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Origin of the Name Tuguegarao

There  are several versions of the origin of the name, Tuguegarao. One  is the  abundance  of "tarrao" trees  in the  area. Another is "garrao" meaning swift current, possibly of the Pinacanauan River. Another  is from the word "tuggui" meaning fire. Another recorded version is, the  town was formerly  called Twerao by the people of the northern  towns. Still  another is  that  the  name Tuguegarao comes  from  two  Ibanag  words "tuggui" (fire) and "aggao" (day), possibly referring to a daytime fire that happened in the town.

However,  the  version  most accepted is that the   name   Tuguegarao   comes   from   the sentence  "Tuggui  gari  yaw", meaning "This was  cleared   by  fire"  possibly  referring  to the  kaingin  areas  pointed by the natives  to the Spaniards. This means therefore that  the town,  Tuguegarao,   was  carved  out  of  the wilderness by fire.

Founding of the Town

It was a small settlement, in terms of population but was big in territory until 1850s. It was governed as a barangay until the Spaniards gave it the status of "mission-pueblo" on May 9, 1604, making it one of the political units of the province of Cagayan, which then included all the territory which  later   became  the  province   of  Isabela,  Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.

Actually,  it  was  in  the  year 1600  when the Spaniards first  visited Tuguegarao. The  natives  fled to the outlying wilderness, because  they  felt that  unlike the  Chinese, Japanese and  Indians  who  came  only to trade, it  was clear that the newcomers were here to settle and govern them. The  Dominican  friars  coaxed the natives through evangelization, education and the improvement of livelihood methods. Reforms  for social  and  material  upliftment were worked out.  Chapels and barrios were built, with each barrio having its own  patron saint. Elaborate  fiestas  were held in honor of the  patron saint. Slowly, the natives returned to their homes in the lowland.

As a mission-pueblo and with assigned encomenderos to Tuguegarao, the inhabitants were made to pay taxes in the form of  poultry products and other foodstuffs. Resentment flared. The people of Tuguegarao revolved in 1605, killing the encomendero. Again, the people of Tuguegarao revolted in 1718 and then 1761 with a leader named Rivera.

Tuguegarao in the 1980s and 1990s

The   year  1983  marked   the  quadricentennial   celebration  of   the  establishment  of   the  Civil Government of the Province of Cagayan. In the week long celebration held in  Tuguegarao, several Ministers visited the town and province.

New  barangays   had  been  formed,   so  that  by  1981, Tuguegarao  had  49  barangays,  12 of which were urban. The  late  1980s  saw the gradual expansion of  the urban core  of  Tuguegarao  to  the outlying  barangays of Ugac, Caritan  and Atulayan.  With the  fast rising prices of  real estate in the Poblacion.  Residents found it very profitable to sell their  houses and lots in the  Poblacion and to buy lots in  the barangay surrounding  the Poblacion,  so that they  would  still be near  the market, the  schools,  their offices  and   business,   the  church,   the   stores   and recreation spots.

By  1980, Tuguegarao  had a population of 73,507. The increase in population could be attributed to  various  factors.  One is the increasing peace  and  order  problems in  the other  towns in the region,  driving  the  people  to  Tuguegarao,  which  relatively  is  free  of  the insurgency problem with the visible presence of the military and due to the town's geographic location. Another factor is  the  presence  of  the  schools,  whose  quality  of education is highly  comparable to  that  of Metropolitan  Manila.  Others  come   because  of  trade  and  industry.  Another  reason  is  the completion  of  the  Maharlika  Highway,  which made Region 02 more accessible.  Of very great consideration  is  the  town's  tremendous   improvement  in  social  services  and  infrastructure facilities  since  1975.  The  immigrants,  seeing  that the  people  of  Tuguegarao  are  generally peaceful and gentle and that the town could sufficiently sustain a comfortable life, decide to stay for good. And then, of course, the children and grandchildren of Tuguegarao, after their sojourn in the cities for education, first  jobs and professional trainings,  come back to Tuguegarao to  build their homes and careers.

Tuguegarao's sky line has greatly changed over the  years.  In  the  1980s and 1990s, there are multi-storey buildings  in  the  Poblacion,  land- scaped  schools and  homes, cable  television, air-conditioned buses, jet flights, telegraph and telex services,  door-to-door  delivery  services, domestic  and   overseas  long-distance  calls, luxurious social amenities and  other trappings of   a   highly   urbanized   town.   It  has  been observed that  Tuguegarao's Calle Commercio, now called  Bonifacio  Street  improved  drama- tically  after  every  fire,  which  happens  perio- dically in this town which was carved out of the wilderness by fire.

Tuguegarao, the capital of the Province of Cagayan and the center of Region 02, has undergone a lot of changes and will  continue  to change  to better  serve  its purpose.  Though  not verbalized, the  town  is  dear  to  its  people.  No  matter  in  what  shape  or  state  the  town  is, its people continue to make it function. Tuguegarao is a hometown its inhabitants will always return to.