AS A MUNICIPALITY
Barely half century after Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines in March 16, 1521, Iriga was only a visita of Nabua, Provincia de Ambos Camarines. Because of the disastrous floods that occur during rainy seasons in suburban Poblacion of Nabua, Father Felix de Huertas, the then parish priest adviced the farmers to move to I-raga (donde hay tierra or “where there is land”) where they can plant their crops without fear of being flooded. The flood victims of Nabua who moved earlier and followed the suggestion of their parish priest were the fortunate beneficiaries of good harvest coming from the rich and fertile soils of I-raga, more so, those who planted at the foot of Sumagang mountain (mountain of rising sun, now Mt. Iriga or Mt. Asog) said to be nature’s given symbol of the Irigueños loafy ideals and noble visions.
As population spread out and evangelization progressed, the settlement of Sumagang mountain developed in size and wealth, slowly pushing the Agta (aborigines) up to the thickness of the forests. In 1578, the I-raga settlement was established as a “visita” of Nabua under Fray Pablo de Jesus and Fray Bartolome Ruiz, both Franciscans. Three decades later or on January 4, 1641, Mt. Asog (named after the negrito chieftain who ruled the aborigines) or Mt. Iriga, erupted. The eruption brought much fear to the settlers but with strong faith and belief, a miracle happened and as witnessed by local folks, the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mother and her Son Lord Jesus or the “Nuestra Señora de Angustia” appeared at Sitio Inorogan and saved the people from the terrible earthquake and flood. The eruption formed the cavernous gully on the side of Buhi leading to the steep gorge which was once the crater of the volcano.
In 1683, this progressive visita of I-raga was converted into Pueblo de la Provincia de Ambos Camarines with a population of 8,908 with several decades later the name I-raga was change to Iriga by the dipthongonal Spanish authorities. “con la avocacion de San Antonio de Padua como patron parroquial Junio Trece sera la fiesta annual”.
During the incumbency of Don Martin Mendoza as Capitan Municipal, in the “memorias de la Provincia de Ambos Camarines” shows that the “pueblo de Iriga” was composed of various “visita distinguida la poblacion centro del casco en 5 barrios que son San Roque, San Francisco de Asis, San Juan Bautista, Sto. Domingo de Guzman y San Miguel Arcangel con 6 visita fuera del casco denominados San Nicolas de Tolentino, San Agustin, San Antonio Abad. Sto. Niño, Santiago de Galicia y la visita de los monteses” with a population of 13,813. There were only four roads mentioned, they were coming from Nabua going Baao to Buhi and to Polangui, Albay, now the diversion road passing Salvacion to Masoli, Bato, then to the south road going to Polangui, Albay, and there was only one way going the Nueva Caceres (Naga) via Bicol river by boat.
In 1913, the Manila Rail Road Company station (MRR) and the public market were established in their respective present sites which readily contributed to the rapid growth of Iriga, making it the center of trade and commerce in the Rinconada area. It was also at this time that Mondays and Thursdays were declared as market days in Iriga. The Municipality of Iriga continued to prosper through the years. The original “barrios y visita” have developed into sitios which later on, these sitios have metamorphosed into a distinct and separate barrios.
After the Second World War, San Ramon, San Rafael. Cristo Rey, Sta. Isabel, San Vicente Norte, San Andres, Sta. Teresita, Perpetual Help, Sagrada, Niño Jesus, San Pedro and Antipolo, former sitios of San Agustin, San Isidro and San Nicolas were created into separate barrios. And, the barrios of La Anunciacion and Sta. Elena were sitios of Sto. Domingo, Del Rosario (Banao) from Santiago, Sto. Niño and La Purisima from San Francisco and part of Sto. Domingo, Sta. Cruz Sur from San Francisco, Francia and San Jose from San Miguel, and, San Vicente Sur, Salvacion, La Trinidad and La Medalla from the large barrio of San Antonio.
Some of the barrios were just created in 1960. The latest and the 36th barrio ever created was Sta. Maria which comprises the sitios of Tubigan, Katungdulan, Bagacay, Sampaga, Rao and Cawayan, by virtue of R.A. 6228.
AS A CITY
Iriga was converted into a city through the signing of R.A. 5261 otherwise known as the Charter of Iriga City on July 8, 1968 by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The City, however, was formally organized and inaugurated as the third city of Bicol on September 3, 1968 by Presidential Proclamation and officiated by the President of the Philippines.
Since then, Iriga City has developed tremendously making it not only as a center of trade and commerce in Rinconada area but the whole Bicol Region as well, if not the entire Southern Luzon, as it is strategically located between the cities of Naga and Legaspi.
