With a total land area of 116,626 hectares (288,190 acres), it is the largest city in the island of Luzon and the fourth largest city (in terms of land area) in the Philippines, after Davao City, Puerto Princesa and Zamboanga City. It holds the title as the most number of voters in the province with 88,413 voters.
Ilagan was a first class municipality before becoming a city.
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. Shortly after Juan de Salcedo conquered Northern Luzon in 1587, Gov. Rodrigo de Penalosa sent Capt. Pablo de Carreon to explore Cagayan Valley as well as to establish missions in towns. Among the Spanish missionaries who penetrated deeply into the region was P. Pedro Jimenez, who founded Ilagan.
The town of Bolo was founded by the Dominicans in 1619 in honor of Saint Ferdinand of Castile. 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. After the Gaddang revolt, the natives re-established 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 the settlement as an ecclesiastical mission given the name San Fernando de Ilagan in honor of its patron, Saint Ferdinand of Castile.
On May 4, 1686, Ilagan was founded and missionaries converted the natives to Christianity. Ilagan was made the capital of Cagayan Valley when Brig. Manuel Sanchez Mira was then the governor of the whole territory. Ilagan was the scene of the 1763 revolt in Isabela led by Dabo and Marayag against the collection of tribute, the enforcement of tobacco monopoly committed by the friars during the Spanish occupation. Upon the separation of Isabela on May 1, 1856, Ilagan became the capital of the province.
On August 4, 1901 the American occupation under the United States-Philippine Commission has enacted the Provincial Government Act 210 that has re-established Isabela and other provinces in the Philippines. Rafael Maramag, a former municipal president (mayor) of Ilagan was appointed as the first governor. The act then re-established Ilagan as the provincial capital.
On 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 the country's National Hero José Rizal in the old Ilagan public plaza in Barangay Bagumbayan. By the turn of the 1950s the new Poblacion was located uphill from the old Saint Ferdinand Parish Church (formerly known as Saint Ferdinand Cathedral in Barangay Bagumbayan) to Barangay San Vicente; site of the current City Hall.
Ilagan has attempted to gain cityhood status at least five times in its history:During the Spanish colonization period, Ilagan applied to gain cityhood status from the Spanish Government but was unsuccessful. Ilagan could have been the second city of the Philippines after Nueva Segovia, now Lal-Lo, Cagayan.
During the administration of then Mayor Paguirigan, but was shelved during the American occupation.
On February 2, 1998, congress passed Republic Act No. 8474 which sought to convert Ilagan into a city. But the plebiscite held on March 14, 1999 turned down its bid for cityhood under the administration of then Mayor Mercedes P. Uy. The majority of the people voted no in that event.
During the administration of then Mayor Delfinito "Jojo" C. Albano, Ilagan's cityhood status did not push through when the mayor was gunned down by three unidentified men in the night of June 27, 2006 in Quezon City. Mayor Albano used the term C-U-DAD Ilagan for campaigning the cityhood status of Ilagan.
In 2012, the leaders of Ilagan, led by then Isabela 1st District Representative Rodolfo Albano Sr., renewed its bid for its cityhood. Former Isabela Vice Governor Rodolfo T. Albano III said that, "The provincial government fully supports Ilagan’s renewed cityhood bid, considering that such goal is already long overdue". Former Department of Justice Secretary Silvestre Bello III expressed support to the renewed move of the local officials of Ilagan, Isabela, headed by then Mayor Josemarie L. Diaz, for the town’s conversion into a city. On May 22, 2012, the congress approved the cityhood bill of Ilagan on its House Resolution No. 144 and was signed by His Excellency, then President Benigno Aquino III. Plebiscite was held on August 11, 2012, with a majority of votes voting "yes". By virtue of Republic Act 10169, Ilagan was then proclaimed as a new component city, the third in the province of Isabela and the fourth in Cagayan Valley on the same day by COMELEC Commissioner Armando Velasco.
