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Quirino - Forest Heartland Of Cagayan

Brief Description

Long before its formal creation as an independent province, Quirino was the forest region of the province of Nueva Vizcaya, inhabited by tribal groups known as the Negritos. They roamed the hinterlands and built their huts at the heart of the jungle.

Quirino lies in the southeastern portion of Cagayan Valley. It is situated within the upper portion of the Cagayan River basin and bounded by Isabela on the north, Aurora on the east and southeast, and Nueva Vizcaya on the west and southwest.

The Ilocano dialect is used widely in the lowlands of the province’s various municipalities while Ifugao is predominant in the uplands.


The Sierra Madre Mountain Range provides a natural barrier on the eastern and southern border of the province and the Mamparang Range on the western part. The province is generally mountainous, with about 80 percent of the total land area covered by mountains and highlands. A part of the province’s comparative advantage is its accessibility to the town of Aurora.

Political Subdivision

Quirino has six municipalities: Cabarroguis, the capital town, Saguday, Diffun, Maddela, Nagtipunan, and Aglipay. The province has one congressional district and 110 barangays.


The population of the province as of the year 2000 census of population was 148,575, with a density of roughly 49 persons per square kilometer of land.

Language/ Dialect

The major dialect is Ilocano, spoken by 71.46 percent of the total populace. Other dialects are Ifugao, Bugkalot, Pangasinense, and Kankanai.


The province has a mean annual temperature of 26.6 degree Celsius. Warmest month is May and the least dry months are March to August while the rest of the year is neither too dry nor too wet. Rainy days occur from September to November.


Agriculture is the main industry with rice and corn as major crops. These supply the demand of neighboring provinces and the metropolis. Banana as well as banana chips are major products sold in Metro Manila and Pampanga. Small scale industries like furniture making, basketry, rattan craft, and dried flower production are prevalent.


Carved from out of the region where the headwaters of Cagayan River descend to the Cagayan plains, Quirino is the newest of the five provinces in Cagayan Valley. It composes the municipalities of Aglipay, Cabarroguis, Diffun, Maddela, Nagtipunan and Saguday. The province lies in the southern portion of Cagayan Valley, bounded by Isabela on the north, Aurora on the southeast and Nueva Vizcaya on the west. The Sierra Madre Mountain Range runs along the border with Aurora while the Caraballo Range dominates the southwest. About 80% of its area is mountainous. The flat lands of the northwest form part of the Cagayan Valley plains. It is here that the main population centers are found. There is no marked rainy season although the province is dry between the months of December and May.


The area that covers what is now the province of Quirino was part of the range of Ilongot tribesman who hunted and practiced upland agriculture. The Spaniards incorporated the area into the province of Cagayan in the late 16th century and it remained part of that province until 1839, when it formed part of the province of Nueva Vizcaya. In 1856, much of what presently corresponds to the province of Quirino was incorporated into the province of Isabela. The Spanish government created the comandancia of Binatangan, which was attached to Isabela, to administer the headwaters of the Cagayan River populated mainly by Ilongots.

In 1908, due to a reorganization and delineation of boundaries between the provinces, the region of Binatangan was ceded to the province of Nueva Vizcaya. Ilocano migrants settled in the fertile lowlands that adjoined the province of Isabela, referred to as Nueva Vizcaya’s fraction of the Cagayan Valley plains, while Ifugao and Igorot migrants settled in communities in the hills.

In 1966, the four plains municipalities and the upriver hinterlands of the Cagayan and the Diduyan Rivers were constituted into a sub-province of Nueva Vizcaya through Republic Act No. 4734, and named after the late Philippine President Elpidio Quirino. The town and capital of Quirino, Cabarroguis, was created through Republic Act No. 5554, in 1969. Finally, on September 10, 1971, Quirino was established as a separate province through Republic Act No. 6394.

People, Culture and Arts

The Ilocanos form the majority of the people living in the province and are concentrated in the lowland plains in Quirino’s north and northeast. The Ilongots today occupy the hinterlands and along the reaches of the Cagayan River. Ifugaos are evenly distributed in all municipalities of Quirino and there are also Kankana-ey and Inibaloi populations within the province. The Agtas live in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Range.