The City of Iriga has a population of 97,983 in 2007 (2007 NSO Survey) and an average growth rate of 1.46 percent per annum. These population is distributed in 19,957 households or an average household size of 5.1 in 36 barangays. This is projected to increase to 106,886 population & 20,958 households. A 4th class city, it has an annual income of P321,196,898.00 in 2010.
In the May 10, 2004 elections, Hon. Madelaine Y. Alfelor-Gazmen, the first lady mayor of Iriga City was elected with Jose SG. Villlanueva, Jr. as her Vice-Mayor, and assumed office on July 1, 2004.
A guiding philosophy of the dynamic and youthful mayor of Iriga City, Hon. Madelaine Alfelor-Gazmen, is the need for a “solid and strong foundation” as a vital component of good governance. To her, this foundation, which echoes Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s metaphor of the individual stone’s role in fortifying an edifice; lies in the good values of the people and the principles of transparency, people’s participation and consultation, competitiveness and complementation – being done through the following approaches and strategies: a) Responsible Citizenship through Good Governance, b) Environmental Protection and Sustainability, c) Sustainable Agro and Eco-Tourism development, d) Employment generation and Livelihood development, e) Economic and Social Equity , f) Improved infrastructure facilities and utilities, g) Vibrant and Livable community Development Program, h) Excellent Public service Delivery thru Computerization of all Local Administrative Systems.
These approaches/strategies proved to be effective when the city, under her administration, was able to accomplish the following:
- Restoration of the trust and confidence of the constituents as evidenced by the +78 and +72% Net Trust Rating of the Mayor generated from the SWS Survey in 2007 & 2009, respectively. Objectively verifiable indicators includes: the increase in the turnout of taxpayers resulting in the increase of revenue collection by ___% over the 7 year period; increase in privately initiated investments by 18%; increase in people’s participation in all activities of the city.
- Recognitions given to the Mayor and the City by prestigious private institutions and agencies in the areas of Environmental Protection and Management, Good Local Governance, Business Communication, people’s participation, revenue generation, among others.
- Recipients of various grant funded programs given by both foreign (ODA) and national, government and non-government, agencies in view of the Performance-Based Grant System (PBGS) Scheme of the DOF.
- Strengthening of local administrative systems and response time of frontline service providers.
- Substantial improvement of the city’s urban infrastructure facilities, utilities and services.
1. Location and Physical Subdivision
The City of Iriga, invariably known as the “City of Character” and the “City of Crystal-Clear Springs” which are indicative of her distinct character and resources, is geographically located in the central part of the Bicol Peninsula which forms the Southeastern part of the island of Luzon. It is also centrally located between the cities of Naga & Legaspi and is located 14˚ 00’ and 13˚13’ north latitude and 125˚30’ and 123˚00’ east longitude. It is bounded on the North by the municipalities of Ocampo and Sangay, on the East by the municipality of Buhi, on the West by the municipalities of Bato, Nabua and Baao, Camarines Sur, and on the South, by the municipality of Polangui, Albay.
It is also about 491 kms. South of the City of Manila, 35 kms. South of Naga City and 65 kms. north of Legaspi City. This 425 year old settlement established by the Spanish Conquistadores in the province of Camarines Sur, is among the few fast growing urban centers in the Bicol Region.
Comprising of 36 barangays, it has a total land area of 17, 400 hectares or 174 sq. kilometers classified into the following land uses: 78.31% agricultural, 14.96% residential, .065% commercial, .05% industrial, .27% institutional, and .033% parks & open spaces and 6.32% timber/forest land.
|Classification||Area (in Hectare)||Percentage|
|A. Alienable and Disposable Area|
|B. Timber / Forest Land||1,099.80||6.32|
Iriga City’s topography encompasses the peak of Mt. Iriga, a strato volcano which varies from an elevation of 10 meters to 1,149 meters above mean sea level at its lowest point.
For geographical function, institutional and other purposes, the city is divided into three (3) major areas, urban, semi-urban and rural areas. From the southwestern side of the city, the urban area, which comprises of nine (9) barangays in the city proper, is visualized in the foreground of the verdant Mt. Iriga founded on a flat to rolling terrain with elevation ranging from 10 to 30 meters above mean sea level dotted with isolated small hills rising to an elevation from 50 to 60 meters. The semi-urban area consist of five (5) barangays surrounding the urban area with an elevation ranging from 20 to 60 meters above mean sea level extending from Francia in the southwest to Santiago in the east.
