The Official Website of the City Government of Pagadian

Sunday, June 16,2024 ,11:22: AM


Early settlers

The native inhabitants in the area were the Lumads, specifically Subanens. Then came Iranun and Maguindanaon settlers who converted the people to Islam. A sizeable number of lumads who refused to be converted eventually settled in the highlands.

Spread of Islam

Pagadian was under the leadership of Datu Akob, an Iranun datu whose daughter caught the fancy of Datu Macaumbang (Sultan of Taga Nonok), also an Iranun from Malabang, Tukuran, also part of modern Pagadian. He was the son of Shariff Apo Tubo who descended from the bloodline of Shariff Kabungsuan, the first Sultan of the Maguindanao Sultanate. With the approval of Sultan Datu Akob, Datu Macaumbang married Bai Putri Panyawan Akob, the beautiful daughter of the royal datu of Pagadian City and royal bai putri of Raya.[11]

Upon the death of Datu Akob also known as Datu Mimbalawag, his son-in-law, Datu Macaumbang (Sultan of taga Nonok) assumed leadership; 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 rampant banditry and piracy in the area. 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 other places.[11]

Spread of Christianity

Christian settlers started arriving in the early part of the 20th century, most of which came from Cebu as evident on the veneration of the Santo Niño de Cebú. The increasing Christian population prompted the creation of the Parish of Pagadian in 1938 and was administered by the Jesuits, Columban and Filipino priests. The original Santo Niño Church of Pagadian was right across the city plaza, on the site of the current San Jose Parish church. The present Santo Niño Cathedral is now located in San Francisco District and was built in 1968.[12]

Pagadian Parish became a diocese on November 2, 1971, and is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Ozamiz. Msgr. Jesus B. Tuquib served as the first bishop and was installed on February 24, 1973.[12] At that time, the Columban Fathers took care of the apostolic services for the first 13 parishes in the newly formed diocese.

As of 2008, the Diocese of Pagadian had 24 parishes.[13]

During World War II

Pagadian was occupied by Japanese troops during World War II. From November 5 to 20, 1944, the combined American and Filipino troops including recognized guerrillas were attempted to take the town from the Japanese. Sixteen Japanese soldiers were killed, but they remained in possession of Pagadian.[14] The establishment of the general headquarters of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and the Philippine Constabulary were stationed in Pagadian and active from November 21, 1944, to June 30, 1946, during and in the aftermath of World War II, including the military operations and engagements against the Japanese and liberated areas in Mindanao from November 21, 1944, to August 15, 1945.

During the Marcos dictatorship

The 1970s brought a period of numerous concurrent conflicts on the island of Mindanao, including Dumingag and Zamboanga del Sur.[15][16][17][18] This included land dispute conflicts arising from the influx of settlers from Luzon and Visayas,[19][20] and from the Marcos administration’s encouragement of militia groups such as the Ilaga.[16][17] News of the 1968 Jabidah massacre ignited a furor in the Moro community, and ethnic tensions encouraged with the formation of secessionist movements.[21][17] Additionally, an economic crisis in late 1969, violent crackdowns on student protests in 1970, and 1971, and eventually the declaration of Martial Law all led to the radicalization of many students.[18] Many of them left schools in Manila and joined New People’s Army units in their home provinces, bringing the Marxist-Leninist Maoist armed conflict to Mindanao for the first time.[15]

One of the prominent victims of the period was Mateo Olivar, a church worker who served in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pagadian’s Community-Based Health Program and Family Life Apostolate. The nature of Olivar’s work, which involved travelling to the hinterlands of the province, led him to be falsely suspected as a “revolutionary organizer.” Despite public statements by the Diocese of Pagadian to clarify that Olivar was “organizing for liberation, not revolution,” Olivar was assassinated by three unidentified assailants on November 7, 1985, near a Military checkpoint in Dimasangca, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. Olivar was deeply mourned by the religious community in Pagadian, and on the day Olivar was buried, the bishop of Pagadian honored Olivar and ordered that Olivar’s funeral mass would be the only mass said for the day. Olivar would later be honored by having his name inscribed on the wall of remembrance at the Philippines’ Bantayog ng mga Bayani, which honors the heroes and martyrs who fought against Ferdinand Marcos and his martial law regime.[22]


In October 1990 President Corazon Aquino issued the Executive Order 429 that designated Pagadian City as the Regional Center for Region – IX (Zamboanga Peninsula).[23] Four years later in November 2004, Pagadian was officially designated as the Regional Center for the Zamboanga Peninsula.



