Layawan was the oldest name of Oroquieta, which was the barrio in the province of Misamis since 1861 until 1879. The early settlers then of the barrio were Boholano peddlers. They found so many stray animals along the river, thus they named the place Layawan, which means a place of stray animals. A little later, Misamis was divided into two provinces, Misamis Occidental and Oriental. Then in 1880, Layawan changed its name into Oroquieta when it became a town. Some sources revealed that the town got its name from a famous barrio in Spain where Father Toas Tomas Casado, the first parish priest here and General Domingo Mariones y Murillo, a hero in the battle of Oroquieta, were born.
Another version is that Oroquieta had derived its name from the word ‘ORO’ and ‘KITA’. The early inhabitants then had found gold along the river. Thus, the name ‘ORO’ which means Gold and ‘QUITA’ or ‘KITA’ which means to find.
Oroquieta became the capital (cabecera) on January 6, 1930.