Historical Background

Highlights:

  • The name “Naga” is derived from the local name for the narra trees found abundant in the area
  • In 1573, Capt. Juan de Salcedo arrived and found a thriving settlement on the banks of the Bikol River
  • In 1575, Capt. Pedro de Chavez founded the city and named it Ciudad de Caceres (later to be known as Ciudad de Nueva Caceres)
  • Naga acquired its present status as a charter city in 1948. The city government was inaugurated on December 15, of the same year.

Even before the coming of the Spanish colonial government, Naga, which was then a flourishing village off the riverbanks of the storied Naga River, was already a thriving community. As pointed in the book of Prof. Danilo M. Gerona, a local historian, Naga was then a premier village with a comparatively sophisticated weaponry and surprisingly advanced technology. The name “Naga” derived its origin from the narra trees, which were then in abundance. Thus, in 1573, when the Spanish Troops arrived led by Capt. Juan de Salcedo, the colonizers were amazed to find a community with a fairly well advanced culture. In 1574, Captain Pedro de Chaves founded Ciudad de Nueva Caceres in honor of Don Francisco de Sande, then governor of the province and native of the City of Caceres in Spain. Naga, the premier native village and then a Spanish pueblo, formed part of the Spanish colonial city. Nueva Caceres remained the capital of Ambos Camarines provinces and later of the Camarines Sur province until the formal creation of the independent component city of Naga under the Philippine Republic. Naga’s birth as a chartered city formally took place on December 15, 1948 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.

CIUDAD NIN NAGA has been for hundred of years a center of trade, education and culture, and the seat of governmental and ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

In 1573, on his second expedition to this region, the great conquestador, Juan de Salcedo, discovered here a flourishing Bikol Village called Naga, because it is said, of an abundance of Narra (naga in Bikol) trees about the place. In 1575 (200 years before the start of the American Revolution), Capt. Pedro de Chavez, 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 Ciudad de Caceres, in honor of Francisco de Sande, the governor general and a native of the city of Caceres 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 Caceres (together with those of Cebu and Nueva Segobia) and made it the seat of the new bishopric.

In time, Spanish city and native village merged into one community and became popularly known as Nueva Caceres, obviously 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.

With the advent of the American rule, it was reduced to a municipality. In 1919, it lost its Spanish name, when, by law, it 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.

 

 

 

ROSALIO R. IMPERIAL SR.

Read also : Past City Officials: 1945-2022

The Municipal Council was reorganized on May 14, 1945 through the initiative of the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit of the 8th United States Army with the Municipal Mayor presiding the Municipal Council. This page contains a list of the City Officials from this period onwards.

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 and church and government offices.

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