Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Scenes Around Divisoria Plaza, Cagayan de Oro Part 2

As twilight approaches, the activities get more frenzied as more stuff are unloaded from jeepneys, motorelas, or muscled in by bronze-shouldered cargadores.


  1. The pictures of that square brings back memories of my trip to CDO last year. I spent a lot of time eating in the McD's overlooking that street. Nice place.

  2. I get to witness all this ruckus and chaos when I attend our HS reunion this December.

    That McD you were in, the building belongs to my cousin. Across the street from there was where an old house stood where we lived for a while as kids. I know this poblacion like the palm of my hand.

    Next time you visit, just drop my name. HeHeHe.

  3. Anonymous1:44 AM

    Cagayan de Oro History From Beginning to 1950

    The city of Cagayan de Oro, which boast of possessing the most beautiful name of all the cities of the country, has an equally beautiful story behind it; a colorful story which takes it start from a woman's smile, so the legend says.

    The first inhabitants of Cagayan, many, many years ago, lived in a village on the bank of Taguanao River, eight kilometers south from Cagayan. This was a part of the Bukidnon territory, and later on, they moved on the bank of Kalambagohan River, where Cagayan now stands, and called their settlement Kalambagohan because of the luxuriant growth of "lambago trees." For sometime, the natives lived in the prosperity until the end of the sixteenth century when the Maguindanaos, a rival tribe from Lanao raided and captured the place. The bukidnons after a fight were forced to retreat to the hills.

    The aborigines of Kalambagohan were Bukidnons. The horde of barbarous Moros from Maguindanao under Raja Moda Samporna (The Unopposed) demanded the surrender of the villagers who retreated to the hills. The Kalambagohan datu sent his beautiful daughter, guarded by his bravest warriors, to meet the Rajah and to make a conditional surrender: "None in the village should be carried across the countryside was more than confirmed now, and accepted the term of surrender. Her beauty alone was enough to captivate, but her charms wrought destruction to the Rajah, so the stronger leader of Maguindanao warriors began to waver. It was a long story but it ended with the Maguindanao datu thrusting his spear into the stairs of the datu's house which action in those days was symbolic of a man's proposal for marriage. The datu and daughter readily accepted the proposal and thus ended the whirlwind romance. The Maguindanao warrior who started from his camp to subjugate the recapture the rival camp became its prisoner of love. The news of the marriage was received with grief and resentment by the subjects of the captivated Rajah. Rajah Moda Samporna made his warriors build a strong cotta around the village. So, instead of the Moros conquering the Bukidnons, they were the ones captured. The Moro warriors felt so ashamed of the defeat that they never referred to the place as Kalambagohan anymore. Instead, they changed the name "Caayahan" (the Moro word for shame) or Cagayhaan (the Bukidnon word for shame). When the Spaniards came they mispronounced the name of the village, hence, they gradually changed it to Cagayan. Years later, rich gold deposits in sitio Munigi and Pigtaw and in the sand bed of the river were a common discovery so the name Cagayan de Oro came into existence.


    The Moros intermarried with the Bukidnons. Samporna and his descendants became the ruling families in Cagayhaan. When the Spaniards came, some of Samporna's descendants moved to Boroon, Lanao, and from there to Uatu, Tugaya, and Ganasi in the province of Lanao. Today on the shore of Lake Lanao live Sultan Samporna of Tugaya, Sultan Samporna of Uatu and Sultan Samporna of Ganasi. In Maguindanao, now Cotabato, where the Samporna ancestors originally came from, still live Eman Samporna of Banobo and Eman Samporna of Moling.


    The coming of the Spaniards gave a twist to the history of our place when the first missionary from Spain arrived in Cagayhaan in the year 1622 to preach the Christian religion to the natives or Moros. These missionaries belonged to the order of the Recollect. Rev. Pedro de Santa Barbara was one of the most zealous workers of the Cross, and at once baptized their pagan converts. The Samporna families who remarried in Cagayhaan became Christian and they were given the family name of "Neri." Hence, the present Neri families in Cagayan descended from the Moros.


    The first Christian church was made of wood and nipa, and was completed in August 1780; however, an unlucky event occurred and that was the destruction of the church by fire in 1841. The natives on August 28, 1780 selected Saint Augustine as the Patron Saint of Cagayan. These new Christian rejoiced to know the Saint Augustine was a wise and great bishop, that he converted many Mohammedan and pagans to the Christian faith and also that he was exterminator of locusts.


    Between 1780 and 1840 the population increases because of the immigrants from Luzon and Visayas Islands. The following families immigrated to Cagayan during this period. The Tagalogs are the San Jose family, the de la Rosa; The Ramiro and Baz; the Gaerlans are from the Ilocos, Riveras of Iloilo and from Cebu, the Velez and Roa families. The Bandialan family also descended from the Moros while the Batbato family is from the Bukidnon.


    The second church was made of stones wood and tiles, and was built in 1870 on the site where the first one was. The construction of this church was under the supervision and leaderships of Don Victoriano Racines, the gobernadorcillo at that time with the help of three influential and rich person namely, Don Lino Neri, Don Calixto Rivera and Don Anselmo Ramos. This church was completed in 1887 with the convento. The church and convento were so strongly built that they have withstood the ravages of the years for almost a century from its completion up to the present.

    Old Church and Convento of San Agustin, Built out of adobe and coral stones. Note that the old belfry (campanario) was on the left side.


    Father Fray Ramon Zuenco arrived in Cagayan in 1861. He changed the roof of the church and convento from tiles to galvanized iron, and connected the convento with the church. In 1886 he bought the big organ now found in St. Augustine Cathedral and the four paintings of the Four Evangelists which now can still be seen on the alcoba of the Cathedral. Father Ramon Zuenco died November 10, 1889. The old people of Cagayan who know him still remember him with veneration and affection. His remains are kept in a beautiful tomb of marble near the main altar of the Cathedral.


    The first Chinese store in Cagayan was opened in 1860. The first opening of this kind of store affected the economic life of the people, for soon business began to grow with more and more Chinese who found business in Cagayan profitable and a very stable means of livelihood especially since in those days, there wasn't much restriction of alien privileges in our country.

    The house of china man Sia Ygua along the corner of Calle del Mar (Velez Street) and Calle Victoria (Hayes Street) was built in 1882. The bricks used in the construction served as ballast for the chinese junk that trasported from China. The parade for the first Independence Day of Cagayan de Misamis on January 10, 1899 assembled outside this house.


    In 1864, Captain Gregorio Racines built the Roman Catholic Cemetery. In 1886, the first big fire occurred in Cagayan reducing most of the old beautiful buildings to ashes. Rev. Angel Velasa arrived in Cagayan in 1895 and changed the wooden floor of the church to tiles and painted the interior with religious images and beautified it at the same time.


    In 1898, the first native provincial officials were elected. The officials elected were the following: Hon. Jose Roa y Casas as provincial president, Hon. Manuel Corrales as Police adviser for peace; Pio Roa y Alcala as Judge of First Instance and Register of Deeds and Ramon Neri y Abejuela as the Internal Revenue Officer. In this same year, military force was divided into four divisions, namely Infantry-first company of Sharp Shooters headed by Captain Tirso Neri, militia under Captain Apolinar Velez; Police under Captain Cipriano Vamenta and artillery headed by Captain Leon Chaves, with Lieutenant Juan San Juenco, the lone Spaniard in military service in this place. The inaguration of the Philippine Republic was celebrated with great rejoicing in Cagayan. A float was prepared symbolical of Philippine, victory and defense and participated by all the joyous residents.


    The first revolutionary meeting to defend Cagayan against the American invaders was held in the Revolutionary Club at Corner Rizal - Carmen streets in 1899. Here the revolutionists took oath to defend the motherland.

    At 6:00 A.M. of March 7, 1900 Battleship Arayat bombarded Cagayan which was then only a town; and three Americans landed near the mouth of Cagayan River near Bayabas on March 17, 1900. They were suspected as spies, and were arrested and retained for a week after which time they were taken by the government steamer Minerva in the open sea with the instruction to turn them over to an ship that they would meet on the way. Minerva met Battleship Petrel, and after turning over the prisoners of war, she proceeded to Salay. Just after she anchored she was by Battleship Petrel and was badly damaged. The local government became indignant against this action of Americans.


