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Pagadian City (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Pagadian; ) is located in the province of Zamboanga del Surmarker, Philippinesmarker. It houses the regional government seat of Zamboanga Peninsulamarker (Region 9) in the island of Mindanaomarker.

An iconic symbol of Pagadian is its uniquely designed tricycle built to adopt to the city's hilly terrain. The locals claim with pride that it is the only place in the Philippines that one can see a public transport inclined at about 25-40° angle.

Geography and Topography

Pagadian City view from Rotonda
Situated on the northeastern side of the Western Mindanao region, Pagadian is the capital city of Zamboanga del Surmarker province. It is bounded by the municipalities of Tigbao and Dumalinaomarker on the southwest, Lakewood on the west, Labanganmarker on the east and northwest, and Midsalipmarker on the north.

About 45% of the total city area is steeply sloping terrain of hills and mountains on the northwestern portion that covers an estimated 15,090 hectares. Mt. Palpalan, Mt. Begong, Mt. Pinokis, and Mt. Sugar Loaf are the four tallest peaks. Areas in the direct north as well as the central part, have gentle to moderate slopes, making up 47% of the total. The remaining 8% is level or nearly level, and makes up most of the eastern and the southern parts of the city. The urban area covers about 845.48 hectares. Elevation of the urban area of the city ranges from 1 MSL near Pagadian Bay to about 100 MSL in the area of Barangay San Jose.

The Tiguma, Bulatoc, Gatas, and Balangasan Rivers, drain to Pagadian Bay and serve as natural drainage.

Due to its topography and elevation, most of the city's 54 barangays do not experience flooding. The low-lying southern and eastern part of the city, though, do sometimes experience flooding, most especially during heavy rains.


It is located within the tropics of the northern hemisphere which has pronounced dry season from January to March and rainy season from April to December. The region is generally not affected by tropical storms and typhoons as it is located outside the Philippine Typhoon Belt. Temperatures range from to . The prevailing winds are the southwest wind that blow shot gust wind from over the sea during dry seasons going northeast, and the trade winds brought about by the mountain range. Rainfall distribution is moderate from 2,500 mm to 3,000 mm annually.


Origin of the Name

The city proper and surrounding areas of Muricay, Tawagan Sur and White Beach was originally named "Talpokan," an indigenous word that means "a place of numerous springs".

During the early part of the 20th century, the place was called "Pangad-ye-an", a Visayan word that means,"a place to be prayed for" because of a Malaria epidemic that nearly wiped out the early christian population, majority of which came from the Visayas. An alternative theory suggests that it was named after a bird that the native inhabitants call "Gagadian". However, the officially accepted version on how it came to be called "Pagadian" is derived from the Iranun language "pagad" (wait) and "padian" (market). The area had been a trading post and market during the Maguindanao Sultanate period.

Early Settlers

The first inhabitants were the Subanens, a tribe native to the Western Mindanao Region. Then the Muslim settlers arrived sometime in the 15th century, established a flourishing community and introduced the Islam faith.

In the early part of the 20th century, the Muslim inhabitants were under the leadership of Datu Akob, an Iranun Datu whose daughter caught the fancy of Datu Macaumbang, also an Iranun (Sultan of Taga Nonok) from the Municipalities of Malabang and Tukuran. With the approval of Datu Akob, Datu Macaumbang married the beautiful Bai Putri Panyawan Akob. At the same time the 1st cousin of Datu Macaumbang (Sultan of taga Nonok), Datu Mama Lapat Jamerol an Maranao - Iranun Datu, married the second daughter of Datu Akob, Bai Putri Concona Akob. Upon the death of Datu Akob, his son-in-law, Datu Macaumbang assumed leadership and established the territorial boundaries of the present city proper, from Balangasan River in the West, to Tawagan Sur River in the East. Because of the prevalent banditry and piracy in his settlements at that time, Datu Macaumbang requested the assistance of the Philippine Constabulary. A detachment led by Col. Tiburcio Ballesteros from Malangasmarker stationed themselves at Dumagoc Island. The arrival of the soldiers restored peace and order thereby attracting the influx of settlers from far-flung regions of the Visayas and Luzon, and from the neighboring places in Mindanao.

