Hotels Cagayan de Oro
CAGAYAN DE ORO AND ITS SURROUNDING were occupied by people around 350 AD. Signs of ancient habitation were discovered in 1970 by field researchers of the National Museum. The researchers were exploring Huluga, a place eight kilometers south of the present Cagayan de Oro City.
Huluga is a promontory(A promontory is “a high ridge of land or rock putting out into a body of water; a headland” — The American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition.) with two main sections: a set of caves and an Open Site . The Open Site appears to be the village of the original people of Cagayan de Oro.
Inside the cave were skeletons, pots, potsherds, tools, possibly Indian glass beads, Chinese pot fragments, and vestiges of possibly Annamese and Thai wares — indications of overseas trading. The Open Site yielded potsherds, Chinese celadon sherds, and obsidian flakes.
Researchers sent a skull fragment to Dr. Jeffrey Bada of the external site Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, where it was subjected to acid racemization, a dating technique. Bada then wrote a letter to anthropologist Dr. Linda Burton of Xavier University, indicating that the sample came from 350 AD,*** the Late Neolithic Period.
In 1622, two Augustinian Recollect missionaries first came to Huluga, then called Himologan. Here they met a mixed stock of Bukidnons and Visayas who lived in a settlement perched on a cliff, overlooking a river. The men had massive tattoos, like those of the Visayan pintados, and the women wore intricate jewelry, some made of gold.
The priests were Fray Juan de San Nicolas and Fray Francisco de la Madre de Dios. According to their journals, the natives were polytheistic animists, not Muslims. But they paid tributes to Sultan Kudarat through his emissaries.
Spanish documents in 1500s already referred to the area around Himologan as Cagayan. On January 25, 1571, the Spanish government granted this area, including what is now Northern Mindanao, as an encomienda to Juan Griego. There is also a Cagayan in Luzon and another in Sulu. What is the origin of this name?
According to Father Miguel Bernad, S.J. of Xavier University, “cagayan” comes from the Malayo-Polynesian word ag, which means “water”. Ag is present in words like agus, agusan, and kagay. Agus means “flowing water”, and agusan “place of flowing water”. Kagay means “river” and kagayan is “place with a river”.
But according to Dr. Lawrence A Reid, Professor Emeritus, Department of Linguistics, University of Hawai`i, “cagayan” comes from an ancient Philippine word *kaRayan, which means “river”. In an email sent to the Ancient Baybayin Scripts Network of Yahoogroups, Reid explained, “The evidence for the Proto-Philippine word reconstructable for river, *kaRayan, comes from the Ilokano karayan, Central Agta kahayan, Itawis kayan, etc.. Note that in all the languages that have a reflex of this form, it simply means ‘river’. It is not a morphologically complex form. There is no language that reflects a form kagay. Nor is there any evidence that either the final -an was a suffix, or for that matter that the initial ka- was a prefix …. ”
Conversion to Christianity
In 1626, a 26-year old Augustinian Recollect friar arrived in Cagayan. His name was Fray Agustin de San Pedro, a Portuguese. Before his priesthood, he studied mathematics, architecture, gunnery, and military strategy at the University of Salamanca.
Fray Agustin persuaded the leader of Himologan, Datu Salangsang, to transfer his settlement down river, to the area of today’s Gaston Park and San Agustin Cathedral. Here, Fray Agustin built a church of native materials. Inside, he baptized Datu Salangsang and his wife, and later his people.