By: Mielmia Marie T. Baquiran
Cagayan’s provincial fiesta was first held in 1971 and was originally celebrated during the week of August 12-16. The brainchild of this colorful, festive and grandiose festival was no other than the former Governor Teresa J. Dupaya.
Dupaya, who was then a lover of arts and culture, designed a weeklong festival to promote social and cultural progress and imbue a sense of pride among Cagayanos on their rich and colorful tradition and past. The first Aggao Na Cagayan featured various activities such as civic parade, beauty pageant, cultural presentations and agro-industrial exhibits. This was well-attended by local government units, national agencies, commercial companies, and schools and colleges in the province.
The affair proved to be an astounding success that after Dupaya’s term, the new administration (headed by former Governor Justiniano P. Cortez) continued celebrating the same.
Meanwhile, in a visit to Manila early in 1983, Governor Cortez received important information from the officials of the Philippine Historical Commission on the establishment of the civil government of Cagayan. According to the officials, Cagayan was established on 1583.
Upon arrival in the province, Governor Cortez convened local leaders, representatives from the academe, civic and business groups and the military. He relayed the important information from the commission. He suggested that the celebration of the founding of the civil government of Cagayan be observed and celebrated that year, 1983, especially that it marked the 400th anniversary. This was highly supported by the local leaders and the people. However, with the documents showing no precise day and month, the group that met with Governor agreed that the celebration be held on June 23-29. The quadricentennial anniversary celebration in 1983 was another success.
Another highlight of the Aggao Na Cagayan celebration was the issuance of the Executive Order No. 2420 by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos declaring every June 29 as a special non-working holiday in the province. This gave an opportunity for Cagayanos to observe and celebrate the fiesta.
Aggao Na Cagayan is a legacy of our past leaders. It is an inheritance that we must be proud of. It is a heritage that we must continue. Thus, it is only appropriate that we celebrate and participate in this grand affair.
Aggao Na Cagayan is a celebration of our past, a reflection of our present and an inspiration for developments of our future.