Prior to the division of the empire province of Lanao into two Provinces, the four geographical divisions were Bayabao, Masiu, Unayan and Balo-i. This cultural division consisted of fifteen Sultanate Houses called PANOROGAN sa Ranao or ROYALE SULTANATE OF LANAO. Pangamponga Balo-i consists of the municipalities of Pantar, Tangoloan I, Kapai, Balo-i, Pantao Ragat, Poona Piagapo, Tangkal, Magsaysay, Kauswagan, Linamon, Bacolod, Maigo and Kolambogan in Lanao del Norte and Iligan City. Balo-I was one of the Sultanate House.
The Municipality of Balo-I was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 152 dated August 1, 1948. It is classified as 4th class municipality and composed of twenty one barangays. The municipality had a total population of 38,534 (2010 census) and with an aggregate area of about 13.975 hectares. The major source of income or livelihood is farming and small business.
Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as Local Government Code of 1991 provides the municipality total independence in managing, deciding and planning its own administrative, fiscal and development affairs in conformity with the national government’s thrust for sustainable social and economic growth.
Like all Local Government Units (LGU), the municipality enjoys genuine and meaningful local autonomy to enable it to attain its fullest development as self-reliant community and make it more effective partners in the attainment of national goals.
Momungan was the oldest name of Lanao del Norte. Momungan is derived from the Maranaw dialect "miya-among" (meaning assembled), "amongan" (meaning meeting place) and "miyagamong" (meaning handshake). It is known to be the original name of Balo-i. It was comprise of the present-day municipalities of Pantar, Tagoloan (of Lanao del Norte), Matunggao, Pantao-Ragat, Poona-Piagapo, Munai, Kapai, and as far as Tagoloan of Misamis Oriental. A long time ago the Americans spelled it as “Namungan” on their maps.
Momungan is different from Nunungan (a municipality of Lanao del Norte) and Brgy. Nunungan of Poona Piagapo, Lanao del Norte.
Momungan was a separate state equal in territorial and political status with that of Sulu and Maguindanao according to sources.
According to Kali sa Baloi Abdullah Magayoong: “Langon a intuan a anibong na Momungan.” It means that all places in the northern Mindanao where there are “anibong” trees are called Momungan during the pre-Islamic and pre-colonial period. Anibong is a tree that is like that of a beetle nut tree. Today it is found in forested areas of the Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental province. Way back in pre-colonial period, Northern Mindanao was a forested area. Old people love to eat the steams or leaves of the “anibong,” because it is so delicious.
The Kali sa Baloi narrated that Batolakongan met Kamayongan in the river side of the present Barangay Pacalundo. He brought her in Tagoloan (in Misamis Oriental). The father of Kamayongan instructed his followers to search and find Kamayongan. To avoid confusion in returning, the searchers planted “anibong” trees to every place they searched. Until such time they found Kamayongan in Batolakongan’s house somewhere in Tagoloan. The searchers returned back to their place easily by following the trees they planted. That is why the traditional leaders said that all places in northern Mindanao which have “anibong” trees are part of the ancient Momungan.
The Kali added: Sharif Kabungsuan of Johore, Malaysia, married Potri Tomanina of Maguindanao (Potri Tunina in some references). They had a son named Balabagan Buisan of Maguindanao. Balabagan Buisan married Potri Kalanda-an, daughter of Sharif Alawi and Potri Asinalong (daughter of Bansa-an ko Manta-wantao sa Tagoloan). Buisan and Kalanda-an had a son named Limbobongan.
Limbobongan married Aliling a Paramata Sinirig. They had children who were called the Pat a Payongan sa Tagoloan. They were Mangawan sa Kapai, Yahyah sa Dolangan, Kenemen sa Bayog, and Potri Kamayongan of Momungan. Potri Kamayongan was married to Batolakongan, son of Sultan Kawasa of Maguindanao. Another source has told the story that Batolakongan was a son of a brave warrior and adopted by Sultan Kawasa when he was young.
Batolakongan and Kamayongan had a child named Anasi. Anasi married Sittie Anak, Bai a Labi sa Bayog. They had a child named Ndong. Ndong married Kalimato and their descendants were the so called Sapolo Ago Dowa a Ayonan Datu sa Momungan (12 Ayonan Datu sa Momungan) namely: Asbod, Angandog, Anapar, Meling, Samporna, Agoman, Dialangan, Malog, Daig, Kening, Sokalat and Batua.
One day, Batolakongan and Kamayongan were having a walk from Tagoloan. For having tired of walking, they stop and rest in a certain place. Kamayongan asked Batolakongan where they are and what that place where they rested. Batolakongan answer, this place is called Momungan because “si-i miya-among so bangsa,” meaning “this is the place where social rank or status assembled.”
The bangsa has three meanings: “nation,” “social rank” and “ancestry or genealogical connection with a certain family from a certain place.”
The original name of Momungan is “Suminenggay Legawan a Mimbisa Pagalongan” which means “self-governing state.” This was the name of Momungan in pre-Islamic and pre-colonial period. A certain early settler gave this name from “Bembaran” in the person of Amerogong Topaan when the place was still a forested area. The name evolved from an incident between two lovers, Amerogong Topaan and Toron Bulawan.
Toron Bulawan was a beautiful lady occasionally met Amerogong Topaan in a creek that is currently located just behind the old municipal hall site of Momungan (now Balo-i).
The gentleman named their meeting place as Suminenggay Legawan a Mimbisa Pagalongan to signify this area where their memorable love affair begun and was perfected.
Momungan was a distinct place where the neighboring places and sitios used to assemble because this place was the center of trade and commerce. Batolakongan who headed the place at that time gave the name.
In 1891 Momungan was subdivided into three districts and these were the following: Balet District, Momungan District, and Pantar District. The first appointed Gobernadorcillo or Capitan was a certain Aurelio.
Momungan District was the largest among the three. It comprises Kiazar (now Municipality of Tagoloan, Lanao del Norte), Pantao-Ragat which includes the present-day municipality of Matunggao, and Munai which includes the present-day municipality of Poona-Piagapo, Lanao del Norte.
Before 1930, there is no such place called Balo-i. In March 1909, on the map of the Department of Mindanao, there is no such place called Balo-i but the name Namungan (referring to Momungan) was visible including the place called Pantar. It was also contained in the 1935 Dansalan Declaration were the Sultan of Momungan, ex-President of Momungan and Sultan of Pantar are the three signatories of that declaration.
In old Spanish operation maps there have no records of Balo-i but places called Momungan, Balet and Pantar are visible. Again in 1941 map of Lanao Province we could only find Momungan, Balet and Pantar which comprised the new municipality known as "Balo-i" in 1948.