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Misamis Oriental
Province of Misamis Oriental
(from top: left to right) Mount Balatukan, Balingoan Port, Mount Sumagaya, Libertad coastline, Macajalar Bay and Cagayan de Oro.
Flag of Misamis Oriental
Official seal of Misamis Oriental
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 8°45′N 125°00′E / 8.75°N 125°E / 8.75; 125
RegionNorthern Mindanao
and largest city
Cagayan de Oro
 • TypeSangguniang Panlalawigan
 • GovernorPeter M. Unabia (Lakas)
 • Vice GovernorJeremy Jonahmar G. Pelaez (Padayon Pilipino)
 • LegislatureMisamis Oriental Provincial Board
 • Total3,131.52 km2 (1,209.09 sq mi)
 • Rank43rd out of 81
 (excluding Cagayan de Oro)
Highest elevation2,560 m (8,400 ft)
 (2020 census)[2]
 • Total956,900
 • Rank30th out of 81
 • Density310/km2 (790/sq mi)
  • Rank30th out of 81
 (excluding Cagayan de Oro)
 • Independent cities
 • Component cities
 • Municipalities
 • Barangays
 • Districts
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)88
ISO 3166 codePH-MSR
Spoken languages
Income classification1st class

Misamis Oriental (Cebuano: Sidlakang Misamis; Maranao: Sebangan Misamis; Tagalog: Silangang Misamis), officially the Province of Misamis Oriental, is a province located in the region of Northern Mindanao in the Philippines. Its capital, largest city and provincial center is the city of Cagayan de Oro, which is governed independently from the province.


Further information: Confederate States of Lanao

Lanao Sultanate era

In the 16th century, the people of the territory were obliged to pay tribute to Maranao Muslim rulers as the regional powerhouses converted to the Muslim faith. Lumads on the coast started converting into Islam or were displaced by other ethnic groups that converted earlier. Those in the interior retained their native faiths.

Spanish colonial era

Misamis Oriental shared a history with Misamis Occidental of being part of the Province of Cebu during the Spanish colonial era. In 1818, Misamis was carved out from Cebu to become a separate province with Cagayan de Misamis (Cagayan de Oro) as its capital and was further subdivided into partidos or divisions: Partido de Cagayan (Division of Cagayan), Partido de Catarman (Division of Catarman), Partido de Dapitan (Division of Dapitan), and Partido de Misamis (Division of Misamis). The new Misamis province was part of the districts of Mindanao during the later part of the 19th Century, with its territory spanning from Dapitan to the west, Gingoog to the East, and as far as Lanao and Cotabato to the south.

Misamis is one of the Spanish-controlled territories vulnerable to Moro raids. The Fuerza de la Concepcion y del Triunfo in Ozamiz was built as a Spanish military installation and one of the staging points in their expeditions against Moros. A fort in Balo-i in present-day Lanao del Norte was also constructed in 1891 on the orders of General Valeriano Weyler in its renewed campaign against the Maranaos. The Fuerza de San Miguel in Iligan was also built, serving as a muster point for Spanish forces in their campaigns in Lanao.

American invasion era

Misamis province

Main article: Misamis (province)

Misamis province map in 1918

With the organization of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu in 1917, Misamis lost a territory covering Iligan and coastal towns along Iligan and Panguil bays to become part of the Lanao province, making the remaining western and eastern territories of Misamis isolated from each other. Highland areas south of Cagayan de Misamis down to Malaybalay area were carved out to become a sub-province of Bukidnon in 1914, then eventually a full province in 1917. During this period migrants from Luzon and Visayas then flocked to the area to seek new and better life and various economic opportunities. Most of them are Bicolanos, Hiligaynons, Ilocanos, Kapampangans and Tagalogs in addition to Cebuanos.

Legislative Act. No. 3537 approved on November 2, 1929, divided the province of Misamis into two due to the lack of geographic contiguity. It was not until a decade later, on November 28, 1939, that the division between Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental was implemented by Act. No. 3777.[3] When Misamis Oriental separated, Don Gregorio Pelaez became its first governor.[citation needed]

Japanese occupation era

In 1942, at the onset of World War II in the Philippines, Japanese soldiers landed in Misamis Oriental to occupy the region.[citation needed] Filipino and American resistance guerrillas operated in the hills and forests of Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon, and both provinces fell under the jurisdiction of the 10th Military District commanded by Col. Wendell Fertig.[4]

The American liberation forces landed in Cagayan in May 1945, with the support of the Filipino and American guerrillas based in Opol, Gingoog, and Tagoloan clearing the beachhead of Japanese defenders for the liberation forces to land.[citation needed]

Philippine independence

Subsequent creations of new local government units in the province occurred after the war. Opol and El Salvador were barangays of Cagayan, but due to their relative isolation from the Cagayan town proper, the residents petitioned for their separation to become municipalities in 1948. El Salvador became a municipality within the same year,[5] while Opol was carved out from Cagayan in 1950,[6] the same year the latter was chartered to become a city.[7] Lagonglong was organized as a separate municipality out of the 11 sitios of Balingasag which were then grouped into 5 barangays.[8] Villanueva was created out of the 5 barrios of Tagoloan in 1962,[9] and the municipality of Libertad out of the 6 barrios of Initao in 1963.[10]

The island of Camiguin was part of the province, and in 1958 it was made into a sub-province. The island eventually separated from Misamis Oriental and achieved regular province status in 1966, with Mambajao as its new provincial capital.

