Lanao del Norte became a Province on July 4, 1959 through Republic Act No. 2228 which divided the old Lanao into two Provinces the Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, generally following the natural divide of the Lanao mountain range. Iligan City became the first capital of Lanao del Norte while Marawi City the capital of the old Lanao, remained as the capital of Lanao del Sur. Then on June 24, 1982, the capital of Lanao del Norte was transferred to the Municipality of Tubod through Batas Pambansa 181, leaving Iligan City an independent chartered city.
Lanao del Norte is situated in Northern Mindanao, along the northwest and southwest coast of the Mindanao Island. It is bounded on the north by Iligan Bay, on the east by the Provinces of Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon, on the south to southwest by the Illana Bay and the Celebes Sea, and on the west by the Province of Zamboanga del Sur and Panguil Bay, with the Province of Misamis Occidental on the other side of Panguil Bay.
The Province of Lanao del Norte links Western Mindanao to Eastern and Central Mindanao. It is the land bridge of the Zamboanga Peninsula to the rest of Mindanao. It also serves as the gateway to Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur and cities of Tangub, Oroquieta and Ozamis in Misamis Occidental as well as to Lanao del Sur through the Tukuran-Malabang and Tubod-Ganassi National Highways. The Province is accessible by land, water and air transportation.
Five of its municipalities (i.e., Kolambugan, Maigo, Bacolod, Kauswagan and Linamon) are within the famous Iligan-Cagayan Industrial Corridor, which stretches from Kolambugan to Jasaan, Misamis Oriental and traverses the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. Ten of its municipalities (i.e., Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Kapatagan, Lala, Baroy, Tubod, Kolambugan, Maigo, Bacolod, Kauswagan and Linamon) otherwise known as the coastal municipalities are blessed with rich fishing grounds – the Illana Bay, Panguil Bay and Iligan Bay. While twelve (12) of its municipalities (i.e., Nunungan, Sapad, Salvador, Magsaysay, Tangkal, Munai, Poona Piagapo, Matungao, Pantao Ragat, Pantar, Balo-i and Tagoloan) otherwise known as the interior or upland municipalities, are blessed with vast agricultural- and forestry-based crops and products.
Culturally, the upland municipalities are mostly populated by the Maranaws who espouse the Muslim culture and Islam religion while the coastal municipalities are generally inhabited by the Christians who practice the Christian culture and religion. The Maranaw culture, which must be preserved, is still practiced in the Municipalities of Balo-i, Pantar and Pantao Ragat the three known cultural centers of the Province.
The Province prides itself as a major producer of bananas, rice, coconuts, corn and. marine products (e.g., tuna fishes, crabs and shrimps) aside from the fact that it once had the oldest industrialized city in the country – the Iligan City, and the oldest and largest source of hydropower (i.e., the Maria Cristina/August Series of Hydroelectric Plants) in the country. As such, the Province is a major producer and distributor of goods and services for the overall development of Mindanao. And while it is a major player in the development of the Mindanao Island, it shall become the most economically stable Province in Mindanao. The proposed Integrated Area Development Plan (IADP) of the Lanao del Norte will surely provide the appropriate policies and guidelines for the Province’s sustainable development.
Historically, the word Lanao comes from the Marano word “ranao” which means a body of water. “Maranao” is taken to mean lake dweller. Maranaos are the dwellers around Lake Lanao which is situated at the center of the original Province of Lanao.
The old Province of Lanao was divided into Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur on July 4, 1959 with the passage of Republic Act 2228. The present day Lanao del Norte occupies the northern part of the old Lanao Province while Lanao del Sur embraces the southern portion with a dividing ridge that serves as the natural boundary. ligan City served as the first capital of Lanao del Norte until on June 24, 1982 when the seat of the Provincial Government was transferred to the Municipality of Tubod in pursuance to Batas Pambansa 181. While Marawi City, the former capital of the old Lanao Province, remained as the capital of Lanao del Sur.
The first Governor of Lanao del Norte was the late Salvador Lluch who served only for barely one-half year. Mohammad Ali Dimaporo became the second Governor and served from January 1960 to September 1965 when he was elected as the first Congressman of the Province. The vice governor then, Governor Arsenio A. Quibranza, became the governor by law of succession, who was elected as the Governor in the ensuing years of 1967, 1971 and 1980.
Known to be of Malay-Arabic descent, the Maranaos have a distinct culture which makes them distinct from the other Filipinos. They have their own language, customs, traditions, religion, social system, music and architecture that remain unaltered up to the present time.
The seat of the Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte in Tubod was known as the Don Mariano Marcos Provincial Government Center in honor of the late father of the then President Ferdinand Marcos. But later in 1984 it was renamed to Governor Arsenio A. Quibranza Provincial Government Center in honor of the late Governor under whose term the Center was transferred and established.
The triumphant People Power in EDSA on February 25, 1986 brought about changes in country, foremost of which was the installation of then President Corazon C. Aquino, in place of deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who in turn initiated some administrative reforms that included the appointment of Atty. Francisco L. Abalos as OIC-Governor of the Province in pursuance of the new Aquino Administration to replace the staunch supporters of the deposed president. OIC-Governor Abalos was elected on February 2, 1988 making him the fourth governor of Lanao del Norte.
In the synchronized national and local elections that took place on May 11, 1992, the former Congressman Abdullah D. Dimaporo, son of the past Governor and Congressman Ali Dimaporo, and son-in-law of the late Governor Arsenio A. Quibranza, was elected as the Governor of the Province and stayed as the fifth governor until in the May 11, 1998 election when he gave up his bid for re-election and opened the opportunity for his beloved wife, Honorable Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo to run as governor, and overwhelmingly got elected. She stayed as the sixth governor and still the present Governor of the Province.
Under the administration of Governor I. Q. Dimaporo, some very significant developmental projects got implemented, foremost of which is the Metro Iligan Regional , Infrastructure Development Project (MIRIDP) that has three vital components which include: (i) Provincial Road Construction in three segments (i.e., Fatima- Tagoloan-Baloi, Baloi-Pantao Ragat & Kauswagan-Dilabayan-Munai) with total length of 54.4 kms.; (ii) Integrated Area Development and Comprehensive Land Use Planning; and (iii) Training of key personnel in Japan and local. This IADP is the final output of Component II of MIRIDP, beside the Comprehensive Land Use Plans of 15 municipalities. Evidently, the
economic and social impacts of the MIRIDP are tremendously geared towards the upliftment of the living conditions of the local populace in particular development of the province in general.