REVOLT BROKE OUT in Luzon in late August 1896. A month later, on September
29, 1896, a group of Filipinos in Iligan -- who had been deported from
Luzon to undergo military discipline -- received instructions from
the Manila Katipunan, and consequently mutinied against the Spanish
soldiers. They raided the Spanish armory, then ransacked all convents
and homes of Spanish peninsulares from Iligan to Cagayan de Misamis.
They proceeded to Bukidnon, where they forged an alliance with a band of
natives. Then they attacked Balingasag, and raided the outpost of Gingoog
on January 1897. Anger intensified when the rebels learned of Dr. Jose
P. Rizal's execution. But they were subdued when the Spanish government
recalled and used a gunboat from the Tercio Distrito de Surigao.
The uprising in Cagayan de Misamis
is the only known Katipunan-led revolt in the whole of Mindanao.
Raising of the Flag
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
the first Filipino mayor of Cagayan de Misamis.
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. For the
first time, Filipinos declared the Aguinaldo Republic in Mindanao and
raised the Philippine Flag in this island.
On March 31, 1900, the Americans invaded
Cagayan de Misamis by first bombing the flag fluttering at Macabalan
wharf. Filipino resistance fighters had already organized before the
attack, but retaliated only on April 7, 1900, led by Gen. Nicolas Capistrano.
The fighting erupted in the town center. This was followed by the Battle
of Agusan Hill, led by Capt. Vicente Roa y Racines, who was killed with
On June 4, 1900, however, for
the first time in the entire Philippine-American War, the Americans
lost to the Filipino revolutionaries in the Battle of Makahambus Hill.
Col. Apolinar Velez led the Filipino troop to victory.
The Americans won the war eventually, however.
And under foreign rule, Cagayan de Misamis became the center of
commerce, migration, and education in Northern Mindanao.
Several American governor generals visited the
place: William Howard Taft (who became the 27th US president),
William Cameron Forbessy, James F. Smith and Theodore Roosevelt,
Jr. Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña, Sr. also
graced Cagayan de Misamis.
Misamis Oriental became a separate province in 1930 through Legislative
On May 1, 1942, the Japanese Kawamura Detachment sailed
from Iloilo to Cagayan de Misamis, and implemented the "scorched
earth policy". They burned most of the town, but used the major buildings
Guerrillas fought back, but failed to cause major damage. On October 10,
1944, American planes bombarded Cagayan de Misamis to drive out the Japanese,
eventually liberating the place on May 10, 1945.
Starting 1946, Misamis Congressman Pedro S. Baculio lobbied
in the Philippine Congress so that Cagayan de Misamis, which was reeling
from the ashes of war, would be declared a city. On December 17, 1949,
the new Congressman Emmanuel Pelaez introduced House Bill No. 54, entitled "An
Act Creating the City of Cagayan de Oro". President Elpidio Quirino
signed the city charter at 11:30 am, June 15, 1950.
Pelaez appended "de Oro" to "Cagayan" in recognition
of gold mining in the hinterland barrios known to Spanish explorers in
The first appointed mayor of Cagayan de Oro was Max Y. Suniel, followed
by Justiniano R. Borja in 1954. Borja was elected as mayor again in 1955,
and was repeatedly elected and appointed until he died on October 3, 1964.
He was called the "Arsenio Lacson of Cagayan de Oro", being
responsible for the phenomenal growth of the city since 1959, when he
opened the Cogon Market.
On June 29, 1951, Pope Pius XII created the
first Catholic archbishopric in Mindanao, when he elevated the Diocese
of Cagayan into an archdiocese.
Santiago T. G. Hayes, S.J. was the first
archbishop. Hayes founded Ateneo de Cagayan on June 7, 1933. The school
was renamed Xavier University on March 22, 1958. It was the first Mindanao
During the regime of the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos,
Cagayan de Oro earned the reputation as the center of political opposition
in the Philippines. Independent-minded politicians in Cagayan de Oro helped
restore democracy at EDSA in 1986.
In 1987, Cagayan de Oro became a congressional district
in the Congress of the Philippines. The first congressional representative
was Benedicta B. Roa.
Today, Cagayan de Oro is the burgeoning
center of commerce, education, and government administration in Northern
Mindanao. It is a major city. Rich in heritage, it shares with the historical
highlights of the Republic of the Philippines.