𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐧 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐂𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐇𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐲𝐚𝐧, 𝐌𝐢𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐬, 𝐉𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝟐𝟖, 𝟏𝟖𝟒𝟏
People settled in Cagayan de Misamis (now Cagayan de Oro) since ancient times. Early Cagayanons were a mixed stock of Subanons, Bukidnons, and Visayans who lived in place for centuries. Archeological finds discovered by National Museum field researchers in 1970 in the Huluga caverns at the southern end of Cagayan de Oro and at a nearby site, attest to the existence of a prehistoric Cagayan settlement way before the arrival of the Spaniards.
At one period in time, the settlement had a tributary relation with Cotabato’s Maguindanao Empire under Sultan Kudarat. However, the people did not embrace Islam. The people as a community only paid tribute to the sultan through emissaries. Due to clandestine Muslims raids, maybe unknown to Sultan Kudarat, the Subanons retreated into the interior, while the Bukidnon and Visayan settlers occupied the coastal area.
When the first Augustinian Recollect missionaries arrived in Huluga in 1622 and established a cavern fortress called Himologan, the priests noted that many villagers were still polytheistic (praying to various gods) and animists (revering nature). In time, many were converted into Christianity. Huluga became one of the early Catholic mission stations in Mindanao in the 17th Century.
In the early years of conversion to Christianity, a first church was eventually built in Cagayan de Misamis in 1624. This was made possible under the leadership of Father Agustin de San Pedro of the Order of Augustinian Recollects. The church structure, as well as the initial fortification against Moro raiders, were made of light materials.
The church was frequently attacked and razed to the ground by warriors from the non-Christian areas of Mindanao. One such instance happened in 1649, when a Manobo tribe under the leadership of Dabao revolted against the presence of the Spanish government and church in the area. After the burning, the church was rebuilt with wood and other light materials until it was again burned in 1778.
The following year, Father Pedro de Santa Barbara led the construction of a new and bigger church. The said church, like its predecessors, was also razed by fire in 1831. After this, further rebuilding was postponed.
A plan for a new church and a parochial house for Cagayan de Misamis was finally presented on July 28, 1841. Upon the instigation of Father Simon Locsos, a stone church was constructed. Mayor Don Jose Corrales, together with members of the local clergy, assisted in realizing the plan. The church construction lasted from 1843 to 1851.
In 1886, the parish priest of Cagayan de Oro, Father Ramon Zueco, bought a pipe organ from Manila and had it installed in the church. A large cross was placed in front of the church in 1888. A Bishop’s house and a parochial school (later named Ateneo de Cagayan) were constructed near the church during the American period. No other external improvements were done even after World War II came to the Pacific in December 1941 and ended in September 1945.
Japan invaded the Philippines on December 8, 1941 and occupied Manila on January 2, 1942. With the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor on April 9 and May 6, 1942, Japan occupied the whole archipelago. President Quezon and party, with General MacArthur, were able to escape to Australia prior to the occupation. A Philippine government-in-exile was established in the USA.
The liberation of the Philippines was envisioned in early 1944. Prior to the Leyte Landing made on October 22, 1944, clandestine bombings of major Japanese positions were executed, particularly in Mindanao. From October 16, 1944 to May 10, 1945, Cagayan and its immediate areas were bombed fourteen times by the U.S. Far East Air Force. The bombing on October 21, 1944 was the most devastating one with the Ateneo de Cagayan, the Macabalan Wharf (Cagayan Pier), St. Augustin Church, and the Bishop’s House totally destroyed.
The present Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro had its beginnings as a territory of the Archdioceses of Cebu and Jaro from 1607 to 1910. Its administration was later transferred to the Diocese of Zamboanga from 1911 to 1933, before its canonical establishment in 1933. The present St. Augustine Church was constructed during the tenure of Archbishop James T.G. Hayes, S.J. in 1946.
Cardinalli Vincent Company. 231 Views of Manila and the Philippine Islands. San Francisco, USA (c.1910).
Haggerty, Edward. Guerilla Padre in Mindanao. New York, Longmans, Green & Co., Inc., 1946.
Yuson, Alfredo, ed. Jesuits in Mindanao: The Mission. Media Wise Communications, Inc., 2013.
https://www.metrocdo.com – US fliers bomb Cagayan 16 times in six months during World War II
http://heritage.elizaga.net.>history (Cagayan de Oro)
http://cagayandeoro.gov.ph – San Augustin Cathedra