Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nueva Vizcaya : Roaming Cagayan Valley's 2nd Oldest Province

This post is part of my Nueva Vizcaya Series chronicling my 2013 and 2015 visits to the province. To see other towns, refer to the linked list after the article.

At the start, the whole of the present-day Cagayan Valley Region was just a single vast province known as Cagayan. The first ever division of the province happened when its southern part, from Ilagan down to Aritao, was separated and created into a new province in 1841, paving the way for the birth of the great province of NUEVA VIZCAYA.

Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Capitol
The Nueva Vizcaya of old was a very large province but through the passage of time, it lost many of its territories starting from the creation of the province of Isabela in 1856 (almost half of Isabela province came from the northeastern territories of Nueva Vizcaya) until the separation of Quirino Province in 1971. Now, the province is left with only 15 municipalities, with a total population of 421,355 as of 2010.

I have the good fortune of visiting 5 of Nueva Vizcaya's 15 municipalities during my two time sojourn of the province: one in 2013 and another in 2015. I have twice visited the towns of Bayombong, Bambang and Dupax del Sur, and once, the towns of Bagabag and Solano.

Bayombong, the town's capital has a very spacious and beautiful provincial capitol complex. It has large parks, both in front and at the back of the capitol, auditorium, and a permanent exhibit area at the left side (which was not yet present during my first visit)

An indigenous house, one of the many houses in the exhibit area

The new exhibit area will be a permanent fixture of the capitol complex. Each of the province's 15 municipalities has their own space on the lot where they built an indigenous house that best represent their culture, and will be used every time there will be an exhibit. It was nice seeing the different indigenous houses as it features the most prevalent building materials and designs in each of the municipalities.

A part of the indigenous house meant to
prevent rodents and snakes entering its upper part.
Aside from the capitol complex, the town center of Bayombong is also worthy of a visit. The old Bayombong Cathedral can be found there as well as the old Nueva Vizcaya capitol which is now turned into a museum and library. Bayombong Town Hall can be reached by walking or riding a tricycle.

Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Capitol Complex Exhibit Area

Bagabag, another town of Nueva Vizcaya is also very much worthy of a visit. This town is considered the Eastern gateway of the Cordillera because one has to pass this town to be able to reach different Cordillera provinces such as Ifugao and Mountain Province when coming from Maharlika Highway. One can find here the ruins of Bagabag Church and Belltower as well as a restaurant famous for different buko products such as buko pie and pancit buko!

Solano Church

From Bagabag, one can hop on a bus and alight at the bustling town of Solano, one of the main commercial centers of Nueva Vizcaya. Just beside the national highway can be found the (unfortunately) modernized Solano Church as well as many commercial establishments that serves as testaments to this town's livability and vibrance. 

Solano is also one of Nueva Vizcaya's oldest existing town having been founded in the latter half of 1700's, but sadly, one cannot find any traces of antiquity anymore. Even its municipal hall (and church as what was stated earlier) are of modern design. The municipal hall is not located at the town center so one has to ride a tricycle to reach it. Though not in the town center, it can still be found along the national highway.

Solano Municipal Hall
From Solano, one can continue his travel to the town of Bambang, another main commercial center of Nueva Vizcaya. Unlike Solano, Bambang was able to preserve its old feel despite its rapid development and progress. The town was able to maintain its beautiful old church, reminiscent of the town's equally beautiful past. 

Bambang Church
Lastly, one can just ride a tricycle from Bambang Church to go to another heritage poblacion: Dupax del Sur. There, one can marvel at the beauty of the old Dupax del Sur Church, and an old Spanish bridge. Visiting this town is definitely a visit to the past.

Dampol Bridge in Dupax del Sur


To see more of Nueva Vizcaya, you may visit the following links:

Bayombong : The Capital
Bagabag : The Town of Buko and an Old Bell Tower
Bambang : The Agricultural Hub
Dupax del Sur : The Home of an Old Church and an Old Bridge 

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About the Author

I am ROMEL RAFOR JAIME, the man behind San Josenyong Gala. My travel blogger name came about because I am a proud resident of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. In real life, I am a licensed librarian who works in a college in Gapan, Nueva Ecija as a librarian and teaches general education subjects from time to time. My goal is to visit all the 81 provinces of the Philippines before visiting other countries. As of 2017, I have already visited 73... :)

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