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Culture and Tourism

Majority of the population speaks Tagalog and Ilocano. English is the medium of instruction in schools and is generally understood and spoken especially in the business community.

Tourism is a new industry in the city. Serving as the jump-off point in Northeastern Luzon for tourists, many landmarks are developed. Tourist spots near Santiago are Quirino Province, Magat Dam in Isabela, Banaue Rice Terraces in Cordillera, and white sand beaches in Aurora Province facing the Pacific Ocean.

Places of Interest

  • Calvary Hills and The Chapel of Transfiguration – located at Dariuk Hills, Balintocatoc. The place offers a pilgrimage venue for the Holy Week where life-size Stations of the Cross are presented from the foot of the hill going all the way up to the top where a Chapel was so designed to face the rising sun. The Chapel of Transfiguration offers pilgrims a commanding silence befitting a place of worship and can also be utilized for masses and retreat venues.
  • Balay na Santiago – this used to be the municipal hall of Carig, the old name of Santiago, located at Calao West and now serves as a multi-purpose function hall for art and music exhibitions and different occasion. The building itself is of the bahay-na-bato style popular during the Spanish colonial era.
  • Santiago Concrete Water Tank (Philippines' Tallest Mural) - This concrete water tank has been a landmark in Santiago City since the early 1970s. It is almost 30 meters high, and towers over the whole city, visible from almost anywhere. It was constructed through the help of then Congressman Delfin Albano of the lone district of Isabela, and under the leadership of then Mayor Dodo Miranda. It was turned into a colorful mural and is now considered a City Heritage Treasure.
  • Museo de Pattaradday – this museum at Centro East houses Santiago City’s collection of artifacts, relics, dresses and antique furniture showing the culture and traditions that are typical in this region of Northeastern Luzon.


  • Balamban Butterfly Festival - On the year 2014, a new festival was conceptualized by the city government to celebrate Santiago's cityhood anniversary. Balamban which means butterfly is a cultural dance of lowland Christians that originated in Santiago City. The dance depicts the graceful movement and fluttering of butterflies that throng Dariuk Hills' scented gardens. It is usually danced during wedding celebrations in Santiago.
  • Feast of St. James the Apostle (Santiago de Carig) - Celebrated every July 25 of the year is the Feast of Saint James the Apostle, the Patron Saint of the city. It features the life history of the patron saint as it saves the Christians against the Moros through Sarswela and the Grand Batalla of the Moro-Moro, a dance choreography depicting the battle.



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