The City of Naga (Bikol: Ciudad nin Naga; Filipino: Lungsod ng Naga) is a city of the Philippines. Located in the Bicol Region, a peninsula on the southeasternmost tip of the island of Luzon, it is 377 kilometers southeast of Manila, the nation's capital, and about 380 kilometers northeast of Cebu City, Queen City of Southern Philippines.
With a relatively small land area compared to all cities in Bicol which accounts for it being the most densely-populated city in the region, Naga City is locally known as the "Heart of Bicol". It is the religious and cultural center of the Bicol region. Residents of the City are called Nagueños.
Naga City is at the core of Metro Naga, an unofficial designation given to 14 municipalities and Naga City administered by the Metro Naga Development Council. MNDC covers the entire 2nd district of the province of Camarines Sur, and part of its 1st, 3rd and 4th districts.
Before the coming of Spanish conquerors, Naga was already a flourishing village along the banks of the Naga River. It was an important village with comparatively sophisticated weaponry and surprisingly advanced culture.
For hundreds of years during the Spanish colonial era, the Naga that we know now was once the center of trade, education and culture, and the seat of governmental and ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Bicol and parts of modern Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon.
In 1573, on his second expedition to this region, the conquistador Juan de Salcedo landed in a village and named it "Naga" because of the abundance of Narra trees ("Naga" in Bikol) in the place. In 1575, Captain Pedro de Chávez, the commander of the garrison left behind by Salcedo, founded on the site of the present business center (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 still by this name that it was identified in the papal bull of August 14, 1595 that erected 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, Spanish cities and native villages 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.
The bishops of Cáceres occupied a unique place in the Philippine Catholic hierarchy during most of the Spanish regime. By virtue of the papal bull of Gregory XIII, ecclesiastical cases originating in the Spanish East Indies, which ordinarily were appealable to the Pope, were ordered to be terminated there and no longer elevated to Rome. Decisions of bishops were made appealable to the archbishop and those of the latter to the bishop of the nearest see. Thus, in the Philippines, the decisions of the Archbishop of Manila were subject to review by the Bishop of Cáceres whose jurisdiction then extended to the island-province of Marinduque and the present-day Aurora, which was once part of the former Tayabas province. In this sense, bishops of Bikol were delegates of the Pope and could be considered primates of the Church of the Philippines.
This was the reason why bishops of Cáceres and archbishops of Manila were sometimes engaged in interesting controversies in the sensational Naga case and in such issues as canonical visitation and the secularization of the parishes. As papal delegate, Bishop Francisco Gaínza, then concurrent bishop of Cáceres, sat in the special ecclesiastical tribunal which passed upon the civil authorities' petition to divest Fathers Burgos, Gómez, and Zamora of their priestly dignity. Gaínza did not only refuse the petition but also urged their pardon.
With the advent of the American rule, the city was reduced to a municipality. In 1919, it lost its Spanish name and became officially known as Naga. It acquired its present city charter in 1948, and its city government was inaugurated on December 15 of the same year by virtue of Republic Act No. 305. Rep. Juan Q. Miranda sponsored this legislative act which put flesh into the city's bid to become among the only few independent component cities in the country.
Situated at the center of the Bikol peninsula and surrounded on all sides by rich agricultural, forest and fishing areas, Naga is also 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.
Naga City is the center of education in Bicol due to the presence of numerous academic institutions including three universities, namely: the Ateneo de Naga University (AdNU), the University of Nueva Caceres (UNC), and the Universidad de Santa Isabel (USI).
The Ateneo de Naga University is the only Jesuit-run university and is the only autonomous university in the bicol region,accredited by PAASCU since 1979, making it one of the best universities in the region. It has consistently produced top animators in the country since it launched its Bachelor's Degree in Animation. The university also gave birth to the very first Bicolano Jesuit priest, Father Juan Bonafe.
The University of Nueva Caceres is the region's largest university in terms of enrolment. It is also the very first university in Southern Luzon outside Manila. The university is the top-ranked law school in the region, consistently producing Bar passers. John Michael F. Galauran graduated from the university in the said field, garnering the fifth highest spot in the 2007 Philippine Bar examinations.