Since 2006, Ilagan was able to received several awards from the different government agencies during the leadership of then Mayor Josemarie L. Diaz. Through the efforts of the Local Government Unit (LGU) and the support of the Ilagueños, Ilagan was awarded as the Most Child-Friendly Municipality, Sandugo Award (2009), Peace and Order Philippine National Police (PNP), Most Outstanding Municipality in Region 2 (Department of Interior and Local Government Gawad Pamana ng Lahi Heritage Award), 2011 Seal of Good Housekeeping for Transparency (DILG), Most Outstanding Municipality in the Philippines in Civil Registration (National Level), 2011 Gawad Saka Award for Corn Production, Most Outstanding Municipality in Blood Donation Program by the Northern Luzon Blood Depository System (DOH), Most Outstanding implementer of Anti-Red Tape Act in Region 2 (City Category), Most Outstanding City in Cagayan Valley in the implementation of Health Programs by the Department of Health (DOH), 2014 Best Tourism-Oriented LGU in the Philippines (1st Runner-Up) by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP), 2014 Most Outstanding Local Government Unit for Peace and Order (Component City Category) by the Philippine National Police (PNP), 2015 Most Outstanding implementer of Anti-Red Tape Act in Isabela & Region 2 (Component City Category), 2015 Best Tourism-Oriented LGU in the Philippines, 2014 & 2015 Outstanding National Quality Corn Achiever, Most Outstanding City in Region 2 in Nutrition Program implementation, Regional Winner as Best Local Legislative Body in Region 2, Hall of Famer of the 2015 National Quality Corn Achievers Award, 2016 Bottoms up Budgeting (BuB) Best Implementer in the Philippines by the Department of Budget and Management, Top 7 Most Competitive City in the Philippines recognized by the Department of Trade and Industry and National Economic Development Authority and the Champion for the Most Child Friendly City in the entire Philippines for 2016. In 2017, the city was awarded by the National Competitiveness Council of the Philippines as the 10th Most Competitive City in Government Efficiency and 15th Most Competitive City in Infrastructure nationwide.
On August 11, 2015, marked another day in the history of Ilagan as the Department of Agriculture proclaimed the city as the new Corn Capital of the Philippines during its third cityhood anniversary. Former Sec. Proceso Alcala was represented by then Asec. Edilberto M. De Luna who travelled all the way to Ilagan to attend the momentous event.
Ilagan is located on the central portion of the province of Isabela. It is bounded by 9 municipalities: on the north by the municipalities of Divilacan, Tumauini, and Delfin Albano; on the west by the municipality of Quirino; on the east by the municipalities of Divilacan, Palanan, and the Pacific Ocean; and on the south by the municipalities of Gamu, Naguilian, Benito Soliven and San Mariano. Ilagan is approximately 96 kilometres (60 mi) from Tuguegarao and 397 kilometres (247 mi) from Metro Manila (linked by a national highway via Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya).
Of the total 1,166.26 km2 land area of Ilagan; 31% are agricultural, 36% are forest areas and the remaining 33% are build-up areas and open grassland areas that are available for industrial, commercial and residential uses. Of all cities in the country, Ilagan ranks as the top producer of corn. As an agriculture-based city, it produces ample supply of corn, rice, vegetables and legumes. Fruits like the banana are year-round products especially in the mountainous areas of the city. Ilagan also produces seasonal fruits such as mangoes and pomelo. The Cagayan Valley Research Center (CVRC) is the primary plant breeding institution in Region 02. It is located in Barangay San Felipe along National Highway. Ilagan has rich forest resources. Hectares of forest land are strictly protected by authorities like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), several NGOs and the Local Government Unit.
In the 2015 census, the population of Ilagan, was 145,568 people, with a density of 120 inhabitants per square kilometre or 310 inhabitants per square mile.
The rapid increase of population in Ilagan is attributed to the current growth of economic activities specially in the sectors of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Housing. Ilagan is one of the 145 emerging cities in the Philippines with more than 100,000 residents. Statistics from the National Statistics Office show that Ilagan had a population 131,24311 in 2007, which increased to 135,174 people in the 2010 census making Ilagan as the most populous city in the province of Isabela and the second in Cagayan Valley after Tuguegarao.
Ilagan's population is predominantly Roman Catholic. The Diocese of Ilagan has 39 catholic churches all over the province of Isabela. There are also Protestants, Baptist, Church of Christ, Adventists, Born Again groups, Victory Christian Fellowship, Latter Day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, and Philippine-based groups like Iglesia Ni Cristo and Ang Dating Daan that accounts to the city's population. These religious organizations have their own temples and churches sparsely located in the city. Some Ilagueños were converted to Islam where their mosque is found in Barangay Baligatan.
