Many historical records showed different meanings of the word Oroquieta. One source stated that Oroquieta was derived from the name "Oro" (meaning gold), and "Kita or Quieta" (meaning find). Another version stated that Oroquieta’s name was derived from the word "Oro" (meaning gold), and "Quieta" (meaning quiet or peaceful). However, the book entitled "History of Oroquieta City 1860-2000" (Revised Edition) and is written by Dr. Emerico Conol, explains the true meaning of how Oroquieta got its name.
According to the history book, during the 1880s, the parish of Oroquieta was headed by its first Catholic priest, Father Tomas Casado of Spain. Father Casado initiated the efforts to change the name of Layawan into Oroquieta in his meaningful tribute to the Spanish General, Domingo Morriones Y Murillo who headed the Philippine Government during that time. General Morriones Y Murillo was born in Oroquieta, a village or barrio of Pamplona, a province of Navarra, Spain. He was given a title of Marquez de Oroquieta by the King of Spain. The significance of this is that Oroquieta is also the birthplace of Father Casado.
Other historical reports claiming that Oroquieta was named during the early 1880s were supposedly supported by the historical documents shown in marriage, birth and death certificates. Hence, I describe Oroquieta by its beauty, tranquility, hospitality, and most of all by its warm, hardworking, and God-loving people.
In the early years of Oroquieta civilization, the inhabited areas consisted of several hectares of land. These lands comprised a large area located from the corner of a big river presently known as the "Layawan River," which connects the sea that comprised the areas of Poblacion II, part of Poblacion I and the Lower Loboc. The other part of the wetlands were swamps of big trees which now comprised the Misamis University (MU) school ground, the entire grounds of the Misamis Occidental National High School (MONHS), and Oroquieta Central School, and along the national road leading to the areas of Lutao, and Barangay Canubay.
The banks of both sides of the Layawan River were described as swampy with Nipa palm growths. Lined with Nipa palm growths, the riverbanks of the Layawan river comprised the areas which are now the Public Market, Barrientos Street, Juan Luna Street (where Pearl Joy establishment is located) and the original family home of Atty. Paulino A. Conol, Sr. (where the Mabini Street dead-ends). Also along the riverbanks, were large areas of swamps with big mangrove trees and big forest trees that were on patches of dry land - that are now the Talic, Taboc Norte, Taboc Sur, Talairon, and San Vicente Bajo.
The Layawan river is described to be very deep and reports have indicated that sharks have been seen swimming at the entrance of the river. As shown in the aerial view of Oroquieta City, the entrance of the Layawan river connects with the sea which could explain the possibility of the presence of sharks in the area. According to history, in the early days people from other towns, such as Jimenez would visit Layawan regularly. However, because Layawan did not have easily accessible roads and transportation, visitors from other towns would have to trek on a narrow foot trail from Talairon to Talic in what is now the national road. It was reported that the trek coursed through the swamps where wild animals roamed around exposing the trekkers to danger. Therefore, warnings were posted to alarm visitors of such danger when passing through that trail.