A university in the making is the Naga College Foundation It is the leading Criminology school in the region. The Philippine Women's University also has its Career Development and Continuing Education Center in the city, while the University of the Philippines opened its Open University in USI to cater to distant-education students. The Bicol College of Arts and Trade, now Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, has also a large student base in the city. Arch. Antonio Imperial III, who placed 2nd in the 2007 Architecture Board Exam, is a graduate of this school. The biggest secondary school in the region is also located in the city. Government-run Camarines Sur National High School has always registered over 10,000 enrollees every school year.
The oldest specialized live-in Christian higher educational institute for the clergy in the country is also found in Naga City. Established in the early part of the 18th century, the Holy Rosary Seminary (El Seminario del Santissimo Rosario), a Roman Catholic seminary run by the Archdiocese of Caceres, has produced 22 bishops, including the first Filipino bishop, Jorge Barlin, and the first Filipino Cardinal to work in the Roman Curia, Jose Cardinal Sanchez. It has richly contributed as well to the national heritage through Jose Ma. Panganiban and Tomas Arejola and 7 of the 15 Bikol Martyrs. On January 29, 1988, the National Historical Institute declared the Holy Rosary Seminary as a National Historical Landmark.
One of the leading maritime schools in the country, Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation, has two campuses in Metro Naga, one along Panganiban Drive and another in Canaman, a suburban town.
The first PAASCU-accredited parochial school in the Philippines can also be found in Naga City. The Naga Parochial School has a big number of alumni priests (63 as of 2007 with 3 bishops) in the city. This is an exclusive Catholic school for boys in the city with Most Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi as chair of the Board Trustees. Well-known personalities such as the late Sen. Raul S. Roco, Mayor Jesse M. Robredo, Justice Francis Garchitorena, Gov. Luis R. Villafuerte, Jaime Fabregas, Jonathan Dela Paz Zaens and other leaders of the community are graduates of NPS.
The biggest group of Montessori schools in the Bicol region is also based in Naga City. Arborvitae Plains Montessori, Inc. (formerly Casa Dei Bambini Montessori), a Montessori school with eleven branches spread all over Camarines Sur, Bacolod, and Masbate, offers preschool (Early Childhood Education), elementary and secondary (Business High School) education according to the Montessori method modified for the Philippine curriculum.
There are currently 2 Filipino - chinese schools there, Saint Joseph School(SJS) and Hope Christian School. Considered before to be rivals, now Saint Joseph School proves that it has superior academic and sports excellence in Naga City. It has achieved 2nd place in the first national biotech quiz. Attended by schools all over the nation. It is currently the Inter high champion for 4 years.
The Village Montessori in San Leandro St. is the only school in the Bicol Region that offers the real Montessori method which follows the continuous progression curriculum of the American Montessori System.
All existing schools in the city, including those already named above, offer computer courses. Specialized computer schools have also mushroomed in the city due to popularity of computer courses, both degree and short-term. AMA, which has two branches in the city, and STI College are among the more competitive and well-known computer school chains in the country that have established campuses in the city. Other specialized computer schools include Worldtech Resources Institute (WRI), Philippine Computer Foundation College (PCFC) and CCDI.
In 2006, Naga won the Philippines' Most Business-Friendly City award for three consecutive years, thus being elevated to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries' Hall of Fame.
Naga City has several commercial business districts (CBD's). In addition, it has a lifestyle center, three shopping malls, plus a number of strip malls scattered at the heart of CBD-I, popularly known as Centro.
Avenue Square along Magsaysay Avenue is Bicol's first and only lifestyle center. It has an ultra-modern 800-seat convention center (Avenue Convention Plaza); a resto-music bar which serves as the "bootcamp" of aspiring local artists (Lolo's Music Bar); restaurants (Max's Restaurant, Naga Oriental Wok, Shakey's, Peaberry- with its trendy bar Lune, and Little Asia); a specialty coffee shop (The Coffee Beanery); dermatology clinic (Skin Systems); European salon (David's Salon); signature flip-flops shop (Havaianas); Australian footwear (Crocs) and a nationwide franchising drugstore (Mercury Drug), among other well-known stores.