Agriculture and fishery remains to be the main backbone of Ilagan's economy. There are almost 23,803 hectares that are basically cultivated land and 314 hectares are utilized for fish culture. However, the suitable farm area of Ilagan is 32,153.19 hectares potentials for crops, livestock and fish production. This figure shows that a significant percentage (24.99%) is not being fully utilized for agricultural production leaving them idle and under utilized.
Commerce and trade is the second economic based income of the people of Ilagan. In the year 2006, statistics showed that there are currently 1,795 registered business establishments. For year 2000, commercial trade was at 1,996 revealing that there were more or less than 201 establishments that had been closed down within the period 2000–2006. There were even more establishments in 1995 with a total of 1,877 in all. The trend shows that from 1995 to 2000, there was a growth of 2.94%, but from 2000 to 2006 a decreasing growth rate of -1.75% was registered. Just like the past years, for the year 2006, commercial activities within the municipality are classified into wholesale, retail and service-oriented businesses.
The industrial sector of the municipal economy comprises 210 establishments in year 2006 as compared with 207 in 2000. This reflects a 2.4% increase in industrial activities over a period of six years (2000–2006). The existing industries are mostly on a micro scale except for the Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. located in Barangay Guinatan which is the only significant employment generator within the locality at that time. Following the previous year’s trend, industries currently operating are agro-industries, wood-based manufacturing or service-oriented industries.
The commercial area includes areas which are occupied by public markets, wholesale and retail stores, restaurants, banks, shops and other establishments or structures engaged in commercial activities. The bulk of those who are engaged in trade and commerce are found in the public markets. The area covered by the commercial area is approximately 90.56 hectares or 2.62% of the urban core.
As compared to the 2000 existing commercial area of 17 hectares, the increase of 73.56 hectares in 2007 is an indication that Ilagan is racing towards commercialization.
The transformation of Ilagan into a fast growing municipality in Cagayan Valley became evident upon the assumption in office of then Mayor Josemarie L. Diaz, the re-structuring of the economic landscape of the municipality and the eventual transformation of its business climate into a business friendly environment successfully lured multi-national companies in investing their capitals into its market. Economic boom began to ingulf Ilagan with the entry of eight (8) banks and financial institutions in just a number of months.
The Local Government of Ilagan responded positively with these developments by the enactment of legislative measures including the provision of the Investment Incentive Code which provided for tax incentives to investments. These measures eventually opened the flood gates for big investments to enter the local market that included the establishments of malls like the Northstar Mall and Talavera Square Mall that house the Savemore, Robinsons Supermarket, Puregold, Jollibee, McDonald's, Red Ribbon, Goldilocks, Mang Inasal, Greenwich, Chowking and many other stores.
At present, Ilagan has one of the fastest-growing economy in the province of Isabela as well as in the whole Cagayan Valley over the past years. The city is the primary growth center and investment hub of the Cagayan Valley region due to the rapid commercialization and stabilization of the different sectors involved in its economy. It has two major public markets which is the old Pamilihang Bayan ng Ilagan located in Centro Poblacion (now called Xentro Market) moved to barangay San Vicente to give way for the construction of Xentro Mall and the multi-million pesos New Ilagan Public Market Complex in Barangay Baligatan. In front of the public market is a three-storey structure called as Ilagan City Mall, the first LGU-owned and operated mall in the city. The increasing number of market goers coming from the different regions of the city and adjacent municipalities, prompted city officials to facilitate the construction of the modern market. Ilagan is home to almost fifteen (15) banks which is primarily composed of universal, commercial, savings and rural banks. There are also thousands of commercial establishments composed of distributors, retail and wholesale. Pawnshops, lending companies, insurance agencies, cooperatives and other financial institutions are spread all over the city.
There are several food and beverage companies in the City. The largest of which is the Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, Inc. (CCFPI), which operates a softdrink bottling plant in Barangay Guinatan. Another, is a vinegar and soy sauce fermentation company locally known as 'Best Choice', which is operated and owned by Robelly's Food Products and also the Jack Confectionery, which operates a wine fermentation plant. There are 15 bakeries/bakeshops and 1 ice cream/ice drop company. Aside from the increasing number of local cafés, restaurants and several multi-national fastfood companies opened their respective branch/es in the city.
One major industry in Ilagan is furniture making. Several furniture shops, located along the National Highway in Barangays Alinguigan 2nd & Alinguigan 3rd, manufacture and sell furnitures made of quality narra wood. These barangays were dubbed as "Butaka City" of Ilagan, where the Guinness Book of Records' entry for the biggest lounge chair in the world, the Butaka, was manufactured.
