Santiago, Philippines

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Santiago, Philippines

Region: Isabela


Geographic Coordinates: 16.683300, 121.550000
Population: 148580
Language: Tagalog

Santiago is a city located in the province of Isabela, Philippines. It is situated in the northeastern part of Luzon Island and is known for its rich history, Culture, And natural attractions. Santiago has a population of around 140, 000 people and covers an area of approximately 80 square kilometers. One of the most prominent landmarks in Santiago is the St. James Parish Church. This church was built in 1624 by Spanish friars and still stands today as one of the oldest churches in Isabela Province. The church features intricate carvings and paintings that showcase its rich history.

Another attraction in Santiago is the Magat Dam. This dam serves as a major source of hydroelectric power for Northern Luzon and also provides irrigation water to nearby farms. Visitors can take a tour of the dam or enjoy activities such as fishing or boating on Lake Magat. For those who love nature, There are several parks and natural attractions to explore in Santiago. The Fuyot Springs National Park offers hot springs where visitors can relax while enjoying stunning views of Mount Cordon. There are also several hiking trails throughout the park that lead to waterfalls and other scenic spots.

In addition to its natural beauty, Santiago also has a vibrant cultural scene with numerous festivals throughout the year. One popular festival is Bambanti Festival which celebrates Isabela’s agricultural heritage with parades, Dances, Food fairs, And other cultural events. Foodies will delight at trying some local delicacies such as pancit cabagan (a type of noodle dish), Tinubong (bamboo shoots cooked with coconut milk), Or tupig (a sweet rice cake wrapped in banana leaves).

Overall, Santiago offers something for everyone – from history buffs to nature lovers to foodies – making it an ideal destination for those looking to explore all that Philippines has to offer!



Important Landmarks

  1. St. James the Apostle Parish Church – This church was built during Spanish colonization and is one of the oldest churches in the Cagayan Valley Region.
  2. Buntun Bridge – A long bridge connecting Santiago City to Tuguegarao City.
  3. Balay na Santiago Museum – A museum dedicated to showcasing the rich history and culture of Santiago.
  4. People’s Museum and Library – A museum that displays various artifacts related to local history, culture, arts, literature, science & technology.
  5. Palaui Island – An island off the coast of Santa Ana town near Santiago known for its beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes.
  6. Callao Cave National Park – A national park situated in Peñablanca town near Santiago featuring limestone formations and underground rivers.
  7. Magat Dam View Deck – Provides a scenic view of Magat Dam which supplies irrigation water to thousands of hectares of farmland around Cagayan Valley Region.
  8. Mt.Calamagan- The highest mountain peak located at Barangay Divisoria with an elevation 1,450 meters above sea level offering a panoramic view from atop.
  9. Santiago City Plaza- The central park located at downtown area where people can relax under shady trees while enjoying refreshing breeze from nearby rivers.

Primary Industries

  1. Manufacturing – Santiago is home to various manufacturing companies that produce a range of products such as garments, furniture, and processed food.
  2. Retail – The city has numerous retail stores ranging from small local shops to large supermarkets.
  3. Banking and Finance – Several banks and financial institutions have branches in Santiago providing services to its residents.
  4. Education – Santiago has several universities, colleges, and technical schools offering education programs in various fields.
  5. Health Care – There are several hospitals and clinics in the city providing healthcare services to its residents.
  6. Tourism – Santiago has a few tourist attractions such as waterfalls, hot springs, historical landmarks, and cultural events that attract visitors from nearby areas.
  7. Transportation – The transportation industry is also significant in Santiago with many bus companies operating within the city or passing through it on their way to other destinations in Luzon Island.

Noteable History

  1. The arrival of Spanish colonizers in the 16th century, who established a settlement in what is now known as Santiago.
  2. The establishment of the first church in Santiago by the Augustinian friars in 1758.
  3. The Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule, which began in 1896 and ended with the declaration of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898.
  4. The American occupation of the Philippines from 1898 to 1946, during which time Santiago was made a municipality.
  5. The Japanese occupation during World War II, which lasted from 1942 to 1945 and resulted in significant damage to Santiago and its surrounding areas.
  6. Notable people associated with Santiago include former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos, who was born and raised there; actor Cesar Montano; and singer-actress Sharon Cuneta.
  7. In recent years, Santiago has become known for its thriving agricultural industry as well as its growing tourism sector due to its natural attractions such as waterfalls and hot springs.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Santiago City Hall is a historic building that dates back to the Spanish colonial era.
  2. St. James the Apostle Parish Church is one of the oldest churches in the province, known for its beautiful architecture and religious significance.
  3. Isabela Museum and Library houses a collection of artifacts, photos, and documents that showcase the history and culture of Isabela province.
  4. Santiago City Public Market is a bustling marketplace where visitors can find local produce, handicrafts, and other goods.
  5. Balay na Santiago is a heritage house that has been converted into a museum showcasing traditional Filipino architecture and lifestyle.
  6. Mt. Balintoyan View Deck offers stunning panoramic views of Santiago City and its surrounding areas.
  7. Ditumabo Falls (Mother Falls) located in nearby San Luis town is worth visiting for its natural beauty.
  8. Bonsai Forest at Barangay Calaocan features over 100 bonsai trees grown by local artists – it’s definitely unique!
  9. Santiago City Plaza is a public park with various amenities like playgrounds, fountains etc., perfect for families to unwind.
  10. The Black Nazarene Shrine located at Brgy Calao East is a popular pilgrimage site where devotees come to offer prayers.


