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Building the City of Golden Friendship: The Growth of Cagayan De Oro’s Zones Based on the Model of Burgess*

Authored by: Mary Ann Faller Daclan, Mindanao State University at Marawi, PH; Lilian C de la Peña, Capitol University, Cagayan de Oro City, PH; Ordem K Maglente, Caraga State University, PH; Mary Anne M Polestina, Mindanao State University at Buug, Zamboanga Sibugay, PH


                                                         “The larger, the more densely populated, and the                                                                               more heterogeneous a community, the more                                                                                    accentuated the characteristics associated                                                                                        with urbanism will be.” – Louis Wirth

This paper explores the landscape of Cagayan de Oro, a highly urbanized city in northern Mindanao, southern Philippines. Exploration is based largely on interview with key informants and the use of secondary materials. Landscape change is examined in this paper to provide an initial perspective into deeper insights of the urbanization process that enveloped the city’s social context and unique character. The urbanization perspective forwarded by Burgess (in Park et al1925) is employed in this paper.

According to Burgess (1925) the typical processes of city expansion is best illustrated by a series of concentric circles, in which the area is differentiated through five successive zones, namely,

Zone I            – central business district

Zone II           – area of transition

Zone III          – worker’s place

Zone IV           – residential area of high-class apartment buildings or of                                                             exclusive “restricted” districts of single family dwellings

Zone V            – commuters’ zone

Burgess contends that cities do not just expand but,  rather, extend radially from the epicenter of economic activity. As extension takes place, the inner zone has the tendency to extend its area by invading the next outer zone. Thus, the physical expansion of an urban area, such as the city, is a consequence of its initial population expansion.

The process of urbanization is examined with the following objectives:

1) To determine the population of Cagayan de Oro City for the intercensal period of 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010.

2) To illustrate the pattern of physical expansion of Cagayan de Oro City.

3) To describe the zones of Cagayan de Oro City which are created out of its own physical and population expansion.

The physical and demographic changes over time for Cagayan de Oro are examined in order to provide a deeper discussion on the evolution and the consequent social issues created out of its own unique development. Thus, the following hypotheses will be tested:


Ho1: Increase in population results in the physical expansion of the city and the addition of zones.

Ho2: Population expansion is influenced by the development of the city’s commerce and business.

Conceptual Framework


Significance of the Study

            The findings of the study would benefit sociologists and other scholars in the field of social sciences. It may contribute to understanding of the effects of urbanization and the consequences of in-migration at the macro level. It will help policy makers, particularly the local government units, in identifying areas where urbanization mechanisms may contribute positively to the development of the city.

Limitations of the Study

            The study is limited only to the urban barangays of Cagayan de Oro City. For the quantitative part, there is heavy reliance on the availability of data from government institutions (city local government and the Philippine Statistics Authority). The non-uniformity of the census years for all involved variables render to the non-computation of statistical relationships.  There is no survey conducted for lack of time. This is, however, sufficed with the exhaustive in-depth interviews with reliable key informants. Observations have been done in numerous occasions, having been roaming around the city for years.

Operational Definition of Terms

            The following are terms used throughout the paper. In understanding the discussion and arguments forwarded by the authors, these terms require definition.

            Business ventures. This refers to manufacturing, whole and retail trade, micro-finance institutions, financial cooperatives, general merchandise, entrepreneurial pursuits that earn income, government taxes, and required to apply for business permits.

            In-migration. This refers to the number of internal migrants moving to an area of destination (or from an area of origin) (Poston 2006).  In this research, in-migration pertains to the number of people settling in the city of Cagayan de Oro using data from intercensal period of 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010.

            Physical Expansion. The natural adaptations to new types of social organization and analyzed through the theory of concentric zones (Burgess 1925). In this research, this refers to the visible and observable progression the city of Cagayan de Oro takes as it gradually widens from its smallest and simplest physical set-up into what it is at present, as retold by key informants.

             Population Expansion. This refers to the increase in the number of people residing in the city of Cagayan de Oro, as manifested in the data from intercensal period of 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010.

            Zones.  These refer to concentric circles with areas, according to Burgess (1925 in Park et al., 1925) differentiated through five successive zones. The Zone I is the central business district, the Zone II is the area of transition, the Zone III is the worker’s place, the Zone IV is the residential area of high-class apartment buildings or of exclusive “restricted” districts of single family dwellings and, finally, the Zone V is the commuters’ zone.  In this research, the zones refer to the particular areas in Cagayan de Oro City where Park et al identified five zones are located, created out of its own physical expansion.


            This section presents and discusses the research design, study site, method of data collection, instrument, ethical considerations, and analysis plan.

            Research Design

            This study used the descriptive design. It primarily described Cagayan de Oro City’s geographic and demographic characteristics. The description part is a scientific observation that is careful and deliberate. Hence, scientific descriptions, typically, are more accurate and precise than are the casual ones (Babbie 2014). Description of geographic characteristics focused on the city’s physical expansion. Demographic description encompassed the city’s population expansion as described through government records.

            Study Site

            The city is a first-class, highly-urbanized city, and the capital of Misamis Oriental. Previously, or until 1932, Cagayan de Oro is the capital of Misamis Province, comprised of Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental. Dubbed as Mindanao’s gateway, Cagayan de Oro has a land area of 488.9 sq. kms. and a population of 602,088 in 2010; and a population density of 1,500/ (see Fig 2). About 44 per cent of the household population classify themselves as ethnically mixed people, 22.15 per cent Cebuano, 4.38 per cent Boholano, and 28.07 as other ethnic groups, according to the 2000 census of the NSO. A large portion or 87 per cent of the city’s residents are Roman Catholic. But the number of Protestants has increased in number in recent years. About 20 Protestant churches have nestled in the city. Cebuano is the primary language spoken in the city.

            The city was founded in 1871 and proclaimed a charter city in June 15, 1950. The city serves as the regional and economic center of Region 10; and list as one of the ten most progressive and competitive cities in the Philippines. It is also the tenth most populous city in the country. The city has 57 urban barangays and 23 rural barangays.


            Cagayan de Oro is the melting pot of Mindanao because of its accessibility and business growth. Its economy is largely based on industry, commerce, trade, service and tourism. Investment in the city for the first six months of 2012 reached 7.4 billion pesos outpacing the local government unit’s expectation to nearly 100 per cent. Investments in the city are dominated by malls, high-rise hotels, condominiums, and convention centers. The net income of the city is pegged at 2,041,036,807.89 billion pesos.

            Methods of Data Collection

            A combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques was used for data gathering. For qualitative aspect, interviews and observation were used. For the quantitative part, data mining was used to obtain pertinent information from secondary sources.

            Key Informant Interview

            Interview with key informants was employed but in different time periods. Actual interview by all authors with a key informant for this study was made with one individual, an anthropologist conducting research on the history and social anthropology of the city. The interview was conducted in the informant’s office in Corrales Avenue, Cagayan de Oro on May 5, 2017 (for the interview guide, see Appendix A). Previous interviews made by one of the authors, de la Peña, on January 5, 2014 with two long-time residents of Balulang and Puntod are included in the paper. The data gained from these interviews provide valuable information on the development of these communities.

            Non-Participatory Observation

            The authors also made separate observations of Cagayan de Oro’s communities. De la Peña observed the barangays of Puntod and Balulang: Daclan on the barangays of Carmen and Bulua; Polestina on the barangays of Lapasan and Lumbia; and Maglente on the barangays of Cugman and Gusa.

            Data Mining

            Secondary materials and sources informed the discussion. The works of Madigan (1985), Ulack and others (1985), and Ulack (1978) on Cagayan de Oro are very helpful in understanding the spatial development and change of the city.

            The maps used in this paper were derived out of the Geographic Information System. They were taken from various sources, particularly Xavier University Engineering Resource Center (XU-ERC) and the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) of Cagayan de Oro. These maps were used to examine the spatial variations with regards to the physical expansion of the City over the years.

            Explorations on demographic changes is largely based on secondary materials from various city and regional offices, namely, the City Planning and Development Office and the regional office of the Philippine Statistical Authority.


