Malaybalay City, the capital and the first city in the province of Bukidnon, is located in Northern Mindanao. The City is in a landlocked area, the nearest sea and air ports being in Cagayan de Oro City, which is 91 kilometers away. Malaybalay City is located in the central part of the province. It is bounded in the east by the municipality of Cabanglasan and the Pantaron Range, which separates Bukidnon from the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Davao del Norte; on the west by the municipality of Lantapan and Mount Kitanglad; on the north by the municipality of Impasug-ong; and on the south by Valencia City and the municipality of San Fernando. The whole eastern and southeastern border adjoining Agusan del Sur and Davao del Norte is elevated and densely forested mountains, which is one of the few remaining forest blocks of Mindanao. The city contains the remaining forest blocks of Mindanao at its eastern and southeastern borders. It is also home to the endangered Philippine Eagle. Malaybalay is a place of ecological significance.
Original inhabitants of Malaybalay came from the seashores of Northern Mindanao who were driven towards the mountains due to the attacks of the pirates and the arrival of the Spanish colonizers. In 1850, Kalasungay (an old settlement of Malaybalay) was burned down by the Spaniards during their final battle with the lumads. All male adults were killed and thw women and children were taken as hostages. This battle was the last recorded fight between the locals and the Spanish conquerors. Few days after their defeat, the survivors of the battle who fled to Silae slowly returned to the area and established a new settlement near the Sacub River (present day Rizal Prk) under the lead of Datu Mampaalong. They then accepted the Spanish dominion and embraced Christianity on June 15, 1877.
August 20, 1907, the Philippine Commission Act No. 1693 was enacted creating the Province of Agusan and the sub-province of Bukidnon. Malaybalay became an independent municipality on October 19, 1907. When Bukidnon was declared as a regular province, Malaybalay was designated as its provincial capital.
During the Second World War in 1942, the Japanese occupation troops entered Bukidnon and occupied Malaybalay, establishing a camp in Casisang. In 1945, American libertation forces, together with the Philippine Commonwealth Forces and Filipino guerrillas liberated Malaybalay.
The Mt. Kitanglad Agri-Ecological Techno Demo Center plays an active role in farming, and in the protection of Mt. Kitanglad. The center uses improved farming systems, and features a six-hectare eco-park with endemic trees.
Malaybalay City is a refuge for nature, and a refuge for the seven indigenous groups thought to be the first inhabitants of the province. The Kaamulan Festival strives to keep links to the past by celebrating the customs and traditions of the province’s indigenous groups.
There are points of interest in the area both natural and man-made. Mt. Kitanglad is the fourth highest mountain in the country. The Monastery of the Transfiguration is a place worth visiting too.
More than half of the city’s population speak the Cebuano dialect. Other dialects spoken are Binukid, spoken by the lumads or the original inhabitants, Boholano, Hiligaynon, Ilonggo and other tribal dialects.
Major industries in Malaybalay are agri-based such as poultry and piggeries. Big corporations can also be found here such as San Miguel, Purefoods, Monterey, Swift, Asian Hybrid Philippines (feeds processing), Rubbertex (rubber shoes manufacturing), and Monastery Farms (peanuts and other preserved foods). Cattle ranches can also be found here.
Malaybalay used to have an airport, but the surrounding mountains made landing too difficult, so the nearest airport is Lumbia Airport in Cagayan De Oro City. From Cagayan de Oro, Malaybalay is roughly 2 .5 to 3 hour ride. Take a bus bound for Valencia (Bukidnon) or Davao from Agora Terminal in CDO. Get off at Malaybalay Bus Terminal. Ride a motorela to take you to the city center. If you’re coming from Davao, ride a bus en route to Malaybalay, Bukidnon from Ecoland Terminal. Travel time is roughly 7 hours. Buses and jeepneys make the 2 1/2 hour journey between Cagayan de Oro and Malaybalay all day from Agora Market.