Naga City, Camarines Sur
Naga City, Camarines Sur Part 1
Naga, officially the City of Naga, is a 2nd class independent component city in the Bicol Region, Philippines. It is also the third oldest royal city in the country.According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 196,003 people.
The town was established in 1575 by order of Spanish Governor-General Francisco de Sande. The city, then named Ciudad de Nueva Cáceres (New Cáceres City), was the third Spanish royal city in the Spanish East Indies, after Iloilo and Manila.
Geographically and statistically classified, as well as legislatively represented within Camarines Sur, but administratively independent of the provincial government, Naga is the Bicol Region's trade, business, religious, cultural, industrial, commercial, medical, educational, and financial center. It was awarded the title of "Most Competitive Component City in the Philippines", along with being the "Center of Good Governance in the Philippines".
Naga is known as the "Queen City of Bicol", and as the "Heart of Bicol", due to its central location on the Bicol Peninsula; and as the "Pilgrim City" because Naga is also the destination of the largest Marian pilgrimage in Asia, the Our Lady of Peñafrancia, whose image is one of the most popular objects of devotion in the country. Naga is also known as "One of the Seven Golden Cities of the Sun" as stated by Nick Joaquin.
The city is the seat of the metropolitan Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Caceres, whose jurisdiction includes all the suffragan sees of Bicol.
It is one of the two Philippine cities named Naga, the other being Naga in Cebu.
The region of Bicol was closely allied with the Kedatuan of Madja-as confederation, which was located on Panay island. According to the Maragtas, two datus and their followers, who followed Datu Puti, arrived at Taal Lake, with one group later settling around Laguna de Bay, and another group pushing southward into the Bicol peninsula, placing the Bicolanos between people from Luzon and people from the Visayas. An ancient tomb preserved among the Bicolanos, discovered and examined by anthropologists during the 1920s, refers to some of the same deities and personages mentioned in the Maragtas.
Spanish colonial period
In 1575, Captain Pedro de Chávez, the commander of the garrison left behind by Salcedo, founded on the site of the present business centre (across the river from the original Naga) a Spanish city which he named La Ciudad de Cáceres, in honor of Francisco de Sande, the governor-general and a native of the city of Cáceres in Spain. It was by this name that it was identified in the papal bull of August 14, 1595, which established the see of Cáceres, together with those of Cebú and Nueva Segovia, and made it the seat of the new bishopric under the archdiocese of Manila.
In time, the Spanish city and the native village merged into one community and became popularly known as Nueva Cáceres, to distinguish it from its namesake in Spain. It had a city government as prescribed by Spanish law, with an ayuntamiento and cabildo of its own. At the beginning of the 17th century, there were only five other ciudades in the Philippines. Nueva Cáceres remained the capital of the Ambos Camarines provinces and later of the Camarines Sur province until the formal creation of the independent chartered city of Naga under the Philippine Republic.
For hundreds of years during the Spanish colonial era, Naga grew to become the center of trade, education, and culture, and the seat of ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Bicol.
American colonial period
With the advent of American rule, the city was reduced to a municipality. In 1919, it lost its Spanish name and became officially known as Naga.
World War II and Japanese occupation
Naga came under Japanese occupation on December 18, 1941, following the Japanese invasion of Legaspi a few days earlier.
In 1945, toward the end of World War II, combined U.S. and Philippine Commonwealth troops—of the United States Army, Philippine Commonwealth Army, Philippine Constabulary, as well as Bicolano guerrilla resistance groups—liberated Naga from imperial Japanese troops.
After Naga was liberated from the Japanese, Naga began rebuilding. Having suffered only a few casualties, Naga was able to rebuild quickly after the war. After many petitions, Naga became a city on June 18, 1948, when it acquired its present city charter; and its city government was inaugurated on December 15 of the same year by virtue of Republic Act No. 305.
