Moreno Inaugural binds historical links between Kagay-an and Misamis

Jun 29, 2013


With his inauguration today as the 14th Mayor of Cagayan de Oro City, Oscar Seriña Moreno becomes the fifth governor of Misamis Oriental to become city mayor of what used to be its capital town.


Moreno was first served as representative of the 1st District of Misamis Oriental from 1998-2004 in the 11th and 12th Congress. He next served as Governor of Misamis Oriental for three terms (2004-2013) before his recent victory as city mayor of Cagayan de Oro. Previous to this, he had 20 years in the corporate legal profession.


However, even before Cagayan de Oro became a chartered city on June 15, 1950, former governors of the province already became municipal presidents of its capital town then known as Cagayan de Misamis and vice versa.


Apolinar Velez Y Ramos


Apolinar Velez y Ramos (1865-1939) was Governor of Misamis province from 1906-1909 and became municipal president of Cagayan de Misamis in 1928-1931. He led the Mindanao Battalion to the Filipinos only victory over the Americans in the Battle of Makahambus during the Philippine-American War.


Segundo Gaston first became municipal president of Cagayan de Misamis in 1916-1919 before becoming governor of Misamis Oriental on 1923-1925. Gaston Park in Cagayan de Oro City is named in his honor.


Pedro Sa. Baculio


After Cagayan de Oro became a chartered city in June 15, 11950, Pedro Sa. Baculio, who was governor of Misamis Oriental during the Japanese Occupation on 1941-1945, became the first provincial governor to become mayor of the new city from March-December 1952. Previous to this, he also represented Misamis Oriental in the first congress from 1946-1949


Pedro N. Roa


Pedro N. Roa Sr., who served as Misamis Oriental governor in 1968-1969 followed in his footsteps, becoming Cagayan de Oro City Mayor in 1978-1980.


Concordio C. Diel


Although Concordio C. Diel preceded Roa as Cagayan de Oro City Mayor in 1976-1979, he followed the latter as provincial governor in 1969-1974 in what became the first instance of musical chairs between the two LGUs.


Outgoing Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Y. Emano became the fourth governor in the Misamis Oriental era to become mayor of the city, first being appointed provincial caretaker in March 1986-Dec. 1987 following the EDSA revolution, before serving for three consecutive terms from 1988-1998. After being elected for another three consecutive terms as mayor of the city in  1998-2007, he came back to win another term in 2010-2013 after being elected vice mayor in 2007.


However, the tradition of provincial governors serving as mayor and vice versa is not only the historical link that connects Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro.


The old Kiosko was previously called the Tribuna


Perhaps today is an opportune time to recall, give thanks and celebrate those ties that bind these two places as the “heart and soul” of Northern Mindanao, as Cagayan de Oro celebrates today the inauguration of former Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno as its 14th City Mayor:


