Santiago City is located in the southern part of the province of Isabela, along Maharlika Highway, between the municipalities of Cordon and Echague. It is about 79 kilometers south of Ilagan, the capital of Isabela, and 328 kilometers from Metro Manila. It is situated between 16deg35′N to 16deg47’30″ N and121deg25′E to 12 1deg37′E. It is surrounded by the municipalities of Cordon (west), Ramon (northwest), San Isidro (north), Echague (north), and by Quirino province (south). The topography of the city varies only slightly, 80% being nearly flat, 17% being moderately rolling, and 3% steeply undulating and rolling, towards the southern end of the city
Before the Spanish regime, the place was known as “Carig”, which means “tall straight trees”. The first native settlement in the area was established by the Ybanags and Gaddangs along the banks of the Carig River, presently known as Diadi River. In January, 1910, Carig was made into a municipality, separate from Echague. I was also given a new name, Santiago, after St. James the Apostle, the patron saint of the town. For 84 long years, it remained a municipality. It was only in May 5, 1994, under the leadership of Mayor Jose “Pempe” Miranda, that the town of Santiago finally became a city.
From a primitive settlement, Santiago has indeed grown into urbanism. This is manifested by the magnificent city hall, constructed at the turn of the millenium, that comfortably houses the local government offices. The commercial area of city, located along Maharlika Highway, also shows rapid growth. Its public market, known as “Bagong Palengke”, is the site of the wet and dry markets, shoe stores, boutiques, fast food stores, grocery and department stores. Educational institutions are also present in Santiago city, from primary schools to tertiary schools, such as the Northeastern College at the poblacion and La salette College at Dubinan.
Things to Do and see in Santiago City, Isabela.
Magat Dam Tourism Complex (Magat Hydro Electric Power Plant)
Asia’s biggest dam project at the time of its construction. It serves the primary function of power generation and irrigation. Its reservoir area of 4,450 hectares has a great potential for water-based recreation like fishing, boating and water skiing, among others. The plant is accessible by passenger jeepney and bus from Santiago City.
Our Lady of Lasalette Shrine
The shrine stands on top of the Holy Hill overlooking Santiago City and it symbolizes that Roman Catholic is the dominant religion in the City.