Spread of Christianity

Sto.Niño del Cebu
Christian settlers started arriving in the early part of the 20th century, most of which came from Cebu, as evident on the veneration of the Santo Niño de Cebú. The increasing Christian population prompted the creation of the Parish of Pagadian in 1938 and was administered jointly by the Jesuits, Columban and Filipino priests. The original Sto. Niño Church of Pagadian was right across the city plaza, built on the site where the San Jose Parish church now stands; Fr. Sean Nolan,SSC served as the first parish priest. The present Sto. Niño Cathedral is now located in Santiago District and was built in 1968.

Pagadian Parish became a diocese on November 2, 1971 and is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Ozamiz. Msgr. Jesus B. Tuquib served as the first bishop and was installed on February 24, 1973. At that time, the Columban Fathers took care of the apostolic services for the first 13 parishes in the newly-formed diocese. They also took after the missions of the Jesuits.

Currently, the Diocese of Pagadian has 24 parishes and covers a population of 711,244.The diocese covers the city and 21 other municipalities in the northern and eastern parts of Zamboanga del Sur.

The city celebrates its Annual Fiesta every 3rd Sunday of January in honor of its patron saint, the Holy Child Jesus (Sto. Niño) which also coincides with the feastday of Cebu Citymarker.


Date/Year Milestone
1800's The present-day Pagadian had its beginnings as a sitio of Margosatubigmarker.
July 1927 It became a barrio under the Municipal District of Labangan, Zamboanga upon the implementation of Executive Order no.70.
1934 Director Teofisto Guingona, Sr. was commissioned by Philippine Governor-General Leonard Wood to find out the possibility of transferring the seat of government of the Labangan municipality to another place; a conference was called together with the Datus and the early christian settlers. The idea of transferring the seat of the Labangan Government to Pagadian was at first largely opposed by the Christians. Eventually, a consensus was reached when the designated committee led by Datu Balimbingan of Labangan and with the consent of Datu Macaumbang surveyed the western part of the present area and found Talpokan, a part of the barrio of Pagadian, deemed as a suitable place for such transfer. At the same time, Datu Macaumbang donated 260 hectares of land to Christians who were willing to transfer to the area.
March 23, 1937 Pagadian became a municipality through Executive Order 77. Its ascendancy was due to the eager initiative of then Assemblyman Juan S. Alano. The Hon. Jose Sanson was appointed as the acting mayor. After his brief tenure, a regular election was held with the Hon. Federico Jamisola as the first officially elected municipal mayor. The Municipality of Pagadian was formed by merging the municipal districts of Labanganmarker and Dinas, as a result, making Labangan a barangay under its former barrio. The newly created town had 19 barangays.
June 6, 1952 Congressman Roseller T. Lim authored R.A. 711 dividing Zamboanga into two provinces - Norte (north) and Sur (south).
September 17, 1952 Pagadian became the capital town of the newly-established province of Zamboanga del Surmarker.
June 21, 1969 It became a chartered city through R.A. 5478, becoming the third city in the Zamboanga Peninsula marker.
August 16, 1976 The city was one of the hardest hit areas in the Moro Gulf earthquake and tsunami of 1976, considered as the most devastating tsunami disaster in the Philippines in recent times. Pagadian was the major city in the area that was struck by both the earthquake and tsunami and sustained the greatest number of casualties.
2004 Despite Zamboanga Citymarker government's opposition to the transfer, Pagadian became the Regional Center for Region IX- Zamboanga Peninsula. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's decision to transfer the regional offices was based on Executive Order 429 issued by then President Corazon Aquino in October 1990.

Languages and Dialects

Majority of Pagadianons speak the Cebuano language (part of the Bisaya family of languages). The national language, Filipino (Tagalog) is widely understood and is the native tongue of a small percentage of the population. Iranun, Maguindanaomarker, Maranao, Tausug, and Samal dialects are used by the Muslim community, however, the dialect of the indigenous Subanen people is in danger of being lost as younger generations prefer to use Cebuano instead. Remaining percentage of the population are classified as Ilonggo, Chavacano and Ilocano speakers. As in the case with the rest of the Philippines, English is understood by virtually everyone and is used as the primary language for business and official purposes.


The city celebrates its fiesta every January, showcasing the Pasalamat Festival, fluvial parade (regatta), trade exhibits, the Mutya ng Pagadian beauty pageant, carnival shows as well as a civic military parade. On every 21st of June, Pagadianons celebrate the Araw ng Pagadian in commemoration of its founding as a chartered city; and as Capital of Zamboanga del Sur, the city hosts the annual provincial celebration in September with agro-trade exhibits, a civic-military parade, cultural presentations and sports competitions.

