Heritage Conservation Advocates

The northern coast of Mindanao has been an important area for archaeological researches. Research work and archaeological survey have resulted in the discovery of archaeological materials that could be traced back from the Neolithic period to the Age of Contact with Great Traditions of Asia.




Surigao Aguilera 1990a, 199b
  Dizon 1991
  Dizon and Orogo 1991
  Ronquillo & Salcedo n.d.
  Salcedo 1983
Agusan Aguilera 1982
  Alegre 1977, 1979a, 1979b
  Almendral 1983
  Alonto 1988
  Barbosa 1978
  Bautista 1989, 1990, 1991a
  Burton 1977
  Cembrano 1987
  Dizon 1989
  Evangelista & Peralta n.d.
  Galpo 1985
  Jannaral 1977
  Kibbe & Blelloch n.d.
  Peterson n.d.
  Roales 1989
  Ronquillo 1987
  Salcedo 1976
  de Vera 1988
Camiguin Alegre n.d.
Misamis Bautista 1991b
  Burton 1975
  Cabanilla 1970
  Cuevas & Bautista 1990
  Demetrio 1971
  Dizon & Cuevas 1991
  Peralta 1968

The Province of Agusan has been extensively studied by Researchers from the National Museum and several institutions. These research works involved salvage archaeology, test pit excavation and systematic archaeological excavation which provided information in the understanding of the prehistory of Northern Mindanao particularly the Age of Contact when the region was trading commercially with foreign traders from the Southeast Asian mainland. However, these archaeological researches are focused on the eastern part of the region and few research work has been done in Misamis Oriental specifically Cagayan de Oro City and vicinities.


Since 1968, the National Museum has conducted limited archaeological studies in the Province of Misamis. In May 1968, Messrs. Avelino Legaspi and Jesus T. Peralta found ceramic sherds from the late Ching Dynasty at Aplaya, Municipality of Jasaan (Peralta 1968). Mr. Israel Cabanilla visited Tagbalintang Cave in the Municipality of Villanueva, the present site of Philippine Sinter Corporation of Kawasaki. He reported that a stone bark cloth beater was found along with metal age pottery (Cabanilla 1970). According to Dr. Linda Burton of Xavier University, this cave had Neolithic material culture and Iron Age potteries, which were recovered but not systematically recorded (Dizon & Cuevas 1991).

In Cagayan de Oro City and vicinities, Cabanilla also investigated the Huluga archaeological site from October 26 to November 17, 1970. The sites are situated in Sitio Taguanao on the east bank of Cagayan River and about 8 kilometers south of the city proper. Test pit excavations undertaken in the open site revealed the presence of obsidian flake tools, a polished edge of silcified sandstone of the late Neolithic-Metal Age period, local pottery sherds and tradeware ceramic sherds dating to the Song or Ming periods (Cabanilla 1970, Demetrio 1971).

In 1975, Fr. Francisco Demetrio, S.J., Curator of the Cagayan de Oro Museum and Head of Folklore Department of Xavier University instructed Dr. Linda Burton to conduct archaeological studies in the Huluga cave complex and open sites. She conducted two test pit excavations in Gisok Caves in Cagayan de Oro City and Bukidnon boundary (Burton 1975).


Cuevas and Bautista (1991) conducted an archaeological exploration in six municipalities of Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City in connection with the Louis Berger International, Inc. sponsored project on the archaeological impact assessment for water source supply of Northern Mindanao. The archaeological survey resulted in the discovery of blue and white tradeware ceramic sherd in Awang, Tagoloan.

In 1991, Bautista conducted an investigation of a site in front of Huluga Cave in response to the request of Fr. Francisco Demetrio. This request was made in connection with the proposed exhibition of archaeological materials to the excavated from the said site for the August 26-27 celebration of Museum Cagayan de Oro Foundation. His finding revealed that the site is not ideal for archaeological excavation because the area is a fluvial deposit on the east bank of Cagayan River. However, he recommended that an intensive and extensive archaeological exploration and test pit excavation be undertaken in Barangay Macasandig and its vicinities (Bautista 1991).

Based on this recommendation, the Centro Cultura España of the Spanish Embassy in the Philippines through the Xavier University donated additional funds to the National Museum for the implementation of the proposed project.

From September 9 to October 4, 1991, a team composed of MR. ANGEL P. BAUTISTA, Senior Museum Researcher and MR. MELVYN GARCIA, Artist Illustrator II, conducted an archaeological exploration and test pit excavation in Barangays Macasandig, Balulang and Lumbia in Cagayan de Oro City and Barangay Walas, Municipality of Imbatog, Bukidnon (Cagayan-Bukidnon boundary).

This report, therefore, presents the observation on the study area, methodology, results of the exploration and test pit excavation, materials collected and analyzed, discussion and recommendation. These topics are presented in the order stated.


  Published by the Heritage Conservation Advocates, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, August 20, 2001. Republished online February 26, 2011.