The evolution of the name "Zamboanga" provides an interesting insight into its historical background. The early Malay settlers called the region "Jambangan",which means Land of the Flowers. These Malays who built their settlements by the river banks were the subanons, that is the "People of the River".

Their chief, Saragan, lived with his family atop the legendary Mount Pulumbato that today lords over Pasonanca and Climaco Freedom Park (formerly Abong-Abong Park) then later on, the Samals and the Badjaos who came on their frail vintas also settled here, building their frail huts along the shorelines and confused "Jambangan"  with "Samboangan" which comes from the word "Sabuan", the wooden pole used to help push their vintas in shallow waters or to tie them for anchorage purposes.


The original people of Zamboanga were the Subanen of Indonesian origin who came at about 2,000 to 6,000 years ago. They were coastal people who believe in the spirit of their ancestors and the forces of nature. When the Muslims arrived, they were pushed into the hinterlands and lived along the riverbanks. Thus, the name ?Suba,? meaning people of the river. The Subanens who communicate through their Subano language prefer and wear colorful clothes and accessories. Black, red, and white are their favorite colors. The women often wear red earrings that match with beaded necklaces. Like other tribes, Subanens have their own entertainment or way of enjoying life. They like music. The Ginarang or Migboat, Basimba, Gatagan and Sirdel or Sumumigaling are some of their songs. These are sung with the accompaniment of their instruments like Gong, Kutapi, Sigitan, Lantoy, Kulaying and Tambubok. court through songs and dances. Their marriage custom is done through taltal. But aside from their court dance, they also have war and ritual dances that they perform during social gatherings and special occasions such as weddings, etc. The tribe?s political structure consists of a Timuay equivalent to the barangay captain that we have today. The Timuay tries cases involving crimes and moral turpitude. In case the Timuay cannot decide on the case or if the case involves heinous crimes, he does not give the final verdict.

The commonwealth of the Philippines on 1936 declared Zambaonga as a Charter City. Progress and development in Zamboanga continued and in 1983, the Minister Interior Jose Roño proclaimed Zamboanga City as a highly urbanized city.

The Spanish colonizers found difficulty in pronouncing "Samboangan" and instead called the place "Zamboanga". The city has rich and colorful history. It was the center of barter trading among Chinese, Malays and the native Tausugs, Samals, Subanens, and the Badjaos as early as the 13th and 14th centuries. It was in 1569 when the Spaniards made their presence felt with a small Catholic Mission established briefly at La Caldera, now known as Recodo. Much later on June 23, 1635, the cornerstone of what is now known as Fort Pilar was laid by Father Melchor de Vera, a Jesuit Priest-Engineer and the Spanish authorities. This date marked the change of the name of the place from Samboangan to Zamboanga. It is the city's founding date.

In 1899, immediately after the Spanish-American War in the Philippines, the United States of America established full authority in Zamboanga. A special form of government was established in Mindanao and Sulu. Zamboanga was made the capital. The first form of which was the Moro province and during the 12 years of its existence, the American Military Government in the Philippines converted Zamboanga into a city in the Commission Form, the first province of Mindanao to become a city. However, the government of the Moro Province was abolished to give way to a new form of government, the Department of Mindanao and Sulu. This form of government entrusted to the Filipino residents of Zamboanga practically all positions in government. 

The Subanen, a peaceful tribe, living along the riverbanks amidst the hinterlands, may be considered as the first inhabitants of Pagadian City. Eventually, the Muslims inhabited the coastal areas of what are now the barangays of Muricay, Tawagan Sur, White Beach and the present location of the city proper then named "TALPOKAN" meaning a place of numerous springs. A Subanen making 'Amakan' - a bamboo weaving use as walling for a subanen duelling place. 