    The U.S. forces under the command of General Bates, Col. Godwin of Company 40, U.S. Volunteers and Major Jas F. Case, commander of the companies stationed in Cagayan, took possession of Cagayan on March 30, 1900. On the same day, Atty. Nicolas Capistrano assumed command not only of the revolutionary forces but also became Chief Executive of the province. He proceeded immediately to Gango, a sitio on the plateau about nine kilometers from Cagayan and reorganized the revolutionary forces.

    Gen. Capistrano reorganized the revolutionary forces under a new plan. Gen. Nicolas Capistrano - Commander in chief; Major Justo Gaerlan Assistant Commander in chief, Major Pablo Mercado - Hand Weapon Company Commander and Mr. Santiago del Castillo as the Secretary to Gen. Capistrano. The following remained in town but rendered help to the revolutionist in money and service: Hon. Manuel Corrales and Hilario Maandar whose lives were in danger every hour.


    The battle of Cagayan under the command of General Capistrano began at 4:00 A.M. Palm Sunday of April 7.1900 and lasted til 6:00 A.M. of the same morning Ninety patriots fell in the battle of Cagayan, fifteen of whom were Bukidnons, Apolinar Pabayo showed exceptional bravery in the battle and the only one who died in the barrack of the American soldiers. He died in the house now occupied by the Montalbans, corner Burgos - Filipinas streets and as a token of gratitude a street was named after him, the Pabayo street.

    Another attempt to enter the barracks by means of a death ladder was made several times by Clemente Chacon who was stopped in his attempt into the barracks when he fell down and his skull was fractured by a bullet. He was held a prisoner and was only released by an exchange of an American prisoner in the Revolutionary Camp Makahambus. Chacon true to his oath, never to surrender to Americans, remained in the mountains after Gen. Capistrano surrendered. In 1906, an American captain of constabulary in Cagayan went to look for him. He found him but he would not surrender. He fought again and almost killed the officer by the big wounds he inflicted on the latter's arm and face. A detachment of constabulary soldiers under the command of Sergeant Apolinary Talatala a former revolutionist went to arrest him and made him surrender at the points of bayonets but he would not. He then attacked them in their efforts to arrest him and he was brought to Cagayan dead. Clemente Chacon is another Ricarte in the history of the Philippines Revolution.


    One of the hallowed and sacred ground of the city is a little hill of barrio Agusan. It was on this hill where handful of men displayed a type of soldiery and patriotism which will remain an epic in the history of our struggle for freedom. On May 14, 1900, Capt. Vicente Roa laid in wait for the Americans who were expected to be at the hill. Anticipating an attack, the patriots laid out a plan of defense The Americans in two companies arrived and at once volleys were opened to them, but the Americans fought steadily until a hand to hand fighting ensued. While the Americans advanced they paid dearly for every inch of ground gained. Encircled and overpowered, Capt. Vincente Roa was told to surrender but he refused. He fought with his revolver while he still had ammunition and then with his sword when he ran out of ammunition till his death. He could have surrendered and lived but he chose death at the point of the enemy's bayonet. With him after the smoke of battle had cleared away lay 34 of his brave soldiers. Most of them were the prime of their youth and came mostly from prominet families, of the Cagayan de Oro. It was expected that the Americans would suffered a heavier loss in that battle which began at 1:00 P.M. of Sunday and ended at 4:00 of the same day. Dionisio Abas, the bugler and a few others who were left in the battlefield wounded, were the only ones left in that company of the patriots.


    The battle of Makahambus took place in the morning of June 4, 1900 where the Americans were completely annihilated. Only one died in the Filipino forces. It was in the battle of Makahambus that the revolutionary forces had a complete victory, which was under the command of Major Apolinary Velez. Major Velez however was captured by Capt. Sydey A. Cloman on January 4, 1901 in the barrio, now, municipality, of Opol, Misamis Oriental. Capt. Cloman later on become the military Governor of Jolo.

    General Capistrano surrendered to the American forces under the command of Major F. Case in Sumilao, Bukidnon in the first week of April 1901.


