Cabadbaran, officially known as the City of Cabadbaran (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Cabadbaran), is a sixth class component city and de jure capital of the province of Agusan del Norte, Philippines. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 80,354 people.

It is founded in 1894, the city rose from its Spanish period beginnings to become the premier town of Agusan del Norte. Its rich cultural heritage is evident in its preserved colonial period houses and its archaeological collections.

On August 16, 2000, the seat of provincial government was transferred from Butuan to Cabadbaran through Republic Act 8811, although the provincial government still holds office in Butuan City, pending the actual transfer of provincial offices to the new capital. Cabadbaran was officially declared a city in 2007.

Spanish Period

Traces of 12th century villages can be found near the waterways that pass through the territory of Cabadbaran. No records are found before the Spanish colonization except for a site in Sanghan where Chinese ceramics from 15th to 16th century were found.

Cabadbaran was first mentioned by the Spanish as a small village chosen by the Spanish authorities to be turned into a reduction called “La Reunion de Cabarbaran” in 1867. The reduction was mostly populated by people from Southern Agusan. Then in 1879, the reduction was disbanded. The inhabitants of the reduction went back to their places of origin while the remaining migrated to Tubay.

In 1880–1881, the reduction was revived by Father Saturnino Urios, but was named Tolosa to honor Father Urios’ hometown in Spain. In 1880, Tolosa was headed by the Teniente del Barrio Don Eduardo Curato. He petitioned to the Spanish authorities for the township application of Tolosa to be approved. On January 31, 1894, the petition was approved. The population and the economy grew, which was driven by agriculture and commerce. But the growth suddenly came to a halt when the revolution against Spain started. No significant turmoil affected the city until the coming of the American forces in 1901.

American Period

When the Americans arrived, Spanish forces were forced to surrender. Included with them was Capt. Andres Atega. Under the Americans, the town was called again as Cabadbaran (according to Don Andres Atega’s proposal).

In 1903, the public education system was established with George Bohner as the first American teacher. Public health also improved when Dr. Pedro Malbas was appointed as the Public Health Officer in the 1920s and constructed sanitary toilets, deep wells and drainage canals. Public infrastructure was also improved by the Americans.

Then in the 1935 Constitutional Convention,Dave “Kakoy” Gumop-as, a lawyer, represented Agusan. He then became the Governor and Congressman of the province of Agusan.

The local economy grew when it started producing abaca from coconut plantations established by the Americans. Rice was also grown and remained as staple crop grown in the fields up to this day. The Agusan-Surigao road opened in the 1930s and several bus lines started public service along this route.

World War II

Cabadbaran had been occupied at one time by those resisting the Japanese occupation of Mindanao. Eventually the Japanese occupied it. On January 17, 1945, combined American and Filipino troops including recognized guerrillas fought a force of Japanese troops on the road between Cabadbaran and Butuan. The Japanese were in the process of reinforcing their garrison at Butuan. The guerrillas retreated when Japanese reinforcements arrived. The guerrillas also had depleted their ammunition.

On March 31, 1945, Major Juan Rivera and a guerrilla detachment attacked the Japanese at Cabadbaran; the Japanese abandoned the post after an hour-long battle.

The general headquarters of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Philippine Constabulary was active on 1945 to 1946 in Cabadbaran during and aftermath of World War II.


On July 28, 2007, the municipality Cabadbaran becomes a city in the province of Agusan del Norte after ratification of Republic Act 9434.

The Supreme Court declared the cityhood law of Cabadbaran and 15 other cities unconstitutional after a petition filed by the League of Cities of the Philippines in its ruling on November 18, 2008. On December 22, 2009, the cityhood law of Cabadbaran and 15 other municipalities regain its status as cities again after the court reversed its ruling on November 18, 2008. On August 23, 2010, the court reinstated its ruling on November 18, 2008, causing Cabadbaran and 15 cities to become regular municipalities. Finally, on February 15, 2011, Cabadbaran becomes a city again including the 15 municipalities declaring that the conversion to cityhood met all legal requirements.

After six years of legal battle, in its board resolution, the League of Cities of the Philippines acknowledged and recognized the cityhood of Cabadbaran and 15 other cities.