Buguey derived its name from the Ibanag word “Nabugay” which means capsized. Story goes that in the early 1600’s, the sea pirates attacked, plundered the town, and looted the houses in revenge of the Spaniards who attacked them in Mindanao and Sulu. They came to see the biggest bell, the Sta. Barbara bell installed at St. Anne Church, one of the oldest churches built in 1610. They forcibly took the bell as a present to their Sultan. En route to the high seas, a strong gust of wind from the northwest blew fiercely that the Vinta carrying the huge bell sank in the Babuyan Channel. The people who witness the mishap shout with joy in their Ibanag dialect “Nabugay Ira”. The incident that happened to the Moros reverberated even to the distant areas and the word “Nabugay” became and accepted name of the town, but evolved to its present term “Buguey” as time passed by.
Buguey was founded on May 20, 1623 by virtue of a Royal Decree issued by the King of Spain. However, in 1901, it was expropriated and was reduced to the status of barrio and was attached to Camalaniugan. In 1905, the Americans were already organizing municipal and provincial governments in the island, but Buguey remained a barrio. Tired of their political misery and in their desire to uplift the politico-social status of the municipality, a group of political leaders led by Alejandro Varilla, Gregorio Valle, and Placido Calaycay petitioned the American Governor-General to restore Buguey to its former status. With the intercession of Vicente Marasigan and Ex-representative Venencio Concepcion, Buguey was restored its municipal status on July 26, 1915. It was then that hundreds of cows and pigs were slaughtered as people celebrate the occasion for the feast of St. Anne, the Patron Saint of the town.
Buguey is a third class municipality comprising of thirteen (13) coastal barangays and seventeen (17) non-coastal barangays covering a land area of 16,450.05 hectares. Agriculture dominates the municipal economy where the people are predominantly engaged in agriculture, fishing, livestock and forestry. About 80% of the municipality’s total number of families are engaged in farming, fishing and related activities, 7% are employed in the government, 2% are overseas workers and 11% are self-employed.
Predominantly rural, the municipality’s development activities are primarily focused on rural agricultural development and the provision of technical assistance in production along increased research and development extension programs in agriculture and fishery. The high marine and freshwater fishery development potential and large area of existing and potential inland fisheries make Buguey an ideal site for extensive investment in various fishery enterprises. Most recent development indicated that a 284 hectares ideal for inland fisheries located at Barangays Cabaritan and San Isidro are awaiting final declaration from the PEZA Board as agro-industrial economic zone to be known as the Buguey Economic Zone. The PEZA declaration is seen to generate more employment in the agriculture and fishery sector that will further boost the municipality’s claim as the crab capital of the north and the possibility of becoming the aquaculture center in the Cagayan Valley Region