This study documents the event chronology and causes of land-use change in a deltaic region of the Philippines since the beginnings of aquaculture in the late nineteenth century. Satellite images and topographic maps spanning the period 1972–2013 were processed to map fishponds and the natural habitats over which they have encroached. Historical archives were consulted and interviews were conducted to understand the historical exploitation of local natural resources and the reasons behind the recorded land changes. Results showed that aquaculture developed in the late nineteenth century and expanded subsequently across the landscape under a succession of forcing factors. The global market, for example, played an early role but a number of land-use changes were also a direct response to changing environmental constraints and natural hazards. These cumulative events have promoted continuous gain in favor of aquaculture, to the detriment of other land-use options.