The original name of Asturias is Naghalin, perhaps from the word lalin, native Cebuano term for settlers coming from far places. Other authorities say that "Naghalin" is a mispronunciation of the Cebuano word naghaling which means "making fire" as preparation for cooking. This assertion is supported by the old name of an adjacent municipality, "Bagacawa" (now known as Tuburan), which means "fiery cauldron" from the Cebuano baga (ember) and kawa (cauldron).
The first occupants of Asturias came from other places and neighboring islands such as Negros and Bohol. At first, one part of Naghalin was part of Tuburan and the other part of Balamban. Over time, the population of Naghalin increased because of immigration and natural population growth. Eventually the inhabitants petitioned Spain to grant them their own local government. This petition was granted in the late 19th century by Spain, thereby creating the pueblo (town) of Asturias. This event was witnessed by the arrival in 1888 of the alférez, Antonio Alonso, uncle of José Rizal.