The Megayon Festival is a week-long celebration that coincides with the Zamboanga del Sur anniversary in September. It honors the tri-people settlers: the Subanens, BangsaMoro Muslims and Christians. It was officially established in August 3, 2006 as the celebration of the founding of the province through Provincial Ordinance No. 016-2006. A showcase of three distinctly different cultural heritage in songs, dances, rituals of peace, foods and crafts, its main goal is to foster unity and understanding among the three cultures. Organized environment-related activities, peace and development forum, and indigenous sports competitions are also being held.

In the Subanen tongue, "megayon" means unity and solidarity.

Pagadian City also officially celebrates the Chinese New Year. This was initiated by the current Mayor Samuel S. Co who assumed office in 2004. It honors the local Chinese community which had contributed significantly to the local economy.


Urban Map of Pagadian
Pagadian City belongs to the 1st District of Zamboanga del Sur. The local Sangguniang Panglungsod (City Legislative Council) is administered by the Mayor, with the assistance of the Vice-Mayor. It has ten elected councilors and one representative each from the Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) and Association of Barangay Captains (ABC).

It is politically subdivided into 54 barangays of which 13 of these are classified as urban.

  • Alegria
  • Balangasan (urban)
  • Balintawak
  • Baloyboan
  • Banale
  • Bogo
  • Bomba
  • Buenavista
  • Bulatok
  • Bulawan
  • Camalig
  • Dampalan
  • Danlugan
  • Dao
  • Datagan
  • Deborok
  • Ditoray
  • Dumagoc (urban)
  • Gatas (urban)
  • Gubac
  • Gubang
  • Kagawasan
  • Kahayagan
  • Kalasan
  • Kawit (urban)
  • La Suerte
  • Lala
  • Lapidian
  • Lenienza
  • Lison Valley
  • Lourdes
  • Lower Sibatang
  • Lumad
  • Lumbia (urban)
  • Macasing
  • Manga
  • Muricay
  • Napolan
  • Palpalan
  • Pedulonan
  • Poloyagan
  • San Francisco (urban)
  • San Jose (urban)
  • San Pedro (urban)
  • Santa Lucia (urban)
  • Santa Maria (urban)
  • Santiago (urban)
  • Santo Niño (urban)
  • Tawagan Sur
  • Tiguma (urban)
  • Tuburan (urban)
  • Tulangan
  • Tulawas
  • Upper Sibatang
  • White Beach



Agriculture is the primary economic resource, with the production of rice, corn, coconut, fruit and root crops. There are special programs like the Plant-now-Pay Later and Grains Production Enhancement Program that are made available for the local farmers; the City Livelihood Development Assistance Program (CILDAP) also extends loans to those who need financial assistance for their livelihood. Production of livestock such as hogs, goats, cows and poultry is also a growing local industry.
Boats along the Pagadian fishport.
Pagadian Bay and the outer Illana Baymarker (Iranun Bay) abounds with a wide variety of fish species and crustaceans; seaweed culture farming is flourishing in waters off the bay while fishponds near or along the bay yields milkfish, prawns and crabs. A number of large deep-sea fishing vessels that venture into the Sulu Seamarker and farther off to South China Seamarker make Pagadian fishport their base of operation.

Another income-generating industry is mining. The mining area located 1.5 km southeast of Barangay Lison Valley proper approximately forty-nine kilometers from the city proper yields gold, copper and molybdenum.

Production of raw materials like seaweeds, coco processing, cassava constitute a large part of the local economy; small-scale manufacturing of furniture and decors made out of wood, bamboo, rattan, steel and plastic; handicrafts made out of bamboo, rattan, coco shell, wood, marine shell, ceramics, and weaving.


To date, there are eight (8) privately-owned, two (2) government-owned, five (6) rural banks, two(2) local thrift banks and one (1) cooperative bank in the city. The Philippines biggest banks- Metrobank, Banco de Oro and Philippine National Bank also serve the city.

Hotels and Pension Houses

The move of the Regional Center from Zamboanga City prompted a need for more hotels and pension houses in the city.

