Viga is one of the eleven towns in the province of Catanduanes, located in the northeastern portion of the island. It occupies approximately 8.96% of the total land area of the island and 0.0406% of the entire country. It is nestled in one of the widest inland plains of the island, between three neighboring towns and the Philippine Sea. To the south is the town of Gigmoto, to the west is the town of Caramoran. It is about 52 kilometres (32 mi) north from the capital town of Virac.
Viga is an agricultural municipality, considered as the rice granary of the province. The two types of agricultural products raised are the food and export crops. The food crops being raised are palay, corn, banana and other root crops. The export crops are mainly Abaca and coconut. The area planted with these crops and the production derived there from is the principal source of livelihood by the inhabitants.
The site of the original settlement of Viga was at Caviga-e now called Viga. It was believed that a group of tribesmen led by “Abines” from the mainland were the first settlers. Due to frequent Moro raids, they fled inland and settled in a place where the primitive inhabitants were akin to the province’s pygmies. They called this place “Oco” (now barangay San José), meaning short people or dwarf. When the Moro threat diminished, the settlers move to the lowlands where the soil was more fertile. They selected the area where herbaceous giant gabi-like plants which they called “Marviga” grew abundantly. The settlers were of mixed stock as result of the enter-marriages between the natives and the migrating tribesmen.
In the later part of 16th century, a group of Spaniards believed to be a group of Juan de Salcedo’s expedition reached the place and subdued the natives. In then became a Spanish settlement. An Augustinian friar named Francisco Putiocan became the first Catholic Priest and recognized leader. The Spaniards called the settlement “Viga”, shortened from ”Marviga”. This name was subsequently adopted as the official name of the municipality.
During the Spanish colonization, the inhabitants were converted to the Catholic faith. As time went on they felt however, the strain of Spanish civil rule cruelties, when the Philippine Revolution broke out, many able-bodied natives joined the nationalistic movement and fought the colonizer.
When the Americans came, Viga was virtually liberated from the Spanish rule, civil government was established. When the Second World War broke out, Viga become the center of guerilla movement in the province. A pitch and running battle between the guerillas and escaping Japanese forces were simultaneously fought at Bangguerohan and Cabatangan where the latter was defeated.
|Population census of Viga|
|Source: National Statistics Office|