It is the regional center of Zamboanga Peninsula and the second-largest city in the region, after the independent city of Zamboanga. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 199,060 people.
Pagadian began as a stop-over for traders who plied the road between the old Spanish fort-town of Zamboanga on the southwestern tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula and other bigger towns to the north of the old Zamboanga Province. Except for its sheltered bay and good fishing grounds, it was not a promising site for the foundation of a city, for it is situated on steeply rolling terrain. In the course of its local history, waves of different kinds of people came to stay, and eventually called among themselves “Pagadianons”.
The iconic symbol of Pagadian is its uniquely designed tricycle built to adopt to the city’s hilly terrain. It is the only place in the Philippines with a public transport inclined at about 25-40° angle.