Ilagan City




Ilagan City

Iligan, officially the City of Iligan, is a 1st class highly urbanized city in Northern Mindanao, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 342,618 people.

It is geographically within the province of Lanao del Norte but administered independently from the province. It was once part of Central Mindanao (Region 12) until the province was moved under Northern Mindanao (Region 10) in 2001 Iligan is approximately 90 km away from the capital of the province, Tubod, and approximately 800 km from the capital of the Philippines, Manila.

Iligan has a total land area of 813.37 square kilometres (314.04 sq mi), making it one of the 10 largest cities in the Philippines in terms of land area. Among the 17 highly urbanized city, excluding Metro Manila, Iligan is the third least dense, with a population density of 421 inhabitants per square kilometer, just behind Butuan and Puerto Princesa.


The name Iligan is from the Higaunon (Lumad/Native of Iligan) word "Ilig" which means "to go downstream". However, some also claim that the name of Iligan was taken and inspired by the Higaunon term "iligan" or "ilijan," which means "fortress of defense," an appropriate term due to the frequent attacks incurred by pirates as well as other Mindanaon tribes.


Pre-Spanish colonial area

Iligan had its beginnings in the village of Bayug, four (4) kilometers north of the present Poblacion. It was the earliest pre-Spanish settlement of native sea dwellers. In the later part of the 16th century, the inhabitants were subdued by the Visayan migrants from the island-nation called the Kedatuan of Dapitan, on Panglao island.

In the accounts of Jesuit historian Francisco Combes, the Mollucan Sultan of Ternate invaded Panglao. This caused the Dapitans to flee in large numbers to a re-established Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte.

Spanish colonial era

In Dapitan, the surviving Datu of Panglao Pagbuaya, received Legazpi's expedition in 1595. Later, Pagbuaya's son Manook was baptized Pedro Manuel Manook. Sometime afterwards in by the end of the 16th century after 1595 Manook subdued the higaunon (animist) village of Bayug and turned it into one of the earliest Christian settlements in the country. Although the settlement survived other raids from other enemies, especially Muslims of Lanao, the early settlers and converts moved their settlement from Bayug to Iligan, which the Augustinian Recollects founded in 1609, thus founding the oldest town in northern Mindanao.

The Jesuits replaced the Recollects in 1639. Iligan was the Spaniards' base of operations in attempting to conquer and Christianize the Lake Lanao area throughout its history. A stone fort called Fort St. Francis Xavier was built in 1642 where Iliganons sought refuge during raids by bandits. But the fort sank due to floods. Another fort was built and this was named Fort Victoria or Cota de Iligan.

In 1850, because of floods, Don Remigio Cabili, then Iligan's governadorcillo, built another fort and moved the poblacion of the old Iligan located at the mouth of Tubod River west of the old market to its present site.

Being the oldest town in Northern Mindanao, Iligan was already a part of the once undivided Misamis Province by year 1832. However, it did not have an independent religious administration because its diocese by then was based at Misamis, the provincial capital. It was one of the biggest municipalities of Misamis Province.

The Spaniards abandoned Iligan in 1899, paving the way for the landing of the American forces in 1900.

American era

In 1903, the Moro Province was created. Iligan, because of its Moro residents, was taken away from the Misamis Province. Then Iligan became the capital of the Lanao District and seat of the government where the American officials lived and held office. Later in 1907 the capital of the Lanao District was transferred to Dansalan.

In 1914, under the restructuring of Moroland after the end of the Moro Province (1903–1913), Iligan became a municipality composed of eight barrios together with the municipal district of Mandulog. After enjoying peace and prosperity for about 40 years, Iligan was invaded by Japanese forces in 1942.

The liberation of Iligan by the Philippine Commonwealth forces attacked by the Japanese held sway in the city until 1944 to 1945 when the war ended. On November 15, 1944, the city held a Commonwealth Day parade to celebrate the end of Japanese atrocities and occupation.


Using the same territorial definition as a municipality, Iligan became a chartered city of Lanao del Norte on June 16, 1950.[12] It was declared a first class city in 1969 and was reclassified as First Class City "A" on July 1, 1977 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 465. In 1983, Iligan was again reclassified as a highly urbanized city.