The livelihood of the early inhabitants was cultivating a small area of rice production. After planting season they engage in fishing. The early inhabitants were under the leadership of Datu Akob whose daughter caught the fancy of Datu Macaumbang of Tukuran. With the approval of Datu Akob, Datu Macaumbang married the former? beautiful daughter. Upon the death of Datu Akob, his son-in-law, Datu Macaumbang, assumed leadership then he established the territorial boundaries of the present city proper, from Balangasan River in the West of Tawagan Sur River in the East. Beyond the river of Tawagan Sur was the territory of Datu Balimbingan. At one time, Datu Macaumbang requested the assistance of the Philippine Constabulary due to the dreaded banditry and piracy. 

A detachment led by Col. Tiburcio Ballesteros stationed at Malangas landed at the place and stationed themselves at Dumagoc Island. The arrival of the soldiers restored peace and order thereby attracting the influx of settlers from far-flung regions of the Visayas and Luzon, and from the neighboring places of Mindanao. It had been told that early Christian settlers upon arrival here had to negotiate with the territorial Datu. A banca had to ferry them from Dumagoc Island where the soldiers were stationed with their families. A large number of those early Christians died of Malaria the most dreaded disease of that time, so that they started naming the place "PANGADYE-AN" which means a place to be prayed for.  

Another version revealed that a group of people believed to have come from Luzon arrived at an unknown place of the Zamboanga. This group of people happened to reach the royal place of Datu Macaumbang where natives met them. The natives as to the name of the place did not understand the stranger using his own dialect. Incidentally, when he raised the question, he was looking up a flock of birds called by the natives "GAGADIAN".  A native thinking that the stranger was asking about the birds answered "GAGADIAN"

Dipolog's earliest recorded history started in 1834 when a civil government was organized by the Spanish Provincial Government of Misamis, under whose jurisdiction Dipolog belonged with the appointment of a "Captain" as town executive, a "Teniente" and an "Aguacil" to maintain law and order. Don Domingo Ruiz, a native, was the town executive that year when the townsite was transferred to Tulwanan to where it is now.

History says that in that year a Spanish Recollect Missionary arrived in Tulwanan believing that that the townsite was still there. Upon meeting a native, asked; "Donde esta el Capitan?". Our unknown hero understanding only the word "Capitan" pointed to the west and said in Subano Di-pag, " meaning across the river. Guided by his Muchacho a Tagalog boy named Antonio Subido, the Padre proceeded down river and upon reaching the townsite named the place "Dipag". Though the years, this was corrupted by mispronunciation and intermingling of Visayan and Subano words into what it is today DIPOLOG.

But many years before that, Christian and unchristian Boholanos had already settled and mingled with the Pagan Subanens. For safety's sake against marauding Moro pirates, they established a town in what is now Barrio Sianib, some twenty kilometers from the coast at Barrio Punta (Barangay Punta). When danger from piracy subsided, they transferred the settlement to Isab, Nipaan and constructed a church on a hilltop overlooking a wide plain and the mouth of the Isab creek. The Spanish colonization of Dipolog and northwestern Mindanao was done with the Cross of Catholicis and the Missionaries, with over zealous bordering on fanaticism, demanded that the pagan natives attend mass and church services morning and afternoon. The inconvenience of ramping up and down that hill to appease the priest, compelled the peopl to move down the river to Tulwanan were they built another Capilla. In 1834, as stated earlier, they transferred to the present site at the mouth of Dipolog river.

Misamis was an Old Spanish town, which existed as far back as the Spanish era and was conquered strangely not by force of  arms, but through faith by some Jesuit Missionaries. Though obscure, the origin of the name "Misamis" is believed to have been derived from the Subano word "Kuyamis" which is a variety of coconut. During the years the name persisted as an inference of geographical location and upon the advent of the Spanish settlers. The word "Kuyamis" easily gave way to the more conveniently pronounceable but corrupted word "Misamis"

By origin, Misamis was full of natives, particularly Subanen, the freedom loving people in Northern Mindanao. Shortly before

Dapitan traces its beginnings long before the Spanish conquistadores set foot on the island of Mindanao. Its earliest settlers were the Subanens, a nomadic tribe of indonesian stock known to have settled and lived along the banks of the river or "suba" out of which their present day tribal identify originated. Fear of pirates taking shelter during foul weather in the natural harbors of Dapitan?s irregular coastlines forced the timid Subanens to move further into the hinterlands.