The Ilongots are hunters and slash and burn farmers living around the headwaters of the Cagayan River who have a strong pride in their ethnic identity. They were formerly feared because of their penchant for hunting heads but they have since abandoned the practice. Men do most of the hunting while the women plant rootcrops, rice tobacco and bananas in small cleared fields. The Ilongots have little contact with lowland peoples except when occasionally trading dried deer meat. They are simply clothed in g-strings and wrap skirts but are fond of coiled wire bracelets and fancy jewelry.

The Bugkalot ethnic community, an Ilongot tribal village of formerly fierce headhunters living in the upper reaches of Nagtipunan, has constant interaction with the lowlanders of Quirino and is one of the few communities that can be reached readily. Ilongot communities are widely scattered and generally small units of from 50 to 70 members. Fewer that 5,000 Ilongots are believed to live in the mountain fastness of Quirino.

Trade and Investments

Quirino’s varied and extensive territory, which lies in the headwater region of Cagayan Valley is virtually untapped and unexplored. Quirino’s 3,486 square kilometers covered lowland plains, river valleys and mountains that offer a range of economic possibilities. The relatively small agricultural land is very productive and grows a variety of crops. About 80% of Quirino is classified as timberland. Quirino also possesses large mineral deposits of gold, copper, limestone, silver, iron, coal, guano, marble and phosphate. A hundred thousand hardworking, artistically skilled and highly trainable labor force is a major economic resource.

The province is easily accessible by land. The national road leading to the province from Metro Manila and other peripheral roads leading to nearby areas are concreted. Bus companies and public utility vehicles provide regular commuter service to and from Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela as well as to Manila. The province also has sufficient supply of power provided by the Magat hydroelectric power plant, and water supplied by pumps, springs, shallow and deep wells. Irrigation requirements are met by the four tributaries of the Upper Cagayan River. There are direct dialing telephone service and telegram stations in Cabarroguis and pay phone service in Diffun, which provide communications access to the province.

Quirino is a major surplus producer of rice and corn, coffee and peanuts and is the leading producer of bananas in Region 02. Livestock production is also another activity that has gained popularity in the province. While most of its produce is brought to Metro Manila and other provinces, a substantial portion is now being used as raw materials for its growing food processing industry. Quirino is now slowly gaining the reputation of the producer of high quality banana chips, peanuts, processed meat and vinegar and food processing remains a promising area for further development.

Another primary potential of the province is in its vast forest resources. With proper forest management and protection practices, its vast forest resources support the thriving wood-based, rattan-based and paper industries. The province currently protects 116,938 hectares of timberland and confines forest resource extraction to 50,900 hectares. The abundance of wood-based raw materials can support an expansion of manufacturing activities such as furniture making, builder woodworks, rattan baskets and novelty items, fossilized flowers and hand-made papers.

Tourism is a little explored potential industry in a ruggedly beautiful province such as Quirino. Subterranean caves, challenging rock face cliffs and white water rapids have attracted a growing number of nature challenge sports enthusiasts. The tourism industry is rudimentary and investing in better tourist facilities and support services is potentially rewarding.

Quirino’s small-scale industries include furniture making, woodcarving, and basketry, which are prevalent in the province. Marble tile production and figurine industries operate, while in the province its agri-line processing awaits investors.


A progressive province of God-loving and empowered citizens living peacefully in an economically stable, ecologically sustainable and investment-friendly environment enjoying the benefits of adequate infrastructure and an advanced information and communication technology in pursuit of its continuing development under good governance.


To ensure the general welfare of the province's inhabitants.

To deliver efficiently and effectively the basic services and provision of adequate facilities as provided for under Section 17 of the 1991 Government Code, and in addition thereto, shall;

Ensure that the construction and repair of roads and highways funded by the national government shall be, as far as practicable, carried out in a spatially contiguous manner and in coordination with the construction and repair of the roads and bridges of the province and municipalities and;

Coordinate the implementation of technical services by national officer for the province and municipalities, including public works and infrastructure programs of the provincial government and municipalities.


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