            For the qualitative aspect, the researchers framed guides for the interviews and observation. A question guide for the key informants was used to obtain information corresponding to the objectives of the study (Appendix A). An observation guide was used to provide focus to the researchers during the conduct of observation. That the researchers may not waste time what to look for; instead, they immediately spot on the objects they need to observe and record.

            Ethical Considerations

            Imperative in the conduct of this research is the observance of research ethics, from the conceptualization to the report-writing stage and all the more during the data collection.  An oral consent was obtained from the key informants prior to the conduct of the interviews. The key informants were duly informed of the study’s objectives and assured of confidentiality (e.g., no names to be mentioned in the report or in any medium such as paper presentation, and no taking of picture).  Prior to the start of the in-depth interviews, an expressed consent was obtained from the key informants.

            Analysis Plan

            For the qualitative part, specific responses to the questions in the recorded interviews were encoded, sorted, and categorized according to objectives of the study.  The data were integrated in the presentation of the results of the study.

            For the quantitative part, the data culled were encoded in Microsoft Excel for computations of intercensal change and graphing purposes. The unit of analysis is the city of Cagayan de Oro focusing on the physical and population expansions through the use of census in years 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010.  Five-year surveys’ trend is established and depicted in graphic forms.

Formula Used

            Intercensal Increase shows the percent increase in a demographic element (like population count) within a ten-year period. It is obtained by subtracting the percent population in present year (for instance 2010) with the percent population in past year (for instance 2000) divided by percent population of past year (2000) multiplied by one hundred to have the percentage.

intercensal increase formula.jpg

            Intercensal analysis is used for the city’s data on population involving census years 1960to 2010. Hence, calculation of five intercensal percent change was done. For clearer presentation, graphs are made based on the raw data from secondary sources, particularly the Philippine Statistics Authority census.

            Lieberson’s Index of Population Diversity is where S is the sum of squares of the proportion of the community’s population affiliated with each ethnic grouping. The result varies from 0.00 when all people come from one ethnic group, to a value very close to 1.00 when everyone is a stranger to everyone else.

            Calculation is easier when all elements for a variable (mother tongue or ethnic affiliation) are all placed on the first column. The frequency counts for each element are placed on the corresponding second column. On the third column are the P values, which are individually obtained for each element by dividing each frequency with the total frequency. On the fourth column should be the square of P (P2). The total of squared P values is the S. Formula: LIPD = 1.00 – S.


            This section presents the results of the study following the research objectives of this paper.

1) Population Expansion of Cagayan de Oro

            Based on available data from the Philippines Statistics Authority (formerly National Statistics Office), the city of Cagayan de Oro has increment population from 1960 to 2010 (Figure 3). As previously mentioned, Cagayan de Oro became a city in June 15, 1950.  But it took her 1,660 years to raise its first 1,000 settlers (CDOC PDO).  To continue the presentation of CDOC PDO, it was only after 205 years when some 9,000 people were added. And this means that in 1873 the city, then known as Cagay-an, had its first 10,000 people.

            Actual Population: 1960 – 2010

            Cagayan de Oro has a consistent and continuous increase of five-decade (1960 to 2010) actual population counts of the city (see Fig 3).  The figures for these periods are consistent to the population situation of the whole country. Census data for 1960 suggest that Cagayan de Oro had contributed about one-third of one per cent (.30%) to the country’s total population of 27 million. With each passing decade, as Cagayan de Oro’s population increased in thousands, the country’s population increased in millions. Hence, by 2010, Cagayan de Oro contributed .65% to the Philippines’ population of 92 million. This is a tiny fraction of the country’s total population, but a considerable double figure increase for the city since 1960.

cdo actual pop 1970 - 2010.jpg

            Intercensal change to Actual Population: 1960 – 2010

            Highest intercensal population is evident during the periods of 1960 and 1980 (see Fig 4). The highest upsurge of the city’s population occurred from 1960 to 1970, an all-time high of 83.31%. This was followed by still high percent increase of 77% in the next decade (1970-1980).  This explosive growth of population may be a consequence of synergistic effects of combined high fertility, low mortality, and dynamic migration.  There may have been increased gap between births and deaths.  It may be worthwhile to note that the decade 1970 to 1980 was characterized by socio-political turmoil in the whole country due to martial law. It may have affected the movements of people from chaotic and unstable neighboring communities prompting in-migration to a promising Cagayan de Oro City.

cdo actual pop 1970 - 2010 Intercensal Change.jpg

            Though there appears to be a continuous increase in the city’s population in the successive decades, the increase appears to taper into about less than half in comparison to the increase in the earlier periods. On the whole, the city’s five-period intercensal increase in its population was higher than the Philippines’ figures (in red). It seems that in this part of the country, population soared higher during these particular decades.

            New Residents: 1995 – 2005

            There may be dearth of data to explain the upsurge of population in Cagayan de Oro City from 1960 to 1990. But, in the succeeding years, there appears to be a demographic variable found to be at play in the city’s population intercensal increase.  In the following decades, particularly 2000 and 2010, census data reveal data on the specific question “where were you five years ago?” Figure 4.1 shows the number of residents in Cagayan de Oro City who admitted that they just became residents of the city in 1995 and 2005. These in-migrants totaled to 24, 376 in 1995 and 33,334 in 2005.

            Of the migration data (Figure 4.1), it appears that there were more women than men who in-migrated to, and became residents of, the city from 1995 to 2005. Predominance of women in-migrants to the city continued through these years. A scenario exemplified over half intercensal increase of men and women migrants in 2005 from ten years before (in 1995). Men migrants constituted 50.65% intercensal increase to the population. Women migrants were recorded at 56.71%.

cdo HH pop not reidents 5yrs ago by sex 2000 and 2010.jpg

            Barangay Population: 1990 – 2000

            With in-migration to the city that brought about an increase to the population, new residents add up to the existing population at the barangay level.  In which barangays these new residents prefer to live is where they consider beneficial to them factoring in their daily budget for transportation towards their jobs and at the same time saves them time in commuting. Figure 4.2 depicts the population of selected urban barangays of Cagayan de Oro City in 1990 and 2000 census. These are the urban barangays with 800 and over population count.

CDO brangays pop 1980 to 2000 with arrows.jpg

            As depicted by the line graph (Fig 4.2), the 13 urban barangays with over 800 actual population counts can be grouped into two categories when it comes to population change. The two categories nearly have equal proportions of barangays. The areas that have decreasing population are Barangays 15, 32, 31, 25, 23, and 10. And, those that show increasing population are Barangays 26, 13, 17, 22, 18, 27, and 24. When plotted on the Cagayan de Oro City’s map, what is noticeable is the proximal distance of these highly populated barangays (of over 800 actual population count) to each other, all situated within the core of the city. In Figure 4.2.1, Barangay 18 is located between Magsaysay Street and Capistrano Street, Del Pilar Street, and the Marcos Bridge area. Evident also is the decreasing population of barangays close to Barangay 1 or the city center where the city hall is located. In contrast, population has been increasing for barangays where business and commerce expanded in the 1990s, specifically Corrales Extension and Recto Avenue.

CDO map3.jpg

            Figure 4.3 depicts the intercensal change of the highly populated barangays in Cagayan de Oro City. It is Barangay 24 that has the highest intercensal change, with almost two hundred per cent (184%) population increase from 1990 to 2000. Situated at the city’s core, this barangay is at the crossroads of Sergio Osmeña and Claro M. Recto streets, which leads to Limketkai Drive. Beyond this is the location of two of the earlier big malls in the city – Limketkai Mall and Gaisano City. Next to these malls, this decade saw the establishment of two gigantic malls – Centrio Ayala in 2012 and SM Downtown Primier in 2017.  Barangay 24 may have barely a thousand population count until 2010, however, should its intercensal per cent change continues in the next decade, it is highly probable that by 2020, this barangay’s population may double up.


