Sunday, August 14, 2022


• Iligan History(1) by Ricardo Jorge S. Caluen

• lligan History (2)by Assemblyman Camilo P. Cabili

• Iligan History(3)as published in the Symbols of the State(Republic of the Philippines)

Iligan’s early History(1)


By Ricardo Jorge S. Caluen

HIGAONON:One of Mindanao’s Lumad ethnic groups believed to be the first settlers of Iligan.

The earliest Spanish accounts refer to Iligan(or Yligan/Elegin) as the name of the settlement found at the mouth of the river that bears the same name(also Tambacan to many people).It was this same settlement that the early Jesuits in Mindanao came upon sometime in the 1630s. Around the 18th century, Iligan referred to the large military province or corregimiento, which comprised the present-day provinces of Lanao, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte, and portions of Misamis Oriental. When Ferdinand Blumentritt cited the earlier ethnographic accounts pointing to Subanos as the inhabitants of Iligan he must have referred to the corregimientos Misamis-Zamboanga side, concededly Subano territory till the present.

The Padres Recoletos are reported to have introduced Christianity in the area ahead of the Jesuits, the work having been begun by Fray Nicolas de San Juan who was the visitador of Bayug Island some three kilometers east of the present Poblacion. This was in 1626. There is reason to believe, however, that the natives of Bayug(whom I suspect to be ancestors of the Higa-onons of Barangay Rogongon, this city) had their first contacts with Christianized natives with the conquest of their territory ( in all likelihood towards the end of the 16th century) by Pedro Manuel Manook, a Dapitan warrior of considerable military and navigational skills. He showed Legaspi the way to the petty-kingdoms of Luzon. Both the Jesuits and the Recoletos will later be engaged in a scandalous battle fought in ecclesiastical and governmental courts to gain control over Iligan and neighboring areas.

Iligan has been traditionally used by both Spanish and American colonizers as the launching pad of their pacification campaigns against the Lanao “Moros.” Thus, for more than two centuries, Iligan was practically a garrison town defended largely by Pampango and Boholano conscripts. It is reported that at the turn of the 20th century, Iligan had a population of only 3,000.