Ilagan became one of the largest producers of tobacco during the Spanish time. The Tobacco Monopoly have caused the valley to languish in poverty from 1785 to 1797. The lifting of the monopoly was caused by the heavy loss incurred by the government. A Royal Decree released in 1882 totally abolished the monopoly and attracted foreign capitalist to invest in the country. In Ilagan, the Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas or the Tabacalera was established in 1881 and produced the famous La FLor de Isabela which was the largest company of its kind in the world at that time. The Tabacalera acquired two haciendas in Ilagan: the Hacienda San Antonio and Hacienda Sta. Isabela.
At present, most of the industries in the city are agri-based. For the past ten years, there has been a great number of local investment in poultry and hog raising. At present, there are seven poultry contract growers and 33 small and medium scale hog raisers in Ilagan. Other support facilities, warehouses and small rice mills, strategically located in different barangays of Ilagan address the storage needs of farmers during the harvest season.
There are 9 motor vehicle assembly shops in Ilagan; 5 jeepney assembly shops and 4 tricycle side-car makers. These motor vehicle assembly shops respond to the increasing need for transportation service in the city.
Real estate developers include homegrown investors like the Northstar Resources Group of Companies, Inc., a subsidiary of AM City Realty & Development Corp.. They are accredited to market high-end properties from trusted real estate developers in Ilagan and in Isabela. These properties are residential (house and lot or lot only) and commercial estates located in masterplanned and exclusive properties in Ilagan. Among their properties are Cityhomes Subdivision, Capitol Hills Subdivision, Richmond Hills Subdivision and Northstar Commercial Complex which are all located in Barangay Alibagu. These properties are fully developed, masterplanned, secure and comfortable places to live in with high class facilities and amenities.
The Brent-Nathan Realty and Development Corporation (BNRDC) nestled one of their projects in the foothills of Alibagu. The most prestigious gated community now recognized and fondly called Francisca Village Phase I and Francisca Village Phase II, the Landmark of BNRDC’s contemporary standard of majestic homes that embody the ideal of comfort and convenience. It showcases beautiful homes with impressive split level configurations that offer an unparalleled view of the breathtaking natural environment and a perpetually cool and calm surrounding found in a 46-hectare site. These masterplanned communities have been duplicated in two other BNRDC Villages; the Brethan Subdivision in Marabulig 1, Cauayan, and Pascual Village in Roxas, Isabela. At present, there are eleven (11) reputable subdivisions located in the city.
The Isabela Museum and Library (former location of the Isabela Provincial Capitol) houses a collection of artifacts, literature, and other historical elements that best describe the culture of the people of Isabela. While the City Government of Ilagan is on the process of collecting antique items to be placed on its own City Library.Balai na Ilagan - Aside from the traditional furniture industry, Balai na Ilagan has been set up to give a communal space of Ilagueños with the aim to nurture artistic talents of residents and to provide a multipurpose hall within the diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. Balai na Ilagan is intended to celebrate arts and culture in the province of Isabela.
Binallay - Every 30 May, the City of Ilagan celebrates the Binallay Festival. Binallay is a native rice cake prepared year-round in Ilagan. It was during the administration of Mayor Delfinito "Jojo" C. Albano that Binallay Festival became the official festivity of Ilagan. But upon the assumption in office of Mayor Josemarie L. Diaz, it was changed by the Mammangui Festival. At present, a small souvenir shop located in Barangay Baligatan called as Binallay Café which was originally established during the time of Mayor Albano; now being used as the city's tourist assistance and information desk. It is being maintained and managed by the city government. It offers hand-crafted souvenir products and two of the most famous delicacies that can be found in the city, the Inatata and Binallay.
Cityhood Anniversary - In 2013, the city government unit celebrated the first anniversary of Ilagan's cityhood. Highlighting the city's achievements for whole year. Activities were conducted with basketball games with local celebrities following a night concert on August 11, 2013.
