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history of cagayan de oro city
by atty. "tommy" c. pacana
chairman, historical commission
two thousand years ago, there were already ancient kagay-anons living around the vicinity of hulaga, himologan and tagbalitang caves around 8 kilometers south of cagayan de oro city.
fr. francisco demetrio, s.j., noted archeologist and filipino folklorist of xavier university had collected tools, implements, potteries and shards from these areas and subjected these to the carbon dating process at the philippine historical museum to determine their age.
it was found that these tools and implements were already used by the ancient kagay-anons during the neolithic age.
this shows how old cagayan de oro is before the coming of the spanish "conquistadors" to the philippines in march 1521. there were three great sultanates of mindanao and sulu.
these were sultanates of sulu under sheriff aljaluddin, the sultanate of maguindanao under sheriff mawi, and tagoloan under sheriff mohammed kabungsuwan.
the sultanate of tagoloan extended from baloi, lanao del sur, to butuan, cagayan de oro (or kalambaguhan, by which name it was then known), was merely a passageway from baloi to butuan, which was already a great trading center like zugbu, panay and manila.
kalambaguhan has a small settlement of bukidnons who lived along the riverbanks of the kalambaguhan river. this river (now the cagayan river) was so known because of the "lambago" trees that grew profusely along its banks.
during this time, however, the cachel corralat (sultan kudarat) marauding warriors attacked such places as manticao, tagnipa, (el salvador), iligan and kalambaguhan to bring these places with their domain. they captured the women, children and working animals of the inhabitants in these places and brought them to their sultanate.
because of these constant raids, the bukidnons along the river fled to the hills of hulaga led by their ruler, datu salangsang.
sometime in 1622, long after the spaniards had established themselves at butuan, spanish friars under fray agustin de san pedro known as "el padre capitan" went to see datu salangsang and sought to invite him and his people to come down to their told settlement at kalambaguhan under the protection of the spaniards.
datu salangsang's aunt, a christianized woman of influence whose name was magdalena bacuya. with a messenger from el padre capitan reiterated his offer to datu salangsang and convinced him to come down to their ancient settlement of kalambaguhan.
to protect the bukidnons from the constant raids of the muslim from cachel corralat, el padre capitan built a fortification around the settlement, which is now gaston park.
several raids of the maguindanao warriors were repulsed by the courageous el padre capitan that the muslims never returned again to the settlement.
it was from this small settlement that the present cagayan de oro originated. a small church was built on the site, which later became the present san agustin cathedral.
thereby, the fame of el padre capitan as an able military strategist, spread far and wide. he vanquished the muslims around lake lanao.
the people of cagayan de oro come from a blend of two cultures those of the muslims and bukidnons. these were the native people that had settled in the region long before the coming of the spaniards in fact, the first christians among these natives were the muslims from lanao who were the descendants of the samporna clan.
they were the first to be baptized along with the bato-batos, the wagas, abas, dagumbals and several families.
how did cagayan de oro got its name?
pre-war folks said that cagayan came from "cagaycay, " an ancient bukidnon word meaning to rake in the earth either with one's bare hands or with a piece of wood. it also means rocks gathered from the river or ores raked in from the hillside or streams.
gold have always been abundant in the cagayan river gold ores are still found in the nearby of cagayan as tumpagon, pigsag-an, tuburan, taglimao and other nearby places. before the spaniards came to cagayan (or kalambaguhan), there were already places where on could rake in the earth.
another version is more romantic
another version of how cagayan de oro got its name is told in of that story of a bukidnon chieftain on the eastern side of cagayan river (whose name according to old folks was mansicampo), once had a quarrel with a muslim datu across the river (now the rer subdivision), his name was bagongsalibo.
the quarrel became intense that the bukidnon chieftain wanted it settled by war. however, the muslim datu across the river wanted to live in peace with his people in that part of cagayan.
mansicampo then called on all his followers and relatives from the bukidnon tribes of daan lunsod, gathered on the eastern side of the river ready for combat then mansicampo ordered his son, the bagani, to go and see datu bagongsalibo and arranged for a council of war.
therefore, the young prince went to see the muslim datu and confirmed with him. during the conference, however the young prince noted that there was a beautiful young woman who kept on peeping from behind a door looking at him.
she was so beautiful that the young prince was immediately captivated and forgot his main purpose in the council. the young prince immediately proposed his intentions to the muslim datu who was only too willing to accept his land in marriage as he was not very keen about going to war against a neighbor.
when the bukidnon chieftain heard about his son proposing marriage to the daughter of his enemy. his warriors bid goodbye and left to live near the hills of lumbia vowing never return to his former settlement which he now call "kagayha-an" (or in bukidnon, a place of shame).
since then, cagayan de oro has grown into one of the most peaceful and progressive cities in the entire philippines
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