Misamis Occidental (Filipino:Kanlurang Misamis)(Subanen:Sindepan Mis’samis) is a province of the Philippines located in the Northern Mindanao region. Its capital is Oroquieta City. The province borders Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur to the west and is separated from Lanao del Norte by Panguil Bay to the south and from Misamis Oriental by Iligan Bay to the east. The province of Misamis was originally inhabited by Subanons whose an easy target by the sea pirates from Lanao. Misamis is taken from the early settlement of the Spaniards at the entrance to the Panguil Bay.
The name “Misamis” is believed to have been derived from the Subano word “Kuyamis” which is a variety of sweeto coconut – the staple food of the early settlers in this place. During the years the name persisted as an inference of the geographical location and upon the advent of the Spanish settlers, the word “kuyamis” easily gave way to the more convenient pronounceable but corrupted word “Misamis”.
Misamis Occidental comprised the original nine towns of Baliangao, Lopez Jaena, Tudela, Clarin, Plaridel, Oroquieta, Aloran, Jimenez, and Misamis. The original nine municipalities of the province of Misamis Occidental grew into the present three cities of Ozamiz, Oroquieta, and Tangub and the 14 municipalities of Aloran, Baliangao, Bonifacio, Calamba, Clarin, Concepcion, Don Victoriano, Jimenez, Lopez Jaena, Panaon, Plaridel, Sapang Dalaga, Sinacaban, and Tudela.
In 1942, the Japanese Imperial forces landed in Misamis Occidental, beginning their brief occupation of the province as part of World War II. In 1945, combined American and Philippine Commonwealth forces liberated the province, and with the help of the recognized guerilla units, defeated the Japanese forces.
Misamis Occidental is located near the narrow strip of land linking Northwestern Mindanao, to the Northcentral part of the island. Shaped like a collapsible fan it is bounded on the northeast by the Mindanao Sea, east by the Iligan Bay, southeast by the Panguil Bay, and the west by the Zamboanga del Norte and Sur. The fact that three of its boundaries are bodies of water gives away water life as one of its natural resources and fishing as one of its main industries. Except along the coastal area, hilly and rolling land characterized the provincial terrain. Towards the western border, the terrain is particularly rugged.
The province has a total land area of 2,024.18 square kilometers representing 65 percent of the total land area of the Philippines. Tudela has the biggest land area equivalent to 13.8 percent of the total province area. The municipality of Panaon shares the smallest area of only 46.80 square kilometers.
Misamis Occidental has a total population of 488,665 (1999 projection) with the bulk from the cities of Ozamiz at 108,541, Oroquieta at 59,637, and Tangub with a total population of 49, 981. The Municipality of Concepcion comprises the lowest population among the 15 municipalities of the province at 5,342 occupying a land area of 61.60 sq.km.
Subanon, pronounced “Subanen,” is the dialect of the province, used mostly by the members of the Subanon Tribe. However, most residents are Cebuano-speaking and can speak tagalog and English as well.
The climate belongs to the Fourth type where rainfall is more or less fairly distributed throughout the year. The average rainfall in the past twenty years was recorded at 182.5 millimeters. The rainiest months are November and December; the driest are February, March, and April. The entire province is outside the typhoon belt but it is sometimes affected by freak storms.
Pitati mat weaving; ceramic vases and potteries; Philippine Compak Boards, which produces particle boards; and Naomi’s Botanical Garden for cutflowers, ornamental plants, and fruit seedlings.