Comprising the rural area are twenty-two (22) barangays, fourteen (14) of which are along the foot of Mt. Iriga while the other eight (8) are situated east and southwest of the urban area.
Several rivers and creeks can be found in the city. On the northwest is Waras River extending to the Iriga-Nabua and Iriga-Baao boundaries, on the south is Agos River serving as the city’s boundary with Albay while salog River and Daraga River traverses the city proper from east to west. The four (4) rivers converge in the vicinity of Nabua and Bato towards the Bicol River.
Considered a unique feature of the city is the presence of irregular contours on all area, even in the lowland areas. These areas are fertile at its lowest portion resulting in the hypothesis that these hills were formed out of the eruption of Mt. Iriga, which was characterized with violent fury, spouting rocks and lava. As time passed, hills such as Ilian, Botawan, Masoso, Balaigang, Calvario, Boguitis and others had grown fertile and vegetated. By its topographical profile, Iriga City is a unique combination of mountain, hills and flatlands.
Based on the analysis of the Bureau of Soils, Camarines Sur, the soil classification of Iriga City are: 1) Macolod Sandy Loam (57.64%), 2) Pili Loam (3.99%), Macolod-Pili Complex (34.73%) and, 4) Undifferentiated Mountain Soil (3.64%).
d. Climate and Rainfall
Type of Rainfall and Climate
Iriga City’s climate is tropical. It generally belongs to Type II climate which is characterized by no pronounced dry and wet season.
Rainfall Distribution Annually
Using the 10-day mean and 75% Probability Analysis, it was observed that the months of January to May is usually dry to moist with lowest mean annual rainfall of 6.5mm. The months of June to December are relatively wet with peak rainfall during the month of July in low-lying areas and November in highly elevated areas.
Iriga City has a population of 111,757 in 2015 per National Statistics Office (NSO) Survey and an average growth rate of 1.72% per annum. This population is distributed over 23,754 households in the 36 barangays of the City with an average household size of 5.0.
11 barangays are in the urban area. Comprising the rural area are twenty two (22) barangays, fourteen (14) of which are along the foot of Mt. Iriga while the other eight (8) are situated east and southwest of the urban area.
Sex distribution data shows that out of the 111,757 population, 56,157 or 50.25% are males while 55,418 or 49.75% are females. As to age distribution, 54,068 or 48.38% account for the 19 years old and below, while 57,689 or 51.62% comprises the 20 years old and above.
Total population with civil status comprising 15 years old and above numbered 54,664 of which 53.84% are single while 40.63% are married. In terms of literacy, Iriga City’s literacy rate is 97% making Iriga a highly literate community.
The predominant religion in the city is Roman Catholic with 93.99% followed by Iglesia ni Kristo with 1.26% while the rest constitutes other religions.
Of the city’s total population 99.95% are Filipinos, 0.03% are Chinese while 0.2% are Americans. With a total land area of 16,300.2 hectares inhabited by 88,893 persons, the population density of the city is 6.1 persons per hectare.
Labor Force in the city consisting of 15 years old and over is 54,660 which is 61.49 % of the total City population whereby 60.69 % are economically active and 39.31% are not economically active, Of the economically active, 43.99% are employed and 16.70% are unemployed.
As to distribution of labor force by major occupational group, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Forestry Workers and Fishermen. Hunters ranks no. 1 and comprises 21.87% of the labor force followed by craftsmen, production and process and related workers in transport, equipment operators and laborers totaling to 21.07% while professional, technical and related workers with 6.53% ranks no. 3.
The not economically active group includes students, housekeepers, retirees/pensioners and disabled persons.
The City has a total of 33,124 labor force. Increasing number of competent professionals with developed skills in all fields of specialization have gained honor and fame for Iriga . Others enjoyed scholarships and educational grants while a few received commendations for their exemplary work.
The Office of the City Social Welfare and Development (OCSWD) is the agency responsible for social welfare and related services in the city. Several NGOs provide the same services such as:
a. Servants of Jesus
b. Fatima Social Action Center for Human Development
c. Team Mission Philippines, Inc.
d. Bagong Silang Child Center
There are two (2) universities, two (2) colleges and eight (8) technical vocational schools, seventeen (17) privately owned elementary schools, thirteen (13) privately owned secondary schools, forty (40) public elementary schools, and thirteen (8) public secondary schools.
There are three (3) privately owned hospitals with a total bed capacity of one hundred fifty-four (154), seventy (70) medical/dental/optical clinics, thirty-seven (37) barangay health stations, sixty five (65) nutrition centers, fifteen (15) drug stores and three (3) veterinary clinics.