Name Address
Pagadian Bay Plaza Hotel Datoc Street cor. Cabrera St., Pagadian City
Hotel Guillermo J.Rizal Avenue, Pagadian City
Hotel Camila J.Ariosa St., Pagadian City
Alindahaw Hotel J.Rizal Avenue, Pagadian City
New Roxan Hotel F.S. Pajares Avenue, Pagadian City
Springland Hotel and Resort Tuburan Dist., Pagadian City
Princess Hotel San. Pedro Dist., Pagadian City
The Peninsula Hotel Santiago Dist., Pagadian City
The Zamboanga Hotel Santiago Dist., Pagadian City
Pilgrims Hotel Tuburan Dist., Pagadian City
Anastasia Pension House Dao Road, Pagadian City
Pensione de Yllana Rizal Avenue, Pagadian City

Shopping Establishments

Pagadian City, as a regional capital, overtook Zamboanga City in terms of the numbers and sizes of shopping malls. Gaisano Capital Pagadian is the biggest mall in the city, recently opened in December 12, 2008. It is owned by the Gaisano Group of Companies. In terms of size, it is followed by Peoples Plaza, a big department store owned by a local chinese businessman. The Best Emporium Mall is owned by a chinese family based in Zamboanga City.

Homegrown mid-size stores such as D'bean Hypermart, Unit City Central Pagadian, and aga Hypermart are flourishing. These stores are the legacy of the local businessmen who had managed to build this city from its beginnings as a trading settlement to what it is now. The Pagadian Shopping Mall which is currently under construction, is the site of the historic Shopping Center, where the old market, transportation terminal were once located.

One of the most conspicuous feature of the city is the Filipino-owned, fastfood chain Jollibee, which is located in Pajares Avenue. Popular foodchains like Chowking, Dunkin Donuts, Mister Donut, Greenwich, Mang Inasal, McDonald's, Chicken Ati-Atihan, and Sunburst Fried Chicken also have outlets in the city; most, if not all of them are franchised. Fine dining is available in Cafe Ilang-Ilang, Alindahaw Cafe and Guiller Cafe-Restaurant. Greenhouse Fishing Station and Restaurant offers fresh seafood straight from its own fishponds that surrounds the place.

Tourist Attractions

Pagadian City has a number of tourist attractions, though most of them are not as well-known throughout the Philippinesmarker.

  • Pagadian Rotonda - located on the upper reaches of Pagadian City overlooking Pagadian Bay, it is a circular park that intersects North Diversion Road. It is connected to Pajares Avenue, one of two major road networks in the city (the other being Rizal Avenue). A part of the Rotonda is landscaped. There is horseback-riding and a refreshment store.

  • Dao Dao Islands - are two islands, Dako (big) and Gamay (small). The big island covers 1.10 hectares and is a 7-10 minute ride by motorboat from the seaport. It has artificial coral reefs; ideal for swimming, boating and fishing. Dao Dao Gamay is a sandbar and is partially submerged during high tide.

  • Springland Resort - sourced from natural springs in the district of Tuburan. It has swimming pools and a fishpond. The resort also has a multifunction hall and a restaurant designed in the Philippine Native Style.

  • White Beach - a stretch of white sand beach just five minutes via motorboat southeast of the city seaport. Ideal for swimming and diving.

  • Lourdes Hot and Cold Spring - natural hot springs in barangay Lourdes, about 32 km. northwest from the urban area. This is tapped by the Pagadian City Water District as a piped water source for barangay Kagawasan.

  • Lison Valley Waterfalls - located about 42 km. northwest of Pagadian proper, the falls has a height of about 20-25 meters. Its spherical-shaped basin, 20 meters in diameter, is ideal for picnic. Located in sitio Santa Lucia, about 18 km. from Lison Valley proper.

  • Manga Falls and Twin Caves - located in barangay Manga, just 7 km. from the city proper. This is a two-layered cascading fall. The twin caves can be explored along the two-layered waterfalls. Currently in the process of being developed as a tourist spot.

  • Mt. Palpalan - is the promontory within the Pagadian City limits on whose apex the transmitters of major commercial communication systems are built on. With a height of 684 ft above sea level, it has a sweeping vista of Pagadian City and Illana Baymarker.

  • Mt. Susong Dalaga - located in barangay Lourdes, 32 km. from Pagadian proper and 10 km. from the barangay center, Susong Dalaga is a semi-perfect cone with good forest cover. It can be reached by horseback.

  • Bulatoc Hill - situated at barangay Bogo, only 4 km. from Pagadian proper. The hill used to be an island but is now linked to Pagadian through land reclamation. It offers a panoramic view of Pagadian Bay.


