Chinese Immigration, Settlement, Agriculture, and Commerce in Misamis in the Nineteenth Century

Rhina Alvero-Boncocan

University of the Philippines Los Baños

Faina A. Ulindang

Xavier University, Ateneo de Cagayan

Juvanni A. Caballero

Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology

Vol. 17 (2023): 40–74 | Download PDF


By the 1800s, the Misamis province of Northern Mindanao has been fully integrated into Spanish territory through a combination of force and proselytization. The ensuing peace stimulated Chinese immigration as agriculturists, commercial traders, and, for a limited number, laborers. The opening of the Philippines to world trade in the nineteenth century provided a stimulus for lucrative ventures into abaca, sugar, and copra. Thus, several Chinese based in Cebu and Manila ventured to the nearby island of Mindanao to stake their chances.

This study focuses on Chinese presence in Misamis, Northern Mindanao by the nineteenth century as well as its impact on the socio-economic transformations of the area. The paper likewise includes a narrative about opium smoking, which became widespread among these Chinese migrants for recreational and medicinal purposes. Eventually, it resulted in an increased demand for the prohibited drug that was also produced in Misamis. The paper concludes with the centrality of the Chinese migrant population in the development of Misamis as a highly urbanized region of Northern Mindanao.


Misamis, Chinese immigration, settlement, agriculture, commerce, opium trade