            Barangay 32 has decreased intercensal percent change of -.40%. This area is mostly occupied by business establishment, near Oro Rama Department Store. As what Dr Sealza (2017) mentioned, there may be many people seen in the area on a daily basis, but these people are there only for business transactions. By nighttime, these people have already gone back to their residences, in another barangays.

            Occupied Housing Units in Barangays

            There are ten barangays in Cagayan de Oro City with over 300 occupied housing units by 2010 (Fig 5). Barangay 26 has the most increase of occupied housing units since 1990 (along Recto Avenue).There were only 366 housing units in 1990 that leaped to 542 in 2000. Barangay 13 also had only 221 occupied housing units in 1990, but shoot up to 492 by 2000. Barangay 18 had 463 occupied housing units in 2000 from its 254 in 1990. These data on occupied housing support the data on increased population count in the same barangays for the same census year 2000 (Fig 4.2).

            While these barangays had increased occupied housing units, Barangays 25 and 32 had decreased occupied housing units in the same year.  These are consistent with the data on decreased population count in the same barangays for the same census year 2000 (Fig 4.2). This appears to be a good indication that the number of people in these barangays has corresponding houses to stay.  The other barangays, though there is a leaning for increase or decrease, only manifested slight change.

cdo occupied housing units Intercensal Change.jpg

            With over a hundred per cent (123%) change, Barangay 13 has the highest intercensal change in occupied housing units. This is followed by Barangay 18 with 82% intercensal change. These two barangays both have increased population in 2000 (Fig 4.2).  These barangays also are near to each other, in the northwestern part of Cagayan de Oro City, just at the edge of the core part of the city, where zone 2 also starts. Noticeable is Barangay 15 which has almost no change in its occupied housing units in ten-year period.

            There is over a quarter (-27%) intercensal decrease on the occupied housing units of Barangay 25. This is followed by Barangay 32 with -23% intercensal decrease. These two barangays are opposite each other. Barangay 25 is at the northern part of the core city while Barangay 32 is at the southern part.

CDO brangays pop intercensal change 1980 to 2000.jpg

            Lieberson’s Index of Population Diversity

            For census 2000, there are forty-two (42) different mother tongue listed (Box 1).  Following the formula learned from class (Urban Sociology), the result of the calculated proportion is 0.9024, which gives a Lieberson’s result of 0.0976.

Lieberson's Index of PD CDo 1990 box1a

2) Physical Expansion of Cagayan de Oro

            Expansion of Built Areas, 1950s-2000s

            The physical expansion of Cagayan de Oro is captured in Landsat images for the period of 1953, 1973, 1992, 2002, and 2006 (Sabines and Guanzon 2007). The Landsat images below clearly present the growth of the city’s built area, particularly concrete roads, houses, and other structures as captured through satellite imaging (see Fig 6). Likewise, based on the same images it can readily be noticed that built areas were initially developed along the banks of Cagayan de Oro River as evidenced by the 1953 satellite image. Two decades later, the same trend can be noticed as the built area expanded along the river banks and close to the seashore of Macajalar Bay. Nineteen years later, expansion continued with the creation of more built areas along the river bank and Macajalar Bay. Starting in 2002, specifically, built areas increased and were added to the upper sections of the city, notably Upper Carmer and Lumbia. The same goes with regard to expansion of areas along the other side of the Cagayan de Oro river.

            The physical expansion of Cagayan de Oro as presented by the images taken for several periods is affirmed by one informant. A key informant who has studied the history of the city and who has also conducted archaeological excavations of its first settlement, the Huluga, described the expansion of Cagayan de Oro.

            Transferring the Settlement Downstream

            The first settlement named Huluga is located on the upper portion of the city, where the barangays of Lumbia, Taguanao, and the old CDO airport, are all located. This is believed to be the first settlement prior the arrival of three Recollect friars from Caraga. The Huluga site was excavated by the National Museum in 1970 and unearthed were human bones, pottery shreds, and other household implements, such as obsidian knife, that clearly reveal a settlement before the country’s Spanish period. The Archaeology department of the University of the Philippines, however, believes that Huluga is merely a temporary shed for the early inhabitants on their way downstream of the river to trade products. The clear information coming out of these perspectives is the presence of the early inhabitants in the site.

expansion maps.jpg

            The Recollect friars, it is said, came from Butuan and visited Huluga in order to convince Datu Salangsang, the leader of the settlement, to be converted from his animist practice to Catholicism. It did not take long for the friars to get Salangsang into their religion. The conversion was facilitated by the military skill of one friar who trained Salangsang and his men how to defend themselves from the Moro raiders of Kabungsuwan. Part of imparting military skill to Salangsang’s men is the fortification of the settlement.

            In order to fortify settlement safe from the raiders, it was transferred to the lower section, today the Gaston Park. Salangsang’s men with the help of the military-friar were able to fend off the Moro raiders, and from then on never returned to Huluga. The defeat of the Moto raiders is the reason why the settlement is first called Kagayhang or the place of shame for the Muslims.

            The Start of Development

            It did not take long for the new settlement to prosper beside the river. There could be inter-island trade, possibly facilitated by the huge river that comes across the city.  Archaeological artifacts on display at the Museo de Oro at Xavier University reveal the presence of Chinese and Vietnamese porcelain jars and powder cases.

            Beside the settlement was established the Catholic church, now the San Agustin Cathedral, the office of the alcalde mayor, and the plaza. The plaza complex, so popular among Spanish-established towns in the Philippines, also guided the initial development of the city. The area became also the residence of migrants coming from the Visayas and Luzon – and these were traders such as the Roa family and the educated town administrators, such as the Corrales and Velez families.  It was also during this time that the name Kagayhang was changed to Cagayan de Misamis, capital of Misamis Province until 1932. Later on, when it became a charter city in 1950, Oro was added to mean gold, as this mineral was panned out of the river before. Moreover, almost all places in the country with big rivers are named Cagayan, such as Cagayan in the north.

            The initial commercial area of Cagayan is Casa Real, present day Burgos. Casa Real was demolished in 1910 to give way to the town hall. Commerce transferred to what is now Divisoria from Burgos. Later on, Burgos became a residential area. While the old character of Burgos can still be felt today its current state is one of houses very near each other and most in dilapidated condition.

            Beside Divisoria or at the other end of Calle Real is the town market where the amphitheatre can also be found. The predecessor of this town market could be beside the river where the first settlement was. The town market was transferred to Cogon in the mid 1980s or during the time of Mayor Justiniano “Tinying” Borja whose family owned areas there. Borja donated part of his land for the market to be transferred in 1958 to Cogon. As the place name suggests, the area before the market’s transfer is filled with cogon grass. With the transfer of the market to Cogon, the amphitheatre was also demolished.

            Xavier University, a boy’s school at first, was first established by the Jesuits beside the plaza, or beside the girl’s school Lourdes College. But the Jesuits later transferred their school to its present location beside Divisoria for lack of space for expansion in the former location. Corrales Avenue, the present location of Xavier has so much land to offer before the Second World War. The area could not have been ideal for residence and business because it had a cemetery there before owned by the PIC or by the Aglipayan Church. Houses sprouted more along Corrales later in time with the evacuation there of residents from Camiguin Island following the eruption of Hibok-hibok in 1953. The development of Divisoria as an area for commerce also created other residential settlements, particularly Macasandig.

            During the time of Mayor Tirso Neri, whose family owned the land in Divisoria, the area was always burnt down to ashes. The good mayor decided to donate his family’s land, and built the center aisle to prevent fire from spreading to both sides of the street. Tirso Neri comes from the Spanish Neri of Cagayan de Oro and of different descent from the Muslim Neri who used to own a large part of the city. The Muslim Neri are relatives to the families of Rivera, Pelaez, Marfori, and Chavez.

            The area of present-day Lim ket Kai Mall, Capitol University, and Centrio Mall during this time had very few houses. The area also was inundated every high tide or when it rained hard. There were very few houses on this area until the establishment of some business outfits, which the biggest is Coca Cola Bottling Company. Houses there before stood on stilts, similar to the few residences in Barangays Puntod and Macabalan. It was also in the 1950s the port of Cagayan de Oro was established. The establishment of the port attracted more residents, particularly the laborers of paper mills that sprouted in Puntod-Macabalan together with the port.