During the Marcos dictatorship

Main articles: Marcos dictatorship, Human rights abuses of the Marcos dictatorship, and Ilaga

See also: Jabidah massacre and Moro conflict

The 21-year administration of Ferdinand Marcos, which included 14 years of one-man rule under Marcos, saw the rise of ethnic conflicts and the overall degradation of peace and order throughout Mindanao[11] - first in the form of conflicts between local Mindanaoan Muslims and Christian settlers which the Marcos administration had encouraged first to migrate and then to form militias,[12][13] and later in the form of Muslim secessionist movements arising from outrage after the 1986 Jabidah massacre.[14][15]

Additionally, an economic crisis in late 1969 led to social unrest throughout the country, and violent crackdowns on protests led to the radicalization of many students,[16] with some joining the New People's Army, bringing the Communist rebellion to Mindanao.[17]

During this time, Initao, Misamis Oriental was the site of the Holy Temple of Power of the Christian settler cult named Sagrado Corazon Senor (Sacred Heart of the Lord), which became better known as Tadtad (literally "to chop") because of their violent actions, and was one of numerous cults tapped by Marcos' military as force multipliers in their efforts against the Muslim secessionists and the communists.[18]

In September 1972, Marcos was nearing the end of this last term allowed under the Philippines 1935 constitution when he placed the entirety of the Philippines under Martial Law, a period historically remembered for its human rights abuses, [19][20] particularly targeting political opponents, student activists, journalists, religious workers, farmers, and others who fought against the Marcos dictatorship.[21] Only about 170 survivors from Northern Mindanao - including Misamis Oriental - were fortunate to live long enough to receive legally mandated compensation in the mid-2010s.[22]

Others were not as fortunate, such as labor leader Julieta Cupino-Armea, a key figure in the Labor sector resistance against the Marcos dictatorship in Mindanao whom records show was "tortured, raped, beaten with wood all over her body" for four hours by the Tadtad before she finally died. Cupino-Armea would later be recognized as one of the martyrs of the fight to restore Philippine democracy when her name was inscribed on the wall of remembrance of the Philippines' Bantayog ng mga Bayani (lit. "Monument of Heroes") in Quezon city.[23] Another figure killed in Misamis Oriental and honored at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani was Gingoog City Councillor Renato Bucag, who was head of the opposition PDP–Laban party in Gingoog City until he, his wife, and 11-year old son were assaulted and murdered at their farm on the outskirts of the city just two weeks before the 1984 Philippine parliamentary election.[24]


In May 2014 it was reported that an area in Barangay Lapad in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental, in northern Mindanao, was declared a heritage site. Oyster fossils older than 200,000 years were discovered, according to Balita Pilipinas. Property owner, Raul Ilogon, told Balita Pilipinas that they had been seeing the fossils for 20 years thinking that they were ordinary rocks.[25]


This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources.Find sources: "Misamis Oriental" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2018)

Located in Northern Mindanao, the province borders Bukidnon to the south, Agusan del Norte to the east and Lanao del Norte to the west. On the north is the Bohol Sea with the island-province of Camiguin just off its northern coast.

Misamis Oriental occupies a total land area of 3,131.52 square kilometres (1,209.09 sq mi)[26]. When the independent city of Cagayan de Oro is included for geographical purposes, the province's land area is 3,544.32 square kilometres (1,368.47 sq mi).[26]

Misamis Oriental, as a coastal province, is dominated by two bays to the north; the Macajalar and the Gingoog Bay.[3] The central portion of the province features several rivers originating from the highlands of Bukidnon, such as the Cagayan.

Administrative divisions

Misamis Oriental comprises 23 municipalities and 2 component cities, which are organized into two legislative districts and further subdivided into 424 barangays. The provincial capital, Cagayan de Oro, is a highly urbanized city that is administered independently from the province.

