Thursday, May 29, 2008

Welcome to the city of possibilities!

Iligan City is bounded on the north by the municipalities of Lugait, Manticao, Opol, and Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental, to the south by the municipalities of Baloi, Linamon and Tagoloan of Lanao del Norte, to the east by the territories of Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon, and to the west by Iligan Bay. This is also the 2nd largest city in Northern Mindanao next to Malaybalay City.

Known as the City of Majestic Waterfalls, there are around 20 waterfalls in and around Iligan. Among them is the magnificent Maria Cristina Falls, home of Mindanao's primary hydroelectric power station, and Limunsudan Falls.

Iligan is also the Industrial Center of the South. It produces hydroelectric power for the Mindanao region through the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), the site of the Mindanao Regional Center (MRC) housing Agus IV, VI and VII hydroelectric plants. It also houses industries like steel, tinplate, cement and flourmills. The National Steel Corporation, one of the largest steel manufacturers in the Southeast Asian region, now Global Steelworks International Incorporated was re-opened in 2003 after heavy setbacks resulting to its closure in 1999. Iligan along with it's neighboring city, Cagayan de Oro City, are the two major components for the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor, the fastest developing area in Northern Mindanao.

To the west, Iligan Bay provides ferry and container ship transportation. East of the city, flat cultivated coastal land gives way to steep volcanic hills and mountains providing the waterfalls and cold springs for which the area is well known.


Pedro Manook, a protégé of Legaspi, with his men from the already Christianized Dapitan in Zamboanga, intended to seize the settlement. Manook and his men were remarkable fighters and in no time subdued the settlement. Those who refused subjugation, especially the Maranaos, took to the hills. This marked the establishment of the first Christian settlement in the fabled land of the Maranaos, with the “iligan” or “ilihan” as the springboard of the initials efforts to Christianize Lanao.

The year suggested was 1557 or 1609, reckoning from the year the Recollects, the first of the Missionaries that came, were assigned to Iligan. The Jesuits followed in 1939.

After the demise of Manook, his son-in-law Gonzalo Maglinte and grandson Pedro Cabilin, whose mother was supposed to be the legendary Maria Uray, carried on with his zeal and courage. Their tenacity withstood the onslaught of the Muslim natives to regain the lost settlement. Iligan in the ear became the staging points of the long and futile efforts of the Spanish Commander Francisco de Atienza and Fray A. Agustin de San Pedro of the “El Padre Capitan” to Christianize and colonize Lanao.

The futility of their efforts and the abandonment of Dansalan as a Spanish fort strengthened the position of Iligan as a Christian bastion which accounts for its pre-dominantly Christian population up to the present.

After the defeat of the Spaniards in the hands of the Americans, a certain Captain Smith came to Iligan in 1900 with a flotilla of war ships to assert American might and authority. The coming of the Americans ushered in the era of closer Christian–Muslim relationships under an atmosphere of tolerance and co-existence. It calmed resistance to duly constituted authorities as well as hostilities among Filipino brothers whom at the time were divided by different ideological and religious persuasions in the area. Westernization started to be felt.

The Japanese forces occupied Iligan on May 25, 1942 until October 4, 1944 when they finally moved out in the wake of the advancing liberation forces.

All through these years the “iligan” was not only the humble coastal trading settlement, the “ilihan” that was the safeplace from marauders, the springboard of the initial efforts to Christianize and colonize Lanao, the home of the Christian-Maranao and multi-ethnical prototype with its own breed of brave and outstanding sons and daughters, but the gateway to the fabled land of the Maranaos.