Diocese of Ilagan
  • share this post
  • Share on facebook
  • resize textlarger | smaller

In a land area of 10,664 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the entire civil province of Isabela. Isabela is the second largest province of the Philippines next to Palawan. It is located in the Cagayan Valley Region in Luzon. Its capital is Ilagan. It lies 398 kilometers northeast of Manila.

Isabela province has 35 municipalities (Alicia, Angadanan, Aurora, Benito Soliven, Burgos, Cabagan, Cabatuan, Cordon, Delfin Albanoremove space , Divilican, Echague, Gamu, Ilagan, Jones, Luna, Maconacon, Mallig, Naguilian, Palanan, Quezon, Quirino, Ramon, Reina Mercedes, Roxas, San Agustin, San Guillermo, San Isidro, San Miguel, San Mariano, San Mateo, San Pablo, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas and Tumauini) and 1,055 barangays and is divided into four congressional districts. Santiago is an independent-component city while Cauayan is a component city. Ilagan is the capital town while Cauayan is the industrial center.

Santiago City, the commercial center of Region 2, has been declared an independent-component city through a plebiscite on July 3, 1994 under Republic Act 7720. Cauayan City, the trading center in Isabela, is also a component city ratified in a majority vote on March 30, 2001.


As of year 2009 the total population of the diocese is 1,511,400 of which 78.4% are Catholics.

The natives of Isabela are: the Ybanags who inhabit the northern towns; and the Yogads and Gaddangs who are in Echague and Cauayan. Moreover, Ilocanos now comprise majority of the entire population of the province.


The major dialect in Isabela is Ilocano followed by Ibanag, Yogad, and Gaddang. People, especially in the capital and commercial centers, speak and understand English and Pilipino.


Diocese of Ilagan
(Diocesis Ilaganensis)

Suffragan of Tugegarao
Created: Jan. 31, 1970
Erected: May 12, 1970
Comprises the entire civil Province of Isabela
Titular: St. Ferdinand, May 30

The Diocese of Ilagan was created on Jan. 31, 1970. It was canonically erected on May 12, 1970, with the Most Rev. Francisco R. Cruses, D.D as its first Bishop. Its titular patron is St. Ferdinand. It is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. The territorial jurisdiction of the diocese has a total land area of 10,644 square kilometers. Before its separation from the Diocese of Tuguegarao, which was one of the four new dioceses recognized by Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) by the Bull Quae Mari Sinico and implemented by Pius X (1903-1914) through the Decretum Consistoriale on April 19, 1910, Isabela remained under the aegis of the Diocese of Tuguegarao.

Under the Diocese of Tuguegarao, the first appointed Vicar General was the diocese's own Msgr. Ricardo Jamias, D.P., S.T.L. who was also a member of the Council of Administrators, Pro-Synodal Examiners and Diocesan Directors.

On March 26, 1974, the Most Rev. Miguel G. Purugganan, D.D., a native of Cabagan, Isabela, succeeded the Most Rev. Francisco R. Cruces, D.D. as Bishop of the Diocese of Ilagan.

On Feb. 10 1997, the Most Rev. Sergio L. Utleg, D.D., a priest of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao from Solana, Cagayan, was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Ilagan. He was consecrated to the episcopacy on March 17, 1997. On July 26, 1999, becoming the third Bishop of the Diocese of Ilagan. After a decade of a Spiritual Father of Ilagan, the Bishop Sergio L. Utleg was transferred to the Diocese of Laoag.

On Jan. 15, 2007, Rt. Rev. Msgr. Marino D. Gatan, H.P. a native son of the town of Cabagan became the Diocesan Administrator while the Diocese of Ilagan became sede vacante.

On June 10, 2008, a year and a half after the Diocese was declared vacant, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Father Joseph Amangi Nacua, OFMCap., a Parish Priest of San Isidro Labrador Parish, Titay, Zamboanga-Sibugay, (Prelature of Ipil) as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Ilagan. He was ordained Bishop of Ilagan on Aug. 19, 2008 at St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral, Ipil, Zamboanga-Sibugay by Archbishop Diosdado Tamalayan, D.D. in the presence of Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, D.D., Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.


A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.


The Maharlika Highway is the major route to and from the region.

Palanan Airport is an airport serving the general area of Palanan in the province of Isabela in the Philippines. The airport is classified as a feeder airport by the Air Transportation Office.

Cauayan Airport is an airport serving the general area of Cauayan City, located in Isabela province in the Philippines. It is classified as a secondary airport, or a minor commercial domestic airport, by the Air Transportation Office, a body of the Department of Transportation and Communications that is responsible for the operations of not only this airport but also of all other airports in the Philippines except the major international airports.

The Capital City of Ilagan is easily accessible by land from Metro Manila and most other points in Luzon. Regular bus routes to the National Capital Region are serviced by Nelbusco, Victory Liner, Baliwag Transit, Isabela Tours, Manny Trans, Dalin Liner, Deltra, Roval and by other transportation companies.
There are also jeepneys bound for short distance travel within the territory.


The annual per capita income (in Philippines Pesos) is 27,574 (USD596 as of July 2010).

Agriculture is the major industry of the people of Isabela. Farming is highly mechanized as most of the agricultural lands are irrigated.

Isabela is one of the rice granaries of the country. It is also known for its sprawling fertile valley and forests that are abounding in flora and fauna. It is home to Magat Dam and Tourism Complex known to be the highest dam in Asia.

Magat Dam Tourism Complex contributes to the high productivity in agriculture. Isabela is acknowledged as the hub of trade and commercial activities in the region due to its central location in the region.

Furniture making using narra and other indigenous forest materials/products like Gmelina continue to exist. Potential investments are in fisheries and tourism. The reservoir of the Magat Dam is utilized for fish cage operations, particularly tilapia production.

Tourism is relatively a new industry being developed in the province especially in the coastal areas.


The Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Company, Government Regional Telephone Systems, PT&T, RCPI, BUTEL, DIGITEL, Mobiline and Smart provide the telecommunication facilities in the province.

TV stations
There are two (2) TV stations in the territory: the DZZN-TV NBN Channel 4 in Ilagan owned by National Broadcasting Network and the DWAT-TV ABS-CBN Channel 11 in Santiago City owned by Lopez Group of Companies.

Radio stations
There are six AM stations and ten FM stations in the territory.

Cable stations in the province are provided by New City Cable in Rosario; Isabela Cable System in Santiago City; Regal Cable System in San Andres, Santiago City; and Divisoria Cable System in Santiago City.


Water & Power Supply
Magat Dam, Asia's biggest dam, which is located in Isabela supplies water to the province. Two electric cooperatives provide power to all of Isabela: Isabela Electric Cooperative (ISELCO) I and II.


Literacy rate (simple literacy) is 92.06 percent according to the government.


Isabela Day (May 1-11): Celebrates the founding of the Province and showcases each municipality's specialties.

Bambanti (Scarecrow) Festival (May 10): Celebrates the bountiful harvest of rice and corn and other agricultural products with street dances and a float parade

Feast of Our Lady of the Visitacion of Guibang (July 2)