In the celebration of its second cityhood anniversary on August 11, 2014, the city government inaugurated new government facilities and structures which are vital in the delivery of basic services to the people such as the city's General Services Office (GSO) building, Legislative building, Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO), Youth Reformation Center for Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL), Philippine National Police (PNP) building, diagnostic center in San Antonio City Hospital and the foot bridge in barangay Baligatan which is said to be the first in the valley.Mammangi Festival - Ilagan also celebrates the Mammangi Festival. Celebrated during the last week of May; an Ybanag word meaning the harvest or planting of corn. It honors the farmers who are the real foundation of Ilagan’s economy and is celebrated as a thanksgiving activity for a good harvest. Mammangui came from the Ybanag word mangui or corn. In the year 2011, General Ordinance No. 33 promulgated during the administration of Mayor Josemarie L. Diaz, DMD ordained Mammangui Festival as the official festivity of Ilagan to be celebrated on the month of May.
During the annual celebration of the festival, the city government usually conducts activities such as basketball games, cheerdance competitions, motor and car show, fun-run and a concert held at the Ilagan Community Center featuring local celebrities which is attended annually by thousands of Ilagueños. Highlights of the celebration are the much awaited events like the colorful float parade, street dancing spectacles executed by young Ilagueño dancers wearing native costumes made of indigenous materials and beauty pageants like the Little Miss Ilagan, Miss Gay Mammangui and the search for Mammangui Festival Queen which showcases the beauty and talents of Ilagueñas.City and Patronal Fiestas - Fiestas are common celebrations in the city. Traditionally, people celebrate the feast days of the respective patron saints of each barangays every year. While the city celebrates the feast day of its patron, San Fernando, every 30 May.
The Aggaw na Ilagan is celebrated annually every May 4. It was the date when Ilagan was founded as a town.During the 317th year celebration, Ilagan unveiled the World's Largest Armchair (Butaka) in 2003 and was recorded in Guinness World Record.
The year 2012 gave way to the inauguration and blessings of the zipline inside the Ilagan Sanctuary as the first in Cagayan Valley during the celebration of 326th Aggaw na Ilagan. Another is the inauguration of the newly constructed boundary marker in Barangay Alibagu and Barangay Upi in Gamu featuring the local heroes and warriors Marayag and Dabo.
In the celebration of the 328th founding anniversary of Ilagan, the city government unveiled the latest added attractions in Ilagan Sanctuary which are the cable car, wall climbing, rappelling, tree-top adventure, large lagoon for fishing, boating area and the large wave pool to attract more foreign and local tourists throughout the valley and as well as in the whole country.
Ilagan Sanctuary - Ilagan's major tourist attraction is the Ilagan Sanctuary also known as the Fuyot Springs National Park located in Barangay Santa Victoria. It is popular for hikers, mountaineers, spelunkers and birdwatchers who come to explore its mountain trails, caves, odd rock formations and aviary. Established in 1938 with an area of 819 hectares (2,020 acres).
Santa Victoria Caves - The Santa Victoria Caves are more than 12 Philippine limestone caves that are found in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges. The caves are known for their beautiful and unusual rock formations, sparkling rocks, and subterranean waterfalls. It is believed to have been occupied by the nomadic Agta or Dumagat people in the past. The caves are located within the Ilagan Sanctuary, which is part of the Fuyot Springs National Park (FSNP) in the eastern region of Ilagan. This area is included in the Palanan Wilderness Area or Northern Sierra Madre National Park in the province of Isabela in Cagayan Valley.
Pinzal Falls - Another major attraction located within Ilagan Sanctuary. Tourists visiting Pinzal falls will enjoy the relaxation it offers.
Abuan River - Abuan River is the Philippines’ Next Big Whitewater Destination. The sixty-five kilometres (65 km.) Abuan River is the main river channels inside the 50,625 hectares Abuan Watershed located in the city. The headwater of the said river is located inside the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park which is one of the richest and remaining virgin forest in the country and from within it is a verdant vision of plant and animal life – where Philippine eagles (Pithecophaga jefferyi) soar. Tourists and visitors can also try intense activities like water rafting, kayaking and wall climbing to enjoy the breath taking experience that this place offers.
Burmurbur Falls - A hidden fresh water haven recently discovered in Barangay Sindon Bayabo.
World's Largest Butaka - The Butaka (Armchair) was built in 29 days at the cost of ₱175,000with a total of 1,762 board feet of seasoned narra, 1,740 foot-1 inch diameter of rattan; it is 11.4 feet tall, 9.70 feet wide and 20.8 feet long and weighs 2,368 kilos, now on display along Maharlika highway beside Bonifacio park.
