Misamis Oriental used to be a part of Cebu. In 1818, it became a “Corregimento” made up of four “Partidos” or divisions; namely, Partido de Misamis, Partido de Dapitan, Partido de Cagayan and Partido de Catarman.
During the latter part of the 19th century, Misamis was one of the six districts of Mindanao, and later, one of the seven districts in Mindanao and Sulu at the close of the Spanish era with Cagayan de Misamis, (now Cagayan de Oro), as its capital. When it was still a part of the district of Cebu, there were twelve Spaniards and nine Filipinos who successively served as “Governadore” with Mayor Carabello as the first governor in 1874. Misamis Oriental used to be a part of the bigger unit of Misamis province, sharing a deep history with its sister, Misamis Occidental.
However, in November 2, 1929, the Philippine Legislature enacted RA 3537, which took effect on January 1, 1930, dividing the province of Misamis into two provinces, namely Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental.
The earliest known settlers of the territory were the Negritos. Centuries later, people of Malay descent with various blends of Mongolic characteristics fought against the natives for the control of the rich Cagayan Rover coastal plains. The struggle for the possession of land went on between different evolving races until the native Visayans, the offshoot of lawland inhabitants, won over the Bukidnons. In the 1500’s, most of the areas in Mindanao had fallen under the Muslim sway and the inhabitants were converted to Islam. Misamis Oriental, however, was only nominally under Muslim rule with obligation to pay a yearly tribute.
The name Misamis is derived from the word Misa (a Spanish term for mass or a church rite). When Christianity was yet new in the Philippines, every time the priest travelled around the province, the converts were usually heard to shout “Misa! Misa!”. Thus, over a period of time, the Spanish missionaries started to call the province by the name Misamis.
When Misamis Oriental became a separate province, Don Gergorio Pelaez wast its first Governor. Since then, many gubernatorial terms of office passed, occupied by governors who were either elected or appointed.
A total of 12 Spanish Governors and 33 Fillipino Governors served the province of Misamis Oriental since 1874. Its first Governor, after it became a separate province, was Don Gregorio Pelaez. At present, Hon. Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano is the current Governor serving his 1st term of office.
With its engaging people, rich array of products and a resource rich place, Misamis Oriental quietly transformed itself into the Gem of Mindanao – today – the region’s foremost center of trade and development.
The province has one highly urbanized city, Cagayan de Oro, which is the capital and the regional center of Northern Mindanao and two component cities, Gingoog and El Salvador. It has twenty-three (23) municipalities, nine (9) of which are located in the Western portion and fourteen (14) in the Eastern portion. All municipalities of the province are along the coastline except for Claveria, which is the only landlocked municipality. Base on the 2007 census, the population of the province of Misamis Oriental including Cagayan de Oro is 1, 302, 851.