Ozamiz City was a small unimposing settlement that existed even before
the Spaniards came to the Philippine shores. Today, the city with its robust
agricultural economic base and a bustling trade and commercial activities,
is one of the fastest growing cities in Mindanao.
That humble little village would later become
a town called Misamis. The word misamis is believed to have been
derived from the Subano word kuyamis, a variety of coconut.
Years later, the word kuyamis gave way to misamis probably because the word
was relatively easier to pronounce.
Misamis was conquered not by the military might of the Spaniards but was
won over through the introduction of the Christian faith by Jesuit missionaries.
The early settlers were mostly Subanos.
In those days, pirates from the neighboring areas occasionally broke
the peace and quiet of the place. To protect the town from these
attacks, Jesuit priests Father Ducos and Father Paver, led in the
construction of the now historic fort called Fuerte
de la Concepcion y del Triunfo.
Over the years, the town's population grew as migrants from Cebu, Bohol and Bukidnon
came. These migrants were drawn primarily by the town's agricultural and trading
potential. It is now a city of a little over 100 thousand inhabitants.
The town became a city in 1948 by virtue
of Republic Act 321. The city was named after the late Senator
Jose Ozamiz, a homegrown political
figure in the 1940's. During the Japanese occupation, Senator Ozamiz
led resistance activities in this part of the country against the
occupying Japanese forces. He was captured, imprisoned and then
executed by the Japanese in Manila.