During the years 1861 through 1879, Oroquieta City was first named Layawan when it was then a barrio in the province of Misamis Occidental. The name Layawan was derived from the Visayan term "layaw". Layaw was the term used by the first Christian settlers for strayed wild animals that were roaming around the village. Subsequently, the village or "barrio" was named Layawan, which means a place for strayed wild animals.
According to history, the first Christian settlers migrated to Layawan from the islands of Bohol and Cebu. When they arrived, they discovered that the barrio was inhabited by natives, who were then called "Suban-on." Suban-on was derived from the term "Suba" (meaning river). Because the natives lived by the river, the first Christian settlers called them Suban-on. They described the Suban-on natives to be peaceful, kind, helpful and innocent human beings. When the first settlers arrived, they brought with them their families and settled in Layawan. To begin their settlement, they cleared some of the swamp areas and converted them into irrigated rice lands, which they called "Basakan." The basakan were used to plant rice crops to sustain life among the settlers.
As more and more migrant settlers arrived, the Suban-on natives began retreating upward and towards the higher elevated forest areas. According to history, the Suban-on natives retreated and moved their families one at a time. It was believed that their retreat was motivated by the fact that they could not tolerate to live among the Christian settlers. They sold every land that they have tilled and owned to the Christian settlers. Some reports stated that they bartered some of their properties with almost anything they liked that were owned by the Christian settlers. Things that were bartered included bolos, ax and many others that the Suban-on natives believed could be useful in their move.
The Christian settlers on the other hand, were described to be carefree, easy-going and did not place so much value of the rice fields they have owned. Some of them became gamblers and used their farms or rice fields for gambling and they did not care if they lost their properties in the game. At that time, cockfight was believed to be the famous type of gambling that was played by the settlers.