CDO map zones.jpg

            It is interesting to look into the establishment of major commercial outfits currently present in Cagayan de Oro (Table 1). This validates the expansion of business and, likewise, the expansion of residential areas in a radial manner.

CDo establishments.jpg

            The case of Balulang

            Upper Carmen, specifically Masterson Avenue, where one can now find Xavier Heights, SM Shoemart, and other posh subdivisions such as Xavier Heights, Pueblo came later when the Jesuits bought the grazing lands owned by the families of  Chavez, Avancena, and Roa (based on interview with one pioneering family in Balulang by de la Peña, date of interview January 19, 2014 ). There were caretakers and some few settlers up to Balulang. These pioneering settlers cultivated coconut and earned from its copra as by-product. A certain member of the Roa family built a merchandise store on what is now the center of Balulang. In this store, the enterprising Roa engaged in retail with the settlers – by buying their copra and in turn exchanged it with household stuff. At this time, Balulang was filled with trees and coconuts and the cows raised by the settlers for the three wealthy families. Nowadays, the land of Balulang is filled with residential houses inside gated subdivisions, mostly for professionals. There is also a significant population of Muslim residents in the area and a mosque is established.

            When these lands were bought by the Jesuits in the 1980s where they established their College of Agriculture, SEARSOLIN and the Xavier Science Foundation, development followed them there. The area is now becoming a residential area for middle class families. The settlers were provided residential lands inside Xavier Heights Subdivisions but only after heated engagement and negotiation.

            After the 1990s real estate development also developed to cater to the demands of the informal settlers. It is interesting to note that first generation migrants who came as laborers gave way to educated children – the second generation settlers, who demanded for better communities.   Middle class housing was made available to them in areas such as Upper Carmen, at the outskirts of the city such as Opol.

            The case of Puntod

            Puntod is a barangay located at the rim of Cagayan de Oro River and Macajalar Bay. It is an offshoot of the population expansion of nearby Macabalan. The pioneering families, particularly Beja and Dacer, of Puntod came from Macabalan. Puntod is part of the 1980s NHA project RCDP with the World Bank. Many residents of Puntod are Bol-anon and Cebuano who came in as labourers of the many factories that sprouted within the area for the period of 1950s-1960s (interview with one pioneering family member of Puntod by de la Peña, dated 2014 March 5). In the 1970s, most sections of Puntod are with water, especially during high tide. Houses there were on stilts. These watery areas were reclaimed later on, and which gave way to concrete houses. Presently, only a tiny portion of Puntod have houses on stilts.

            The warehouses are still present in Puntod but, generally, it is a residential area for first generation settlers and pink-collar workers from rural areas who seek room for rent in the area. The renting out scheme could have also been facilitated by social networks. Homeowners and renters may have come from the same areas in the neighboring rural provinces.

            Informal settlers

            The case of Cagayan de Oro’s informal settlers is an interesting discussion to look into in-migration. These urban informal settlers came to the city for social opportunities but they initially start out their residence as squatters. There were informal settlers all over the area of Puntod-Macabalan because of the port and the opportunity to earn from its daily activities. The National Housing Authority (NHA) and the city government, with loan coming from the World Bank, engaged in the RCDP a project that started in 1984 to establish communities of people and to distribute lands to settlers. These were mostly migrants to the city who came in to partake of the economic opportunities. The same arrangement was made for the informal settlers of upper Carmen.

            The work of Ulack (1978) reveals that the oldest respondents have lived in the city as early as 1949. The Recto Avenue squatter settlement is the oldest in the city.

            The Coca Cola Bottling Company found on the Recto Avenue attracted settlement for the squatters. Other more established squatter areas as found in Macabalan, the Piaping Puti and Piaping Itum. Macabalan is where the container port is found. The other recently opened squatter area during Ulack’s interview is Lapaz beside the proposed, at that time, Agora market. Out of the 241 respondents of Ulack from three established squatter areas of Cagayan de Oro in the late 1970s, the highest number of them says they are engaged in labor jobs. The table below shows the labor number employed by the CDO port. It is most likely that this labor force have found settlement in the nearby squatter areas.

CDO unskilled labor force.jpg

            The expansion of business pursuits in the city was mentioned, albeit anecdotal, b the key informants and the secondary materials. During most part of the Spanish Period or until the American Period commerce was only engaged in the Calle Real, or the present day Burgos Street, beside the political center of the city. The business area expanded to include the watery sections of the city in the 1960s.

            The data on the city’s business and commerce are mostly recent and, therefore, the significant change per decade cannot be clearly gleaned. Currently, there are 22 industrial establishments, foreign and local, listed in the inventory prepared by the City Planning and Development Office. These industrial establishments are in the categories of agriculture, pharmaceutical, and electronics. While the data are recent, it is still evident that business is booming in the city as seen on the revenue data gained from manufacturing establishments.

CDO Business data - from Lilian 1.jpg

            This growth is seen also on the increasing number of banks and financial institutions (see Fig 5). From the categories indicated in the graph below only two types of financial institutions are dwindling, namely, the finance cooperatives and rural banks. Upsurge is evident on the number of pawnshops, micro finance institutions, and finance cooperatives.

Fig 7.1 Number of Banks and Financial Institutions.jpg

            The above data are corroborated by the increasing number of business permits issued from the year 2006 to 2010 (Fig 8). Greatest increase within this period is seen for 2009-2010. In the succeeding period of 2011-2015, the same trend of increasing number of approved permits can be seen from the data.

List of Business Permits Issued by Type Cagayan de Oro City

Fig 8 List of Business Permits Issued by Type Cagayan de Oro City 2006 to 2010.jpg

Fig 8.1 Number of Business Registrations Cagayan de Oro City 2011 - 2015.jpg

            The highest number of business permits issued by the city is under the business category of wholesale and retail trade, followed by community, social and personal services. In the latter category, it is evident that entrepreneurial pursuits are significantly carried out in the city. Mining and quarrying have the lowest number.


            The history of Cagayan de Oro, including the recent past, points out to development and progress. The “city of golden friendship” which Cagayan de Oro is known for, together with another popular description “the gateway to Mindanao” projects an image of economic growth and prosperity. Indeed, in its regional context, Cagayan de Oro appears to be the most modern, that is gauged by its number of shopping malls and entertainment, in relation to another urbanized city, Iligan and other cities, such as, Ozamis, Tangub, El Salvador, Malaybalay, and Valencia. This seeming progress, however, is hosted by numerous factors, both spatial and temporal, that contribute to what the city is now.

            In this paper, the landscape of Cagayan de Oro is examined using various data on population and physical expansion. Both sets of data are important in analyzing the unique character of the city. Burgess’s model of city expansion is used. The data gathered for this paper reveal similarities to what Burgess found out in the West.

            Based on the historical account of Madigan (1995) the city of Cagayan de Oro started out a settlement along the riverbank of the Cagayan River. This settlement is a resettlement site, actually, of a community of Higaunon who inhabit Macahambus Cave, located on the upper Western portion of the city. Constant raid from the Moro and advice from a Recollect to move downstream to better protect themselves from piratical attacks moved the community to relocate. The first settlement downstream is beside the current location of Gaston Park and the Saint Augustine Cathedral.

            Spanish colonization changed the landscape into a plaza complex, and herein followed the establishment of sections categorized into commercial, political, residential for the upper class and another residential area for the lower class. From then on, the population of Cagayan de Oro has been increasing together with progress in business and commerce. The labor requirement of a city that is dependent on the service sector has resulted in the increase of population, most probably in-migrants from neighboring areas. However, the Lieberson Index of Population Diversity for Cagayan de Oro’s 2000 census data on ethnicity reveals a result of 0.0976. The result is lower than 1.0 and nearer to 0, and which indicates that Cagayan de Oro’s population is less diverse. This is congruent to the analysis of Costello and others (1982) of major cities in the country. Costello and others analyze a less ethnic diverse population because of the unique cultural migration trait of the Filipinos to migrate as a family, or to have a chain of migration coming from the same areas. It is common, for instance, to have communities in urban areas named “Little Bohol,” Little Cebu,” or “New Bohol” signifying the dominance of these ethnic groups in particular areas.