Avenue Plaza Hotel, Bicol's first and only boutique hotel also located along exciting Magsaysay Avenue, had a grand opening in October 2007. The hotel is operating on a four-star rating.
West Park, a new lifestyle center also in Magsaysay Avenue, houses a coffee shop (Mocha Blends) and a Japanese fastfood restaurant (Tokyo Tokyo).
LCC Central Mall - Naga; Robertson Mall; and Nagaland eMall, housing Robinsons Supermarket are the city's other major shopping malls. Bichara Theater Mall; Emily Arcade; Divisoria Mall; and Paseo de Caceres, which has a Chinese-themed Roman Catholic chapel - Navidad de Naga Chapel - are just some of the city's strip malls.
SM Prime Holdings and Landco Pacific Corp. have both expressed interest in the city's capability of hosting bigger shopping complexes. SM broke ground last June 2007 for its first mall in Bicol located at the city's 2nd CBD and has already started the construction last December 2007. The mall costs about more than PhP 700 million, approximately USD 16,305,672.62, and would consist of two buildings, the main mall, which is approximately 40,000 square meters, and the car parking building, which would be at about 18,000-square meter. On the other hand, Landco Pacific, though already owns a property in the city, has yet to start construction of its Pacific Mall Naga.
A number of restaurants, bars and bistros are found along Magsaysay Avenue, dubbed as Naga City's "Malate District". Chili Peppers, Bob Marlin, Grilling Point, Molino Grill, Juno's, ClubM8, and CocoLeaf are just some of the few exciting joints found there. Aside from these restobars that seem to sprout everywhere in Naga, numerous popular fastfood chain outlets abound like Jollibee, McDonald's, Chowking, Pizza Hut, Max's Restaurant, Greenwich, KFC, Shakey's, Tokyo Tokyo, Bacolod Chicken Inasal and the soon to open Tapa King and Red Ribbon among others.
Naga City offers a wide range of specialty restaurants such as Hokkien (casual Chinese), Makiyaki (Japanese), Peaberry (fine dining), Resto di San Giuseppe (casual yuppie), Gastoff's (German specialties), Clementines' (European), and Green Earth Cafe (health food). For coffee enthusiasts, coffeeshops have also sprung up in strategic places around the city, the more popular being Mudbugs Coffee & Co., Aljosh Cafe, Starmark Cafe, Beanbag Coffee, The Coffee Beanery, Cafe Frederico, Coco Cafe, Cafe Trevi, Cafe R, Fiorgelato, Australian Mocha Blends and lately Singapore's popular Kopi Roti
Naga City has several shops that open 24 hours a day. These nonstop businesses include Cody's and Lucky 9 convenience stores, Nald's and Bigg's restaurants, Mercury and New South drugstores.
Naga's investor-friendly economy has encouraged growth and development of homegrown business chains like New South Star Drugstore, Graceland Foods Industries and Bigg's,which are successfully competing nationwide with industry leaders Mercury Drug, Goldilock's and Jollibee, respectively.
Naga City has also attracted big-time developers like Ayala Land which created the Avida Communities in Pacol (San Francisco Village I and II, San Afonso Homes and the upscale San Ignacio Estates, with its own town center, Paseo de San Ignacio. Fil-Estate, which also developed several upscale subdivisions in the city (Monte Cielo de Naga, Monte Cielo Verde, Monte Cielo Centro). DMCI, which has developed several subdivisions such as the St. Jude Villages I, II and III, will soon be developing the upscale St. Jude Orchards. A local developer Enjoy Realty is developing the first golf course community in the Bicol Region called the Haciendas de Naga Deca Housing/8990 Housing Development Corporation, the developer of Villa Karangahan, Villa Obiedo, Deca Homes Naga and Deca Homes Northfield Estates, offers very affordable house and lot packages in Naga City. Another big developer, Jamaica Realty also built upscale subdivisions in the city, namely Jardin Real de Naga and the Caceres Heights Subdivision. Lately, Vista Land's Communities Philippines, owned by the Villar group, launched an Italian-themed subdivision, the Tremezzo in Brgy. del Rosario.
