Before 1856, there were only two provinces in Region 2 also called as "Cagayan Valley Region. These two provinces where Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya. The Province of Cagayan at that time consisted of all towns from Tumauini to the north in Aparri and all other towns from Ilagan southward to Aritao comprised the Province of Nueva Vizcaya. Prior to evangelization of Cagayan Valley and to facilitate the works of the missionaries, a royal decree was issued on May 1, 1856 that created the province of Isabela. The new province of Isabela was named in honor of Queen Isabela II of Spain. Upon the effect of the royal decree created this new province had consist of the towns of Gamu, Angadanan, Bindang (now Roxas) and Camarag (now Echague), Carig (now Santiago City) and Palanan.
According to the book "Cagayan Valley and Eastern Cordillera (1581-1898) - volume 1” written by a Dominican writer named Father Pedro Salgado, the town of Echague in Isabela was used to be called Camarag, a name of a big tree which was then common in the place.
The town of Echague in Isabela Province was founded in 1752 and ecclesiastically placed under the patronage of St. Joseph on May 12, 1753. This date tells that the town was already colonized before Isabela Province was created which makes Echague the Queen Town of Isabela.
Early history says that missionaries wanted to transfer the town from the banks of the Cagayan River to the Ganano River 10 kilometers away. But the native people called "Yogad" rebelled because the soil was more fertile along the Cagayan River. And in 1776, they were forcibly transferred.
Rafael de Echagüe y Méndez de Vigo, Conde del Serrallo, Grande de España (1813-1887) .
Captain General and Governor of Puerto Rico (1860-1862)
Captain General and Governor of Philippines (1862-1865)
Spain War Minister (1913-1915)
Six times wounded in action.
(Photo Fernando Delbas. Madrid. Spain)
(Photo shared by Mr. Waui Monzon Reyes)
Some 72 years later, these Yogad people returned to Camarag, but then named Echague after Rafael de Echague (pictured), Spanish governor-general who rule the area at that time.