About Pagadian

Ethnic and Cultural History

The Subanon, a peaceful tribe, living along the riverbanks amidst the hinterlands, may be considered as the first inhabitants of Pagadian City.

Eventually, the Muslims inhabited the coastal areas of what are now the barangays of Muricay, Tawagan Sur, White Beach and the present location of the city proper then named “TALPOKAN” meaning “a place of numerous springs”.

A Subano making 'Amakan' - a bamboo weaving use as walling for a subano duelling place.

The livelihood of the early inhabitants was cultivating a small area of rice production. After planting season they engage in fishing.

The early inhabitants were under the leadership of Datu Akob whose daughter caught the fancy of Datu Macaumbang of Tukuran.  With the approval of Datu Akob, Datu Macaumbang married the former’ beautiful daughter.

Upon the death of Datu Akob, his son-in-law, Datu Macaumbang, assumed leadership then 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 dreaded banditry and piracy. 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 far-flung regions of the Visayas and Luzon, and from the neighboring places of Mindanao.

It had been told that early Christian settlers upon arrival here had to negotiate with the territorial Datu. A banca had to ferry them from Dumagoc Island where the soldiers were stationed with their families.

A large number of those early Christians died of Malaria the most dreaded disease of that time, so that they started naming the place “PANGADYE-AN” which means “a place to be prayed for”.

Another version revealed that a group of people believed to have come from Luzon arrived at an unknown place of the Zamboanga. This group of people happened to reach the royal place of Datu Macaumbang where natives met them. The natives as to the name of the place did not understand the stranger using his own dialect. Incidentally, when he raised the question, he was looking up a flock of birds called by the natives “GAGADIAN”.   A native thinking that the stranger was asking about the birds answered “GAGADIAN”.

Pagadian is well remembered as a sitio of Margosatubig. However, upon the creation of the Municipal District of Labangan, Pagadian became one of its barrios. However, back in 1934, Governor-General Leonard Wood commissioned Director Teofisto Guingona, Sr., of the Bureau of Non-Christian /tribes to find out the possibility of transferring the seat of government of the Municipal District of Labangan to another place.

A Conference was called for that purpose with Director Guingona presiding it.Datu Balimbingan, who was Mayor of the Municipal District of Labangan, led the conferees. With them were Datu Masla DaligdiganDatu Manupac AgcongDatu Akob, Norberto Bana, Sr., Jose Zulueta, and a certain Mr. Perez. During the conference, the proposed transfer of Labangan Government to Pagadian was met with tremendous objection from the Christian group. However, in spite of the objections, a committee designated to look for a place to transfer the seat of power was created.

The said committee that was chaired by Datu Balimbingan decided to see first Datu Macaumbang (Sultan of Taga Nonok),   the recognized leader of the Iranuns. Datu Macaumbang’s royal place was then located at “PAGADIAN” (now the island of White Beach). After a short conference, the two Datu’s with the committee surveyed the western part of “PAGADIAN” and found  “TOLPOKAN” (the place where Zamboanga Hotel is now located) as the final place for the transfer of Labangan Government. At the same time, Datu Macaumbang donated estimated two hundred sixty (260) hectares of land to the Christian that were willing to transfer to Pagadian.

The committee headed by Datu Balimbingan submitted    the recommendation to the Director of Non-Christian Tribes.  After the perusal of the recommendation, the Municipal District of Labangan was dissolved. The dissolution of Labangan Government in 1937 gave birth to the creation of the Municipality of Pagadian.

Pagadian, a former barrio of Labangan in the Province of Zamboanga, was organized into a regular municipality on  March 23, 1937 by virtue of Executive Order no. 77 of the     late President Manuel L. Quezon through the initiative of Assemblyman Juan S. Alano. Honorable Jose Sansonwas the first appointed mayor of Pagadian.  After his brief stint as town “Presidente”, a regular election was held. Honorable Francisco Consolacion won and became the first Municipal Mayor.

By virtue of Republic Act No. 711, which was authored then by Congressman Roseller T. Lim and approved on June 6, 1952,  the old province of Zamboanga was divided into two provinces, namely, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte. The Province of Zamboanga del Sur was formally inaugurated on September 17, 1952 and Pagadian become its capital town.

Pagadian was converted into chartered City by virtue of Republic Act No. 5478, otherwise known as the Charter of the City of  Pagadian, June 21, 1969. Honorable Benjamin F. Arao was the first City Mayor of the City of Pagadian by operation of the City Charter.


Pagadian City is located at the geographical coordinates 07 deg. 49’43” latitude and 123 deg. 20’4.61” longitude. It is geographically situated in the northeastern side of the Province of Zamboanga del Sur in the Island of Mindanao. The City has a total land area of  33,380 hectares or 333.80  square  kilometers, delineated by the municipal  boundaries of  Midsalip on the North, Labangan on the Northwest and East; Lakewood on the West; and Dumalinao and Tigbao on the Southwest.

Pagadian Proposed Urban Zoning

It is accessible from the Cities of Dipolog, Ozamiz, Iligan and Cagayan de Oro in the Northeast by Bus via two separate routes, namely,   the  Pagadian-Molave-Ozamiz City-Dipolog  and Pagadian-Aurora-Iligan-Cagayan de Oro routes.

In the past, Travel to Ozamiz by bus was long and tedious. It used a single route via the municipality of Tukuran, Aurora, Molave and Tambulig, all in the Province of Zamboanga del Sur, to the Cities of Ozamiz and Dipolog. With the completion of  Labangan Switch, Ramon Magsaysay, travel to Ozamiz City and Dipolog City was shortened to a large degree and made easier.


