The natives of Lapuyan belong to the Subanen tribe of Region IX .They are peace loving people who prefer to live along riverbanks up-stream in order to avoid the aggressive Moros who live along the coast. The word Subanen is derived from the word suba, or up-stream riverbank dwellers, because contracts with them can only be possible when one would go up-stream. These high land dwellers are also called getaw bentud.
During the Spanish regime, the region was known as Pengolis. This is derived from the Subanen word peng-holos-holis, which means patches of clearing in the jungles. This area first inhabited word by the tribe of Thimuay Ahaten, Thimuay Reho who settled along the bank of Lapuyan River, which is now the present Poblacion site of Lapuyan, later succeeded him. They were often molested or invaded by the aggressive Maguidanao Datus who live along the coast and by the Maranaos from Lanao. The Maguindanao Datus would exact tribute from them while Maranaos would capture them and sell them as slave.
The same region later becomes known as Lapuyan. The word Lapuyan is derived from the Subanen word Gepuyan or Pegupuyan, which means a place for cooking. It was said later that after long days hunt, the Subanen hunter would cook their food and rest on the river bank of Thubig-gepuyan which gave name of Lapuyan River.
However, in the early part of the 19th century, braves Subanens leaders who were cousins of Thimuay Ahaten and Reho reinforce these tribes. They came from Lakewood ( Danao) and settled in Magusan near the Mount of Kumalarang River. They were sons and daughter of the Great Subanen Patriarch who discovered Lakewood (Danao). These Subanen leaders were the ancestors of the Imbings,Lusays,Bugaos, Banghulots, Mangangots, Huminis, Lingatings,Sulong and other modern day Subanen leaders in Lapuyan. These Subanen leaders clear this region of their enemies and did not submit to Islam and Catholic religion. They maintained eir religion and
animism as their religion and governed themselves according to their customs and traditions. But, during the reign of Thimuay Imbing in the later part of 19th and early part of 20th century, he accepted Christianity, which was introduced by American Missionaries Mr. & Mrs. David O. Lung in 1912. Rev. & Mrs. Samuel D. Lomasson continued their missionary works. They put up a Church and a Mission School was the early Subanen learned to speak English. Later it was only by speaking English that they could communicate with their Christian and Muslim Filipino brothers as well as with foreigners. Because of this, Lapuyan became known as Little America. Furthermore, this is the only town in the whole Province of Zamboanga del Sur where English speaking Subanen predominate.
DEMOGRAPHY AND HUMAN RESOURCE INFORMATION
The municipality of Lapuyan has a total population of 23,512 distributions into settlement pockets. The most populated area is the 25 barangays, which has a population of 18,749 or 79.74% of the entire municipality population.
The Municipality of Lapuyan is located in the Southern Section of the Province of Zamboanga del Sur. It is bounded in the East by Municipality of San Miguel and Guipos , North bt Municipality of Tigbao and Lakewood, North- North-west by Municipality of Margosatubig and waters of Dumanquillas Bay, specifically, it is located between 7 34 N TO 7 47N latitude coordinates and between 123 SE to 123 18 E longitude coordinates.