Tuguegarao City is the city capital of Cagayan, Philippines and the regional capital of Region 02 (Cagayan Valley Region). Tuguegarao is the economic center of the Cagayan Valley Region; it is located on a peninsula in the Cagayan Valley. It is sheltered by the Sierra Madre Mountains in the East; Cordilleras in the West; and, the Caraballo Mountains in the South. It grew on the banks of the Cagayan River and the Pinacanauan River, near the southern border of the province.
Tuguegarao City is a Center of Excellence in Education, Commerce, Trade and Culture and as the Economic Center of Region 02, Tuguegarao City continuously aims for outstanding performance and competence in administration, citizen participation, community and economic development, cultural arts, education, fiscal management, infrastructure, intergovernmental cooperation, planning, public safety, recreation and leisure services, social services, and technology.
The highest recorded temperature in the Philippines and of the Western Pacific Region was in Tuguegarao on April 29, 1912 at 42.2°C (108°F). Average temperature during March and April is 38°C, one of the highest in the country for years.
Origin of Name
There are several versions looming about the origin of the name of the city of Tuguegarao. One is the abundance of "tarrao" trees in the area. Another is "garrao" meaning swift current, possibly of the Pinacannauan 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 most accepted version is the Ibanag reply to Spaniards, "Tuggui gari yaw." meaning "This used to be fire." or the town was carved out of the wilderness by clearing and burning.
Founding of the Town
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. 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 revolted in 1605, killing the encomendero. Again, the people of Tuguegarao revolted in 1718 and then 1761 with a leader named Rivera.
The first person to set foot in what is now the town of Lal-lo is Juan de Salcedo --- Miguel Lopez de Legazpi’s grandson --- in 1572. Don Juan Pablo Carrion established it as a pueblo in 1581 and named it Nueva Segovia in memory of his hometown in Spain. In 1595, Pope Clement VIII created the Diocese of Nueva Segovia and in 1596, the Dominicans accepted it as an ecclesiastical mission. Nueva Segovia had three churches: the cathedral that was under the secular clergy, and the parishes of Bagumbayan and Tocolona under the supervision of the Dominicans. But because of its distance from Manila and the constant threat of the Cagayan River’s rampaging waters, the Diocese of Nueva Segovia was transferred to Vigan in 1755. This affected the closure of the cathedral and the fusion of the three churches into the single parish of Bagumbayan. The two other churches were abandoned and eventually destroyed because of neglect while the church of Bagumbayan, dedicated to Sto. Domingo de Guzman became what is now the present church of Lal-lo. The remains of three bishops are interred in the church: Bishop Miguel de Benavidez who was Nueva Segovia’s first bishop and later of Manila where he founded the University of Santo Tomas, Bishop Diego de Soria who was the second bishop of the diocese, and Bishop Diego Aduarte who was the sixth. The diocese’s name went along with the transfer to Vigan and, to avoid confusion, Bishop Miguel Garcia requested that Nueva Segovia and its suburbs be called Lal-lo while Vigan became known as the Diocese of Nueva Segovia until today. Lal-lo means twisting two strands to make a rope, and may also refer to the strong river current. It also used to be the capital of Cagayan province until 1839 when the provincial seat of power was relocated to Tuguegarao. The decline of Lal-lo is the transformation of Tuguegarao as the most important town in Cagayan. It was accepted as an ecclesiastical mission by the Dominicans in 1604 --- 23 years after the foundation of Lal-lo. Its origins is probably a place called Tubigarao that was listed as a Spanish encomienda in 1591.
The first parochial building to be constructed in 1598 is a chapel that became the foundation of what is now the Ermita de Piedra de San Jacinto. The present chapel is the latest in a process of rebuilding --- beginning in 1724 when it was rebuilt by Fr. Bernabe dela Magdalena (OP) until 1892 when it was destroyed in an earthquake.
Tuguegarao after World War II
In 1959, sitio cattagaman pardo was converted into a barrio.
Tuguegarao in the 1980s and 1990s
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.
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.
The Hotel Delfino siege was a bloody coup attempt that happened on March 4, 1990, when suspended Cagayan governor Rodolfo Aguinaldo and his armed men of 200 seized Hotel Delfino in Tuguegarao. Brigader General Oscar Florendo, his driver and four members of the civilian staff, and several other people were held hostage for several hours. A gunfight was launched to kill Aguinaldo and his men but one of the suspended governor's men was found dead in a checkpoint shootout, Brig. Gen. Florendo and 12 others were also dead and 10 more wounded. Aguinaldo is also slightly wounded in a car gunfight until eventually escaped and hid into the mountains.
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 the local recognized guerrillas helped by entering the town of the Philippine Commonwealth troops under the Philippine Army and Constabulary units and USAFIP-NL military units 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.