There are two versions of how Dapitan got its name. One is from Fr. Urdaneta, who called the place "Daquepitan" which was later changed to ?Dacpitan? and still later to "Dapitan" because of the difficulty in pronouncing the former. The second version is derived from the word ?Dapit? which means ?to invite? in the local Cebuano dialect. This refers to the original group of Boholanos from Panglao, Bohol who were invited by Datu Pagbuaya, the acknowleged founder of the city, to go with him to the "Dakung Yuta", that is Mindanao, and the settlement they established was called Dapitan. This is the traditional version of how Dapitan got its name.

In various historical reports, there are authentic accounts of trading voyages in the early periods and it is hinted that commercial relations may have been established with Dapitan, already a thriving settlement. It is probable that interaction occurred with the traders and there may have been a mingling of culture.

Early cartographers of the Philippines showed Dapitan?s location in their maps of Mindanao in varying names in which they had known it such as:  "Dapito"  in Kaerius? map of 1598,  "Dapite" in Dudley's map of 1646,  "Dapyto" in Sanson's map of 1652, and "Dapitan" in Moll?s map of East Indies 1729 and in Murillo Velarde?s map of 1734. 

In addition, the divergent cultures brought by the European invaders, the Americans, the Japanese and the different Visayan groups of settlers in Dapitan which caused the emergence of a distinct culture the present crop of Dapitanons have. 

Breezing through the pages of the Philippine History, one can't ignore the niche of this peaceful paradise in the south. Just like any other ancient civilizations in Asia, the natives known as the "Subanens" has established its community along the river or suba banks. Migrants from the Visayas then came to seek refuge in this corner of the Land of Promise. Then, came the Hispanic colonization, which saw the conversion of the Subanons to Christianity, establishing a permanent Christian Mission in this part of the south. Being one of the strongest citadels of power during the Hispanic era, the province became temporary abode to the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal prior to its execution. From then on the peaceful paradise has found its place in the history.

The American occupation paved the way to the creation of the Provincia Mora, which was later known as Zamboanga Province where the seat of power was established in Dipolog. In 1952, the late Pres. Elpidio Quirino signed Republic Act 711 dividing the Zamboanga peninsula creating the Provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Sur.

Today, the province brings to its visitors the unique spirit - a blend of the sense of history and competitive economy juxtaposed by a peaceful natural environment.

Misamis takes its name from an old settlement at the mouth of the Panguil Bay once populated by the "Subanen". Misamis is believed derived from the term kuyamis, a term for a sweet variety of coconut. However, as a result of continued raids by Moros from Lanao, the Subanens retreated into the interior and Visayan and Bukidnon settlers occupied the coast. Misamis was once part of the province of Cebu until it was made into a separate corregimiento in the late 18th  century. By 1818, Misamis was organized as a province covering the region from Dapitan in the west, up to Gingoog in the east and as far as Cotabato and Lanao del Sur in the south. Effective control, however, was limited to the coast. 

For most of the 17th  and 18th  centuries, Misamis remained vulnerable to the Moro slave raiders. Forts were constructed, the principal ones being in Misamis (Fort Santiago), Iligan and Cagayan. The population of Misamis gradually increased during the 19th  century due largely to the influx of settlers from Cebu and Bohol. In 1917, following the organization of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu, the province of Misamis lost the territory of Iligan to the province of Lanao. In 1929, the Philippine Legislature passed Act No. 3537 creating the provinces of Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental.

(Filipino: Kanlurang Misamis; Subanen: Sindepan Mis'samis; Cebuano: Kasadpang Misamis) is a province of the Philippines located in the Northern Mindanao region. Its capital is Oroquieta City. The province borders Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur to the west and is separated from Lanao del Norte by Panguil Bay to the south and from Misamis Oriental by Iligan Bay to the east. The province of Misamis was originally inhabited by Subanens whose an easy target by the sea pirates from Lanao. Misamis is taken from the early settlement of the Spaniards at the entrance to the Panguil Bay.