What it means to be Kagay-anon?

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By Susan Palmes-Dennis

Straight from Carolinas

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A KAGAY-ANON is a person from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines according to Wiktionary. It makes sense of course.

Now that we’ve answered what a Kagay-anon is, the next question would be, who is a person from Cagayan de Oro?

I think this question should be discussed and settled among those who are patriotic or feel strongly about the City of Golden Friendship.


For that matter, I think that question should also be asked and settled among those who feel strongly about the town or city they live or came from.

To tell you the truth, a person posted on Facebook that I am not a Kagay-anon. But never mind that name calling since it isn’t worth talking about.

I was born and graduated high school in Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental and had moved in Cagayan de Oro at College.

After graduating at St. Mary’s High School of Tagoloan town (don’t ask me anymore how many summers ago was that) I packed my bag with a few belongings and went to live with my uncle, the late Mauro Naelga who was working then with the Bureau of Internal revenue (BIR).

I was the errand girl for the bookkeeping works and messenger. I went to college at Liceo de Cagayan and finished college in four years. Then, I went to Xavier University (XU) for some units in Masters in Business Administration. I seldom went home to Tagoloan town because I was busy then. It was my parents and siblings who would be visiting me in the city.

I embraced Cagayan de Oro City as my own. I knew my neighbors by heart at Don Apolinar Velez street close to the Fatima Chapel. The Paderos were on the right, the Almirantes on the left, the Halasans and the Youngs at the back, the Ongs that owned that store in the corner and of course radio station dxCC. I did my marketing at Cogon market and my checkups at the provincial hospital or Mende Clinic.

Since my uncle worked on the papers of the businessmen I got to know some of these people to the extent that they were like family to me. After college, I work as one of the information officers at the Provincial Development Staff (PDS).

I took up Law at Xavier University and then joined the judiciary where I met many Kagay-anons in the course of my work. The city became “my home” as many other provincianos that embraced it since Cagayan de Oro is the capital of Misamis Oriental. After all we who lived in Misamis Oriental are all one- is there a difference if you are not born in Cagayan de Oro? Boundaries are only mentioned in books, they are political delineations that divide one territory from another.

But as neighbors in one province, we are all connected by that geographical umbilical cord, that all of us in the province are one. To say otherwise would be discrimination. Pardon me if my simple analysis is wrong. But I always considered myself as from Cagayan de Oro, only I was born in Tagoloan town. Would that make me less of a Kagay-anon?

In the course of my media work I became--like all the others who aren’t from the city but lived in it--concerned about what’s happening to Cagayan de Oro. I know what was happening and I am pained whenever something goes horribly wrong there.

I am so concerned about the city that when others chickened out in the last 15 years and lost hope for new leaders to be elected as officials of Cagayan de Oro, I was one of the voices in the wilderness who continued to lobby for a change in administration because I cared and continue to care.

Then when typhoon Sendong hit Cagayan de Oro, I cried here at North Carolina. When a bomb hit the city just recently I asked and continued to ask what has become of the only city I love. From where I live now, I embraced all that makes Cagayan de Oro what it is in essence, its traditions, history, stories and traits. I tried to help in my own ways.

There are many others like me even ex-Cagayan de Oro city mayor Vicente Emano who like me was born in Tagoloan town and the incumbent Mayor Oscar Moreno who is from Balingasag town. Are they not Kagay-anons also? The city and the province intersect each other and we share the values and traditions, we walk on the same path and blended together in the course of our journey

That if the city is sick the province is affected and if the province sneezes the city gets cold too. Such is the symbiotic relationship between Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.

People from the province or the satellite towns come to Cagayan de Oro. People in the city have families in the province. We share the same hopes for a better Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental. I might be wrong or am I too being presumptuous that deep inside I thought I belonged to the city?

There is that principle in law that by my act I become one.

But if there is another definition then I rest my case. The definition given by Tapok International that a Kagay-anon is anyone who was born or studied and lived in the City of Cagayan de Oro or a descendant of a Kagay-anon or affiliated to a Kagay-anon by marriage or affinity—then by this definition I think I am a Kagay-anon. At least their definition made my day.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 22, 2014.


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