Date/YearSignificant Events
pre-1920sThe present-day Pagadian had its beginnings as a sitio of Margosatubig.
July 1927It became a barrio under the Municipal District of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur upon the implementation of Executive Order no.70.[24]
1934The transfer the seat of the Labangan Government to Pagadian was made through the efforts of Director Teofisto Guingona, Sr. who was commissioned by Philippine Governor-General Leonard Wood to find out the possibility of transferring the seat of government of the Labangan municipality to another place. A conference was first held, together with the Datus and the early Christian settlers as the idea of the transfer was at first largely opposed by the Christians. Eventually, a consensus was reached when the designated committee led by Datu Balimbingan of Labangan and with the consent of Datu Macaumbang surveyed the western part of the present area and found Talpokan, a part of the barrio of Pagadian, deemed as a suitable place for such transfer. At the same time, Datu Macaumbang donated 260 hectares of land to Christians who were willing to transfer to the area.[25]
March 23, 1937Pagadian became a municipality through Executive Order 77 due to the eager initiative of then Assemblyman Juan S. Alano, with the Jose Sanson appointed as acting mayor. The Norberto Bana Sr. was elected as the first officially elected municipal mayor after the regular elections. The Municipality of Pagadian was formed by merging the municipal districts of Labangan and Dinas,[26] as a result, making Labangan a district under its former barrio. The newly created town had 19 barangays or districts.[27] (In 1950 the barrios of Dinas, Legarda, Mirapao, Migpulao, Kalipapa, Pisaan, Bubway, Tiniguangan, Tabina and Dimataling which were under the Municipality of Pagadian, were incorporated into the newly created town of Dimataling.[28] In the same manner, the barrios of Dumalinao Proper, Begong, Nilo, Tigbao, Ticwas, Balongating, Baguitan, Pantad, Napolan, Tagulo, Camanga, Maragang, Sibucao, Tina, Guling, Miculong, Baga, Rebucon, and Mambilik were constituted into Dumalinao in 1956.)[29]
World War IIPagadian was occupied by Japanese troops during World War II. It was liberated from the Japanese occupation in 1944,[14] eventually becoming the site of the general headquarters of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and the Philippine Constabulary from November 21, 1944, to June 30, 1946.
June 6, 1952Congressman Roseller T. Lim authored R.A. 711 dividing Zamboanga into two provinces – Norte (north) and Sur (south).
September 17, 1952Pagadian became the capital town of the newly established province of Zamboanga del Sur.
June 21, 1969It became a chartered city through R.A. 5478, becoming the third city in the Zamboanga Peninsula (Administrative Region).
August 16, 1976The city was one of the hardest hit areas in the Moro Gulf earthquake and tsunami of 1976, considered as the most devastating tsunami disaster in the Philippines in recent times.[30] Pagadian was the major city in the area that was struck by both the earthquake and tsunami and sustained the greatest number of casualties.[30][31]
October 1990President Corazon Aquino issued the Executive Order 429 that designated Pagadian City as the Regional Center for Region – IX (Zamboanga Peninsula).[23]
November 12, 2004Pagadian officially became the Regional Center for Region IX- Zamboanga Peninsula
January 22–25, 2017Pagadian hosted the 2017 National Schools Press Conference.
November 8, 2021President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1247 that converts Pagadian City into a highly urbanized city and shall take effect upon ratification in a plebiscite.