    About June, 1901 was the first English school opened for Filipino children under the American teacher in the convento of the Catholic church. In that same year was also the opening of Divisoria, at present the busiest commercial street, with Mr. Tirso Neri as the first Municipal President, in 1901-1903. In 1907 the first deputies of the Philippine Assembly of Misamis Oriental were Hon. Manuel Corrales and Hon. Carlos Corrales and both served for one term with Hon. Nicolas Capistrano as first senator of the Philippine Senate.


    In 1901 the first automobile arrived in Cagayan when Iloilo and Cebu had none, and this car was owned by Mr. Tirso Neri, the richest man in this province at that time. The first intermediate graduating class in Cagayan was on October 31, 1906.

    A show of cars in Cagayan de Misamis July 29, 1919


    As early as 1901 periodicals were already published in this place, the earliest "Ang Higala sa Lungsod" which was published weekly and edited by Mr. Pedro Velez. Soon plenty of weekly periodicals followed as "Ang Katarungan" (1903-1912) both in English and Visaya, founded and edited by Ramon B. Neri, "Ang Pilipinhon" in 1913-1915, "Public Opinion" 1922-1923, founded and edited by Atty. Isidro Vamenta, "Ang Dalan" 1924-1926 edited by Mrs. Julia Sotto de Yapsutko of the Protestant Evangelical church, "Ang Matuod" 1928 founded by Ex Gov. Gregorio Pelaez to help in his campaign for re-election, and other periodicals up to the present. His Excellency Archbishop James T. G. Hayes Cagayan de Oro "Ang Commonweal" on June 1, 1936.


    In 1939, Cagayan, the capital of Oriental Misamis, on the north central part of Mindanao has finest harbor in the Philippines at that time. Cagayan is a fast growing town, the gateways of the highways in Mindanao with a population at that time of 50,000. At that time, too, Cagayan was very proud of the Protestant Mission Hospital, the cleanest and best equipped hospital in northern Mindanao under the supervision of Dr. Floyd Smith, the first physician in this hospital.


    On December 8, 1941, when World War II affected the Philippine Islands, the town of Cagayan continued to have peace and order. It was not until May 2, 1942 when Cagayan suffered its first attack. On the day following, the town was under the complete control of the enemy. The town proper along with the barrios of Macabalan, Puntod, Lapasan, Gusa, Bonbon, Bayabas and Carmen were fully occupied by the Japanese. The population in these parts totalled about 8,000. The region was divided into 13 district and was in turn subdivided into neighborhood compounds of no more than 15 families or houses each. The people in these occupied areas were supplied with their necessities by Japanese, but they were forced to plant root crops to supplement their scant ration.


    Colonel Yushi of the Japanese army organized what he called the Reconstruction Committee, composed 17 men, of whom were Graciano Neri, Ireneo Tamparong, Mr. Angeles, Mr. Baaclo, Faustino Neri, Atty. Hernan Pineda. These were resposible for the election of the Municipal Officials when the government of Cagayan was established on July 8, 1942. Important officials who were elected then were Governor Artadi, Mayor Mabulay who resigned on July 4, 1942, and was succeeded by his Vice-Mayor Vicente Mendoza, Councilors Gabor, Luminarias (now Judge of Talakag), Leocadio Baaclo, Municipal Treasurer Max Suniel, Provincial Auditor Flores, Judge of First Instance Bayona and General Aguirre as Provincial Commander.


    There was no real evacuation before the arrival of the Japanese on May 3, 1942 because peace and order were still maintained. Even after the Japanese occupied the town, plenty of people remained in the town proper for Captain Tani, the Japanese officer-in-charge, was a pro-Filipino official and was quite liberal in his administration. Later on, however, his successor was such a butcher-type that Filipinos within the occupied areas evacuated to Pagatpat, Indahag and the neighboring towns and mountains. Despite all these troublous conditions, the schools continued to remain open even in the most remote places, at modified school houses, under the management of principal Vicente Acosta.