Political map of Misamis Oriental


Misamis Oriental is rich in biodiversity. The Indigenous Higaonon community helps protect the natural environment on the forests of Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon.[28][29] A study by the Mindanao State University attributes the biodiversity on Mount Sumagaya to the Indigenous management strategy and sustainable agriculture practiced by the Higaonon.[28] Higaonon ancestral lands are threatened by land grabbing and land clearing.[28]

Mount Sumagawa hosts at least 52 floral species from 19 families, including many that are considered economically and socially significant to the Higaonon people. It has a high floral diversity and is home to a threatened carnivorous pitcher plant that was first discovered in 2014.[28] It is also home to 22 endemic species of birds, including the Philippine eagle. It also hosts various mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.[28]


Population census of Misamis Oriental
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 56,477—    
1918 82,114+2.53%
1939 173,007+3.61%
1948 300,072+6.31%
1960 343,898+1.14%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1970 344,437+0.02%
1975 395,270+2.80%
1980 462,720+3.20%
1990 525,453+1.28%
1995 587,551+2.12%
YearPop.±% p.a.
2000 664,338+2.67%
2007 748,885+1.67%
2010 813,856+3.07%
2015 888,509+1.69%
2020 956,900+1.47%
(excluding Cagayan de Oro)
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[27][30][30]

The population of Misamis Oriental in the 2020 census was 956,900 people,[2] with a density of 310 inhabitants per square kilometre or 800 inhabitants per square mile. When Cagayan de Oro is included for geographical purposes, the province's population is 1,564,459 people, with a density of 441/km2 (1,143/sq mi).

Ethnicities and languages

Although the native inhabitants of Misamis Oriental are Higaonons, Binukid and Manobo, the majority of the province's residents descended from earlier non-native Visayan Christian settlers from Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Siquijor and nearby Camiguin, accounting for 95.97% of the province's population. The rest of the residents are native Higaonons, Binukid, Manobos (who became minorities in their own homeland because of the non-native Visayan majority) and neighboring Subanens (native to neighboring provinces of Misamis Occidental, parts of Lanao del Norte and northern parts of Zamboanga Peninsula), as well as Maranaos, Maguindanaons, and Tausugs and other Christian settlers (and their native-born descendants) from Ilocandia, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mindoro, Marinduque and Bicolandia in Luzon, and Panay and Negros Occidental in Visayas who came during the late Spanish colonial period and since the American colonial and postwar eras. These non-native settlers are informally called Dumagats, from the root word "dagat" (literally means "sea" or "ocean") because they dwell among the province's coastline upon landing from Luzon and Visayas by boats or later by ships, causing indigenous Higaonons to relocate to the mountains to avoid contact with these newcomers.

Cebuano is the primary spoken language of Misamis Oriental, with the vast majority claiming it to be their mother tongue. There are also sizeable speakers of Bohol dialect of Cebuano in the province. A unique Cebuano dialect spoken in the municipality of Jasaan is called Jasaanon.[citation needed] Many are fluent in Tagalog and English, which are mainly used for business, education, and administration. Maranao is also spoken among the Maranao communities within the province. Other languages that may be heard varyingly in the province include the native Binukid, Higaonon, Subanon, as well as Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Maguindanaon and Tausug.[citation needed]


Roman Catholic Christianity predominates in the province with roughly 68% of the population. Other Christian denominations compose most of the minority religions that forms 9% of the population with 28% belongs to Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI or Aglipayan Church). The rest belongs to Iglesia ni Cristo, Pentecostal church, Evangelical churches, Baptist church, United Church of Christ in the Phillipines (UCCP), Seventh Day Adventist church, Episcopal church, Members Church of God International (MCGI), and Presbyterian church,[31] while Islam has a small but steadily increasing number.[citation needed]


The province is host to industries such as agricultural, forest, steel, metal, chemical, mineral, rubber and food processing. It is home to the 30 square kilometre PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate and the Mindanao International Container Port, all in Tagoloan. Del Monte Philippines, which exports pineapples all over the Asia-Pacific region, has a processing plant in Cagayan de Oro.[citation needed]

On January 10, 2008, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Company of South Korea inked a contract to build a $2 billion shipyard building complex at Villanueva, Misamis Oriental with the PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority. It is bigger than Hanjin's $1 billion shipyard complex in Subic and Olongapo which will hire 20,000 Filipinos to manufacture ship parts. The government declared the 441.8-hectare project site an economic zone (part of 3,000-hectare industrial estate managed by PHIVIDEC).[39]


See also: Governor of Misamis Oriental and Misamis Oriental Provincial Board

Seal of the province, in use since 1928 and was registered in NHCP in 1950. Still recognized as the official seal of the province by NHCP as of 2018.