Iligan is bounded on the north by three municipalities of Misamis Oriental (namely LugaitManticao and Opol), to the south by three municipalities of Lanao del Norte (BaloiLinamon and Tagoloan) and two municipalities of Lanao del Sur (Kapai and Tagoloan II), to the north-east by the city of Cagayan de Oro, to the east by the municipality of TalakagBukidnon; and to the west by Iligan Bay.

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.


Iligan falls within the third type of climate wherein the seasons are not very pronounced. Rain is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. Because of its tropical location the city does not experience cold weather. Neither does it experience strong weather disturbances due to its geographical location (being outside the typhoon belt) And also because of the mountains that are surrounding the city.


Iliganons are composed of a Cebuano-speaking majority and local minorities, mainly Maranaos, and other cultural minorities and immigrants. It is not only rich in natural resources and industries but it is also the home of a mix of cultures: the Maranaos of Lanao, the Higaonon of Bukidnon, and many settlers and migrants from other parts of the country. It is known for its diverse culture.


Cebuano is the most spoken language in the city, with 92.27% reporting it as their first language. Minor languages include MaranaoHiligaynonIlocanoChavacano, and Waray. The majority of the population can speak and understand Tagalog (Filipino) and English, the official languages of the country.


Majority of Iligan citizens are Christians (mainly Roman Catholics). The city is also the center of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Iligan which has 25 parishes in Iligan City and twelve municipalities of Lanao del Norte (Linamon, Kauswagan, Bacolod, Maigo, Kolambugan, Tubod, Baroy, Lala, Kapatagan, Sapad, Salvador, and Magsaysay). It covers an area of 3,092 square kilometers with a population of 1,551,000, which 65.5% of the population are Roman Catholics.

Muslims are largest minority which comprises 11.48% of the population and mainly .



Iligan is known as the Industrial Center of Southern Philippines and its economy is largely based on heavy industries. It produces hydroelectric power for the Mindanao region through the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR), the site of the Mindanao Regional Center (MRC) housing Agus V, VI and VII hydroelectric plants. It also houses industries like steel, tinplate, cement and flour mills.

After the construction of Maria Cristina (Agus VI) Hydroelectric Plant by National Power Corporation (NPC, NAPOCOR) in 1950, the city experienced rapid industrialization and continued until the late 1980s. The largest steel plant in the country, National Steel Corporation (NSC), was also established in 1962.

During the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the city experienced severe economic slowdown. A number of industrial plants were closed, notably the National Steel Corporation.

The city made its economic revival with the reopening of the National Steel Corporation, renamed Global Steelworks Infrastructures, Inc. (GSII) in 2004. On October 2005, GSII officially took a new corporate name: Global Steel Philippines (SPV-AMC), Inc.


Aside from heavy industries, Iligan is also a major exporter and producer of various plants and crops.


  • Banana Plantations: 12,780.40 hectares
  • Coconut Plantations: 11,036.95 hectares
  • Corn Plantations: 4,193.86 hectares
  • Coffee Production: 969.43 hectares
  • Livestock: 28,992 heads
  • Poultry: 17,728 heads

As of fiscal year 2018, Iligan has a current operating income of 2,052.89 Million Pesos. The income grew by 8%, when compared to the fiscal year of 2017 in which Iligan's operating income was 1,900 Million Pesos. According to the 2017 Financial Report by the Commission on Audit, Iligan's total assets amounted to 10.27 Billion Pesos.

Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor

Iligan along with its neighboring city, Cagayan de Oro, are the two major components for the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Corridor, the fastest developing area in Northern Mindanao.


Diyandi Festival and Street Dancing is Iligan's month-long cultural celebration held every month of September and concludes on the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel on September 29. The highlight of the event is Kasadya Street Dancing, a Comedia or ritual dance offered to the patron saint as thanksgiving.

The Kasadya Merry Making and Street Dancing has been renamed Sayaw Saulog in 2014.