Sports Teams

  1. Santiago City Football Club – Founded in 2009, the team was a member of the National Capital Region Football League and played its home games at the Santiago City Sports Complex.
  2. San Miguel Beermen – The basketball team is one of the oldest and most successful franchises in Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) history. They won their first PBA championship title in 1982 and have since won a total of 27 championships.
  3. Mighty Builders Volleyball Team – The women’s volleyball team was established in 2017 and competes in various local leagues around Santiago City.
  4. Cagayan Valley Rising Suns – A professional basketball team that played for two seasons (2014-2016) in the PBA D-League before disbanding due to financial difficulties.
  5. Isabela United FC – A football club based in Ilagan City but has also played some home games at Santiago City Sports Complex during their stint at UFL Division Two from 2013-2015.

Please note that this information may not be up-to-date as there may be new developments or changes happening over time so it’s best to do further research for updated information about sports teams history of Santiago, Philippines.



Cultural Events

  1. Bambanti Festival – This festival is celebrated every January in honor of the scarecrows or bambanti that protect the rice fields from birds.
  2. Adivay Festival – This festival is celebrated every February to showcase the culture and traditions of the indigenous people of Santiago.
  3. Feast of St. James – This religious festival is celebrated every July 25th in honor of St. James, the patron saint of Santiago.
  4. Aggao Nac Cagayan – This week-long celebration held every June features street dances, parades, cultural shows, and other activities showcasing Cagayan’s rich culture.
  5. Paskuhan sa Santiago – A Christmas celebration held annually where locals come together to celebrate with food stalls, concerts, fireworks display and more!

Cuisine

  • 1. Pancit Cabagan – a local noodle dish made with thick rice noodles, meat, and vegetables. It is a must-try dish when visiting Santiago.
  • 2. Kambingan sa Gitnang Barrio – a restaurant that specializes in goat dishes such as kaldereta (stewed goat meat), papaitan (goat innards soup), and sinampalukang kambing (sour goat soup).
  • 3. Lighthouse Cooperative – a café that serves organic coffee and healthy food options made from locally sourced ingredients.
  • 4. Cafe Isabelle – a cozy café that offers delicious pastries, cakes, sandwiches, and coffee.
  • 5. Pares King – a restaurant famous for its beef pares (braised beef stew) served with garlic rice and soup.
  • 6. Bistro 3846 – an upscale restaurant that serves international cuisine with a Filipino twist.
  • 7. Balay da Blas Restaurant & Catering Services – offers traditional Ilocano dishes such as pinakbet (vegetable stew), bagnet (deep-fried pork belly), and dinengdeng (fish soup).
  • 8. Kusina ni Lola Nene’s Restaurant & Catering Services – specializes in Filipino comfort food like adobo, sinigang, and crispy pata.
  • 9. Bigg’s Diner Santiago Branch- A fast-food chain known for their burgers, fries, milkshakes, etc.
  • 10. Baliwag Lechon Manok- A fast-food chain known for their roasted chicken.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Santiago City People’s Park is a public park with amenities like a playground, jogging trail, and picnic areas.
    2. Balintocatoc View Deck is a scenic viewpoint that offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding mountains.
    3. Magat Dam Eco-Park is a popular recreational area that provides visitors with opportunities for boating, fishing, camping, and hiking.
    4. Bonsai Forest is an unusual attraction that showcases miniature trees in various shapes and sizes.
    5. Villa Diana Water Park is an amusement park featuring water slides, pools, and other aquatic attractions for visitors to enjoy.
    6. Mount Balungao Hot Spring Resort offers guests relaxation and therapeutic benefits by providing access to hot springs on its premises.
    7. GSP Adventure Camp provides outdoor adventure activities such as zip-lining and obstacle courses to promote team building among participants.
    8. Santiago Sports Complex is a sports facility equipped with basketball courts, tennis courts, swimming pool facilities as well as track ovals for athletics events to take place in the area.

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