Misamis Oriental Provincial Government 2022-2025

Executive officials

Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan

See also


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Archived from the original on January 11, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Census of Population (2020). "Region X (Northern Mindanao)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Lancion Jr., Conrado M.; cartography by de Guzman, Rey (1995). "The Provinces; Misamis Oriental". Fast Facts about Philippine Provinces (The 2000 Millenium ed.). Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines: Tahanan Books. p. 106. ISBN 971-630-037-9. Retrieved December 28, 2015.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Guerrillas Liberate Cagayan de Misamis, Oriental Misamis during World War II". Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  5. ^ "REPUBLIC ACT No. 268: An Act Creating the Municipality of El Salvador, Province of Misamis Oriental". Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  7. ^ "REPUBLIC ACT NO. 521 - AN ACT CREATING THE CITY OF CAGAYAN DE ORO". Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  9. ^ "REPUBLIC ACT No. 3584: An Act Creating the Municipality of Villanueva in the Municipality of Misamis Oriental". Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  10. ^ "REPUBLIC ACT No. 3584: An Act Creating the Municipality of Libertad in the Municipality of Misamis Oriental". Retrieved September 10, 2021.
  11. ^ Francia, Luis H. (2013). History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos. New York: Overlook Press. ISBN 978-1-4683-1545-5.
  12. ^ For an in-depth survey of indigenous peoples and forced land seizures in the Philippines, see Eder, James F. (June 1994). "Indigenous Peoples, Ancestral Lands and Human Rights in the Philippines". Cultural Survival Quarterly. Archived from the original on December 22, 2018.
  13. ^ Mackerras, Colin, ed. (2004). Ethnicity in Asia. London: RoutledgeCurzon. p. 143. ISBN 0-203-38046-0.
  14. ^ The Bangsamoro Struggle for Self-Determintation: A Case Study (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on February 15, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2020 – via
  15. ^ George, T. J. S. (1980). Revolt in Mindanao: The Rise of Islam in Philippine Politics. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-580429-5. OCLC 6569089.
  16. ^ Rodis, Rodel (January 30, 2015). "Remembering the First Quarter Storm". Archived from the original on January 31, 2015. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  17. ^ Miclat, Gus (2002). "Our Lives Were Never the Same Again". In Arguillas, Carolyn O. (ed.). Turning Rage Into Courage: Mindanao Under Martial Law. MindaNews Publications, Mindanao News and Information Cooperative Center. OCLC 644320116.
  18. ^ May, Ronald J. "Vigilantes in the Philippines From Fanatical Cults To Citizens' Organizations". CENTER FOR PHILIPPINE STUDIES SCHOOL OF HAWAIIAN, ASIAN AND PACIFIC STUDIES UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI'I AT MANOA.
  19. ^ "Alfred McCoy, Dark Legacy: Human rights under the Marcos regime". Ateneo de Manila University. September 20, 1999.
  20. ^ Abinales, P.N.; Amoroso, Donna J. (2005). State and society in the Philippines. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-0742510234. OCLC 57452454.
  21. ^ "Gone too soon: 7 youth leaders killed under Martial Law". Rappler. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  22. ^ Jazul, Leanne (February 7, 2014). "Martial Law victims in N. Mindanao receive compensation". RAPPLER. Retrieved November 29, 2023.
  23. ^ "MARTYRS & HEROES: Julieta Cupino Armea". Bantayog ng mga Bayani. May 28, 2023. Retrieved November 29, 2023.
  24. ^ "MARTYRS & HEROES: Renato Bucag (Politician)". Bantayog ng mga Bayani. May 26, 2023. Retrieved November 29, 2023.
  25. ^ "200,000 year-old fossilized oysters found in Misamis Oriental". May 16, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  26. ^ a b c d "Province: Misamis Oriental". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  27. ^ a b Census of Population (2015). "Region X (Northern Mindanao)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  28. ^ a b c d e Fabro, Keith Anthony (March 6, 2023). "Indigenous youths keep ancient forestry traditions alive in the Philippines". Mongabay Environmental News. Retrieved March 10, 2024.
  29. ^ "The Higaonon of Misamis Oriental: Watchers of our Remaining Rainforests". Foundation for the Philippine Environment. March 1, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2024.
  30. ^ a b Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region X (Northern Mindanao)" (PDF). Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. National Statistics Office. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  31. ^ "Data" (PDF).
  32. ^ "Poverty incidence (PI):". Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  33. ^ "Estimation of Local Poverty in the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. November 29, 2005.
  34. ^ "2009 Official Poverty Statistics of the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. February 8, 2011.
  35. ^ "Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population, by Region and Province: 1991, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. August 27, 2016.
  36. ^ "Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population, by Region and Province: 1991, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. August 27, 2016.
  37. ^ "Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population, by Region and Province: 1991, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. August 27, 2016.
  38. ^ "Updated Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population with Measures of Precision, by Region and Province: 2015 and 2018". Philippine Statistics Authority. June 4, 2020.
  39. ^ "Latest News in the Philippines". January 10, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2017.