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AGUSAN DEL SUR

Capital: Prosperidad

No. of town: 14

Land area: 8,965.5 sq. km.

Location. The province of Agusan Del Sur is located in Mindanao Island. It is bounded on the north by Agusan del Norte, on the south by Davao del Norte, on the east by Surigao del Sur and on the west by Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental.

Brief history. Agusan´s Prehispanic cultural history is traced back to the great influence of the Majapahit Empire through the discovery of an eight inch tall image of a woman in pure gold at Maasam, Esperanza, in the early 20´s and 60´s.

The coming of the Spaniards was a visit to Rajah Siagu, a native chiftain along the Limasawa. Spanish galleons dropped anchor after an apparent long and weary journey commanded by Pernao Magalhao to visit his place on the occasion of Easter Sunday, on April 6,1951, the first mass in Agusan and for that matter in Mindanao was celebrated. Spanish troops came with friars who converted the natives into christians. Administration of the affairs of the government was later centered on the church.

The revolt of Luzon had repercussions in Agusan who also took up arms against Spaniards. After te signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10,1898, the Americans took over the civil government and again Agusan took arms this time against the American soldiers. But bolos and spears were no match to powerful guns, so in January 1900, Agusan yielded. This was then followed by peaceful road to self government which was halted by the treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec.7, 1941. The day of liberation came and in 1945 Agusan was very busy picking herself up for rehabilitation.

A very interesting sideline in the history of the province is her name. In the long time past Agusan was only known as "AGASAN" or "Where the Water Flows. In the ensuing years, the archipelago was discovered by a Portuguese navigator flying the Spanish flag. The greatest impact on this severe winding river was wnen it laid itself as a highway for the penetration of the Spanish explorers. These intrepid " Conquestadores" had their penchant of corrupting pronunciation and the place where the "Water Flows" or "Agasan" came to be called "Agusan" to the civilized world.

Political. The history of Agusan del Sur is intricately linked with that of the sister province, Agusan del Norte, since both comprised the original province of Agusan. The existance of Agusan del Sur as independent political entity began on January 1, 1970, when the first set of elected provincial officials assumed office after having been elected in the election of November 1969. However, Republic Act 4969 which provided that the capital of the province of Agusan del Sur shall be the municipality. of Prosperidad, a permanent government site in a barrio between Prosperidad and San Francisco.

Hon. Rufino C. Otero was elected in 1969 as the first Provincial Governor of Agusan del Sur and Hon. Demecrito O. Plaza as the first Congressman.

Topography. The land is an elongated basin formation with mountain ranges in the eastern and western side. The Agusan river which flows from Davao del Norte towards Agusan del Norte runs almost in the middle of the valley. This valley occupies the central longitudinal section of the province. The lower half, from the municipality of Veruela to the municipality of Talacogon, is an area filled with many swamps and lakes, the biggest of which is lake Lumao in Talacogon. The Agusan del Sur's level of depressed area covers 4.5%; rolling to hilly, 8.6%; hilly to mountainous 17.3% and mountainous 54.9 % of the total land area in Agusan del Sur.

Climate. The province Agusan del Sur falls under the second type. Characterized by a very pronounced maximum rainfall from October to January with no dry season. The month of January has the highest number of rainy days with an average of 461.2% millimeters. Relative humidity recorded a monthly average of 82% while temperature ranges from 42.2 to 30.2 centigrade. Agusan del Sur lies outside from the typhoon belt but is usually affected by depressions occuring in the Visayas and in Surigao del Norte which are included in the typhoon belt.

Language / dialect. The population of Agusan del Sur predominantly consists of migrants from the Visayas regions and, therefore, the Visayan dialects are widely used by the populace. Of the Visayan dialects, it is Cebuano that is spoken by about 67% of the total population. In the native cultural communities, "Manobo" dialect is the most popular among the native tongues. Other native tongues are Banuaon, Hiligaynon, Kamayo, and others. There are only few foreigners in the Agusan Del Sur, majority of whom speak Chinese. The rest speak English, Dutch and Spanish of whom are the priests.

Major industries. The large scale enterprises in Agusan del Sur deal mainly with logs and lumber productions and mining. This area had establishments consisting of logging firms; a lumber yard; rice and corn mills, and others. Commercial establishments has been growing steadily but most of the business activities are in small scale.

Points of interest

Giant Toog Trees. Agusan del Sur claims to have developed the largest Toog trees in the Philippines. Those trees are found in abundance in Barangay Alegria, town of San Francisco or four kilometers from poblacion.

Underground Stream. An interesting natural feature of Agusan del Sur believed to be linked to the Binaba Falls. Both are located in the area of Prosperidad, the capital of the province Agusan del Sur.

The Cultural Minorities. With its proud history, Agusan del Sur offers you to bear witness to its never ending Pagan rituals performed by the varoius Manobo tribes during the planting and harvesting season, and marriage rituals, mystifying ceremony preserved inspite of close to 400 years of oppression by Spanish colonizers and untouched by the space age drudgery. In Salog, Esperanza, San Luis, Talacogon areas, thousands of tribes that inhabit the hinterlands and riverbanks, are sometimes misunderstood as cruel and barbaric group of people, yet deep within one will discover that they are the friendliest on earth once their customs and traditions are understood. These proud tribes are usually called Banwaon, and Higaonon tribes of the Manobo group. But the most feared groups are the Magahats, and the Tala-andings, the vanishing tribes, that keep on penetrating deeper into the jungle away from the civilized world.

How to get there. Agusan del Sur is accessible by land from neighbouring Surigao, Butuan, and Agusan del Norte while the latter can be reached only by ship or plane from Manila via Cebu. From there, travellers take public land transport through the Japan-Philippine Friendship Highway.