About Pamplona

The experience

The municipality of Pamplona is situated along the northwestern part of the province of Cagayan. It is one of the coastal towns of the province. It is blessed with rich natural resources and is predominantly an agricultural and marine resource producing municipality. Its inhabitants speak mainly Ibanag and Ilocano. Upon the arrival of Spaniards in the Philippines, the “IBANAGS” were the inhabitants of Pamplona, who settled at the extreme north of Luzon were found near the mouth of the rivers along the coast of China Sea. “Banag” means river so that the inhabitants are called Ibanag. There were the Cabicungan River, the Masi River, the Pata River, the Abulug River and the Cagayan River along where the first Ibanag communities founded by the Spaniards. With the pouring in of land-seekers and settlers, majority of them came from the Ilocos Region,there were inter-marriages which resulted to the slow integration of the Ibanags with the Ilocanos who now composed a majority of the populace.

History tells us that Pamplona is the result of the fusion of two villages: Abulacan (now barrio San Juan) and Masi. Abulacan was founded by the ecclesiastical authorities on April 30, 1757 with San Juan Nepomuceno as the patron saint. Before the fusion came about, the town of Abulacan comprised all the areas beginning from the southern borders of barangay San Juan up to the place called Pata, now a barangay of the municipality of Claveria. Hence, it could be said that the municipality of Sanchez Mira and Claveria were once barrios of the Town of Abulacan. On the other hand, the Town of Masi had its territories from the poblacion (now barangay Masi and Centro) up to the barangay of Bagu. As early as the year 1614, under the direction of Fray Miguel de San Jacinto, a church was already constructed in the town of Masi. This was soon damaged after almost a century of existence, that was in 1721, by a local trembler, but was soon repaired by Fray Jose Cano, O.P. It was then called the “Church of Masi” because it was in that place where it was constructed, but later, it took the name “Church of Pamplona” when the fusion of the two municipalities took place. It was in that church where the first election of the town officials took place in the year 1901.

Sometime in 1842, vicar Pedro Montenegro, O.P. convinced the people to unite the two towns. The vicar named it “PAMPLONA” in memory of his hometown Pamplona in Spain with Masi as the center of the Poblacion.

After the fusion, an agreement was made that there would be two patron saints of Pamplona: San Juan Nepomuceno and San Pedro de Martyr. This is the reason why the town fiesta is celebrated for two days and the images of two patron saints are carried during religious processions. The town fiesta is celebrated every April 29 of each year.

Prominent residents from the two towns were chosen alternately as Gobernadorcillos in sequence as follows: Vicente Espejo, Geronimo Rodriguez, Tomas Liñan, Agustin Romero, Fernando Borromeo, Joaquin Liñan, Mariano Liñan, Martin Aquino, Carlos Borromeo, Fulgencio Ramos, Casamiro Romero, Juan Bangalan, Hermenegildo Bangalan, Juan Bangalan, Dionisio Bangalan, Domingo Romero, Esteban Romero, Bernabe de Guzman (2 terms), Gaspar Ifurung, and Esteban Meneses.

This practice was broken however, when Capitan Clemente was succeeded by Capitan Carlos Borromeo from Iguig, who was considered a Masiano because of his marriage with someone in Masi.

In 1919, some of the prominent people of Pamplona recommended the transfer of the town to Bidduang, a barrio of Pamplona. The transfer was made on November 16, 1919 during the administration of municipal president Esteban Meneses by order of General Wood. In 1928 on the sixth year of the administration of municipal president Paulino Ifurung, one of his last acts was the transfer of the municipal government back to its old site, Pamplona then was called “Albano”.

The most interesting spot is the mouth of Pamplona River. It saw history in the making for it was the starting point of Salcedo and his conquistadors when they explored Cagayan in 1572. The town is also noted for its Malagabavvi cave and cascading falls. It is located at the foot of a mountain virtually shaped like a pig (Legendary Malagabavvi Mountain). Legend has it that this cave was used by a giant as an entrance to his abode. It is said that he was a normal being like a human until his transformation to giant by a goddess who fell in love with him.