            The phenomenon of less ethnic diversity, however, in urban areas such as Cagayan de Oro does not downplay the increase in its population. Based on census data, the city has increment population from 1960 to 2010. Before this period, population increase was staggered and slow, but there was increase nevertheless. However, intercensal population is evident during the periods of 1960 and 1980. The highest upsurge of the city’s population occurred from 1960 to 1970, an all-time high of 83.31%. This was followed by still high percent increase of 77% in the next decade (1970-1980). The population of women has grown more than men during the same period. These data appear to be in consonance to what Todaro explained about predominance of women migrants from rural to urban areas. And, a bigger fraction of these women migrants to the urban areas usually join the informal sector (Todaro and Smith 2012), having lower competitiveness in terms of education and skills required for by the formal sector. Despite lesser opportunities that await in-migrants from rural areas in the city, men and women, nevertheless, opt to be in the city for better wages in comparison to what their area of origin could offer. There is also the presence of recreation areas in the city that rural areas lack, which pose attraction that beckons young men and women of adventurous nature.

            Business appears to grow also during the period of 1960-1980. The data gathered from several sources on the year of establishment of major business outfits in Cagayan de Oro reveal the building of major shopping malls during the same time, particularly Oro Rama in 1969, as well as the container port in Macabalan in 1971, the multinational company Nestle in Tablon in 1983. These major business outfits did not only contribute to the increase of revenue but also to the entry of laborers. The number of unskilled laborers for the container port within the decade of 1970-1980 reveals highest number in the initial years of the 1970s. The entry of laborers also required the expansion of built areas to give way to residential structures, may it be on middle class residential areas of slums and squatters.

            The lands at images over the years (Sabines and Guanzon 2007) present succinctly the growth of built areas in Cagayan de Oro. Specifically, the growth reveals expansion in a radial manner as observed by Burgess in the West. Interviews with a key informant from Balulang reveal the growth of this community from real estate development. What used to be a timberland and grazed by the cows of three prominent families is now a hub for middle class housing units. The development of Puntod is a little different. While conversion took the form of reclamation, Puntod took in labourers from the paper milling factories and other factories that opened there together with the development and enlargement of the container port in 1971. The population within Puntod-Macabalan area significantly increased during this time that a World Bank project in the 1980s was initiated to formally house the laborers and in-migrants.

            Ulack (1975) examined the biggest squatter areas in the city and found out their close proximity to major business outfits. Particularly, the squatter area along Recto Avenue in Barangay 22 grew to house the laborers of the Coca Cola Bottling Company located on the same street. Recent data gathered on the business and trade of the city reveals continuous growth. The population is still growing but the highest intercensal increase is seen for the period of 1960-1970. This period also saw the growth of squatter areas in the city as revealed by Ulack.

            The outward physical expansion of Cagayan de Oro is evident with the establishment of residential areas on the outskirts of the city. The upper section of Balulang and Lumbia are now filled with subdivisions, and so are areas on the other side if the city, particularly Iponan. These are commuter’s zone or the fifth zone in Burgess model. It would take a commuter almost one hour to reach this zone coming from the loop or the first zone following the same model of Burgess. The middle zones are occupied with business districts and squatter areas intermeshed in a web of economic relations. The nature of business in this zone is changing. Coca Cola Bottling started out at the heart of the city but now has transferred to Villanueva. What remains of the business zone now are shopping malls and groceries, shops, and hotels and restaurants.

            The residential areas beside the first zone of the Loop have given way to these commercial outfits. Barangays closest to the city center where the city hall is located all have decreasing number of population and housing units, as revealed by census data. It is evident that these areas have been fully converted to business and commerce and with a decreased number of night-time population.

            Based on the data gathered and consequent analysis made, the two hypotheses forwarded in this paper hold ground. Indeed, population increase is evident on the census together with the establishment of significant and large scale business and commerce in the city. Both phenomena results in the physical expansion of the city, specifically a radial expansion outward. The tidal zone along Puntod-Macabalan has been reclaimed to give way to housing units and the timberland of Balulang and Lumbia, as well, for middle class subdivisions. The same is true for the agricultural lands of Iponan which is similarly filled with housing units. These housing units were built for the labour force that fuels Cagayan de Oro’s modernization and urbanization.


Babbie, Earl.  2001.  The Practice of Social Research, 9thed.  California, USA: Wadsworth/ Thompson Learning.

Burgess, Ernest W. 1925. “The Growth of the City: An Introduction to a Research Project.” Pp 47-62 in The City, edited by M. Janowitz. USA: The University of Chicago Press.

Costello, Michael A, Federico V Magdalena, and Isaias S Sealza. 1982. “Community Modernization, In-migration and Ethnic Diversification: The Philippines, 1970-1975.” Philippine Sociological Review 30:3-14.

Lieberson, Stanley. 1969. “Measuring Population Diversity.” American Sociological Review, 34: 850-862.

Madigan SJ, Francis. 1995. The Early History of Cagayan de Oro. The Local Historical Sources of Northern Mindanao, edited by FR Detmetrio, SJ, pp.1-38. Cagayan de Oro City, Xavier University.

Philippine, Republic of the. Various census and data sets. Philippine Statistics Authority Census Compilation.

Poston, Dudley L. 2006.Migration. In Turner, Bryan S. (ed) The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.

Sabines, Mark Alexis and Yvette B Guanzon. 2007.  A look at Cagayan de Oro: Past, Present, and Future. Southeast Asian-German Summer School on Urbanization.Powerpoint material accessed at on 24 November 2014.

Todaro, Michael P and Stephen C Smith. 2012. Urbanization and Rural-Urban Migration: Theory and Policy. Economic Development, 11th ed. USA: Addison-Wesley.

Ulack, Richard. 1978. “Role of Urban Squatter Settlements.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 68(4):535-550.

Ulack. Richard, MA Costello, M Palabica – Costello. 1985. “Circulation in the Philippines” Geographical Review 75(4): 439-450.

Wirth, Louis. 1938. Urbanism as a Way of Life. The American Journal of Sociology 44(1):1-24.

Appendix A. Interview Guide for Key Informant

Interviewers introduce themselves

Introduce the objectives of the interview

Present ethical consideration followed

Secure permission of the respondent

  1. Do you have a favorite story of Cagayan de Oro?
  2. How is this story related to the development of the city?
  3. Can you tell us about the initial settlements of the city?
  4. When was the first settlement established?
  5. Who are the pioneering families?
  6. Are these families still here in the city?
  7. When did the city start to grow economically?
  8. What is the direction of its growth?
  9. Did this economic development attract in-migrants?
  10. Presently, the city has a huge population what could be the most significant factor of this development?
  11. What are the social problems developed out if this growth?

Interviewers thanking the respondent.

