Iligan City’s History


The maturity of Iligan is slow and deliberate. It stood witness to the life that came along with time. As Explore Iligan  had said, “Iligan was an all-knowing and silent observer to many historic events.”

Iligan’s early History  (1565-1899)
By Ricardo Jorge S. Caluen

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. > READ MORE

Iligan’s early History (1565-1899)
By Assemblyman Camilo P. Cabili

The written reports which Catholic missionaries sent yearly to their superiors during the early days of the Spanish conquistadores spell out a fairly definite history of the origin of Iligan. As a Christian settlement, Iligan’s story really goes back more than four centuries ago, shortly before Legaspi’s expedition reached the Philippines in 1565. It began in the island-kingdom of Panglao, just off the southwest coast of Bohol. At that time, most of the island of Bohol was covered by virgin forest, but Panglao was already a renowned trading center. Father Francisco Combes, the Jesuit historian, states that such was the fame of Panglao that ambassadors of princes from foreign places were sent to the island. > READ MORE

Iligan’s Early History (1565-1899)
from the Symbols of the State(Republic of the Philippines)

Like the other coastal settlements, Iligan was also constantly attacked by the Muslims, a retaliatory action against the Spanish intruders. In 1639, on order of Gov. Gen. Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera, Captain Francisco de Atienza y Vañez, a tried warrior from Toledo, Spain, constructed six collapsible boats, each capable of carrying 50 to 100 men, to be assembled at Lake Lanao. As in charge of Iligan, and after receiving suggestions from Fr. Fray Agustin(known as Padre Capitan) on the military technique and strategy against the Muslim strongholds, he led as expedition to Malanao. After the fall of Marawi to the Spaniards, the Muslims continued to harass the enemy on the sea and on land. They even cut off the supply route from Iligan, causing Atienza to pull back and fortify Iligan from the increasing Muslim attacks. > READ MORE

Iligan During the American Period (1900-1941)
By Prof. Patrocenia T. Acut

Iligan was a very small town when the Americans arrived. The streets were so narrow that they could not accommodate two cars side by side. It had only few principal streets. These streets were Washington Street (now Gen Aguinaldo St.). Commercial Street(now Quezon Avenue), and Iglesia Street. The rest were just trails enough for the passage of people and animals. Colonization had greatly influenced the Iliganons in almost all aspects of life–religious, political and socio-economic. American colonization played an important role in the development and progress of Iligan. During the Spanish regime, the people became Hispanized and when the Americans came, the people were Americanized. > READ MORE

Japanese Occupation in Iligan City (1942-1945)
By Prof. Leonor Buhion Enderes

The Japanese became interested in Iligan because of the economic potentials of the area. Iligan has abundant natural resources. Added to this is the hydroelectric power potential of the area that could be harnessed from the Agus River at the site near the Maria Cristina Falls. This would make Iligan a good site for processing and manufacturing industries. It is significant to mention here that during the Japanese occupation, the Japanese showed interest to develop the Maria Cristina Falls site. In fact, they prepared an elaborate plan to build a hydroelectric plant in the area. Unfortunately, their plan never materialized owing to the progress of the Pacific War. It was because of the Maria Cristina hydroelectric power potentials that Iligan became the prime target of Japanese economic interest. > READ MORE

Iligan: A History of the Phenominal Growth of an Industrial City (1950-1980)
By Prof. Geoffrey G. Salgado

The history of Iligan as an industrial city is intertwined with the history of the National Power Corporation and the expansion of its operation in Mindanao. The narrative of the former is incomplete without mentioning the latter. In 1937, NPC began gathering hydrologic data of the main river systems in the country. The power corporation investigated and surveyed a total of six of these river systems together with other streams. The data gathered by NPC became the basis of identifying the sites with hydroelectric potentials. The Lake-Lanao Agus River system was among the river systems surveyed and investigated. Thus, as the succeeding events would show, the auspicious beginning of Iligan as an industrial city in Mindanao started to unfold. >READ MORE

Disclaimer: Details credited and linked to the Official Iligan City Website

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