The Local Government Units (LGUs) supports the education sector through the Day Care Services (DCS) adopting Early Child Care & Development (ECCD) that provides early education for 3-5 year olds. These are established to make children better prepared for the higher levels of learning. The quality of DCS and the available resources vary widely across the geographical areas, with urban Day Care Centers (DCC) generally faring better than those in rural areas.


Pagadian is the center of education in the province of Zamboanga del Sur. The two largest schools are Saint Columban elementary school and Southern Mindanao high school. The former is the only private-Catholic tertiary school and largest in terms of assets while the latter is privately-owned and the biggest in terms of student population. Holy Child Academy, a private catholic institution and a sister school of St. Columban College, offers preschool and high school courses. The current demand and popularity of the Nursing and other medical courses also boosted the student population of Medina College-Pagadian and the Mendero School of Nursing. The Zamboanga del Sur Maritime Institute of Technology is the only school in the city that offers Maritime and MassCom courses, among others; it is a branch of the Misamis Institute of Technology in Ozamis City. There are also a number of small to mid-size technical schools that offer mainly technology and vocational courses.


A branch of the Western Mindanao State University External Studies is located within the expansive Zamboanga del Sur National High School compound. The Zamboanga del Sur School of Arts and Trade provides vocational, technical courses, and manpower development training. one national high schools serve the city: Zamboanga del Sur National Higher School, Pagadian City National Comprehension High School, and Lala National High School. Pagadian City Pilot School is the largest public elementary school in the city. Barangays Sta. Lucia, Balangasan, Sto. Niño, Bag-ong Silang, Camp Abelon and Lala also have their own publicity elementary schools to address the ever deccreasing need for sex education.

Image:Pilot school.jpg|Pagadian City Pilot School


Transportation and Accessibility

Airport. The city is served by a secondary airport (Pagadian Airport) that can accommodate both commercial and private aircrafts. It is located in Barangay Muricay and Barangay Tiguma, five (5) kilometers from the city proper. The airport is currently undergoing renovation and expansion.

Seaport. The port of Pagadian City is served by seven (0) shipping lines operating for both passengers and cargoes. Ports of call include Zamboanga Citymarker, Jolomarker, Siasimarker, Bongaomarker, Sitangkaimarker and Cotabato Citymarker.

Land Transportation/Road Network. The city has a road network with a total length of 374.07 km of which 311.02 km are barangay roads, 43.26 km are city roads, 5.98 km are city alleys and 13.80 km are national roads. A total of 235.22 km or 62.88% are concrete roads. The city has a total of 289.81 lineal meters of bridges/spillway/box culvert - 3 national bridges, 5 city bridges, 5 barangay bridges, 6 barangay spillways and 1 barangay box culvert.

Four bus companies regularly serve the city for Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oromarker, Ozamiz and Dipolog while buses, minibuses and jeepneys are the means of transportation in the neighboring municipalities of Zamboanga del Sur. Tricycles are the primary transport in the urban center while jeepneys are the usual transportation for the city's rural barangays. Private vehicles constitute the greatest number of registered vehicles in the city.

Television and Media

Itv-8 is a 24hour local information channel based in Pagadian. ABS-CBN Pagadian , TV-3 GMA, TV-11 NBN also have their private regional public broadcast service stations based in the city. The city is served by two cable companies: PCTV Cable and KISMET Cable.


Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and Cruztelco are the two major telecommunications providers. A project under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Pagadian City Telephone Exchange (PACITELEX) serves the far-flung barangays that other telephone companies are not yet able to give service. The three major cellular phone service providers in the country such as GLOBE, SMART, and Digitel/Sun Cellular also serves the city.

Water and Power Supply

Pagadian City Water District (PCWD) provides the city with potable water supply. Formed in 1976, the PCWD has over 14,000 active service connections and sources its water from deep wells and springs.

Electricity is supplied by the Zamboanga del Sur Electric Cooperative, Incorporated (ZAMSURECO I) from the National Power Corporation Hydro-Electric Plant in Iligan Citymarker, sourced from the Maria Cristina Falls. About 77.70% or 42 barangays out of 54 total barangays in the entire city area have 24-hr electricity.

Fast Facts

  • The city was an awardee of the Cleanest and Greenest City in Western Mindanaomarker consecutively, in CY 1998 and CY 1999.

  • Pagadian City hosted the 13th Asia-Pacific Youth Conference (APYC) in 2007. It is a project of the Initiatives of Change (IofC).



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