Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Isabela is a province of the Philippines located in the Cagayan Valley region in Luzon. Its capital is Ilagan and borders, clockwise from the south, Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Kalinga, and Cagayan. This primarily agricultural province is the second largest in the Philippines, and the largest on the island of Luzon.
People and Culture
Agriculture is the major industry of the people of Isabela. Farming is highly mechanized as most of the agricultural lands are irrigated. With the presence of the Isabela State University, joint ventures and other foreign assisted projects and the Magat Dam contribute to the high productivity in agriculture. It is also the hub of trade and commerce and other economic activities due to its central location in the region. The wood industry used to be a top earner for the province but due to the logging ban imposed in the Cagayan Valley Region, activities in this industry considerably declined. However, furniture making using narra and other indigenous forest materials continue to exist.
Potential investments are in fisheries and tourism. Isabela has a fertile fishing ground on the Pacific Coast. The reservoir of the Magat Dam is utilized for fish cage operations for tilapia production for domestic markets. Tourism is relatively a new industry being developed in the province. Support services and accommodation facilities are likewise being developed.
Isabela comprises an aggregate land area of 10,665 square kilometers, representing almost 40 percent of the regional territory. It is the largest province in the region and the second largest province in the country in terms of land area.
- Cauayan City
- Santiago City
The province is divided into three physiographic areas. The eastern area, straddled by the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, is rugged and thickly forested. A substantial portion is uncharted and the unexplored hinterlands are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna while others are government reservations. The western area is a sprawling fertile valley hemmed by the Central Cordillera and is criss-crossed by the mighty Cagayan, Siffu, and Magat Rivers. Its mountains rise to a peak of about 8,000 feet and is home to one of the world’s largest remaining low-altitude rainforests with numerous unknown endemic species of flora and fauna and exceptional biological diversity. The area is popularly known as the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park.
Prior to 1856, there were only two provinces in the Cagayan Valley Region: Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya. The Province of Cagayan at that time consisted of all towns from Tumauini to the north in Aparri and all other towns from Ilagan southward to Aritao comprised the Province of Nueva Vizcaya. In order to facilitate the work of the missionaries in the evangelization of the Cagayan Valley, a royal decree was issued on May 1, 1856 that created the Province of Isabela consisting of the towns of Gamu, Angadanan and Gamarang (now Echague), Carig (now Santiago City) and Palanan. The new province was named in honor of "Her Royal Highness Queen Isabela II" of Spain.
Although the province did not play a major role in the revolt against Spain, it was in Palanan that the final pages of the Philippine Revolution was written when the American forces led by Gen. Frederick Funston finally captured Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on March 23, 1901.
The Americans built schools and other buildings and instituted changes in the overall political system. The province’s economy, however, remained particularly agricultural with rice replacing corn and tobacco as the dominant crop. World War II stagnated the province’s economic growth but it recovered dramatically after the war. Isabela today is the premier province of the north, one of the more progressive in the country and Santiago, the commercial center of Region 02 has been declared an independent city last July 7, 1994.
In 1995, a bill was passed legislating that Isabela be divided into two new provinces: Isabela del Norte and Isabela del Sur. This was never executed.
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