There are several versions of how Lanuza got its name. The popular version was that the name was taken from “LANOS NA” meaning withered like a leaf. In times past when people had to walk the distance between Cantilan to Lanuza, they would protect their heads with banana leaves from the scorching sun. According to stories, by the time they reached Lanuza, the banana leaves became “LANOS NA” meaning “already withered” which later became LANUZA.
However, in one of the three sketches of old Cantilan area, known as the CAPANAS sketch of 1802, Lanuza was marked as LANUYO. Lanuyo encompassed a mountainous area to her West and Southwest with a big river and some tributaries or creeks and brooks to her East and Northeast. This sketch seemed to appear as a continuation to that of Cantilan’s though in a separate sheet. This was “when a Principalia of a certain sitio (then) called LANUYO requested that their place be made into a full-fledged barrio as “Independence De Su Matriz Cantilan” Schreur’s noted in 1802.
In sitio Lanuyo, there were settlements marked then that still continue to exist till today. Clearly identified are Dangiog (Danyog), Bobon, Cabacuan (Cabakhawan), Capadian (Capajian) Ganga and Libuig or Sibyog as it was not legibly written. Libuig as indicated in the sketch was the sentro from Cantilan going south. Understandably these were the places asked by Lanuyo, a mere Sitio of Cantilan in 1802 as termed by Schreur’s notation.
The crude cartography of Capanas showed Lanuyo as a well developed place among the riverine settlements or the village of Cantilan in 1802. Lanuyo had its own embarcadero and the sitio had five (5) streets parallel to the shoreline. Lanuyo’s embarcadero certainly implied one thing – it was a landing place by either local seamen or distant traders at the turn of the 1700’s. Lanuyo could have been a trading post of the early southern places like Tandag, Marieta (Marihatag of Today) or by the people of Bislig, Hinatuan (San Juan then), Lianga and Lingig which was noted to have been transferred to Sitio Cagtino only in 1860’s. The Lanuyo embarcadero could have also paved the way for the Boholano immigrants of the 19th century, when they disembarked and formed the first 20 cabecerias in Lanuza as recorded by the Jesuits of Cantilan in the 1880’s.
The Christianization of the Mamanwas who settled in Danyog beyond Carmen and Sibahay southward beyond Lanuza was practically through the efforts of the Jesuits from the time of Father Salvador Ferrer and Juan Sansa. After their stay in Cantilan, they were replaced by Father Miguel Alaix who was formerly of Bunawan, a Jesuit Mission in Agusan. In Danyog, upon his assignment to Cantilan, he baptized sixty four Mamanwas in Sibahay. These Mamanwas were deemed the original inhabitants of Lanuza when it was not yet a barrio.
Earlier, the founding of Lanuza was reported by Father Ferrer who said that there were merely twenty cabecerias which grew rapidly because of the arrival of Boholanos and Leytenos. Father Ferrer and Sansa founded Lanuza at the time of their arrival in Cantilan on October 19, 1879.
During the ebbing years of the Spanish regime in the Philippines, Cantilan’s barrios of Lanuza and Carrascal were already ripe for townhood. Thus, their conversions by the Spanish authorities and the subsequent appointments of the town officials.
The barrios detached were Lanuza and Carrascal. Lanuza with a bigger population than Carrascal at that time had Cantilan Andres Orcullo, with Donato Uriarte Juez de Paz; Guillermo Azarcon, Maestro de Ninos; Vicenta Orillaneda Maestra de Ninas; and Padre Manuel Villes, cura misionero.
The original acronym of the whole Cantilan area was CARCANLAN which is comprised of Carrascal, Cantilan and Lanuza. On December 10, 1918, Executive Order No. 52 of American Governor General Francis Burton Harrison which was signed by Charles Yeater divided Cantilan into three parts.
Barangay Carmen of Lanuza, was made a town by R.A. No. 6367 on August 16, 1971 and the indigenous name of the whole area that was once Cantilan finally became CARCANMADCARLAN in 1980.