DESPITE THE REVOLUTIONARY TRANSFORMATION OF THE OUTSKIRTS INTO A NEW METROPOLIS; THE OLD POBLACION OF ISABELA'S CAPITAL TOWN IS TURNING INTO A GHOST TOWN
ILAGAN upon sight of the outsiders is seen as a growing metropolis in the Heart of Cagayan Valley. Lately the establishment of two huge well-known Malls have ushered Isabela's Capital Town to a new image being an upcoming city following the endorsement of local officials to aspire for the second time a Cityhood Status. Its first attempt drew an upsetting and humiliating result when townsfolk outrightly rejected the Ilagan Cityhood Charter in a plebiscite conducted in 1998.
What could have been a revolutionary transformation of this said once sleepy quiet town may be cosmetic in the outside. For an oldtimer in this town; the “development” is just a mere transfer of the economic activities from the poblacion- which is five kilometers in the interior from the national highway, to the growing population alternative in the outskirts of adjacent barangays of Baligatan and Alibagu.
A NEWLY CONSTRUCTED BUILDING BUT ITS OWNER IS UNSURE OF WHAT TO PLACE INSIDE, HENCE HAD HIS INVESTMENT SLUMBER
The ongoing transfer of the metropolis has given birth to the few well known national investors to the perils of the old time small business owners. However; most residents see this economic shift as necessary and unavoidable -all to the name of progress.
BUILDINGS UP FOR SALE ARE COMMON SIGHT IN A DYING DISTRICT LIKE THIS ONE
To trace history; the current event taking shape in the new image of Ilagan is no longer new. The town has already moved its bastion from the early Spanish era, to the American and Japanese occupation up to the martial law years.
THE OLD VILLA THEATER THAT POSES FIRE AND DISASTER HAZARD STILL STOOD IN THE HEART OF THE POBLACION; THE LAST TIME I SAW A MOVIE IN THIS INTENSELY HOT MOVIEHOUSE WAS SOMETIME 1978.. BUHAY PA SI MARCOS, MAYOR PA SI BOY BINAG
The town was then called by its native Gaddang settlers as “Bolo” during the pre Spanish conquest era. It is one of the populous settlement during that period and site of the vast Tobacco plantation in the region making it one of the most important economic areas in northern Luzon.
THE SIDE OF A ONCE BUSY PUBLIC MARKET, TODAY ONE CAN PLAY BASKETBALL IN THE AREA ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT LONG A POPULAR RESTAURANT USE TO DOMINATE THE STREET
The town of Bolo was founded by the Dominicans in 1619 in honor of St. Ferdinand. The old Bolo was situated in the western side of Cagayan river in what is known today as barangay Naguilian-Baculod.
The cultural shock brought by the dominating social and economic regulations introduced by the Spanish authorities propelled the natives to dissent in the Mallig and Ilagan-Tumauini territories in what was known as the Gaddang Revolution. The natives abandoned their settlement after burning their church and houses until 1622 when the Spanish government pardoned and exempted them from paying tribute within three years.
THE DEAD ILAGAN SUPERMARKET PROMISED BY THE ADMINISTRATION OF MAYOR JOSEMARIE DIAZ TO CONVERT INTO A MALL TO BRING BACK LIFE INTO THE OLD POBLACION, BUT WAIT.. WHERE WOULD THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECURE FUNDING FOR THE UNDERTAKING WHEN IN FACT HIS GOVERNMENT IS YET TO FULLFILL AN EARLIER LOAN IT SECURED FROM THE DBP PURPOSELY TO ERECT A TRANSPORT TERMINAL AND A GASOLINE STATION IN A LOT IT BOUGHT FROM A PRIVATE DEVELOPER IN BARANGAY ALIBAGU?
After the Gaddang revolt, the natives reestablished their settlement upon the efforts of Fr. Pedro Jimenez in 1678 on the east side of the river thereby giving the legendary name for Ilagan which is the reverse of the word “Nagali” meaning “transfer.” The Dominicans accepted Bolo as an ecclesiastical mission given the name San Fernando de Ilagan in honor of its Patron St. Ferdinand.
On August 4, 1901 the American regime under the United States Philippine Commission has enacted the Provincial Government Act 210 that has reestablished Isabela and other provinces in the Philippines. Rafael Maramag, a former Municipal President (Mayor) of Ilagan was appointed first Governor. The act upheld in Ilagan as the provincial capital.
ALREADY USELESS, THE DILAPITATED SUPERMARKET WHICH WAS PAID BY OUR FOREFATHERS WITH HARD EARNED TAXES FROM A LOCAL GOVERNMENT GRANT IT SECURED FROM THE LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES IN THE 70S IS NOW A PICTURE OF UNWARRANTED FUND USE
In November 13 1925, Gaffud has approved a Resolution filed by all Municipal Presidents of the Isabela (the counterpart of the present-day Mayors' League) following a four-day convention. The resolution called for the erection of a monument in honor of National Hero Jose Rizal in the old Ilagan public plaza in barangay Bagumbayan.
WHAT USE TO BE A BUSY SITE DURING MARKET DAYS IS NOW AN IDEAL PALAY OR CORN GRAINS DRYING PAVEMENT INSIDE THE ILAGAN SUPERMARKET
It was also in the same year when illegal gambling activities are taking its toll on several police and municipal officials who faced charges before the provincial board.
By the turn of the 1950s the a new Poblacion was located uphill from the old St. Ferdinand Church to barangay San Vicente; site of the current Municipal town hall.
By the turn of another decade should cityhood pushes through; we may yet witness the birth of a new Ilagan metropolis- and the death of an old town.