History and Government
Sta. Marcela was created as a separate municipality from the municipalities of Luna and Flora by virtue of RA 4974, through a House Bill supported by the late Congressman Juan M. Duyan. It was composed f four barrios (Siap Annex, Barocboc, Malekkeg, and San Antonio) from Luna, and three barrios (Marcela, Sipa and Consuelo) from Flora.
Sta. Marcela began its corporate existence when the first set of elected officials assumed office on January 1, 1968.
Barrio Sipa Annex was renamed Imelda and barrio Panay was created from its mother barrio, San Antonio in 1972. On January 17, 1980, five barangays were created, namely: Barangay Emiliana from Malekkeg; Barangay San Carlos from Barochoc and Malekkeg; Barangay San Mariano from Barocboc; Barangay Nueva from Marcela and Panay; and Barangay San Juan from Consuelo.
In the 1992 and 1995 elections, Doroteo S. Garde was elected as the mayor. In the 1998 elections, he was succeeded by a lady, Mayor Leticia V. Garde, his wife who is the present mayor.
The municipality is comprised of thirteen barangays namely: Barocboc, Consuelo, Imelda, Malekkeg, Marcela, San Antonio, Sipa, Panay, Nueva, San Juan, San Carlos, San Mariano and Emiliana.
Sta. Marcela is the smallest municipality in the province with a total land area of 70.0 square kilometers. The municipality is located at the northeastern section of the province. It is accessible only thru the Cagayan Valley. Lying on a latitude of 121 degrees, 298 minutes north and longitude of 18 degrees, 25 minutes east. It is bounded on the north by the municipality of Abulog, Cagayan; on the northeast by the municipality of Ballesteros Cagayan; on the east by the municipality of Allacapan, Cagayan; on the south by the municipality of Flora, Apayao and on the west by the Abulog River with an elevation of 28 feet above sea level.
The terrain of Sta. Marcela is generally level. Based on the slope map of the municipality, approximately 7,864 hectares or 89.57% of the municipality’s total land area is classified under 0 to 3 percent slope categories. These level lands in character are permanently devoted to agriculture and medium density development.
There exists numerous water bodies like rivers, streams and creeks in the municipality as a result of its physiographic features and character. The biggest body of water in the municipality is the mighty Abulog River which serves as the natural boundary between Luna and Sta. Marcela. The bodies of water are vital to the development of the municipality for they serve as a source of water for washing and as a source of fresh water fish and other marine foods.
The municipality of Sta. Marcela has Type III climate which is characterized by no pronounced maximum rain period with a short dry season lasting from one (1) to three (3) months with rainfall more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. Under this type, rainfall starts in July and continues through January with either October or November as the peak of rainy season. The location of this type is partly sheltered from the northeastern monsoon and trade winds and open to the southeast rains or least frequent cyclonic storms.
Based on the 1995 population count, Sta Marcela registered a total population of 8,718 giving a population density of 124 per square kilometer. The prevailing language and dialect spoken in the area are English, Ilocano, Pangasinan, Igorot and Ibanag.
A housing backlog exists in the area due to the rapid formation of households. This current backlog or existing need is prevalent in both urban and rural barangays. In the rural barangays, the housing need is primarily brought about by the fact that many of the dwelling units are made up of light materials which easily succumb to dilapidation and calamities.
Ilocano is predominantly spoken by the populace and comprises the largest ethnic group of the municipality. Ilocano is followed by Isneg, Kalinga, Tagalog Ibanag and other dialects which is used by only 1.23% of the people.
Majority of the people are Roman Catholics while the others are from the different religious sects like the Protestant, Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehova’s Witnesses, Philippine Independence Church and others also flourish.
Farming is Sta. Marcela’s economic activity. This is evidenced by the fact that majority of its population depend on agriculture as its source of livelihood and income. Rice and corn are the major cops grown in the municipality. Root crops and legumes are also raised.
The total crop land devoted to agriculture is 6,600 hectares representing 75.85% of the 8,780 hectares total land area of the municipality.
Of the total land area, 4,403 hectares or 66.11% are devoted to rice; 553 hectares of 8.30% are devoted to corn; 1.058 hectares or 15.88 percent are devoted to diversified crops; 11.0 hectares or 0.17% are devoted to peanut; 397 hectares or 9% are devoted to vegetables; 42.5 hectares or 0.64% are devoted to root crops; 46.0 hectares or 0.69% are planted to coffee and the remaining agricultural areas are devoted to coconut, banana, mongo and melon.
Of the total 4,403 hectares devoted to palay, only 2,715 hectares representing 61.66% of the total agricultural land are irrigated through the use of irrigation pumps.
The rainfed ricelands cover approximately 1,688 hectares or 38.34% of the total riceland areas. Situated in gradual sloping areas, these ricefields are planted seasonally and are dependent on rainwater for their water supply.
Currently, an estimated 397.5 hectares are devoted to vegetable production. Some households plants vegetables in their homelots for their own consumption. It is observed that there is a general shortage of vegetable especially during the rice and corn planting season.
Based on the production and consumption pattern figures, the municipality is producing more than its cereal requirements.
Farmers usually sell the bulk of their agricultural products to private businessmen. Market outlet is not considered a great problem for the products are easily marketed through private dealers, or to the National Food Authority service facility in the locality.
Generally, livestock and poultry raising in the area is for domestic consumption only. This is due to high prices of inputs such as feeds and veterinary medications and the warm climate in the area.
Fishery is not considered as an industry in the municipality. Except the Abulog River, the creeks and a few fish ponds from where the community residents partly depend for their fish supply, there are no existing areas nor facilities that would promote fishing as an industry in the area.
Tourist Attraction and Place of Interest