Naga is located within the province of Camarines Sur at the southeastern tip of Luzon, 435 kilometres (270 mi) southeast of Manila, the nation's capital, and near the center of the Bicol Region. It is surrounded on all sides by forests and by rich agricultural and fishing areas. It has an area of 8,448 hectares (20,880 acres) and is located on the serpentine and historic Naga River, at the confluence of the Naga and Bikol rivers. Thus, it has always been an ideal place for trade, and as center for schools, church, and government offices. Included in its territory is Mount Isarog, a declared protected area known as Mount Isarog Natural Park.
The weather in the city from March to May is hot and dry, with temperatures ranging from 24 to 34 °C (75 to 93 °F). The typhoon season is from June to October, and the weather then is generally rainy. From November to February, the climate is cooler with temperatures ranging from 22 to 28 °C (72 to 82 °F). The average year-round humidity is 77%.
The city is the ecclesiastical seat of the Archdiocese of Caceres, which oversees the Catholic population in the Bicol Region, whose archbishop is the primate of the region. This dominant faith is supported by the presence of old and influential Catholic institutions, from universities to churches run by different religious institutes, notably the Ateneo de Naga University by the Jesuits; the Universidad de Santa Isabel by the Daughters of Charity; the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, which is the oldest cathedral that is still standing in Luzon outside Metro Manila; Peñafrancia Basilica Minore, which is the largest Catholic structure in southern Luzon in terms of size and land area; Our Lady of Peñafrancia Shrine; the historic San Francisco Church; and Peñafrancia Museum.
Protestants and evangelicals
Protestant denominations in the city include Seventh-day Adventists and Bible Baptists, whose churches are located along Magsaysay Avenue, while other Protestants attend the Methodist Church which is among the old structures along Peñafrancia Avenue.
The Assemblies of God maintains a fast-growing ministry in Naga. Aside from Naga Bethel Church (formerly Naga Bethel Temple), which is located on Felix Plazo Street, other local congregations are Philippians Christian Fellowship (in barangays San Felipe), Gethsemane Christian Ministries (in Carolina), and outreach ministries in other barangays.
Other Christian sects
The largest minority religion in Naga is Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC). INC has several chapels in different barangays in the city, and the local congregation is the largest in the district.
There is also a concentration of Jesus Miracle Crusade ministries in the city.
Islam, Buddhism and other faiths
The Coastal Bikol-Central dialect of the Coastal Bikol language is the dominant dialect spoken by the population in Naga. Central Standard Bikol is also the basis for other dialects in the Bicol Region. The majority of the city's population can understand and speak English, Filipino, and Tagalog. Because of the influx of people from the Rinconada area that are studying in different universities, Rinconada Bikol can also be heard in different schools and throughout the city. Some Nagueños have varying degrees of proficiency with Rinconada Bikol, due to the fact that the southern half of Pili, which is the boundary between Rinconada Bikol and Coastal Bikol speakers, is just few kilometers away from Naga. Although the main language is Bikol, and the medium of instruction in school is English, people in Naga usually tell time and count in Spanish.
Isarog Agta Language
In 2010, UNESCO released its 3rd volume of Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, where three critically endangered languages were in the Philippines. One of these is the Isarog Agta language, of the Isarog Agta people, who live on Mount Isarog and are one of the original Negrito settlers in the Philippines, belonging to the Aeta people classification but with language and belief systems unique to their own culture and heritage.
Only five Isarog Agta spoke their indigenous language in the year 2000. The language was classified as "Critically Endangered", meaning the youngest speakers are grandparents and older, speak the language partially and infrequently, and hardly pass the language to their children and grandchildren. If the remaining 150 Isarog Agta do not pass their native language to the next generation, it will be extinct within one to two decades.
Naga is cited as one of the "Most Business-Friendly Cities in Asia", is considered to be one of the Philippines's Top-10 cities, and is a "most competitive city" of the Philippines. Some entrepreneurs cited the city as the most business-friendly in the region.
