Valuing the past to grasp a sustainable future

The Construction

The construction of the Cagayan Waterworks Tank, or the Water Tower as we know it today, began in 1919. Its pipes were ordered from the US a year prior.

Cagayan Waterworks Water Tower under construction in 1921 (CDO Museum)

Budget for the construction of the structure was projected at P33,000, and shared between the US Insular Government and the Municipal Government of Cagayan de Misamis.

The water tower was completed in 1922 to the tune of P50,408.22.

The Source

With water pumped from the Mahuganaw Spring in Sitio Malasag, Barangay Cugman, the Bureau of Public Works reported that the Water Tower’s reservoir could supply up to 3,000 households in the Poblacion.

Mahuganaw Spring at Mapawa Nature Park, Malasag, Barangay Cugman.

Interestingly, the pipes still exist today.

Cool spring water from Mahuganaw Spring is coursed through these century old steel pipes to the Water Tower.

The Water Tower over the Years

The Water Tower survived World War II and continued to supply water to the community until the 1960s.

Mayor J.R. Borja

As the City grew rapidly in the 1950s under the leadership of Mayor Justiniano Romulo D. Borja, three more water sources were developed. By the 1970s additional water sources were built,  slowly replacing the Water Tower’s function.

Cagayan de Oro’s Fire Department also sourced their water from the Water Tower until more fire hydrants were put up around the fast-developing city.

From storing water to storing history

In 1994, the Water Tower was used as the office of Barangay 1 up until the early 2000s when a new barangay hall was built near the tennis court at the corner of Capistrano and Gaerlan Streets.

Next to use it were the photographers of Gaston Park who turned part of the Water Tower into a dark room where they developed films and printed photographs.

The water tower which supplied Cagayan’s first direct to home water supply in 1922 is now the City Museum.
(Photo by Mark Gio Amoguis)

In 2008, the city government under the leadership of Mayor Constantino G. Jaraula, turned the Water Tower into the City Museum of Cagayan de Oro and Heritage Studies Center.


(n.d.) Quarterly Bulletin. Bureau of Public Works 1917-1930. Vols 6-19. Manila. Accessed from Retrieved March 21, 2021. Compiled by Stanford  University Libraries and digitized by Google Books.

Pacamalan, Laarni P.; Panes, Carlito C.; and Yaptengco, Herminia Q. (2004-2005). The Mayors of Cagayan de Oro, 1950-Present. Xavier University Book Center.

Baños, Rene Michael D., (2019, August 3). The Origins of Cagayan de Oro’s Water Supply. Mindanao Daily News. Retrieved May 28, 2021, from

Photo Credits

City Museum of Cagayan de Oro

Maia Fortich Nery Poblete

Benjiemar Gula Dagala

Marg Gio Amoguis

Cover Slide

Michael E. Bacol

Water Tower: On the Roof”, Oil on Canvas, 2010


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