  • In 1818, the Spanish Government divided Mindanao into three politico-military districts, the largest of which was the Segundo Distrito de Misamis.
  • This area was composed of today’s Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Camiguin, Bukidnon, Lanao, Zamboanga del Norte, and the northern part of Cotabato and Maguindanao.
  • It was named Misamis after its capital town at the mouth of Panguil Bay (present day Ozamiz city).  Here, the Spanish Jesuit Jose Ducos built the Fuerza Real de la Virgen del Triunfo (better known nowadays as the Cotta)  as  a  fortress against  Moro raiders who had to pass through the narrow  bay in their raids against Spanish and Filipino towns along the coast.
  • The  Misamis district was further subdivided into four:  the Partido  de Misamis, Partido de Dapitan, Partido de Cagayan, and Partido de Catarman.
  • On February 27, 1872, the Spanish Governor General Carlos Maria de la Torre issued a decree declaring Cagayan the permanent capital of the Segundo Distrito de Misamis.
  • All Spanish politico-military governors of Misamis, who were all lieutenant colonels, lived at theCasa Real de Cagayan, built in 1831, the site of today’s Executive House of Cagayan de Oro. During this era, the town was called Cagayan de Misamis.
  • Misamis  was the  only  region in Mindanao  which actively  joined  the  Katipunan  revolt against  Spain. On September 27, 1896, 350  revolucionarios,  overwhelmed the Spanish garrison in Calaganan (present-day Balo-i, Lanao del Norte)  raided the armory of the Fuerza Nueva Victoriain Iligan.  Cagayan de Misamis (as Cagayan de Oro was then known) played a key role in suppressing this so-called ‘Mutiny at Calaganan’ when the Spanish soldiers based here repulsed the rebels in Sta. Ana, Tagoloan with the help of Kagay-anon Voluntarios led by Apolinar Velez. Therevolucionarios  proceeded to Sumilao where they were joined by 50 Higa-onons and marched down the coast  where they commandeered a boat and landed in Balingasag. From there the group stormed the Tercio Civil outpost  in Gingoog  where the uprising was finally put down in January  1897 with the help of reinforcements and the gunboat Mariveles from the Tercio Distrito de Surigao.
  • Misamis was the first region in Mindanao to join the new Philippine Republic under Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. On December 10, 1898, the United States and Spain signed the Treaty of Peace. Immediately, the Spanish governor relinquished his authority to two Filipinos elected by Aguinaldo:Jose Roa y Casas, who was appointed first governor of Misamis; and Toribio Chavez, appointed first Filipino mayor of Cagayan de Misamis.
  • On January 10-11, 1899, Cagayan de Misamis celebrated independence by organizing the so-called Fiesta Nacional. The people held a parade, played music, presented speeches and fired cannons outside the Casa Real. The first set of local officials was elected and the Filipino flag officially rose for only the second time ever in  the  island (the first was in Surigao).
  • During World War II, Misamis became a part of  world history  when  Gen. Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander  of  the United  States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) successfully evading the Japanese Navy blockade from Corregidor in  a flotilla of PT Boats and landed  in Macabalan  port  in Cagayan de Misamis on March  13,  1942.  He laid over at the Del Monte compound in Bukidnon  until March 17, 1942 when he, his family and some of his staff were airlifted  to  Australia  in  two B-17s.  A week later,  Phil.  Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon  and  Vice President  Sergio Osmeña, Sr. also used the same route to  escape from Corregidor to Australia.
  • The  United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) under Col. Wendell W. Fertig based in Oroquieta, Misamis Occidental, was the rallying point for the guerrillas in Mindanao. This was historically significant because Oroquieta was considered to be the capital of the entire Free  Philippines, the only time in Philippine history when its capital was in Mindanao, in the region then known as Misamis.
  • Misamis is also significant in Philippine   pre-history  through  the discovery of the  Huluga  caves  in Cagayan  de  Oro city in the early 1970s. A fragment of  a  skull sent  to  the  Scripps Institute in La Jolla,  California  for  a dating technique known as acid racemization showed it dated  back to the Late Neolithic Period or 377 A.D., making it the oldest archeological site in Mindanao.
  • Starting 1946, Misamis Congressman Pedro S. Baculio lobbied in the Philippine Congress so thatCagayan de Misamis would be declared a city. On December 17, 1949, the new CongressmanEmmanuel “Maning” Pelaez  of Medina, Misamis Oriental introduced House Bill No. 54, entitledAn Act Creating the City of Cagayan de Oro. President Elpidio Quirino signed the city charter at11:30 am, June 15, 1950. 

(based on Antonio J. Monvalvan II’s paper Resurgence of  Identity:  The Heritage of Misamis,  1818-1945.  Montalvan is a Mindanao anthropologist and ethnohistorian. He is a Ford Foundation scholar and has a doctorate in anthropology on Mindanao Studies with the Mindanao Anthropology Consortium. He has written articles about Mindanao history and culture in academic journals, and contributes a monthly column to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He is the author of  “A Cagayan de Oro Ethnohistory Reader”, launched on March 8, 2004.)


Share this Post:

Follow by Email