Downtown Naga is located in the southern part of the city. It is bordered, on the north, by the Naga University Belt and, on the south, by the historical Naga City Peoples Mall or simply Naga City Community Supermarket. It encompasses the three plazas of Naga: The Plaza Quince Martires, The Plaza Quezon, and the Plaza Rizal, which is the center of Central Business District 1 (CBD-1). Downtown Naga is the location of local businesses that sell local delicacies and native products from neighboring municipalities and provinces.
A second business district is located along Panganiban Drive, and Roxas, Ninoy and Cory avenues. It is also the location of 3 shopping complexes, a bus terminal, and the Camarines Sur Industrial and Technological Park, which houses several business process outsourcing offices.
South Riverfront Growth Area
South Riverfront is composed of the whole of Barangay Sabang except those areas that are socialized housing sites or are otherwise excluded by the Naga City land-use plan for commercial or industrial development. It is bordered by CBD-1 (to the east), the Naga River, and the town of Camaligan, Camarines Sur.
The main road in the city is Magsaysay Avenue, or Boulevard, which runs from Bagumbayan Road (Naga-Calabanga–Siruma–Garchitorena–Partido North Road), connecting it to Magsaysay district, where accommodations and restaurants catering to travelers are found. Businesses are open until late at night, with some shops open 24/7. Naga also has its share of fastfood restaurant chains. The city hall, provincial capitol, and several provincial offices are also located in the district, around the Peñafrancia Basilica.
Banking and finance
In 2017, the banks in the city numbered around 66, excluding Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The city hosts the regional bank offices of Banco De Oro, Philippine National Bank, Development Bank of the Philippines, Metrobank, RCBC, Allied Bank, China Banking Corporation, Philtrust Bank, UnionBank of the Philippines, Philippine Veterans Bank, Asia United Bank, Maybank, Asia United Bank, Bank of Commerce, East West Bank, Bank of Makati, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and the Philippine Postal Savings Bank.
SM City Naga is the largest and most-visited shopping mall in the Bicol Region. Robinsons Place Naga opened in 2017. Nagaland E-Mall is in Downtown Naga. LCC Central Mall Naga is located on Felix Plazo Street. Gaisano Mall Naga is near the Bicol Medical Center. The Vista Mall is located on Maharlika Highway, in Barangay Del Rosario. There are two Puregold supermarkets in Naga. Avenue Square is the region's first "lifestyle center", built in 2005 along Magsaysay Avenue. There are also leisure hubs in the city, the majority being along Magsaysay Avenue, since that street is the center of nightlife in the region.
IT–business process outsourcing
Naga was cited as one of the best places to conduct information technology–business process outsourcing (IT–BPO) activities in the Philippines.
The city currently has three IT parks—Naga City IT Park, Camarines Sur Industrial and Technological Park, and Naga City Technology Center.
Naga is considered to be Bicol's cultural center, due to the largest festival in the region, the Peñafrancia Festival, being held in the city.
The Peñafrancia Festival
The city celebrates the feast of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia (Our Lady of Peñafrancia), the patroness of the Bicol Region. Starting on the second Friday of September each year, the 10-day feast, the largest Marian devotion in the country. The start of the festival is signalled by a procession (or Translacion) when the centuries-old image of the Blessed Virgin Mary is transferred from its shrine at the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia to the 400-year-old Naga Metropolitan Cathedral. Coinciding with nine days of novena prayer at the cathedral, the city celebrates with parades, pageants, street parties, singing contests, exhibits, concerts, and other activities. Finally, on the third Saturday of September, the image is returned, shoulder-borne by so-called voyadores, to the basilica via the historic Naga River. The following day marks the feast day of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, when Pontifical High Masses are celebrated in the basilica, attended by hundreds of thousands of faithful devotees.
Naga celebrates the Kamundagan Festival every Christmas. It begins with the lighting of the Christmas Village in the Plaza Quezon Grandstand.