The 2nd largest island in the Philippines is Mindanao, which is the southern  most part of the archipelago. It is  surrounded  by  the  Pacific  Ocean  to  the  east; Celebes Sea to the south and to the west is Sulu Sea. The  island  of  Mindanao is marked by  a peninsulas  and the largest of all is the ZAMBOANGA Peninsula.

It is  a semi circular peninsula extending  southwesterly  towards the  Sulu  Archipelago and  Borneo. The  peninsula  has an  area of  14,500 sq. km.   (5,600 sq. mile).

The ZAMBOANGA Peninsula was known as Sibugay or Sibuguey during the coming of the Spanish conquistadors. And later on was changed into Zamboanga from the capital town of the province which derived it's name from the  Malay  word  Sambangan meaning  a place where  wild flowers grow.  The  Spanish  colonialization  of Mindanao was done by sending missionaries and one of the sites was Sambangan. As the years went  by, the mispronunciation of Bisaya (North Borneo dialect) and Spanish words turned  into what is now today Zamboanga. On June 23, 1635 the town was officially called Zamboanga.  The boundary of the town of Zamboanga comprised  half  of  the  peninsula then.  The  entire  peninsula  was later called Zamboanga Peninsula although  the  easternmost  part of the peninsula belong to the Province of Misamis.

Before  the  Philippines was  ceded  to  the United States of America (Treaty of Paris), the peninsula was partly to the south  where  ZAMBOANGA city proper is the  Provincia Mora  and  towards the North where Dipolog City is a  part of the Provincia Misamis.  Dapitan district which includes  Dipolog was part of Provincia Misamis. 

Each province has a governor and  the whole Department of Mindanao  and Sulu has  also  a  governor.  From 1903 to 1913  Zamboanga City was the  capital of the Provincia Mora which comprise five  district,  namely ;  Cotabato,  Davao, Lanao, Zamboanga and Sulu


1898_PI_map2.jpg (342935 bytes)
Map of the Philippine circa 1903

In 1903, Judge William Howard Taft, President of the Second Philippine Commission   (Later on became the President of the United States of America) decreed Dapitan to be   separated  form  Cagayan de Oro and  annex to  Provincia Mora, which later on 1913 became part of the Province of Zamboanga .

One  day  in  the year  1910  the  Provincial  Governor of  Zamboanga  Province, Mr. Helper visited Dipolog on his way to Dapitan on horseback. He  was asked by the Dipolog town people that  Dipolog be separated from Dapitan. This  was  the beginning of the crusade to make Dipolog a Municipality.

On September 15,1911, the governing body of the Provincia Mora, the legislative council passed Act. No.272 converting the Municipality of Zamboanga into a city. The ceremony  was held on January 1, 1912 with  the  appointment of American Christopher F. Bader as the first City Mayor.

Also at almost  the  same  time created  the  provinces of  Davao, Lanao, Sulu, Zamboanga,  Cotabato,  Surigao, Butuan (a subprovicne of Surigao), Agusan (a sub province of Davao),  Malaybalay  (now  Bukidnon) and Misamis.  Misamis  was part of the Department of Cebu,  Agusan and  Surigao  was  District  of  Caraga during the Spanish era.

General  John  J.  Pershing,  Governor  of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu granted the petition to elevate Dipolog into a town.  On July 1, 1913,  amidst  a solemn inspiring ceremony John J. Pershing pronounced Dipolog as a Municipality from the balcony of the brand new Dipolog Municipal Hall and the appointment of Pascual T. Martinez as the first Municipal Mayor (called president at that time).

In 1942 during  the  Second  World War, Acting Governor Felipe B. Azcuna transferred the seat of the provincial government from ZAMBOANGA City to DIPOLOG. Thus making DIPOLOG the capital-in-fact of the ZAMBOANGA Province.

On  June  5, 1952,  a  bill  fathered  by  Roseller  Lim  became the  republic act 711. It created the Province of Zamboanga  del  Sur with Pagadian as its capital and Province of Zamboanga del Norte  and with Dipolog as the capital town.