The Problems of Promoting History and Culture in an Emerging Metropolis, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines

Cagayan de Oro City is ideally located at the center of the northern coast of Mindanao island. In 1871, it became the capital of the 2nd district of Mindanao under a Spanish military governor and was the center of culture and commerce. Since the 1870s, the capital then known as Cagayan de Misamis, was considered the main port of entry to Mindanao for travelers coming from the Visayas and Luzon islands. Most of these travelers settled in Cagayan de Misamis and their families prospered, becoming prominent members of the community.
Today, Cagayan de Oro is one of the fastest growing cities of the country in terms of trade and investments. For decades the city has been considered the most peaceful in Mindanao and this has attracted a large group of migrants who came from other parts of the country including a rapidly growing number of foreigners. In fact, of the eleven elected Mayors since Cagayan de Oro became a chartered city in 1950, four of them came from migrant families.
The Cagayan de Oro Historical and Cultural Commission saw that with the city's high rate of migrancy came the introduction of different cultures to the local populace. There was a long period when the city's cultural landscape was described as "barren" since at that time, the local government did not include cultural and historical projects as its priorities.
The Commission started to take positive steps by creating a four-year program with the sole aim of promoting local history and culture to the people and to answer the frequently asked question of what Kagay-anon culture is all about. The program seeks to have the various sectors of the city, especially the local government, education, civic and media sectors, as partners so it can help create a sense of awareness and interest among the Kagay-anons of their past. This will help instill in them a sense of identity and pride of who they are as a people because of their rich cultural heritage. It is also the time to re-establish the city as the center of culture in Northern Mindanao just as it was during the Spanish colonial period.
The paper will present how the four-year program of the Cagayan de Oro Historical and Cultural Commission was developed and how this will be implemented with the different stakeholders of the city and partners in the national government and institutions.