Catarman, as called by the Visayans, means a point or cape. It is the oldest town in Camiguin and was founded in 1622 under the patronage of San Roque having Fray Francisco de la Concepcion, Recollect as its first priest. It had 357 tributes and a population of 1,625 with Sagay and Mambajao as station or visitas.
Chronicles has it that the first parish that was established in this island was that of Guinsiliban (1596 or 1599), with station or visitas in Catarman and Sagay.
According to Vicente Elio, Magellan came to discover Camiguin where he sat foot in April 1521. According to local folks, Magellan sat foot to get water at site where Catarman was established. For more than two centuries, only the parishes of Guinsiliban and Catarman existed.
From 18th century to the early 19th century, Camiguin as a part of Misamis Oriental, was governed from Cebu by 1818. Misamis Oriental gained its provincial status with Camiguin Island as one of its division called Partido de Catarman composed of Catarman and the Guinsiliban, Mambajao and Sagay as its villages.
On 1848, the parish of Guinsiliban was abolished and transferred to Sagay together with Mahinog. They became visitas of Sagay and Sagay was separated from Catarman and Mambajao remained as visitas or station.
On January 4, 1855, a special decree separated Mambajao from Catarman. On July 6 of the same year, Mambajao was made a municipality with Rev. Father Valero de Sebastian as the first parish priest and Tupsan its visita and Agojo became the only visita of Catarman.
The town of Partido de Catarman was frequently subjected to natural calamities. Lava, hot rocks and volcanic ashes due to the eruption of Mt. Vulcan on October 10, 1870 destroyed Catarman. On 1871, the town was in its original site. But due to volcanic activity, it had been transferred to Guiob, then a barrio; this is its present location. It is the biggest town in the island in terms of land area, very fertile, hilly and the climate is healthy. The first view the town offers is a beautiful scene. It is not yet too developed; it has many forests with excellent timber for construction.
On May 1, 1871, Catarman was established in its present location headed by Pio Gomez, Hilariun Abad, Patricio Basa, Pedro Anonuevo, Marcelo Bacol and Marcelo Cadion. In 1872, Mambajao claimed Agojo from Catarman.
In 1899, an American gunboat bombarded Camiguin. After a brief skirmish with the Los Libertados under the command of Ricardo Reyes, the inhabitants readily submitted to American rule. Sporadic clashes however continued against the remaining elements of the revolutionary force that was led by name of a certain Balero.
In 1899, the Americans appointed Mr. Macario Gimeno First President of Catarman and was later replaced by Mr. Rosendo Bailo, then succeeded by Mr. Leopoldo Ilago as President.
In 1901, Balero and his followers were annihilated in the Battle of Manduaw that ended the resistance in the island.
In 1903, Mr. Mateo Roasol became the President of Catarman. Between 1903 and 1906, Catarmanons became rebellious. They did not want interference from people outside from Catarman who interfered in their governing system and they preferred to fight with bolos and spear, but not without a single drop of blood.
In 1906, Catarman was abolished as a municipality and was integrated as a barrio of Mambajao and Pablo Rodrigo and Gregorio Basmayor were the Councilors.
In other versions of 1903, the towns of Catarman, Mahinog and Sagay were all combined with Mambajao to form into a single municipality out of the entire island. Guinsiliban was formed part of Sagay from 1848 to 1950.
On July 30, 1910, the construction of the municipal building begun and finished in January 26, 1911 and the amount collected to finance the project was P1,344.20 and the total cost of the building was P1,218.82. The project was completed.
In 1912, Pablo Rodrigo was elected President of Municipality of Catarman through plebiscite, up to 1915. In 1912, Catarman was re-created or re-established as municipality separate from Mambajao.
During the Second World War, the municipality was not spared of the threat of war. Although there were no war encounters within the municipality, a guerilla outfit was present. There was no bombing made during the invasion of the municipality. The people were prepared of the event and most went to the nearby hills and mountains to hide.
The eruption of Mt. Hibok-Hibok on September 8, 1948 and December 3-4, 1951 precipitated a dramatic exodus of Catarmanons for safety to other places. Most of them went to mainland Mindanao and settled. To them, Mindanao was the island of promise. True to their beliefs, most of them had improved and settled permanently.
Catarman has 14 barangays namely (1) Bonbon, (2) Catibac, (3) Mainit, (4) Panghiawan, (5) Compol, (6) Bura, (7) Poblacion, (8) Tangaro, (9) Lawigan, (10) Liloan, (11) Alga, (12) Manduao, (13) Looc and (14) Santo Niño:
- Bonbon was established as the first settlement in 1622 and established in 1875 as a separate barrio after the eruption in 1871;
- Catibac was established in the 17th century;
- Mainit was established in 1701. Under this barangay are sitios Kugon, Dumilag, Songok, Binuagan, Malingin and Ka-alingatungan;
- Panghiawan was established in early 18th century;
- Compol was established in 1855l
- Tangaro was established in 1860;
- Bura was established in 1870;
- Poblacion, formerly Gui-ob, was established in 1871;
- Lawigan was established in 1877;
- No records on the establishment of Barangay Liloan;
- Alga was established in 1962;
- Manduao was established in 1964;
- Looc was established in 1964; and
- Santo Niño was established in 1972