Appendix A. Checklist for Observation

Zone I

  • Business establishments
  • Government offices
  • Parks
  • Churches
  • Tall buildings
  • High density

Zone II

  • Deteriorated housing
  • Abandoned buildings
  • Slums

Zone III

  • Boarding houses
  • Warehouses
  • Single houses tenements

Zone IV

  • Single family homes
  • Garages /yards
  • Warehouses
  • Garden

Zone V

  • Large houses
  • Large gardens
  • Open spaces
  • Less density
  • Car parks

*This piece of work is a research output from collaborative efforts of  teammates Mary Ann  F Daclan, Lilian C de la Peña, Ordem K Maglente and Mary Anne M Polestina in Urban Sociology course (Summer 2017, PhD Program, XU-ADCU, CDO under Dr. IS Sealza) 

Forgiving The Insecure and Fearful

Just as I and my classmate entered the conference room where our professor hold her small classes, our professor told us that the class really waited for us because somebody said that I, particularly blurting out my name, did not understand the requirement. There is a need to wait for us before the re-explanation of the requirement because I said I did not understand. I was actually gaping as I listened to it while putting down my bag and pulling out a chair to sit. What??? I know I never said such words to anyone. Even to me. I never said that I do not understand because I DO. Really there’s an urge to swear.

fearful.jpgSo, who is using my blessed name to cover up her own frailties? There is no man in our class, that’s why. Compassionate Lord, please tone down my temper, I silently prayed. Then the re-explanation by my professor was done. Still, my mind’s flying in the atmosphere trying to look for a logical sense in what I heard a while ago. Nonsense, I am not an oracle. But, we humans or because I belong to the sex of women, have the so called intuition. I have a hunch. I can feel it. And I remember a former colleague warning me about his present colleague’s greasing her way to the authority by bad-mouthing him. In one of my bus-rides towards CDO, I chanced to sit beside this male doctor in language. For the next two hours of bus mobility, we exchanged life and work updates. One of the topics mentioned was about the common women we now know.  Whoa, my mind’s telling me, is this now one of those antics of hers? My stomach churns I want to vomit. How low can she be.  Lo and behold, I can feel a bigger part of my brain saying just to let it slide and release understanding instead.

True enough, my wild beast side retreated in the recesses of my being. Wow. Had this been in my 20s and 30s, this would have been a riot. I am fearless when angered. I do not care who am I confronting. What was important to me is to ventilate my rightful wrath. To stand my ground. To not allow anyone step on my toes. I remember asking a cashier at a RTW store for scissors because I will cut to pieces the branded pants (Forenza) I already paid and another staff of the store assured me earlier that I can change size but ended up being told by the cashier that I can not change items. I’ve been looking for another size for an hour and a half and there’s no store plastered policy of no exchange. I was literally boiling that I did not mind the people lining up behind me at the counter. I demand for scissors! Then the manager approached my fiance (they know each other) and told him to pacify me while she assess the situation. I went down the store, Sureway, banging their door and walls. Then before my anger subsided I wrote and reported the whole incident to the main store office in Cebu. The following week I got a call from Cebu as they need to verify my letter. Then my fiance (now my husband as he never backed out despite seeing my bitchy side) went back to the store to claim new pants (for him already) and a poloshirt. Two items for one, sort of pacification consuelo de bobo for an unhappy customer.

That was what I’ve been. But, now I am learning to curb my beast mode. And instead, I am telling myself to forgive the fearful. This is about projection. So, okay, let me forgive. And, I like the wisdom of forgiveness in this way. “I forgive for my peace.”



The Global Village: A Social Snapshot of Our World

thinking globallyEarth is currently home to 7 billion people who live in the cities and villages of 195 nations. To grasp the social shape of the world on a smaller scale, imagine shrinking the planet’s population to a “global village” of just 1,000 people. In this village, more than half (603) of the inhabitants would be Asian, including 194 citizens of the People’s Republic of China. Next, in terms of numbers, we would find 149 Africans, 107 Europeans, 85 people from Latin America and the Caribbean, 5 people from Australia and the South Pacific, and just 50 North Americans, including 45 people from the United States.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

A close look at this settlement would reveal some startling facts: The village is a rich place, with a spectacular range of goods and services for sale. Yet most of the villagers can only dream about such treasures, because they are so poor: 75 percent of the village’s total income is earned by just 200 people.

For most, the greatest problem is getting enough food. Every year, village workers produce more than enough to feed everyone; even so, about 130 people in the village do not get enough to eat, and many go to sleep hungry every night. These 130 residents (who together have less money than the single richest person in the village) lack both clean rainingmoneydrinking water and safe shelter. Weak and often unable to work, they are at risk of contracting deadly diseases and dying.

The village has many schools, including a fine university. About 67 inhabitants have completed a college degree, but almost one-fifth of the village’s adults are not even able to read or write.

From Thinking Globally section of John Macionis book Sociology, 14th ed.

Historical Development of Stratification

Observation: Each society is stratified, some more, others less.

  • According to M. Weber, how did social stratification develop? Is it necessary?

Deducing from Max Weber’s works on stratification, it can be gleaned that social stratification is borne out of the changes occurring in the social structure.  As accounted by Ritzer (2011), Weber postulated that society is stratified on the bases of economics, status, and power (or party).  This implies that people can rank high on one or two of these dimensions of stratification and low on the other (or others), a far more sophisticated analysis of social stratification than is possible when stratification is simply reduced (as it was by some Marxists) to variations in one’s economic situation.

Aside from this Class System of stratification (class-status-power), there was the concept of “life chances.” Weber supposed there were more class divisions than Marx suggested, taking different concepts from both functionalist and Marxist theories to create his own system. Weber claimed there are four main classes: the upper class, the white-collar workers, the petite bourgeoisie, and the manual working class (Boundless 2015).

Weber’s theory meant that economic status need not necessarily depend solely on earnings.  Working half a century later than Marx, Weber derived many of his key concepts on social stratification by examining the social structure of Germany. Weber examined how many members of the aristocracy lacked economic wealth, yet had strong political power. He noted that stratification was based on more than ownership of capital. Many wealthy families lacked prestige and power, for example, because they were Jewish. In the Philippines, Aling Dionisia, for instance, may already have much money and properties, but still she lacks the prestige that should have come with it and also the power, because of her previous socioeconomic background.

Weber’s three independent factors that form his theory of stratification hierarchy: class, status, and power were treated as separate but related sources of power, each with different effects on social action.  According to Weber, class is a person’s economic position in a society, based on birth and individual achievement. This is the one component that Aling Dionisia certainly lacked as she was born poor.  Also her present riches come not from her individual achievement, rather, from her son’s.  Although Weber did not see this as the supreme factor in stratification; he noted that managers of corporations or industries control firms they do not own. Status refers to a person’s prestige, social honor, or popularity in a society.  Aling Dionisia is popular that her name, alongside with other local or foreign celebrities, trended as one of most searched names in the social media.

Weber noted that political power was not rooted solely in capital value, but also in one’s individual status. Poets or saints, for example, can possess immense influence on society, often with little economic worth. Power refers to a person’s ability to get their way despite the resistance of others. For example, in the Philippines, individuals in state jobs, such as an employee of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), or a member of the Philippine Congress, may hold little property or status, but they still hold immense power.

Individuals who share a similar status typically form a community of sorts, like an endogamous group. They invite one another to dinner, marry one another, engage in the same kinds of recreation, and generally do the same things in the same places (Brinkerhoff et al 2011). Weber argued that although status and power often follow economic position, they may also stand on their own and have an independent effect on social inequality. In particular, Weber noted that status often stands in opposition to economic power, depressing the pretensions of those who “just” have money. Thus, for example, a member of the Mafia may have a lot of money and may own the means of production (a brothel, a heroin manufacturing plant, or a casino), but he will not have honor in the broader community.

  • How did G. Lenski view the development of social stratification?

With the society’s evolution from simple to complex, so does social stratification. It was the so-called “enlightened self-interests” of humans that lead them to equitably distribute goods and services to “productive” classes in order to ensure their survival and continued productivity (Elwell 2013). So, the opposite happens to the “unproductive” or the “not-so-productive” individuals in a group.  This concept is like what we can observe that takes place in our present society; and we call it “no work, no pay.”  For those who may have work, when they absent from work, will not be paid at all.  This is the case of commensurate pay for the job done. The ones who strive hard get more reward, like Manny Pacquaio.  His sipag at tiyaga has brought him riches over those who lack the industry, patience and determination at what they do.

For Lenski, however, any surplus is likely to be divided in accordance with self-interest, that is, on the basis of social power (Elwell 2013). This leads Lenski to the hypothesis that “The more intensive the subsistence technology, the greater the surplus, the greater the surplus, the greater the inequality.”  And this is so evident in the Philippine society (Turner 1982). There is a great divide between those who have meager, those who have enough, and those who have surplus.

As technology and productivity increases a portion of the new goods and services will go toward necessary population growth and feeding a larger population. However, with technological development and subsequent increases in productivity, a larger surplus of goods and services will be produced.

