to Tuao on December 10, 1944. The Japanese Imperial Army occupied Tuguegarao on December 12. The people evacuated the town, but returned, late in 1942 and early 1943, the Japanese occupation command appointed Nicanor Carag as Governor and Domingo Gosiengfiao as Municipal Mayor. The Kempetai (Japanese military police) instituted judgement without the benefit of any trial. Potential spies were tortured to death.
United States Air Force planes began bombing Tuguegarao in December 1944 and relentlessly continued the air raids, reducing the town to complete rubble, including the Cathedral. Early in June 1945, Filipino Guerillas entered Tuguegarao and found the Japanese had gone. Tuguegarao was officially liberated in June 25, 1945.
President Sergio Osmeña, Jr. appointed Governor Marcelo Adduru as Secretary of Labor in his cabinet, and appointed Baldomero Perez as provincial governor. After Independence, President Manuel Roxas appointed Engineer Peregrino Quinto as governor of Cagayan in the 1947 elections, Attorney Nicasio Arranz was elected governor and Dr. Venancio del Rosario, Sr. as mayor of Tuguegarao.
Worthy to mention was the holding of the Philippine Interscholastic Athletic Meet on April 9, 1949, here in Tuguegarao, which was officially opened by no less than President Elpidio Quirino.
The Provincial Capitol at Alimannao was constructed under the administration of Governor Nicasio Arranz and the provincial offices transferred to the new building in 1954 at the beginning of the administration of Governor Jose P. Carag.
Tuguegarao has been serving as the Provincial Capital of Cagayan since 1893 because of the notable socio-economic progress of the town.
In 1975, having adequate facilities and amenities aside from being the region’s geographic center and having capabilities of serving as the administrative seat of government for the Region, Tuguegarao was declared the regional Capital of Region 02.
There are several versions of the origin of the name, Tuguegarao. One is the abundance of “tarrao” trees in the area. Another is “garrao” meaning swift current, possibly of the Pinacanauan River. Another is from the word “tuggui” meaning fire. Another recorded version is, the town was formerly called Twerao by the people of the northern towns. Still another is that the name Tuguegarao comes from two Ibanag words “tuggui” (fire) and “aggao” (day), possibly referring to a daytime fire that happened in the town. The origin of the city’s name is unclear.
However, the version most accepted is that the name Tuguegarao comes from the sentence “Tuggui gari yaw”, meaning “This was cleared by fire” possibly referring to the kaingin areas pointed by the natives to the Spaniards. This means therefore that the town, Tuguegarao, was carved out of the wilderness by fire.
It was a small settlement, in terms of population but was big in territory until 1850s. It was governed as a barangay until the Spaniards gave it the status of mission pueblo established May 9, 1604, making it one of the political units of the province of Cagayan, which then included all the territory which later became the province of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.
Actually, it was in the year 1600 when the Spaniards first visited Tuguegarao. The natives fled to the outlying wilderness, because they felt that unlike the Chinese, Japanese and Indians who came only to trade, it was clear that the newcomers were here to settle and govern them. The Dominican friars coaxed the natives through evangelization, education and the improvement of livelihood methods. Reforms for social and material upliftment were worked out. Chapels and barrios were built, with each barrio having its own patron saint. Elaborate fiestas were held in honor of the patron saint. Slowly, the natives returned to their homes in the lowland.
As a mission-pueblo and with assigned encomenderos to Tuguegarao, the inhabitants were made to pay taxes in the form of poultry products and other foodstuffs. Resentment flared. The people of Tuguegarao revolved in 1605, killing the encomendero. Again, the people of Tuguegarao revolted in 1718 and then 1761 with a leader named Rivera.
The year 1983 marked the quadricentennial celebration of the establishment of the Civil Government of the Province of Cagayan. In the week long celebration held in Tuguegarao, several Ministers visited the town and province.
New barangays had been formed, so that by 1981, Tuguegarao had 49 barangays, 12 of which were urban. The late 1980s saw the gradual expansion of the urban core of Tuguegarao to the outlying barangays of Ugac, Caritan and Atulayan. With the fast rising prices of real estate in the Poblacion. Residents found it very profitable to sell their houses and lots in the Poblacion and to buy lots in the barangay surrounding the Poblacion, so that they would still be near the market, the schools, their offices and business, the church, the stores and recreation spots.
By 1980, Tuguegarao had a population of 73,507. The increase in population could be attributed to various factors. One is the increasing peace and order problems in the other towns in the region, driving the people to Tuguegarao, which relatively is free of the insurgency problem with the visible presence of the military and due to the town’s geographic location. Another factor is the presence of the schools, whose quality of education is highly comparable to that of Metropolitan Manila. Others come because of trade and industry. Another reason is the completion of the Maharlika Highway, which made Region 02 more accessible. Of very great consideration is the town’s tremendous improvement in social services and infrastructure facilities since 1975. The immigrants, seeing that the people of Tuguegarao are generally peaceful and gentle and that the town could sufficiently sustain a comfortable life, decide to stay for good. And then, of course, the children and grandchildren of Tuguegarao, after their sojourn in the cities for education, first jobs and professional trainings, come back to Tuguegarao to build their homes and careers.
Tuguegarao’s sky line has greatly changed over the years. In the 1980s and 1990s, there are multi-story buildings in the Poblacion, landscaped schools and homes, cable television, air-conditioned buses, jet flights, telegraph and telex services, door-to-door delivery services, domestic and overseas long-distance calls, luxurious social amenities and other trappings of a highly urbanized town. It has been observed that Tuguegarao’s Calle Commercio, now called Bonifacio Street improved dramatically after every fire, which happens periodically in this town which was carved out of the wilderness by fire.
