The site of the original settlement of Viga was believed to be at sitio Caviga-o, now called Small Viga. It was believed that the group of tribesmen led by “Abines” from the mainland were the first settlers thereof. Later due to frequent “Moro” incursions, they fled inland and settled in a place where the primitive inhabitants were akin to the pygmies. They called this place “Oco” (now barangay San Jose) which means short people or dwarfs. When the Moros stopped their plundering, they moved to the lowlands where the soil was more fertile. They selected an area wherein herbaceous giant-like plants, which they called “marviga” abundantly grew. The Spaniards called the settlement “Viga” a shorthand name for “Marviga”. The actual founding of Viga as a distinct political unit is closely associated with the Christianization of its inhabitants by the Spanish missionaries in theearly part of the 17th century. However, Viga became officially created in year 1619 during the incumbency of Gov. Gen. Manuel de Leon.
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 thereof. Due to frequent “MORO” depredations, 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 stepped their plundering, the settlers move to the lowlands where the soil was more fertile. They selected an area where herbaceous giant gabi-like plants which they called “MARVIGA” abundantly grew. 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 segment 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” a shorten name for”MARVIGA” the plant above mentioned. This name was subsequently adopted, as the official name of the municipality was then progressive barangays of Viga.
With the advent of the Spaniards, the inhabitants were easily 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. They are known as the insurrections. This nationalistic fervor was closely identified with the Katipunan.
When the American 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.
Viga is one of the eleven towns in the province of Catanduanes. It occupies approximately 8.96% of the total land area of the island and .0406% of the entire country. It is located in the northeastern portion of the province of Catanduanes. It is nestled in one of the widest inland plains of the island, three neighboring towns and the Philippine Sea which merges with vast Pacific Ocean, considered the largest division of the hydrosphere, on the south is the town of Gigmoto, on the west is the town of Caramoran. It is about 52 kilometers away from the capital town of Virac. The population of Viga as of 2000 was 57,067.
Basically, Viga is an agricultural municipality. 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.
Viga is the “MECCA” of the province and considered to be the rice granary.