Six major car companies have also established their dealership in Naga City. Nissan, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Kia and Hyundai have been providing excellent car services to Nagueños since then. Ford recently opened along Magsaysay Avenue in the Olivan Seaoil Mega Station
Naga City has more than 50 bank branches. The city hosts the regional offices of Philippine National Bank, Metrobank, RCBC, Allied Bank, and the Philippine Postal Savings Bank. A number of banks have several branches in the city, like MetroBank, RCBC, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and BDO UniBank. A leading thrift bank, RCBC Savings Bank, enjoys wide patronage of both Filipino and Chinese businessmen. Robinsons Bank of the Gokongwei group has also set up its branch in the city. Two of the biggest rural banks in the country, Bank of Makati and the G7Bank, a consistent Most Outstanding Rural Bank awardee, are also found in the city. Two small albeit very active banks, Asia United Bank and Philippine Farmers Bank, are the two latest banks to open in the city, while Banco de Oro is to open their fourth branch in the city along Magsaysay Avenue.
Naga City is easily accessible by air and land transport. The city is served by the Naga Domestic Airport which is located in the provincial capital of Pili. Flights from Manila Domestic Airport (MDA) to Pili takes approximately 35-40 minutes. Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific flies directly from MDA seven times a week. By land, Naga is a 7- to 8-hour ride from Manila via Andaya Highway or 10 hours via the Maharlika Highway. It is approximately 22 hours from Cebu City with ferry transfers in Sorsogon, the southernmost province of the Bicol peninsula. Daily rail services to and from Manila were provided by the Philippine National Railways but these were temporarily discontinued due to systems upgrading.
Naga is well served by several telephone and mobile phone companies. Bayantel and Digitel are the main telephone operators in the city. Other companies which compete keenly for the city's telecommunications market have also put up calling stations scattered all over the city. These are PLDT, PT&T, among others. Major mobile phone operators Globe, Smart, and Sun Cellular enjoy wide patronage.
ABS-CBN had expanded its network in Bicol by putting up ABS-CBN Naga. Local shows such as TV Patrol Bicol, Marhay na Aga Kapamilya and MAGTV Oragon are aired in the whole region via ABS-CBN Regional Network Group which is stationed in the city. ABC5 also airs shows in the city through its affiliate station People's Broadcasting Network (PBN TV 5 Naga). GMA7 is at present constructing its regional station in the city for its nationwide expansion.
Naga City has the most number of radio stations of any locality in the region, some of which operate 24 hours daily. These include the leading FM station of ABS-CBN in Naga, ABS-CBN's MOR 93.5 FM Naga transmitting on a 10-kilowatt transmitter output that is capable of regionwide broadcast and operates 24 hours a day. MOR 93.5 FM can also be heard worldwide via the internet by following this link RMN DWNX-FM is a local radio in the FM band popular for its news and commentary programming. Other stations include GMA's Campus Radio 101.5 Naga.
The city is host to two local cable TV companies. These are Naga Cable TV and Caceres Cable TV serving almost the whole of the region. SkyCable is also available.
The city is the center of Roman Catholicism in the region since it is the ecclesiastical seat of the Archdiocese of Caceres whose jurisdiction covers five suffragan dioceses -- Legazpi, Daet, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Virac -- and one prelature -- Libmanan. The city is also the seat of the Primate of the Bicol region.
This dominant faith is supported by the presence of old and influential Catholic institutions, from universities to churches run by different religious orders, notably the Ateneo de Naga University by the Jesuits; the Universidad de Sta. Isabel by the Daughters of Charity Sisters; the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, the mother of all cathedrals in Bicol; Basilica Minore de Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, home to the Image of the Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia; Peñafrancia Shrine; and Our Lady of Peñafrancia Museum. Moreover, every September each year for the past 300 years and still counting, the city has hosted and continues to host the country's largest Marian devotion, the annual 10-day Peñafrancia Festivities.
According to the Department of Tourism arrival statistics in Bicol, Naga City and Camarines Sur combined are the top tourist destination in Region V, outclassing the province of Albay/Legazpi tandem. The province registered a total of 258,608 visitors from January to December 2006 133,604 visitors in Albay/Legazpi on the same period. The Bicol's premier city and province have jointly breached that mark, posting 350,944 tourist arrivals for the period of January to September 2007 alone. A remarkable increase of 114%. Tourist arrivals in Albay and Legazpi combined only recorded a total of 126,897 for the same period or only an 18% improvement from last year's record.