    There was no real encounter of the Japanese and the so-called guerilla. They maintained some sort of a hide and seek fight, unlike the revolution at the end of the 19th century when there was real fighting. Sometime in January, 1943, the POW in Casisang, Malaybalay, were brought down. They were quartered in the Cagayan Center School and in the high school buildings for some time. The Japs used the Ateneo building (now Xavier University) for their headquarters and the Archbishop's palace served as the headquarters for the Japanese civil officials. One building, now destroyed, served as official residence of the provincial governor and the dreaded Kempetai. On the other hand, the guerrillas had their headquarters in Talakag, which included areas west of Iponan River, Lumbia, Indahag; while company battalions had their headquarters in San Simon, Igpit and Opol. By May 9, 1944, the Americans attack by air the Cagayan installation of the Japanese in order to recapture the town from their hands. The Americans stayd for sometime in the town and help restore peace and order within and gave people relief soon after they had overpowered the enemy. Very few of them remained and intermarried with Filipino. The majority of them went back to the States.


    From the ruin and ashes of the war arose the most progressive town in Misamis Oriental. As the capital of the province, people began to flock to Cagayan. when it bacame so progressive, the leaders of the province and of the town thought of creating Cagayan de Oro into a city. The first move towards the creation of Cagayan into a city came in the form of a joint resolution of the provincial board and the municipal council on October 30, 1946. On September 25, 1947, the municipal council of the town of Cagayan created a committee of three to study the possibility for creating Cagayan into a chartered city.


    In 1947, Congressman Pedro S. Baculio introduced a bill proposing to create the city of Cagayan. However, the regular session of Congress adjourned before the measure of Congressman Baculio was acted upon. By 1949, public hearings regarding the creation of Cagayan into a city were held and the elected municipal officials and prominent men spoke for the against it. Mayor Max Y. Suniel headed the delegation on April 2, 1949 to Manila for the purpose of urging our legislators to pass the measure creating Cagayan de Oro into a City. He was successful to obtain a bill sponsoring the creation of Cagayan into a city. But unfortunately again the term of Congress expired before the bill was acted on.


    On December 17, 1949 after the election of Congressman Emmanuel Pelaez, he was called to a conference for the same purpose. So immediately at the beginning of the first session of the second congress, Pelaez introduced the bill creating the city of Cagayan de Oro. The legislation number of the bill was H-No. 54. After the first reading, the bill went into the committee on chartered cities. The Bill was entitled "An Act Creating the City of Cagayan de Oro." By April 12, 1940, the Pelaez bill was approved by the lower house, then sent to the Senate.

    President Elpido Quirino signed and confirmed the Bill at about 11:30 A.M., on June 15, 1950. It was known as a Rupublic Act No. 571. Prominent men and the first Mayor of the new city Max Suniel were present at the signing of the bill.

    The city of Cagayan de Oro has populated of 54,321 and an area of 300 square kilometers. It ranks third among all cities of Mindanao and posseses the factors that determine the different phases of life. Cagayan de Oro is strategically located in the center of trade in northern Mindanao. With the industrial and agricultural expension focused on Mindanao and a special emphasis on northern Mindanao, the rate of this city as the gateway towards economic sufficiency isreadily seen. It is the largest city in the northern coast of Mindanao and acts as a bed of trade extending as far as Surigao to the east of Misamis Occidental to the west and tothe northern tip of Carmen River in Cotabato to the south. The central location of the city easily makes it the terminus of the major land transportation companies of Mindanao.

    With the complete rehabilitation of transportaion facilities the city is made the gateway to commerce in northern Mindanao. The on third million pesos wharf in Macajalar Bay makes the pier of Cagayan de Oro one of the best harbors of the Mindanao where foreign and interisland vessels call. The five major industries and crops of the province of Misamis Oriental have been put to their pre-war level of production and thereby increasing their volume of trade. And Cagayan de Oro is the only outlet of such rich products as agriculture, industry and mining produce. The production of export money crops in this region has mde the city a good market or at least as an outlet for export and this last had aided Cagayan de Oro much towards its progress. It certainly may be counted as one of the most progressive towns or cities in Mindanao.

  4. The guerrillas transferred there HQ in Talakag, Bukidnon to Lourdes, Alubijid. They had to transfer there because the Japanese have discovered there HQ. The families of Velez and Riveras can attest to this.


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