The Cagayan Valley Region lies within the northeastern tip of the Philippines. It is bounded on three sides by big mountain ranges: the Cordillera to the west, the Caraballo to the south, and the Sierra Madre to the east. To the north lies the Babuyan Channel beyond which is the North China Sea.
The region is composed of the island group of Batanes, the valley province of Cagayan and Isabela and the generally mountainous provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya. Tuguegarao City, the regional capital, is about 485 kms. from Manila via the Maharlika Highway.
The region has a total land area of 2,683,762 sq.kms. It is the fourth largest region in the country. The provinces of Cagayan and Isabela occupy about three fourths of the region's land area having 900,270 hectares and 1,066,456 hectares, respectively. The remaining area is shared by the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino and Batanes - having 390,390 hectares, 305,720 hectares and 23,000 hectares, respectively.
Based on land use opportunity, about 1,583,420 sq.kms. or 59% of the region's land area is best suited for forest and wild life. About 992,992 sq. kms. is suitable for planting crops. Of its potential crop land, about 595,95 or 60% is suitable for rice and corn, 49,650 sq. kms. is suitable for fruit trees and perenials.
In 2007, the region's total population is 3,051,487 and stands third lowest in population growth compared with other regions of the country. Among the provinces, the province of Isabela is the most densely populated with 1,401,495; Cagayan province with 1,072,571; Nueva Vizcaya province with 397,837; Quirino province with 163,610; and the Islands of Batanes with 15,974.
Region 02 is predominatly rural and agriculture is still its economic activity with rice, corn, sugarcane, banana, coconut, and tobacco as its major crops. Its major urban centers (the capital town of Basco in Batanes; Aparri and Tuguegarao City in Cagayan; Ilagan, Cauayan City and Santiago City in Isabela; Solano and Bayombong in Nueva Vizcaya; and Cabarroguis in Quirino) are at present functioning as the region's administrative, commercial and service centers.
The establishment of the Cagayan Freeport through Republic Act No. 7922, otherwise known as the Cagayan Economic Zone Act of 1995, at Sta. Ana, Cagayan, marks the regional leadership's efforts towards the utilization of the agro-industrial potentials of Cagayan Valley. It is counted as one of the flagship projects of the Philippine government and is envisioned to be a major transshipment point for trade in the Asia-Pacific rim. Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is mandated to supervise and manage the development of Cagayan Freeport into a self-sustaining industrial, commercial, financial and tourism / recreational center and Freeport with suitable retirement / residential areas, in order to create employment opportunities in and around the Cagayan Freeport, and to effectively encourage and attract legitimate and productive local and foreign investments.
From 1997 up to the present, CEZA continues to initiate several projects to promote development in the Cagayan Freeport.