Zarraga was once a nameless jungle or a no man’s land with an abundance of big trees, talahib, cogon and wild grasses so tall and thick, it was a place good only for hunters. Luckily, the pioneers who first discovered Zarraga, headed by Marcelino Poblador, Fulgencio Pinuela, Eugenio Pedro Zarraga and Marcelino Pinuela formed the town in 1853. The town of Zarraga was named after Pedro Zarraga, then Alcalde Mayor of Irong-Irong (now Iloilo City). He served for eight years until his death in August 26, 1882. When the Americans finally allowed the Filipinos to establish their own civil government, Fruto Gregorios and Petre Gustilo ran for the position of Presidente Municipal but came out in deadlock. Instead, the elected Vice President, Calixto Gustilo, became the Presidente Municipal of Zarraga.
Like many other municipalities established during Spanish era, Zarraga had undergone the days of trial and humiliation. In the early part of 1904, it became the arrabal of the municipality of Sta. Barbara, much to the chagrin of its people. It remained as such up to the year 1940. When by virtue of Executive Order No. 295, by them President Manuel L. Quezon, it again became a municipality. Emelio Gregorius became its first municipal mayor. Mayor Porferio Pinuela was the first elected mayor, followed by Jovito Arimas. Following the death of Arimas, his vice-mayor, Emiliano Lacson succeeded him as municipal mayor.
LOCATION AND ACCESSIBILITY
Zarraga is located approximately 16 km. away from the heart of Iloilo City going North Bound. It is converging point of two national highways, which are the main roads of Central Panay, including the provinces of Aklan and Capiz and the northern towns of Iloilo Provinces.
Zarraga is composed of 24 barangays
- Balud Lilo-an
- Balud I
- Balud II
- Dawis Centro
- Dawis Norte
- Dawis Sur
- Inagdangan Centro
- Inagdangan Norte
- Inagdangan Sur
- Jalaud Norte
- Jalaud Sur
- Ilawod Poblacion
- Ilaya Poblacion
- Tuburan Sulbod - this barangay was transferred from Santa Barbara in 1948
Land Area – 5,448 hectares
- Agricultural – 2,283 hectares
- Fishpond – 660 hectares
- Mangroves – 120 hectares
- Marshes – 70 hectares
- Built-up areas – 500 hectares
- Rivers and Creeks – 130 hectares
- Foreshoreland – 300 hectares
- Other Land Uses – 1,385 hectares
- Topography - plain
Soil Type – Sta. Rita Clay
Population – 17,519 (1995)
- Bottling Plant (Jazz Cola)
- Multi-passed Ricemills
- Multi-million Piggery Projects
- 2 Residential Subdivision
- 7 Bangus Farm Operators
- 3 Sand and Gravel Dealers
- 6 Poultry Farms (Broiler)
Zarraga is mostly an agricultural place with almost 60% of the total land area are devoted to rice and other agricultural crops, 24 % are primarily devoted to fishpond and the remaining areas for other land-uses.
Fiestas and Festivals
Round Fiesta-Beginning January there is a round of fiesta celebration reaching its climax every 15th May with the celebration of the Municipal and Patron Saint in honor of St. Isidore Labrador. A mass is held at daytime and dancing at night until the wee hours of the morning while muses grace the occasion. The town people also observe Tigkalalag of All Saints Day, Christmas Eve and New Year.
The Holy Week celebration is rather significance with the construction of Kapilya to represent the stations of Christ way of the cross. The people of Barangay Gines made a reenactment or Pagtaltal to remind us how Jesus Christ suffers to save us.
Existing Tourism Related Projects
GAIA Garden Area for Initiatives in Action
Gaia, in Greek Mythology, is the personification of the Earth. She is the great mother of all, creator and giver of birth to the Earth and the entire Universe. On the other hand, scientist James Lovelock developed the Gaia theory, which proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.
Both in Greek Mythology and Contemporary Science, the name Gaia captures what Zarraga wants for the 2.8-hectare land located at Brgy. Inagdangan Norte that will showcase sustainable initiatives on organic farming, health and wellness, education and culture, and overall environmental beauty.
GAIA is a result of the sustainable integrated area development (SIAD) process that the town is undergoing to achieve its vision of sustainability. It was born out of a series of workshops, meetings, consultations, and planning sessions among various stakeholders in the Municipality of Zarraga. The land is a generous donation from Tatay Isidro Pedregosa, a local farmer-leader, to the Municipality under the administration of Mayor John H. Tarrosa, through usufruct agreement.
The 2.8-hectare land is being developed with the garden concept. Although it will be filled with various infrastructures and initiatives, the overall idea of garden holds the place together. It is being designed to be a place of beauty, with lush and green environment, appropriate architecture, with each area offering various experiences, lessons and activities for the mind, heart, and hand of every visitor who will enter.
GAIA is composed of various projects that support the municipality’s vision for a sustainable Zarraga. Currently being engaged in the initiatives are various government institutions, civil society groups, and business organizations who will be carriers of the different components or parts of the Garden.
Initiatives include a Research Farm, a Green House, a Vermi-Composting Facility, an Organic Agriculture Training Center, a Green Library, an Herbal Garden, a Garden for the Senses, a Wellness Center, an Organic Restaurant, an Organic Shop, among others.
GAIA will be a bustling area for various sustainability-aligned activities. It will be an agro-eco tourism site with a meandering eco-walk and a lake with a boating activity. There will be various trainings and workshops, cultural activities, and regular major events. It will be a place to visit by Zarraganhons and non-Zarraganhons alike, to learn for students and farmers, and to enjoy for the whole family. It will be a dynamic showcase for walking the talk in caring for the planet.
Serran and Poblador Park
INFRASTRUCTURE AND UTILITIES
National Road – 12.30 kilometers (asphalt)
Provincial Road – 6.975 kilometer (concrete, gravel)
Barangay Road – 21.111 kilometer (concrete, gravel, earth)
Municipal Road – 1.246 kilometer (concrete)
Telegraph station - PT&T and BUTEL telegraph office
Telephone service - Landlines and Cellphones
Bank - one (1) Rural bank
Main Health Center - 1
Brgy. Health Centers - 3
High Schools - 3
Elementary Schools - 7
Day Care Centers - 16