The origin of the town of Bunawan was a small settlement
inhabited by the Manobos, a tribe found all over the
central and eastern portion of Mindanao. At one time,
Christian communities surrounding the area occupied by
the Manobos were befallen with catastrophe. Because of
these, the Christian had to leave their places for a
more secure and stable environment. Several Christian
communities however, opted for the settlement occupied
by the Manobos. This prompted the Manobos to move out
to the nearby mountains, since they were not ready to
accept the other people outside of their tribe. They
preferred to give up lands they occupied to the new
The term "Bunawan" came about in one of the visits of the Spanish Missionaries during the Spanish times. The story goes like this: the missionaries were asking for the name of the place from a woman fixing her gold jewelries. Thinking that the priest wanted to know what she was holding, she answered bunawan, the local term for gold. The missionaries wanted clarification and asked in Spanish the woman's husband if the place was really called "Bunawan." The man answered in the affirmative. Since then, the settlement has been known as Bunawan.
When the Americans took over the Philippines at the turn of the century, the administration of local government was continued under the leadership of the local people. Nunawan was headed by the Cabeza de Barangay during the Spanish Regime in the person of Eleuterio Mordeno. When the Americans took over, Mordeno then became the Capitan del Barrio and held the position for dometime under the American regime. It was during this time that Bunawan Agricultural School was established.
When Bunawan was declared as municipal district in 1942, the incumbent Capitan del Barrio was elevated to the position of Municipal District Mayor. Change of municipal district mayor was implemented through appointment until 1959 when the first election was held. Since then, change in mayoralship is effected through election. . . .