Michael, the Archangel is widely regarded as the patron saint of the beloved city. The city fiesta in devotion to him is considered being one of the Largest Religious Fiesta All over Mindanao and rising being ranked as one of the Pilgrim Festivals in the Major Islands of the country such as Traslacion of the Black Nazarene held in Manila, Peñafracia Festival of Bicol Region in Luzon and the Sinulog Festival in honor of Señor Sto Niño of Cebu in Visayas. it is held every September 29 the Actual Feastday of the Archangel.

He is locally known by the Spanish version of his name, Señor San Miguel. Devotion to him is common to Muslims and Christians in Iligan as he is mentioned in all the sacred scriptures both the Bible and Koran.


Iligan is known as the "City of Majestic Waterfalls" because of the numerous waterfalls located within its area. There are about 24 waterfalls in the city. The most well known is the Maria Cristina Falls. It is also the primary source of electric power of the city, harnessed by Agus VI Hydroelectric Plant.

Other waterfalls in the city are, Tinago Falls, accessible through a 300-step staircase in Barangay Ditucalan. Mimbalut Falls in Barangay Buru-un, Abaga Falls in Barangay Suarez, and Dodiongan Falls in Barangay Bonbonon. Limunsudan Falls-located in Barangay Rogongon about 50 km from the city proper of Iligan. This might be the highest waterfalls in the Philippines (870 ft)

Places of Interest

Aside from Maria Cristina Falls, one of the city's main attraction is Tinago Falls, located at Barangay Ditucalan. The 73 m high waterfalls is accessed by trekking down a series of winding staircase with 300 steps. The magazine Travel + Leisure named it as one of the "25 most awe-inspiring to see before you die."

While the city is popularly known as the "City of Majestic Waterfalls" because of the numerous waterfalls located throughout the city, there are also other places you could visit.

Paseo de Santiago, located at Barangay Santiago, is an open park in a seaside area, where you can simply breathe fresh air. It has an open-seating concept which makes the place suitable for hanging out and for interacting with others. The park offers a live band usually at night as well as various places for eating meals and snacks.



The Port of Iligan is located along the northern central coastal area of Mindanao facing the Iligan Bay with geographical coordinates of approximately 8°13′56″N 124°13′54″E.

It serves the port users and passengers coming from the hinterlands of the provinces of Lanao del NorteLanao del Sur, parts of Misamis Oriental, and the Cities of Iligan and Marawi.

Passenger and cargo shipping lines operating in the Port of Iligan serves the cities of ManilaCebu City, and Ozamiz.

There are around seven private seaports in Iligan operated by their respective heavy industry companies. These private seaports can be found in Barangays Maria Cristina, Suarez, Tomas L. Cabili, Santa Filomena, and Kiwalan.


The main airport is Laguindingan Airport, located in the municipality of Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental, which opened on June 15, 2013, the airport replaced Lumbia Airport as the main airport of Misamis Oriental and Northern Mindanao. It has daily commercial flights to and from Manila, Cebu, Davao, Zamboanga, Tagbilaran, Iloilo, Bacolod, Caticlan, Dumaguete and Clark via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

Maria Cristina Airport, is located in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte, and was the main airport of Iligan in the late 1980s. Aerolift Philippines, a now-defunct regional airline, ceased its services when its passenger plane crashed into some structures at the end of the runway of the Manila Domestic Airport in 1990 which resulted to its bankruptcy. Thus, it ended its service to Iligan's airport at Balo-i which also resulted in the closure of the airport. Philippine Airlines served the city for many years before ending flights in 1998 due to the Asian financial crisis.

Bus terminals

There are two main bus terminals in Iligan.

  • The Integrated Bus and Jeepney Terminal (IBJT), caters trips to and from Cagayan de Oro and various parts of Misamis Oriental.
  • Southbound Bus and Jeepney Terminal, caters trips to and from Dipolog CityPagadianCotabato CityOzamiz CityZamboanga City, and various parts of Lanao del Norte and Marawi.

Rural Transit (RTMI) and Super 5 Transport are the dominant public bus companies with daily trips from and to Iligan. Passenger vans and jeeps also services various municipalities in Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Misamis Oriental.

City transportation

The public modes of transportation within the city are Jeepneys, Taxis, and Pedicabs. "Tartanillas" service main roads in Barangay Pala-o and Barangay Tambacan.

Published on : 11/09/2020 by Puerto Parrot

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