Another hypothesis of Lenski predicts that with technological advance, an increasing proportion of goods and services available to a society will be distributed on the basis of power. If true, then when examining sociocultural systems we should see that the greater the technological advance, the greater the inequality of goods and services within the society.

In his studies Lenski indeed finds increasing degrees of inequality up to and including early industrial society. At this stage of development, however, he finds the degree of inequality peaking and then beginning to lessen as industrial society matures. In mature industrial societies the lower social classes appear to materially benefit more than in agrarian or early industrial societies both in absolute and relative terms. Elites appear to receive less of a proportion of the nation’s income (Elwell 2013). Lenski thus concludes that mature industrial societies represent a reversal of a long-standing evolutionary trend in which inequality increased with technological development. He linked the lessening inequality to a variety of factors: 1) Necessity of a large administrative and technical structure; 2) Satiation of elites (there are only so much they can consume); 3) The buying of allegiance and commitment of the middle and working classes in order to promote further growth; 4) Changes in population and production dynamics; and 5) The rise of ideologies that advocate more economic equality

  • When some people are rich, and many others are poor, who is to blame? Why?

To me, I go with the idea that it is all about the unequal distribution of resources. It is something structural, born out of the humans’ making, a social construction that is extremely difficult to crumble, I think we all need to exit first in this human world before it can ever be changed.  Hence, from the birth of social scientists to now, it hitherto exists and persists wherever world axis we may face.

While people die of hunger because they do not have anything to fill in their stomachs, a very basic need of human beings, few individuals basks on having too much. If there is just a way to have these resources distributed to every human being on this planet earth, there will be no one to die of nothingness.  Just yesterday, local actor Coco Martin’s house was featured on TV program hosted by the country’s president’s sister Kris Aquino (ABSCBN 2015).  Just by watching it even in one minute, a viewer’s eyes will surely enlarge from sheer disbelief at how lavish a house of a single person is. There are even four garages for his collection of cars. There is even a state-of-the-art coffee maker which Coco does not even know how to operate.  Many areas in the house have not even been used, many seats left unseated.

It looks like a show house to display the wealth the local actor has accumulated from his talent use. He has or still lacks what Weber said, a combination of the class, the status, and the power.  He just recently entered, and not born in it, the rich circle so he lacks the class that Weber described. His power basically lies on his ability to make his adoring fans believe and buy his every endorse products and watch his every show on tube or big screen. Not every poor, handsome laborer can become like Coco Martin, as what Moore and Davis (1953) elaborated in their thesis.

As to how long shall we humans continue to live in this manner, I would say, no one knows yet. Not even Karl Marx’ works that influence world leaders like Mao Tse Tung of China, turn the wheel to the equality’s path. So, parents strive to send their children to good, if not the best schools to ensure the path their children will thread in the future – to belong in the side of those who have the status and power, if class is not inborn with. But, what happens to those who already lack the hope even for their children’s future since they cannot send them to those schools, even with the government’s monthly allotment, they still figuratively crawl in poverty.  In the end, each must just do the best there is available at present for the future may bring something the poor wish for.

  • Sabi ni V Belo, “Sa panahon ngayon, kung pagit ka pa rin, aba eh, kasalanan mo na ‘yon.  Tingnan mo si Mommy Dionisia.” What do you think  of this statement?]

In the realm of stratification intertwined with consumerism in Aesthetics, this statement conveys the possibilities a person can do with money. With money, one can have beauty. Even a simple facial wash requires money for someone to have it. So if the amount one has is bigger, then facelift and other similar procedures are probable. Men who feel like women at heart even dared to have their external reproductive organs changed into the opposite – the transvestites.

Indeed, we can witness how a then fledging actress Kathryn Bernardo transformed from plain-looking morena girl into now fair-skinned gleaming, made-up, fashionable young lady. Money beautifies indeed. The same with Pilipinas Got Talent champion in 2010, singer Jovit Baldivino, who after five years in the entertainment industry has now the face that is fairer and smoother. So to those who can afford it, the chance to enhance beauty is at their disposal.


ABSCBN. 14 August 2015. Coco Martin’s Place. Kris TV. Abs CBN Productions, Inc.

Boundless. 21 July. 2015. Weber’s View of Stratification. Boundless Sociology. Retrieved 07 August 2015 from sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/global-stratification-and-inequality-8/sociological-theories-and-global-inequality-72/weber-s-view-of-stratification-426-8944/

Brinkerhoff, David B., et al. 2011.  Stratification.  Essentials of Sociology, 8th ed. USA: WadsworthCengage Learning.

Davis, Kingsley. August 1953. Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis: Reply. American Sociological Review, 18 (4): 394-397. Retrieved on 17 July 2015 from seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Elwell, Frank W. 2013. Lenski’s Evolutionary Theory. Retrieved 08 August 2015

Gane, Nicholas. 2012. Max Weber and Contemporary Capitalism. Macmillan.

Ritzer, George. 2011. Max Weber. Sociological Theory, 8th ed. New York, USA: McGraw Hill. Pp112-154.

Turner, Mark Macdonald. 1982. Inequality in the Philippines: Old Bottlenecks and New Directions for Analysis.” Philippine Sociological Review, 30: 23-32.

Problems of Social Structure and Differentiation

SECTION II. Problems of Social Structure and Differentiation

Observation: Some entertainers, athletes, even prostitutes are better rewarded by society than teachers doctors, judges, farmers

  • Are entertainers, athletes, and prostitutes more important to society than teachers, doctors, judges, farmers? [Read the questions raised by M Tumin to points raised by Moore-Davis thesis]

      Kingsley Davis’s and Wilbert Moore’s “Some Principles of Stratification” argues that inequality is a functional necessity to societies. That society rewards positions proportionally based on importance, and based on inherent ability or extensive training/sacrifices needed. Hence, for valuable positions to be filled by qualified persons, we distribute rewards unequally resulting to social stratification.

The ideas by Davis and Moore explain the existence of social inequality, but Melvin Tumin counter their arguments point by point through his “Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis.”

First, Tumin refutes Davis’s and Moore’s idea that certain positions are functionally more important than others by raising the question that we have no way of determining which positions are more important.

In relation to the question, in this first point, I agree with Davis’ and Moore’s argument. I concur that certain positions are functionally more important than others. The modifier functionally must be underscored here. It can be the point of reference for the lacking measurement that Tumin mentioned. The importance of any position in society can be gradated through functionality, which can be deduced to either being a need or a want.  Even need and want concepts can be scaled, like from extremely needed to simply needed. “Can society exist without such position?” is, I believe, the most important question to consider when it comes to functionality. With the two groups of sample positions identified in the question, the first group composed of entertainers, athletes, and prostitutes fall under the affirmative answer.  At its most basic existence, society can live and continue to exist without them. They come after the basic needs are met. But, society cannot do without the second group of sample positions composed of the teachers, doctors, judges and most specially, the farmers. The farmers produce food, a basic need that must first be addressed and satisfied.  Doctors take care of health matters, another basic need after food that relates to basic living. Judges uphold peace and order in society, a need for harmonious coexistence. Teachers enlighten and guide people’s reasoning, actions, and how to improve life.

Practically, when it comes to functionality, there is a leveling off of various positions in society, or what we call in Sociology as status. The enumerated positions in the question are all achieved statuses implying that everyone in these positions has exerted considerable efforts (or training according to Davis and Moore) to become what they have become. Society has the so-called social norms, values, and social ideology from which people can determine whether a position is more functional than others.

Second, Davis and Moore claim that “Only a limited number of individuals in any society have the talents that can be trained into the skills appropriate to these positions,” to which Tumin argues that there are structural stratification systems that make it appear that only a limited number of individuals can obtain these skills. Scarcity is not because of “inherent ability,” as proposed by Davis and Moore, but rather because of other factors (i.e. lack of money to go to medical school) or the fact that power elite groups limit opportunities for people who are not in their group (i.e. a young teacher can’t find a job because tenured teachers already fill the vacancies.)