The city developed gradually, then more rapidly after the provincial capital was transferred from Lallo, in 1839. It was occupied by American troops on December 12, 1899.
During World War II, the city was captured by the Japanese on December 8, 1941, and its airfield was of some significance; the city and airfield were bombed by the US and Philippine regularly between January and May 1945. The Japanese had left by the time Filipino guerrillas helped by entering the town of the Philippine Commonwealth troops came in early June; the town was officially liberated on June 25, 1945.
Tuguegarao was once the only first class municipality in the province of Cagayan. It has served as the provincial capital of Cagayan since 1893 because of the notable socio-economic progress of the town. In 1975, having adequate facilities and amenities aside from being the region’s geographic center and having capabilities of serving as the administrative seat of government for the region, Tuguegarao was declared the regional capital of Region II (Cagayan Valley).
The city also boasts colonial buildings like the Saints Peter and Paul Metropolitan Cathedral built in 1761 to 1766 under the supervision of the Spanish Dominicans who came to evangelize Cagayan Valley. The Diocese of Tuguegarao was created by Pope Pius X on December 6, 1911. The cathedral edifice suffered destruction during World War II and as a result lost its pipe organ, three wooden retablos, pulpit,wooden choir loft and the painted wooden ceiling all of which were approximately from the early 18th century. The old convent adjacent to the cathedral church was also razed to the ground during the war and was demolished to make way for a new one. The cathedral was rebuilt by the Belgian Mons. Constance Jurgens. The traditional ringing of the cathedral bells for the Angelus and during Mass is still being practiced today. The oldest brick structure is also found in the city. The Ermita de Piedra de San Jacinto dedicated to Saint Hyacinth is the first parochial building to be built by the Dominican fathers in Tuguegarao. The current structure is the latest in a process of rebuilding beginning in 1724 until 1892 when it was rebuilt after being destroyed in an earthquake. The chapel wasn’t damaged during the war and as a result retains its original wooden retablo which dates back to the 18th century.
Tuguegarao as a component city was affirmed in a plebiscite held on December 18, 1999, with Randolph Sera Ting as the first city mayor. As of July 2, 2007, Delfin Telan Ting (who was then a municipal mayor from 1988 to 1998) has been elected to become the 2nd city mayor.
Universities and Colleges
There are several universities and colleges that reside in the city. Majority of the universities and colleges of the Province of Cagayan are in Tuguegarao. The following are the universities and colleges:
- AMA Computer College (Tuguegarao Campus)
- Cagayan Colleges Tuguegarao (College of Nursing)
- Cagayan Colleges Tuguegarao (offers college of law course) one of best performing law school in the Philippines (Main Campus)
- Credo Domini College
- John Wesley College
- Cagayan State University (Carig Campus)
- Cagayan State University (Caritan Campus)
- Central Colleges of the North
- Florencio L. Vargas College (Tuguegarao Campus)
- Florencio L. Vargas College (College of Nursing)
- Maila Rosario College
- Metropolitan Institute of Technology
- MCN College
- St. Paul University Philippines
- STI College Tuguegarao
- University of St. Louis Tuguegarao
Moreover, there are numerous technological institutes and vocational institutes that are in the city. The TESDA offers short-term courses to all Cagayanos.
Elementary and High Schools
There are many public and private schools here in Tuguegarao.
- Atulayan Elementary School
- Bagay Elementary School
- Buntun Elementary School
- Capatan Elementary School
- Cagayan Colleges Tuguegarao/ Grade School Department
- Cagayan Colleges Tuguegarao High School Department
- Cagayan National High School
- Carig Elementary School
- Carig Norte Primary School
- Caritan Norte Elementary School
- Cataggaman Elementary School (arguably the best Non-Central School)
- Cataggaman National High School
- Cataggaman Nuevo Primary School (Under Construction)
- Dadda Primary School
- Gosi Elementary School
- Gosi National High School
- John Wesley College High School Department
- Larion Alto Elementary School
- Larion Bajo Elementary School
- Leonarda-Pengue-Ruyu Elementary School
- Libag Elementary School
- Linao Elementary School
- Linao National High School
- Methodist Christian School
- Montessori de Cagayan
- Namabbalan Elementary School
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help Montessori School (Grade School)
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help Montessori School (High School)
- Pallua Elementary School
- Pardo Elementary School (Cataggaman Pardo)
- San Gabriel Elementary School
- Tagga-Dadda Elementary School
- St. Clare Montessori School
- St. Paul University Philippines Grade School Department
- St. Paul University Philippines High School Department
- Tuguegarao Central Elementary School (Tuguegarao West Central School) / School of the Future
Tuguegarao City Science High School (new school)
- Ugac Sur Elementary School
- University of St. Louis Grade School Department
- University of St. Louis High School Department
Tuguegarao City has 63 Barangay Daycare Centers operated by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (devolved under the National Department of Social Welfare and Development). Currently, there are about an estimated 2,900 Daycare Pupils who are enrolled. Moreover, there are also several privately operated daycare centers that are scattered in the city.
Far East Christian Deaf Academy provides education from pre-school to middle school operated and funded by the Church of the Living God at Sharon Village, Barangay Cataggaman Nuevo.
Students from China, Congo, India, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Korea have come to study at St. Paul University Philippines and Cagayan State University. Most of the international students have come to study degrees such as Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Secondary Education and Doctor of Medicine.
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