Pagadian Reclamation Map

Moreover, Pagadian City is accessible from the Cities of Zamboanga by bus, boat and plane and Cotabato City by boat. It has daily boat schedules to the City of Cotabato and Zamboanga. Travelers could also take daily plane flights to the Cities of Cebu and Zamboanga where connecting flights are also available to Manila and other points in the country.

Zamboanga Peninsula Map

The City is generally characterized by sometimes steeply sloping landscapes, influenced by the mountain networks on the north and western frontiers. Elevation in the urban area comprising approximately 845.482 hectares or 2.533% of the total land area of the city ranges from one (1) MSL near Pagadian Bay at about one hundred (100) MSL in the area of Barangay San Jose.


Rising 684 feet above sea level with its base located at the intersection of the Lanao-Pagadian-Zamboanga City Highway and the municipal boundary of Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur, west of the city proper, is Sanai-like Mount Palpalan. Mount Begong, near Barangay La Suerte, rises 770 feet above sea level; Mount Pinukis, 1,300 feet; and Mount Sugar Loaf Lison Valley, 1,432 feet.

The city  has  mixed  topographic  relief.   The northwestern portion  with  strongly   sloping  terrain  and  steep hills  and mountains covers an estimated area of 15,090 hectares or 45% of the total area of the city.  The central and  northern areas which is about  47%  of the total  area have gently sloping to moderately sloping landscape while the southern and most of the eastern  parts of the city are level or  nearly  level  areas which  covers  approximately  8%  of  the  total  land  area.


Table shows the city’s slope classification in hectares.

Slope Category Land Area (Has) Percent
        0 -  3     2,662     8.0
        3 -  8     3.868   11.6
        8 – 18   11,760   35.2
      18 – 40   12,075   36.2
      40 – 70     3,015     9.0
  Total   33,380 100.0
Code Description
  0 -   3  percent Level or nearly level
  3 -   8  percent Gently sloping
  8 – 18  precent Moderately sloping
18 – 40  percent Strongly sloping
40 – 70  precent Steep hills & mountains
Sources: Municipal Planning Pagadian City

The City is located within the tropics of the northern Hemisphere which is characterized by pronounced dry season from January to March  and r ainy  season  from  April  to  December.  Rainfall  distribution is moderate from 2,500 mm to 3,000 mm annually. The prevailing winds are the southeast wind that blow shot gust wind from over the sea during dry season going northeast, and the trade winds brought about by the mountain range.  The area does not experience typhoons due to its geographic location being situated away from the typhoon belt.

Natural Drainage

Due to the City’s terrain, majority of its barangays approximately 92%are classified as well drained to moderately well drained. Areas located in the southern portion of the city near Pagadian Bay are poor to very poorly drain.

Rivers and their tributaries form the natural drainage in the area.  In the poblacion, which is composed of 13 urban barangays with a total area of 845.482 hectares or 2.53%, there are four major rivers namely: Balangasan River, Gatas River, Bulatoc River and Tiguma River. All these rivers carry water load to Pagadian Bay.

Labangan River is the only major river in the rural barangays.   This particular river has three (3) major tributaries, which passes through Barangays Bulawan, Macasing, Lower Sibatang, Deborok and Lourdes. These tributaries carry its load to Yllana Bay at the municipality of Labangan.

Erosion Potential

Areas in the city that are susceptible to erosion are located in the northwestern portion with strongly sloping landscape and steep hills and mountains covering a total area of 15,090 hectares or 45% of the total area of the City.

Majority of the fifty-four barangays of the city does not experience flooding due to the elevation and other physical characteristics of these barangays. However, during heavy rains, the southern and most the eastern part of the city, which are level or nearly level areas will sometimes experience flooding especially when waters overflow the street canals. These areas cover approximately 8%of the area of the city.

The type of soil found in the city  as reflected in the soil map are Alaminos/Antipolo Complex, Lousiana/Jasan Complex Hydrosol, Buyogan Clay Loam, and Mt. Soil Undifferentiated

Given this type of soil, the average soil bearing capacity is 4,000 PST with an average soil temperature  of 20.0 deg. Celsius. Table 1.3 and 4.1 show the soil physical characteristics as Depth and pH in the City of Pagadian.

Pagadian has the following 54 barangays and classified as urban barangay and rural barangay:

  • Alegria
  • Balangasan (urban)
  • Balintawak
  • Baloyboan
  • Banale
  • Bogo
  • Bomba
  • Buenavista
  • Bulatok
  • Bulawan
  • Camalig
  • Dampalan
  • Danlugan
  • Dao
  • Datagan
  • Deborok
  • Ditoray
  • Dumagoc (urban)
  • Gatas (urban)
  • Gubac
  • Gubang
  • Kagawasan
  • Kahayagan
  • Kalasan
  • Kawit (urban)
  • La Suerte
  • Lala
  • Lapidian
  • Lenienza
  • Lison Valley
  • Lourdes
  • Lower Sibatang
  • Lumad
  • Lumbia (urban)
  • Macasing
  • Manga
  • Muricay
  • Napolan
  • Palpalan
  • Pedulonan
  • Poloyagan
  • San Francisco (urban)
  • San Jose (urban)
  • San Pedro (urban)
  • Santa Lucia (urban)
  • Santa Maria (urban)
  • Santiago (urban)
  • Santo Niño (urban)
  • Tawagan Sur
  • Tiguma (urban)
  • Tuburan (urban)
  • Tulangan
  • Tulawas
  • Upper Sibatang
  • White Beach

About Pagadian

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