Likewise, there are seven (7) disco houses/nightclubs/sing-a-long and seventy four (74) recreational facilities in the City.
Protective services is provided by the Iriga City Police Station at San Francisco, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at La Purisima, Traffic Management Command Office No. 502 based at San Nicolas and Police Sub-Station while Fire Fighting Services is being provided by the Iriga City Fire Station with the assistance of the Barangay Fire Brigade.
The City’s economic base is agriculture with farming as the main source of livelihood which accounts for 40.l0% of the total households while employment is the second largest source of household income equivalent to 27.18 %; followed by business with 26.70% while other sources totaled to 6.12%.
Coconut is the city’s major agricultural product. Other products are banana,corn, vegetables. The city’s minor industry includes transport and other service shops and manufacturing (small scale / cottage industry level). Raw / indigenous materials includes a) bamboo, b) agas, c) buri palm, d) abaca, e)forest materials, f) coco materials, g) kinggiw (vine),h) karagumoy, and others. The average household income is PhP 86,462.04 per annum while the average household expenditures is PhP 62,883.60.
Sixteen (16) banks operate in the city as follows: 1) BDO Unibank, Inc., 2) Landbank of the Philippines, 3) Philippine National Bank, 4) Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 5) Producer’s Savings Bank Corporation, 6) Philippine Business Bank, Inc., 7) City Savings Bank, 8) Camalig Bank, Inc., 9) First Consolidated Bank, Iriga, 10) Development Bank of the Philippines, 11) China Banking Corporation, 12) East West Rural Bank, 13) BPI Direct Banko, Inc., 14) Card SME Bank, Inc., 15) BPI Family Savings Bank, and 16) BDO (Puregold)
Although a young city, it is fast and steadily metamorphosing into a primary growth center in this part of the region serving not only Irigueños but also those in the Rinconada area and the neighboring municipalities of Albay. Iriga is the educational mecca in this area due to the presence of varied educational institutions in the city.
Natural tourist spots include Mt. Asog (Mt. Iriga) with an elevation of 4,823 feet above sea level, Iliyan Hills at San Nicolas, Tubigan and Sabang Falls at Sta. Maria, San Pedro and Sagrada Falls. Historical spots include Calvario Hill at San Francisco, Alatco Terminal (now PHILTRANCO Terminal) at San Nicolas and Kinuartelan at Perpetual Help. Man-made tourists spots include Emerald Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at San Francisco, Agta Aboriginal Settlements at Iliyan Hills, Sitio Mamoco at Perpetual Help, St. Anthony Parish Church and Inorogan Shrine located atop a hill in Sto. Domingo. There are eight (8) spring resorts in Iriga City.
Tinagba Festival, an ancient bull-cart caravan festivity observed yearly by the people on every February 11th the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, highlighted by offering of the previous days harvest as a form of thanksgiving to Almighty God and is participated and visited by all people region-wide. There are eleven (11) hotels/lodging house in the city. It has also fifteen (15) restaurants and 123 eateries and carenderias.
The City is accessible only by land transportation such as the PNR train, tourist buses, jeepneys, automobiles, Filcabs, trimobiles and other land transport which pass the Maharlika Highway. Communication facilities include the Iriga Telephone Company, Digitel and Bayantel, other telephone/cell site facilities of Globe, Smart and Sun Networks, three (3) telegraph services, four (4) commercial radio stations, three (4) Cable TV station, three (3) postal and other private messengerial serrvices. Newspapers of various local and national circulations are likewise available in the city.
Power is being administered by the CASURECO III (Camarines Sur Electric Cooperative III) with NGCP through the Barit Hydro Electric Power Plant as the main source and Luzon and Tiwi Geothermal Plant as partial power sources. At present, a total of 13,593 households are served in the 35 barangays in the city.
Sources of potable water supply includes Iriga City Water District (ICWD) with an area coverage of 15 barangays with 6,535 connections and the Barit BWP-RWSS serving 773 households.
For infrastructure, roads by Type of Administration includes: a) National – 7.66 kms.; b) City – 99.652 kms.; c) Barangay – 213.586 kms.; and, d) National Secondary Roads – 6.445 kms.
As to Roads by Type of Structure: a)Concrete – 127.97 kms.; b)Asphalt – 9.96 kms.; and c)Gravel – 228.95 kms.
Number of Bridges totaled to 23 while number of Public Buildings totaled to 30 plus Public School Buildings for elementary and secondary in the 36 barangays.