Balay na Maguili or Balai na Ilagan and Friendship Hall located beside the Rizal Park and serves as a multi-purpose space to nurture the artistic talents of locals. It is the headquarters of Stewards and Friends of Ilagan Incorporated, an NGO assisting the city government in its socio-tourism efforts. The Balay na Maguili is an arts hall where music lessons are taught to children. The chapel inside the compound is a well-preserved 18th century structure.
Saint Ferdinand Parish Church is known to house one of the oldest bells in the region. The church is dedicated to the patron saint, San Fernando. The church is located in the heart of the city and stands beside the St. Ferdinand College.
Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Plant is one of the industrial complexes in the region frequently visited by excursionists to learn about the mechanized processing system of one of the country’s favorite soft drinks.
Old Capitol Building was once the seat of power in the province of Isabela. It is now being used to showcase the history of Isabela in a museum and library.
Isabela Provincial Capitol in Barangay Alibagu is the seat of power of the present day Isabela. It houses the offices of various national line agencies. In front of the capitol is an open-air amphitheater recommended for evening activities.
Isabela Museum and Library was inaugurated last May 11, 1999 and is housed at the old capitol building in Barangay Calamagui 2nd. It is the repository and custodian of the rich historical and cultural heritage of Isabelinos. It features a gallery exhibit-collection of artifacts, fossils, heirloom pieces, visual arts, dioramas and other historical documents. It is open on weekdays.
Ilagan Japanese Tunnel - a village that lets visitors travel back to the Japanese period. It is located in Barangay Santo Tomas.
Rizal Park - a replica of the original Rizal Monument in Luneta. At the back of the park is an open-air mini concert ground for small and minor events. It is strategically located in front of the Saint Ferdinand Parish Church and Balai na Ilagan in Barangay Centro Poblacion.
Elpidio Quirino Park - a monument built in honor of the former Philippine President Elpidio Quirino. It is located in front of the Ilagan City Hall in Barangay San Vicente.
Bonifacio Park or Butaka Shrine this monument was built in honor to the Father of the Philippine Revolution, Andrés Bonifacio. It is also known as the Freedom Park where various groups exercise their freedom of expression. It also houses the world’s biggest Butaka or armchair which was brought to Intramuros, Manila during the first WOW Philippines exhibit. It is located along the National Highway in Barangay Baligatan.
Queen Isabela Park - the newest and the biggest park/monument found within the city that features a world class ambience and one of a kind architectural design of a great monument in honor of Queen Isabela II of Spain. The Queen Isabela Park is a culture and arts open air amphitheatre which is the biggest LGU-built arena in the country. Located in front of the Isabela Provincial Capitol in Barangay Alibagu along the National Highway.
In 1993, Ilagan hosted the Palarong Pambansa (National Games) and in 2011 the SCUAA National Olympics. It was held at the Isabela Sports Complex. The sports complex was erected by the National Government and local officials during the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos as a permanent facility for the province of Isabela, in Barangay Alibagu, Ilagan, the capital. The impressive facility of 50 hectares, on which has built a stadium with a 39,000 seating capacity, likewise has an athlete's village for housing participants. Some of the houses for the athlete's village were donated by certain civic-minded citizens and organizations who were approached by the officials of the province through the initiative of the late former Isabela Governor Benjamin G. Dy. The complex is also equipped with a basketball court, volleyball courts, swimming pool, badminton and tennis courts, sepak takraw court, oval rubber track and a baseball field. The Ilagan Community Center was inaugurated and blessed after its renovation to accommodate minor sports events and celebrations such as basketball games, badminton and volleyball tournaments, cheerdance competitions, concerts, and other important activities; it is now fully airconditioned. The City of Ilagan Sports Complex or formerly called as Paguirigan Memorial Athletic Stadium in Barangay San Vicente is a sports facility equipped with new modern rubber track, Basketball, Badminton and Tennis courts, concrete bleachers and a new swimming pool that was built to accommodate major sports and athletic events such as the Cagayan Valley Regional Athletic Association (CAVRAA) meet held last February 2016 and 2017. It was the chosen venue for the 12th South East Asia Youth Athletics Championship and the 2017 Philippine National Open Invitational Athletics Championship held last March 26 to April 2, 2017, where world class athletes coming from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Laos, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Fil-Am contigent, Philippine Team and the host City of Ilagan team will participate in the said event.
Table Tennis is also a popular sport in the city. It is played regularly at Ping-Pong Central at Francisca Village, Barangay Baligatan and hosted by Table Tennis Association in the City of Ilagan (TATAC-Ilagan). Regular ranking tournament is held monthly among residents of Ilagan. Open tournament is held annually. The only Golf course in Isabela is located in Ilagan. This Golf course has produced several World Junior Golf Champions.