Again, in this point, I agree with Davis and Moore’s claim regarding limited number of individuals with inherent ability. Individuality stems from the fact that no two people are alike. We cannot just be who we want to be simply because we do not have the ability or we lack the necessary faculty to engage at something. And this is not even about lack of money as what Tumin argues. There is the phenomenon called opportunity for the really talented and gifted.  There are scholarships from various entities available for those who really have the calling for and the ability to go through the required training to be so.

Third, the fact that we reward positions based on perceived sacrifices seems faulty to Tumin. He claims that sacrifices are more subjective and that going to medical school, for example, may not be perceived as a sacrifice to everyone.

For the third time, I concur with Davis and Moore’s idea on rewards accorded to positions. Although I agree with Tumin that sacrifice is subjective, still, having to go through a rationalized training to achieve a certain position is a sacrifice that not everyone can or want to undergo.  Hence, individuals who dare to go through the prescribed training (sacrifices) for a desired position either driven by personal or familial ambition, pride, and the like, definitely deserve the appropriate reward for such position. We may think that performing on stage is just like a paid hobby, and not much sacrifice. But entertainer Sarah Geronimo, for instance, admitted to not having eaten ice cream since.  Her parents prohibited her from doing so to protect her singing voice. She also does not eat kinilaw (raw fish) since it is soaked with suka (vinegar), which is not good for the vocal chords.

In a capitalistic society, rewarding a position could also be because the position generates income, and not because of its importance. While the teacher is more important than the entertainer, the latter generates income. There is differential rewarding to these two positions.  The teacher has stable, consistent income while the entertainer with unstable income and by contract has higher earning. But only a few exceptional entertainers earn more (or scarcity of talent).

  • Point out similarities between caste system and the Philippine social stratification

In an academic scene, the Indian Caste System is usually cited as an example during discussions of social stratification within a social science class. It is usually differentiated from the Class systems in other countries, like the United States and the Philippines.  Both systems – class and caste – are different from each other.

However, now that it is asked, there is a realization that the Philippine classes are very similar to that of India’s power pyramid. In the Philippines, people are categorized into social groupings that influence how we function as individuals. There are notable similarities in the Philippine social stratification and the Indian caste system.

Both systems impact politics, albeit the Philippines has no legitimate royalty. However, the Philippines has a small percentage of people holding a disproportionate amount of wealth – also referred to as the 1%.  We have political offices headed by family members of former politicians (like Mar Roxas, Kiko Pangilinan) or officially receding presidential candidates like Bro. Eddie Villanueva whose son Joel Villanueva heads TESDA. Political clans or families reign around the country. Every province is like a family’s mini-republic. In national sphere, we have the Estrada family, the Arroyos, the Aquinos.  In the provinces, we have the Barbers in Surigao, the Amantes in Agusan, the Dimaporos in Lanao del Norte. They each have had numerous family members in a public office.

Royalty is manifested in Indian culture and politics. India’s royalty possess privileges in society that are not enjoyed by other castes. If we were to compare Philippine social stratification directly to Indian castes, we can see that to some degree we have a similar categorization of our society. On the top of the Indian pyramid are the priestly class. The Philippine equivalents are the extremely wealthy Filipinos that are in power. “The upper 1 percent of Filipinos takes in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent.” It’s clear that political reign and wealth influence the class Stratification of Filipinos. In addition, those mentioned on the Forbes list were born into their wealth (ascribed status); similar to how Indian Hindus are born into their caste.

The next level down in Indian society is the warrior caste. The Philippine equivalent of this is our Philippine military. While veterans are treated unfairly, those who are currently serving are put on a pedestal. In addition, after retirement, retiree officials are more likely to become politicians than those of us who haven’t served. This is most likely due to a heightened sense of patriotism.

The Vaishyas – merchants and landowners – are the third most liberated caste. This is the equivalent of the Philippine middle class. Despite the difference in proportion, they hold about the same amount of power. They are both groups of people whose majority own property and have a significant amount of political power in comparison to their lower-class counterparts. Politicians are always trying to appeal to the Philippine’s middle class because they make up a large portion of the population and without their vote; it would be difficult to win an election. In India, the Vaishyas dominate a large part of Indian commerce. These people are entrepreneurs, business people, and help to strengthen the Indian economy – just like the Philippine middle class.

The Sudra caste is easily comparable to the Philippine working class. This is because the Sudra caste is made up of laborers and farmers. They tend to live in extreme areas of population, either in rural, thinly populated farming villages or in densely populated urban areas. Similarly, the Philippine working class tends to live in rural areas as well as inner-city areas. They do jobs that are perceived as “dirty” or undesirable, often with low wages and few benefits. These benefits and social programs are also frequently threatened by politicians. Just as the working class in the Philippines has a difficult time scraping by and constantly have politicians threatening.  Helpful social programs that may allow them to move up in our class system, Sudras in the Indian caste system are frequently denied rights that the upper three castes have access to.”

The most remarkable comparison is that between the Untouchables of India and the homeless population of the Philippines. Though Philippines has more social programs to help the homeless, they are becoming increasingly perceived as inhuman or deserving of their poverty. Philippine politicians are increasingly making it harder for these people to get back on their feet.

For years now, hundreds of thousands of people in dire straits – mentally or physically disabled, homeless and unemployed, ineligible for social welfare, disability, or food subsidies – could generally count on state or local government largesse for modest handouts of cash to help scrape by. Under the rubric of ‘4Ps,’ these down-and-out Filipinos received modest allowances – often no more than a few hundred pesos a month – to help defray the cost of necessities including food, clothing, milk, mobile phone load and public utility vehicle fares.

All in all, the Philippine stratification system is more like India’s caste system. For each Indian caste, there is a demographic of Filipinos suffering the same types of oppression or heightened power. Heredity, division, and even the attitudes of citizens belonging to these divisions are more similar than they are different – the only major difference being that the Philippines has no legitimate royalty.

  • What is feminization of poverty? Is it true in the Philippines? How are they manifested?

Based on my observation, feminization of poverty is a process of situating women in a state of lack and deprivation of the basic needs (of food, shelter and clothing) in order for them to live life decently in society. When it comes to poverty, women are prone to it, the usual vulnerable sector in society. There is differential giving of opportunities and rewards to women compared to men.

According to the Unite Nations,

“the majority of the 1.5 billion people living on 1 dollar a day or less are women. In addition, the gap between women and men caught in the cycle of poverty has continued to widen in the past decade, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “the feminization of poverty”. Worldwide, women earn on average slightly more than 50 per cent of what men earn” (UN 2000).
Considering the UN statement on feminization of poverty above, this phenomenon is definitely present and true in the Philippines as it is worldwide. In fact, many live in less than a dollar a day. In a documentary film entitled Kalam by Sandra Aguinaldo of GMA Channel, though there is a husband, but it is the mother of 10 children who struggled more on a daily basis in looking for means to be able to buy rice for a family meal without viand. Children go to school without eating breakfast and without baon as well.  They end up with stomach ache while in school, so they had to go home, only to find nothing inside the caldron to eat.

This phenomenon of feminization of poverty is supported by the data of the study on Female-Headed Households and Income Differences in a Post-Calamity Condition (Sealza 2015), wherein the women do not have regular employment and have to rely on intermittent work opportunities in the neighborhood.


Aguinaldo, Sandra. 2011. Kalam: Sa Piling ng Wala.  I Witness Documentary.  GMA Channel.

Davis, Kingsley. August 1953. Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis: Reply. American Sociological Review, 18 (4): 394-397. Retrieved on 17 July 2015 from seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Sealza, Isaias. 2015. Female-headed Households and Income Differences in a Post-Calamity Condition. Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2014. Hindu Social Class. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved on 17 July 2015 from

United Nation. DPI/2035/A—May 2000.  Retrieved on 17 July 2015 from the United Nations Department of Public Information Website:

note: this paper was submitted to Dr. Isaias Sealza, Dean of Graduate School, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines for the Subject Socio 400.1 (Social Structure)