Friday, March 13, 2009


The name Camiguin is derived from the native word "Kamagong," a tree of the Ebony family that thrives near Lake Mainit in the Province of Surigao del Norte. The original inhabitants of Camiguin were "Manobos" who migrated from Surigao. Thge old native language in Camiguin is called "Kinamiguin," which is similar to the dialect spoken in Surigao. Camiguin was part of the province of Misamis Oriental from 1946 to 1958. It became a sub-province in 1958 and finally in 1968, a full-pledged province with Mambajao as its provincial capital. Spanish Period
Old Spanish documents indicate that the renowned explorers, Ferdinand Magellan and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in Camiguin in 1521 and 1565, respectively. The first Spanish settlement in what was later to be known as Guinsiliban was established in 1598. Guinsiliban comes from the old Kinamiguin word "guinsilipan" which means "to look out for pirates from a watchtower." An old Spanish watchtower where the Camiguinians kept watch for Moro pirates still stands in Guinsiliban.
The first major Spanish settlement established in 1679 was called Katagman or Katadman (now known as Catarman). This settlement grew and prospered to what is now Barangay Bonbon. On May 1, 1871, Mt. Vulcan Daan erupted and destroyed the town. A portion of the town sank beneath the sea. After the eruption, the settlement moved to where the Catarman town center is presently located. Today, all the remains of old Catarman are the ruins of the ancient Spanish church, a convent and a bell tower.
Sagay, located south of Catarman, was formally established as a town in 1848. The word Sagay is derived from the name of a poisonous fruit tree that grew in the area. Mambajao, the capital of Camiguin province, became a town in 1855. The name was coined from the Visayan terms "mamahaw," meaning to usher breakfast, and "bajao," which is leftover boiled rice. In the early 1900s, Mambajao prospered to become the busiest port in Northern Mindanao. Mahinog was established as a municipality in 1860. The name Mahinog comes from a Cebuano word meaning "to ripen" or "to become ripe." Although Guinsiliban was the oldest settlement in the island, it was only in 1950 when it became a municipality. Both Mahinog and Guinsiliban were formally governed from Sagay. American Period
In 1901, in the middle of the Spanish-American War (1898-1904), American soldiers landed in Camiguin to assume political control over the island. A group of Camiguinians, armed with bolos and spears, led by Valero Camaro fought for the island's independence from foreign invasion during a short battle in Catarman. Camaro was killed by a bullet on the forehead. He became one of the unsung Camiguin patriots of the early independence movement. In 1903, the first public school in Camiguin was built in Mambajao and in 1904, the first public water system was installed. On June 18, 1942, the Japanese Imperial Army landed in Camiguin and set up a government in Mambajao. The Japanese Army gutted down central Mambajao in reprisal to guerrilla activities there. The remains of some of these buildings still exist today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

About the Island

The island-province of Camiguin is a pear-shaped volcanic island in the northern tip of Mindanao. It is approximately 90 kilometers north of the City of Cagayan de Oro. It is bounded to the north by Bohol Sea, to the west by Macajalar Bay, to the southeast by Gingoog Bay and to the east by Butuan Bay.

Camiguin is the smallest province in Northern Mindanao, with its land area pegged at 29,187 hectares. It is composed of five towns, namely, Mambajao – the capital town, Mahinog, Guinsiliban, Sagay and Catarman. The island plays host to seven volcanoes, including the still-active Mount Hibok-Hibok. According to the National Statistics Office, Camiguin has a total population of 74,232 persons, making the province the second smallest in the Philippines in terms of population.

Among the Province's major products are coconut, cassava, banana, camote, palay, corn, fruits, coffee and vegetables. Camiguin's volcanic soil has proved to be a fertile ground for planting various crops. At present, the Provincial government is looking into an agricultural program that would increase the cultivation of fruit trees and vegetables in Camiguin. The Province is also among the best abaca fiber producers in the country. Camiguin is proud of its natural resources, which include sulfur deposits, geothermal energy, agricultural lands and fishing grounds.

The Camiguin culture is a mixture of both Boholano and Cebuano culture. It is very colorful and creative. The people are deeply religious, hospitable and friendly. Cebuano is the major dialect in the Province. However, in the towns of Sagay and Guinsiliban, where most of the indigenous tribes reside, the Kinamiguin dialect is still spoken. Kinamiguin is derived from the Manobo dialect with some mixture of Boholano.

Source: Lone Congressional District of Camiguin, 2004