The Camarines Sur and Naga City tandem is without doubt, the new tourist hub in the Bicol Region. Naga City and CamSur was described in the newest edition on Lonely Planet traveller's guide as "Luzon's best kept secret". The regional office of the Department of Tourism attributed the increase to the full operation of the world class Camarines Sur Watersports Complex in the town of Pili and Naga City's sustained tourism intervention program.
Other suggestions for those who would like to have a nature getaway will be the Mini Hydo Hot Springs at Brgy. Panicuason and Magic Splash Resort along Carolina. The City of Naga will be most welcoming to tourists all over the world. Some of the famous places and activities to visit include:
An activity currently the trend and still gaining popularity in Naga is AirSoft. Regular games are held every weekend by NATO, BASIC, NightOps and other AS Teams.
Naga City is home to the two of the biggest hospitals in the Bicol Region. The government owned Bicol Medical Center and the Universidad de Sta. Isabel- Mother Seton Hospital, owned and operated by the Daughters of Charity.
Bicol Medical Center (BMC), used to be called Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) until it was upgraded by the Department of Health (DOH) into a full medical center in the early 1990’s. Albay Provincial Hospital in Legazpi subsequently became the new BRTTH. Bicol Medical Center is the only training hospital in Bicol offering complete residency training programs accredited by the Philippine Medical Association’s component society in almost all fields of medicine. It offers specialty training in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, General Surgery, Obstetric and Gynecology, Anesthesiology, Radiology, Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology, Orthopedics and Traumatology. This is also the base hospital of the Helen Keller Foundation where eye specialists all over the country are trained and later assigned in different parts of the Philippines. The hospital is still unmatched in the region on the number of diplomates and fellows with different specializations it produced for the past fifteen years. BMC is the only DOH-certified medical center in the Bicol Region.
Universidad de Sta. Isabel- Mother Seton Hospital (USI - MSH), is the biggest private hospital in the Bicol Region based on the number of admissions, medical equipment facility, number of beds available, physical structure and number of board certified medical consultants. It is the only private hospital in Bicol offering specialty training programs accredited by the Philippine Medical Association’s component society in major fields of Medicine, like in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and General Surgery. The Department of Internal Medicine has an impressive record of 100% passing on the diplomate examinations given by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) for the past 3 years. It has also produced two world class research papers namely (1) ‘Rapid Urinary Iodide Test (RUIT) as a Diagnostic Tool in Thyroid Dysfunction’ by Drs. Sherryl Ann Galicia, Thelma P. Magsombol and Ramon T. Caceres Jr. This paper was presented on the oral session of the Joint Congress of ASEAN Federation Of Endocrine Societies (AFES) and Asia- Oceania Thyroid Association (AOTA) in Suntec City, Singapore last November 2005. (2) ‘Single Injection, Large Bore Needle, Non Ultrasound Guided Percutaneous Ethanol Injection as a Definitive Management of Cystic Nodular Goiter’ by Drs. Anita Y. Zabaldica, Marie Grace R. Villegas and Ramon T. Caceres Jr., which was presented at the AOTA in February 2007 as a nominee for the Young Investigator’s Award, at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE- PI Chapter), last July 2007 and would again be presented at the AFES in Kuala Lumpur, Malayasia on December 2007 and the Philippine Thyroid Association (PTA) Congress on January 2008 in Manila. This modified treatment method was developed by one of the authors, Dr. Caceres and is being introduced as the Single Injection Technique Ethanol Percutaneous Injection (OS- TEPI) or the Naga Technique, named after the city where it originated.
Naga City is also the home of two unique establishments (Medical Arts) catering to healthcare. The Plaza Medica and the St. Louise Center. Both institutions offer medical facilities not found in other regions like 4-D ultrasound. The Plaza Medica also houses the Naga Endocrine Laboratory (also called the Endolab), a modern specialty laboratory facility and the only hormone laboratory in Southern Luzon. Plaza Medica also houses the Life Plus Inc., which offers the only pain- free mammography in the region.
Other hospitals in Naga:
The City of Naga is politically subdivided into 27 barangays.