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Nueva Vizcaya

The tranquil province of Nueva Vizcaya is situated about 260 kilometers north of Metro Manila. It lies at approximately 16deg30'N and 121deg 10'E, as a gateway to the Cagayan Valley Region.



Geographically, Nueva Vizcaya is surrounded by the provinces of Ifugao (north), Isabela (northeast), Quirino (east), Aurora (southeast), Nueva Ecija (south), Pangasinan (west) and Benguet (west). It is also nestled by three mountain ranges: the Sierra Madre (on the east), the Cordillera (on the west) and the Caraballo (on the south). It has also a number of rivers, which all flow into the great Cagayan River. Such situation yields to cooler climate, hilly topography, and enchanting sceneries, characteristics which make the province quite enticing to outdoor and environment enthusiasts.

The early settlers of this province were the Ilongots, Igorotos, Ifugaos, Isinais, and Gaddangs, and later on, immigrants from nearby provinces. The province of Nueva Vizcaya was a part of the "Territorio de Missiones" in the early 19th century. This was a group of territories in the eastern half of northern Luzon, under the government of Cagayan, which was manipulated by the Spaniards. The province was given the name "Nueva Vizcaya" after Mar de Vizcaine, a coast in northern Spain.

In May 24, 1839, Nueva Vizcaya was made into a separate politico-military province. In May 1856, when the province of Isabela was formally created, a large portion of the northern territory of Nueva Vizcaya were given to the new province, but still, it maintains a vast area of territory. At present it has 15 municipalities and 274 barangays, with Bayombong as its provincial capital, Solano as its commercial capital, and Kayapa as its summer capital. In the year 2000, the population of Nueva Vizcaya reached 366,692. Ilokano is the major dialect of the province, being used by 66.9 percent of its residents. Many natives around the towns of Solano, Bagabag, Bayombong and nearby municipalities also speak Gaddang.

Being a lush valley with cool climate, the province takes advantage of this by maintaining agriculture as its major industry. Trade and industry also contribute to its economic growth. Farming and cattle raising count as its primary agricultural activities, with palay and corn as its main crops. Vegetable production is also a large industry in the province. Fruit and vegetable exportation to Manila and other Asian countries contributes much to the province's income.

A visit to this bucolic province is a truly worthwhile experience for any nature-loving tourist. It is the gateway to the Mount Pulog National Park, which, at 2,922 feet above sea level, is Philippine's second highest peak. This park is home to the rare pitcher plant. Also found in this park is the Steere's pitta, one of the most beautiful Old World tropical birds. For the cave explorers, the Capisaan Cave System offers a pleasant adventure. It ranks as the fifth longest cave system in the Philippines and considered to be among the best. In these caves can be found rare calcite formations and stalagmite and slatactite formations, a fantastic treat for geologists.

Nueva Vizcaya also boasts of sites within its realm which are not only scenes of unforgettable beauty, but also rich historical areas. Dalton Pass, which lies on high altitude on the Nueva Ecija-Nueva Vizcaya boundary line, is a national shrine which honors the death of General Dalton during the second World War. Kirang Pass is another monument commemorating the heroic efforts of the World War 2 Filipino and Japanese soldiers. This is located in Barangay Kirang, a few kilometers away from the town proper of Aritao.

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