CANDON CITYlies between the periphery of the Ilocos Sur strip in the Northern Luzon Region (Region I) and is bounded by municipalities of Santiago and Banayoyo in the North side, municipalities of San Emilio, Galimuyod and Salcedo in the East side, Plains of Sta. Lucia in the South and the immense South China Sea down west. It is a 5th class city in the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines and is 348 kilometers north of Manila and 62 kilometers south of Vigan, the capital town of Ilocos Sur.
According to the city archives, Malayan settlers were the first residents of Candon City that later turned into a village. Settlers were mostly farmers, fishermen, woodsmen and craftsmen. The Village was then ruled by three local chieftains: Abay-a, Madalang and Kalinio. Madalang chose as his abode the shade of a gargantuan tree which stood in the center of the said village and under this large tree people converged to exchange pleasantries and goods. This is also where the elders and the chief settle disputes and offer advice. The Villagers named the large tree “Kandong”.
Upon the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in the 6th century, the symbolic tree was cut down upon orders of the friars and its lumber was used for the construction of the first Catholic Church in the area. The people were easily led in to the new church and were converted to Catholicism. The Spaniards named the place Candon from their version of the “Kandong” tree. The cemetery yard in the Catholic Church located south of the Poblacion area was constructed 1797 and in 1780, the village was turned into a municipality. Under the Spanish rule, the village was quickly taken over by wealthy Spaniards employing the natives into slavery. Famine occurred in 1881 to 1882. Then in March 25, 1898, a revolutionary government was declared and attacked the Spaniards. However, Spaniards sent more troops and re-occupied Candon. Most of the leaders and participants of the uprising were arrested and were summarily executed.
During the Japanese occupation in 1942, another revolution was staged. Several truckloads of Japanese forces and supplies perished along the national highway. However, the Japanese Soldiers retaliated back by burning the whole town in January 1942, which is considered the greatest event that ever happened in the history of Candon.
Despite the hardships that the townsfolk went through during the World Wars, residents were steadfast to go through the process of redemption and rebuilding. And the tall acacia trees that now adorned the town plaza and municipal buildings are testimonies of the Candon’s steadfastness. Large trees now spans alongside the National Highway of the Poblacion which towers up to 15 meters high and 20 feet in circumference.
The total land area of Candon City is 10,328 hectares with built-up area of 7,306.44 hectares. Land use is based on Residential (both Urban and rural), commercial, institutional and parks, agricultural land, forest areas, and among others.
The City has a total population of 50,564 people in 10,257 households. The predominant language used by the residents is “Ilokano”, however most people also uses Tagalog and English language.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
The Municipality of Candon has a geographical setting and proximity to the national highway and other towns that encouraged greater mobility in terms of trade, economic, social and cultural activities. The Department of Trade and Industry termed the City as the center for trade and commerce in Ilocos Sur.
Many adjacent towns frequent Candon for commercial activities, catering to the commercial needs of an estimated 100,000 population. The City also has a supermarket and a shopping mall, banking and lending institutions, recreational facilities, tourism facilities, health and medical establishments.
Existing industries in Candon City are manufacturing, agro-industry and cottage industry. The manufacturing sector owns the Tobacco Stalk Cement Bonded Board Plant that produces particle boards for low cost housing and other construction needs. Other manufacturing establishments are based on calamay making, chichacorn, bakeshop/bakery, and ice cream, and vinegar, furniture making shop, concrete products and Coconut Oil Processing Plant located at Barangay Talogtog. On the other hand, the cottage industry includes “balut” or egg production, fish re-drying, salt making, native delicacies, woodcrafts and handicrafts.
Service establishments are also present in Candon, such as sari-sari and grocery stores, carinderias, nightclubs, barber shops, beauty parlors, gasoline stations and stores/outlets for the following: auto parts, agricultural equipment and supplies, school and office supplies, photo and supplies, appliances, pharmaceuticals, hardware and electrical. There are also video centers, bazaars, gift shops, pawnshops and mineral/distilled drinking water store outlets, and real estate.
The climate is generally dry that usually occurs from the months of October to May. However, the southernmost portion is observed to be humid and rain is evenly distributed throughout the year while the eastern part is dry with rain not sufficiently distributed. August has the most rainfall while January and February have the least. The mean temperature in the province is 27 °C. January is the coldest.
ARTS & CULTURE
Like the other cities in the Philippines, Candon annually celebrates their various festivities and traditional religious beliefs, such as:
City Anniversary – This is a week-long festivity in commemoration of Republic Act 9018 and is celebrated every March 18.
Feast Day of San Juan Sahagun – The feast day starts with a Thanksgiving Mass followed by a festive lunch. This is celebrated every June 12.
Holy Week – This is celebrated annually all over the Philippines every month of April. Black Saturday is celebrated by the townsfolk in various nearby beaches in Candon.
Ikkis Ti Candon – This is annually celebrated on March 24 which highlights Fiesta celebrations.
Tabacco Festival – The festival starts every March 28 which promotes Tobacco as the City’s major industry.
The City of Candon offers various agricultural crops such as cultivated acacia, mahogany and fruit tree plantations, tobacco, rice, corn, cotton, string beans, onions, and coconut. There are also fish nurseries and commercial ponds in Candon that includes aquatic products such as Bangus, Tilapia, milkfish, tilapia, paltat, tanguigue, tuna, swordfish and others.
This once small resort town is known for making the heaviest and largest “calamay”, a sweet and sticky snack made from coconut milk and sugar, in the world.
In March 2003, around 3,000 people of Candon City tasted the largest Calamay or rice cake that has ever been baked in the Philippines. The giant calamay measured five meters in diameter and two inches thick and about 40 women prepared the calamay made from 184 kilograms of malagkit or ground glutinous rice, grated meat of 800 coconuts, 480 kilograms of brown sugar, and 160 more coconuts that were grated to produce gata or coconut milk.
Roman Catholic is the predominant religion in Candon City.
LIST OF “BARANGAYS” (or communities)
The City of Candon is subdivided into 42 barangays:
Private planes and helicopters may gain access to Ilocos Sur through the Vigan Airport. However, the Laoag International Airport in nearby Laoag City caters to commercial domestic planes as well as international flights particularly to and from Taipei, Taiwan and certain parts of mainland China.
Ilocos Sur is accessible by various transport vehicles from Manila and other nearby provinces and cities. It may be reached through public utility buses which range from ordinary, first class air conditioned, up to cozy deluxe types. Car rentals are most available at the international airport.
Special arrangements may also be done for private taxi services to Ilocos Sur through proper coordination with the available van rentals in Vigan. Air conditioned buses, whose terminals are located in downtown Laoag City and are plying the Laoag-Manila route may be a cheaper alternative for every traveler.