Cagayan de Oro Misamis Oriental

Cagayan de Oro’s Heritage Sites

By on April 7, 2011

There’s so much to Cagayan de Oro than just being a premier white water rafting destination in the Philippines. Aside from the five bridges that I featured, the city where I spent most of my adult life has also a rich and interesting history. Proof of this are the five sites that are recognized by the National Historical Institute of the Philippines. You would actually know that a site is one because of a metal plate that is visible on its facade or on a concrete marker nearby. These were recognized not just for its touristy value but for their respective significance to the city’s history and the country as a whole.

historical sites - 1
The Macahambus Cave is usually the stopover for most white water rafting outfitters before they head out to their respective jump-offs. It has two small chambers one, of which would lead to a gorge with a scenic view of the Cagayan de Oro River. More than a century ago, this was the site of the Battle of Makahambus Hill. On June 4, 1900, Col. Apolinar Velez successfully defended this stronghold from the Americans not only by brute force but also with clever military tactics. This was then the first recorded victory of the Filipinos against the Americans during the Philippine-American war.

historical sites - 4

Gaston Park: Battle of Cagayan de Misamis

However, not all Filipino-led battles were as successful. The marker at Gaston Park, a popular circular park in downtown Cagayan de Oro, reminds us of the Battle of Cagayan de Misamiswhich took place on April 7, 1900. At that time, General Nicolas Capistrano and his men were clearly no match to the superior weaponry of the Americans. But they continued to fight, despite imminent death, all for love of their motherland.

historical sites - 5

Agusan Hill: Battle of Agusan Hill

The Batte of Agusan Hill is another such attempt. On May 14, 1900, Capt. Vicente Roa and his men were supposed to lure the Americans up to the Agusan hill. Their other members would then come out of hiding and attack the enemy from behind. What could have been a perfect plan was marred by a last minute change in strategy. They did not foresee as well the battleship at Macajalar Bay escorting the American troops at that time. As the battle progressed, the ship then bombarded Agusan Hill.

Today, one could have wonderful view of the sunset at Macajalar Bay at the top of Agusan Hill. If not for a humble NHI marker, the present-day location provides little reminder to the bloody battle that took place there more than a hundred years ago.

historical sites - 2

The MacArthur Memorial Marker at the Macabalan Wharf

General Douglas MacArthur actually set foot on Macabalan Wharf in Cagayan de Oro on March 13, 1942. He was then on board an ELCO 77′ PT boat from Corregidor. His party and family then went to the Del Monte airstrip and flew to Australia four days later. This is the reason why the General’s ‘scrambled egg’ cap in the middle of the MacArthur Memorial Marker is pointing towards that airstrip in Bukidnon.

historical sites - 3

Casa Del Chino Ygua

The oldest house in Cagayan de Oro is the Casa Del Chino Ygua. The old house was said to be constructed in 1882, renovated in 1946 and re-renovated in 1994. Today, it houses various commercial establishments.

I felt strangely satisfied after learning about my city’s history because of this. I realized too that most of the street names in Divisoria (downtown Cagayan de Oro) are actually surnames of our local heroes. It is rather unfortunate then that their stories were left out in our highschool history classes. We would have heard and learned from their stories and even look for those who are waiting to be told.

And in my weird compulsion to do just that one afternoon last March, I lost my USB drive while looking for the Agusan Hill marker. It was raining at that time and it probably slipped from my pockets while I was working my way down and up that hill. But if someone would know something new about Cagayan de Oro City from this entry, then every lost byte of that thumb drive would not be in vain.

There are interesting details in the Battle of Cagayan de Misamis, Battle of Makahambus Hill and Battle of Agusan Hill that were not mentioned in this entry. The complete account can be found at the memorial of the three battles at Pueblo de Oro (near SM City Cagayan de Oro).

The author would like to thank one of the curators of the Museo de Oro in Xavier University for answering his questions about the city, Ms. Agnes Paulita Roa of the Cagayan de Oro Historical and Cultural Commission Office for pointing out the existence of the Agusan Hill marker and the Barangay Officials in Agusan for providing the directions how to get there.

  1. Reply


    April 28, 2011

    Nice post. I am really proud of my place. I was born in Cagayan de Oro and I am so proud to be a Kagay anon. The place has many things to offer and to share in the world. You can see them in this site

  2. Reply


    April 28, 2011

    Hi there! Thanks for sharing this information. I am thinking of having an educational tour here in Cagayan de Oro to my students so that they may know something in the history of Cagayan de Oro. Thanks much!

  3. Reply


    May 4, 2011

    Hi Joyax and Riz, welcome to Baktin Corporation! 🙂

  4. Reply


    May 9, 2011

    Thanks baktin though I really wonder why is your corporation called baktin? Is or business related to pigs or it's an acronym? Sorry for the stupid question. I am just curious. Hehe.

    Cagayan de Oro

  5. Reply

    Kriza @ cagayan de Oro Philippines

    June 1, 2011

    Thanks for sharing about this one, I didn't know this actually. Now I've got enough information to tell my friends when we are going to visit this cave.


Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

    Best of Cebu Blog Awards Best of Cebu Blog Awards
      Best Food Blog
      Best Creative Writing in a Blog
      Finalist, Best Travel Blog

      Finalist, Best Food Blog
      Finalist, Best Travel Blog

      Grand Winner, Visit Davao Tuloy ang Byahe Experience Blogging Competition.
      Winner, 2013 TLC Asia’s The Layover contest
    Book your next travels here:
    %d bloggers like this: