Originally, Midsayap was inhabited by Muslims from the descendants of Sultan Ali Bayao from the lineage of the great Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat I. The seat of their Sultanate was established at Libungan Torita (now part of Pigcawayan). From 1912 to 1926, Midsayap was then a district of Dulawan and Pikit. Thus, we still see “Dulawan Cadastre” in the land titles today.
In 1927, a Philippine Constabulary Commander assigned in the area, 1st Lt. Catalino Javier, was the one who initially developed some portions of this municipality. Later he invited settlers from Luzon and Visayas to migrate in these yet undeveloped vast lands. The first wave of settlers who dared develop the wilderness was the late Antonio Labasan from Zambales. Among his companions were the Dumlaos, Flautas, Fernandezes and Documos who settled at Sitio Salunayan. That was in 1919. The following year, Visayan settlers from Pikit came to settle at Bual – the place of Datu Guiambangan Dilangalen. The Visayan migrants were headed by Gregorio Bingil, Julio Anito and Tomas Cantoy.
Midsayap started with seventy-one (71) barangays which comprises the present municipalities of Libungan, Alamada, and Pigcawayan.
Later, when Libungan was separated from Midsayap district, only 42 barangays remained in 1936. In 1938, barangay Baliki was established. After seven years, barangay Nalin was created followed by barangay Arizona in 1948. A year later, barangay Sta. Cruz was again created.
It was in 1959, when the eight barangays of the Poblacion were created and designated as the urban center of the Municipality. In 1961, the 55th barangay, Milaya was established. In 1978, another barangay was created and the latest and the youngest (57th) of all barangays is San Pedro which was created in 1987.
Though it started as a fifth (5th) class municipality, Midsayap now is classified as First Class Municipality of the A1 Province of Cotabato with an annual income of P 112,739,527.42 as of December 31, 2007.
Today, Midsayap is a fast developing growth center of the province and has outgrown its original districts – Dulawan and Pikit. It is now a center for commerce, trade and industry and considered as the educational and transport hub of the adjacent municipalities of Pigcawayan, Alamada, Libungan, Aleosan and even Pikit.
With the implementation of the Local Government Code of 1991, the local chief executives and the different National Line Agencies and Non-Government Organizations were given ample authority which is very essential in the development of Midsayap into its fullest with its varied resources in waiting.
The name of the municipality was derived from the belief that if the place where Subiya and Bansil met in an unusual way would prosper, it shall be called MIDSAYAP.
Worth of interest is another etymology, this time not a physical structure but rather social in origin as follows:
An adventurous BANSIL noticed a lovely SUBIYA digging for Mangawag Eggs one Friday afternoon in the forest. She became tired on her way to Libungan so she rested under a tree… but notices that at a not-so-distant sight, logs were piled up – a sign that Mangawag birds must have laid eggs (in as much as it was Friday). Standing up, she dug up into the soil… so engrossed to hunt for more upon getting one of the mysterious bird’s eggs; and never noticed Bansil’s tiger eyes.
Driven by his lustful desires, Subiya’s fragility wrestled with Bansil’s strength and power in vain. The crime remained unsolved for a year with a lone witness who can never relate the real incident.
Due for its way out, justice for Subiya unveiled in a traditional bayok the good-natured ruler, Rajah Bayao, organized. Dressed in proper costumes, many participants desired to bag the prize. Again, time arranged for the meeting of Bansil and Subiya as they were among the contestants.
Patiently waiting for their turns, Bansil glued the hearts of his audiences when he delivered another long bayok, his second, which he stressed involved his friend. Listening intently, the wise rajah was then formulating a game plan in his mind – Subiya’s case is striking similar to Bansil’s second Bayok. The difference is much more interesting – it gave all the details, aside from being so self-expressive.
It must have been a standing ovation. The game plan in Rajah Bayao’s mind crystallized into Bansil’s interrogation by the Council of Elders. The modern-day denial king in Bansil was unable to convince the good and wise ruler. Waking up from a hiatus, the lone key to give justice to Subiya was taken and placed on Bansil’s head…Caught red-handedly, Rajah Bayao arranged for the final verdict: both Bansil and Subiya won. Bansil bagged the year’s bayok contest; and Subiya was afforded with the law. The judgment was clear and the people moved as one – brought and shared together all their blessings with one another, and cheered not only for Bansil and Subiya’s unusual love story but, most of all, the gathering signaled the start of a promising journey toward development.
Both young and complementary, Bansil’s power and Subiya’s faith perfected into the prophetic words of Rajah Bayao:
If the place where Bansil and Subiya met in an unusual way would prosper, it shall be called Midsayap.
From then on, the Municipality was provided with leaders who took turns in sailing the boat through the smooth and rough sails.