The SK Federation in Ilagan has a yearly basketball tournament for the youth of the city.
Ilagan, belonging to the 1st Legislative District of the Province of Isabela, is governed by a City Mayor designated as its Local Chief Executive and by a City Council as its Legislative body in accordance with the Local Government Code. The City Mayor, City Vice Mayor, and the City Councilors are elected directly by the people through an election which is being held every three (3) years.
As component city of the Province of Isabela, government officials are voted by the residents of the city. The provincial government still have political jurisdiction over local transactions of the city government.
There were 28 municipal mayors during its municipal period since 1904. Its first city mayor is Josemarie L. Diaz, DMD from 2012-2016.
Ilagan City is politically subdivided into 91 barangays, the most number of barangays in the province. Each barangay consist of 7 puroks and some have sitios. Currently, there are 12 barangays in the city that are considered urban.
Barangays in Ilagan City are grouped into 4 clusters, namely:
Ilagan is linked by a national highway called Maharlika Highway (designated as Asian Highway 26, AH26 by Asian Highway Network) The highway starts at Barangay Alibagu and ends at Barangay San Juan. On-going road constructions are the Ilagan-Divilacan road and the Ilagan-Delfin Albano-Mallig Road which are expected to be completed in five years and the former later this year 2013. Ilagan's longest bridge is the Malalam Bridge in Barangay Malalam going north.
In the year 2014, the city government inaugurated the Baculud Overflow Bridge that connects the poblacion region to the northeastern barangays going to Tuguegarao. On February 19, 2015, the Lullutan Bridge was made open by the local government to the public. On April 7, 2015, then President Benigno S. Aquino traveled to Isabela to lead the inauguration of the new bridge, which connects the east and west banks of the Cagayan River. It is expected to serve the city's western barangays and nearby municipalities. Before the construction of the new bridge, residents have to use barges to transport agricultural products to the market. With its completion, residents would no longer have to pay barge fees, and travel time between barangays on either side of the river has been cut short drastically. The bridge in Sta. Maria (Cabiseria 8) begun its construction in the year 2014 and completed in 2015. Road concreting and widening, creation of diversion and circumferencial roads and farm to market roads were prioritized by the national and city government to help mobilize the transportation of goods and services within the city's jurisdiction and adjacent municipalities.
There are 29.313 kilometres (18.214 mi) of concrete road out of 24.56 kilometres (15.26 mi) of national road that passes through the city. Other road networks are 33,005 km provincial roads, 8,909 city streets and 269,713 km of barangay roads. Ilagan is accessible by all means of land transportation. From the Poblacion to the 91 barangays and five adjacent municipalities. Regular jeepney trips are from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. Tricycles are available 24 hours a day.
Ilagan is the only place in the region that currently uses jeepneys as the primary means of public transportation within the vicinity. There are 432 Jeepneys used as the major public transportation in Ilagan with corresponding routes from (Centro-Calamagui-Alibagu-Upi junction-Guibang vice versa), (Centro-Calamagui-Bliss Village-Salindingan vice versa), (Centro-San Antonio region vice versa), (Centro-Bintacan vice versa) and neighboring towns, plus 4,000 tricycle units and a dozen of bus companies within the locality. Each company operates a fleet of air conditioned buses with daily trips to Manila from their respective terminals. Several bus companies also use the Ilagan route from Tuguegarao and Northern Isabela to Manila, Dagupan, Baguio and other destinations. The Local Government Unit (LGU) inaugurated the Ilagan City Central Transport Terminal beside the Northstar Mall in Alibagu on November 28, 2011.
PLDT and Digitel are the main Telecommunications service providers in Ilagan. They operate and maintain several telecommunications facilities and offices within the city. They offer various services such as telephony and broadband internet (DSL). Mobile network operators in Ilagan include Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, Sun Cellular, Talk 'N Text, Touch Mobile, and Red Mobile. Other companies providing various telecommunications services such as telegraph and fax services are PT&T, and RCPI now Universal Storefront Services Corporation.
The city has a growing number of internet cafés which enables the public to surf, chat, and play online games. The majority of the country's Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are available in Ilagan such as Smart Broadband, Globe Tattoo, Sun Broadband, PLDT myDSL and Digitel. There are also wi-fi equipped establishments located in the city proper. Recently, cable TV provider Polaris Cable Vision is now offering broadband.
The Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPOst) is the major postal service provider in Ilagan. Express delivery services are provided by LBC, FedEx (Air21),JRS Express, and EMS (through PhilPost).
Residences and establishments are able to get their energy needs through the service provided by the Isabela Electric Cooperative II, Inc. (ISELCO II). Its main office is located at Barangay Alibagu. Based on MPDO record, 63 out of 91 barangays are energized. As of 2011, Ilagan is now 100% energized. Also, a sub-station of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is located in Barangay Baligatan.
Ilagan is one of the few places in the Cagayan Valley Region that has a continuous freeway lighting system. The city government have managed to install incandescent highway lights along the national road from Barangay Alibagu in the south all the way to Barangay San Juan in the north.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has approved on May 27, 2015 the service contract of the largest solar PV power plant in the Philippines. Cheap solar energy will be available for residents here soon after the proponents of the P7-billion solar power plant have already secured its funding.
A twenty-five (25) year Service contract was signed between Living Project 4 People Philippines Inc. (LP4PP) and the Department of Energy. The signing will start the process of completion of development, installation, construction, commissioning and operation of a 100.0 MW Solar PV Project in the city. LP4PP said that the solar project will be constructed in 10 phases to install 10.0 MW for each phase that will start construction in August 2015.
Accordingly, it is a pure solar PV Grid connected installation that will avail on the privileges under the Renewable Energy Law of the country. The renewable energy to be generated will be sold directly to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) under the Feed-in-Tariff Scheme of the RE law.
The 100.0 MW Solar PV project will help alleviate the current electricity shortage in the country that causes regular black-outs resulting in industry closures as well as inconvenience to the consumers. The solar power facility will be constructed at a 100-hectare land at Barangay Cabannungan, several kilometers away from the city proper
The City of Ilagan Water District (CIWD) is a government-owned and controlled corporation which is the supplier of all the water needs of the residents and establishments. It has managed to set-up several pumping stations all throughout the city to cater the increasing demand of Ilagan's growing population and economy. Some residents and privately owned business entities have their own electric pumps and some are able to put up their own traditional deep wells for their own water needs and irrigation systems specially those residents from far-flung barangays who are not able to avail the service provided by the water district. Its main office is located in Barangay Osmeña. At present, several water refilling stations have opened to serve as an alternative option of the residents for their water needs. Also, the city government is on the process of implementing some solutions in line with the water and sewerage problems of the city such as the construction of deep wells in every barangay and the construction of drainages and canals in those area affected by floods during the rainy and stormy season.
Facilities in health services are distributed in the city. The city has three (3) health centers servicing the Ilagueños located in Barangay San Vicente, Barangay Marana and an extension in Barangay Lullutan. There are also dozens of dental clinics, maternity and pediatric clinics, derma clinics and pharmacies around the city. On August 11, 2014, the City Government inaugurated a diagnostic center in San Antonio City Hospital.
On August 11, 2015, the first ever LGU-operated Blood Station and Animal Bite Treatment Center in Cagayan Valley, accredited by the Department of Health were inaugurated to offer free services for the well being of llagueños.
Overall, the city has two (2) public and two (2) private hospitals, fifteen (15) clinics and three (3) City Health Units.
Ilagan is the center of education in Isabela especially for neighboring municipalities of Tumauini, Gamu, Roxas, Quirino, Naguilian, Benito Soliven, San Mariano and Delfin Albano. There are 10 Secondary Public Schools around the city and 3 other Private Secondary Schools. There are also numerous elementary schools around Ilagan, while the most populated are located in the poblacion. The Government also supports scholarship grants to deserving students for college degree programs.
Provincial field offices of the different government agencies like the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Department of Education (DepEd) are all located in Ilagan. Ilagan has formerly 3 districts namely: Ilagan East District, Ilagan West District and Ilagan South District when Ilagan was under the Division of Isabela, the mother school division. These districts has clusters of schools geographically located.
On January 21, 2013, the Schools Division of the City of Ilagan was created following the success of its cityhood bid in 2012. Denizon P. Domingo was installed as the first city school division superintendent. On June 17, 2013 the school division established 6 school districts in the city as follows:
The city has a total of 88 elementary schools, 10 secondary high schools, 6 integrated high schools and almost a dozen private schools from all levels.