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SURIGAO DEL NORTE

Capital: Surigao

No. of towns: 27

Land area: 2,739.0 sq. km.

Brief history. Surigao del Norte once a part of an old territory that existed in Northern Mindanao called "Caraga" named after the people called "Calagaus" believed to be of Visayan origin who inhabited the place at the time.

In 1538, Francisco de Castro, a Portuguese-born Spaniard in the expedition from Ternate in search of Luisa, landed on what presently is Surigao del Norte province, there upon, baptized the inhabitants to Christianity.

Historically, the early Spanish settlement and development in Surigao del Norte was established in Tandang.

In 1638, the Recollect had a residence in the following towns, namely, Tandang, Butuan, Sidargo (Siargao), Bislig and Linao-a town located in the interior of Agusan.

It was February1, 1752, a year after the town of Siargao (Numancia) was burned by the Moros (Muslim Pirates), when the - Recollects had a residence - was transferred to Surigao.

In 1860, six military districts were established in Mindanao, Surigao and Agusan, including the territory lying between Butuan and Caraga Bays, from the third districts called the East Districts which was changed in 1870 to "Distrito de Surigao".

In 1911, during the American Regime, Agusan was created as a separate province with Butuan as its capital. Pursuant to R.A. 2736 dated June 19, 1960, Surigao was divided into two provinces - Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

Surigao del Norte has a very rich culture. The first "tribe" reached Surigao during the early period of migration, long before the glacial period that separated the Philippines from mainland Asia. Next came the people of rich Malay stock. This was followed by the Chinese, Japanese, and Arabs. Glints of European and American culture could also be identified in the Surigaonon culture.

During the later periods, migrants from Luzon and Visayas flocked to the province in a hope to seek for greater opportunity attracted by stories of other successful imigrants on the "Gold Rush". Fortunately, they found greener pastures and decided to permanently settle here. This resulted to inter-marriages with the natives.

Although noted for their ferocity, the people are actually peace-loving and gentle. The favorable climate made them somewhat non-temperamental. They have the humor of the Visayan, the frugality of the Ilocano, and other traits that still surface, all of which are inherited from their forebears who ventured into this part.

Political Subdivision. The provice has 413 barangays (including Surigao City´s 53 barangays), 26 municipalities and one city as its capital. The province includes the islands of Dinagat, Siargao and Bucas Grande with appurtenant small islands namely: Hikdop, Nonoc, Zaragosa, Sumilon, Basul, San Jose, Nasapilid and others which shield the northern towns including Surigao City from thenorthwest monsoon and the field waters.

The province is divided into two districts. District I includes the islands of Dinagat, Siargao and Bucas Grande and District II has the mainland municipalities and the city of Surigao.

Climate. The province falls under type II with no pronounced dry season, but a very prononced maximum rainfall from November to January. The average monthly maxima of 600 mm in December and January and monthly minima of about 150 mm in August and September. However, the incidence of rainfall during the same month in different years appears highly variable. The average number of rainy days per month is 20 to 25 from November to March and 13 to 18 from April to October. Although open to the Pacific Ocean on the Easter coast, the province is less prone to typhoons than eastern coast, at the further north which is exposed to about seven percent of all those hitting the Philippines.

Languages / Dialect. The national Census and statistic Office revealed that out of the total population, 95.4 % speak Cebuano as their mother tongue. This could not be pure Cebuano because there´s Surigaonon dialect which has a unique character. Influence of the Goholano dialect with a strong accent of the Tausog dialect can be traced. A few percentage speak Samar-Leyte (1.79%) and Tagalog while the rest speak one of the several dialects being spoken in the province. 42% of the populace are able to speak English 30% Filipino and merely 2.2% Spanish.

Most of the city residents speak Surigaonon tongue which is a mixture of the Cebuano dialect. Letters L and J are pronounced Y like Bayay for balay (house) and Sija for Siya (he/she). Commercial / trade names however still retain their original pronunciation.

Major Industries. the province has a lot of arable land, although very little is being cultivated. Abaca, copra and maiz are the most important agricultural products. Then there are the coal, iron, copper and gold deposits.

Weaving of baskets and hats is taught in the schools, along with embroidery. Those who live in coastal areas engage in fishing and in catching tortoises, which are sold in the markets. There is considerable trade along the sea coast.

Poits of Interest

Mother of Perpetual Help Ceniza Heights. Built by the devotees of said patron, the shrine itself is surrounded with green natural scenic landscaping. It can be seen clearly while trekking the heights of the Beverly Hills of Surigao - Quano Ceniza Heights Subdivision. Approximately one and a half kilometers away from the city proper.

Labor Monument. San Nicolas / Borromeo Sts.

Century Old Replica of the Liberty Bell. Capitol site.

Capitol Site. An old American designed capitol building which has been renovated recently.

Guest House overlooking the highway. It is located less than a kilometer from Surigao City downtown.

U.S. Landing Avenue. A strategic area in the municipality of Loreto where U.S. Liberators landed and fought against the Japanese Imperial Army stationed in the place. A few moles from the island in Surigao Strait, the historical landmark where hundred of Japanese navel ships were defeated due to the massive bombardment by U.S. planes in World War II.

Conconological Exhibit. MSC house, Borromeo St. (Fr. Ben Portillo).

Ipil Beach Resorts. White pebble beach of clear sea water alongside heavy laden coconut trees. This partially developed by the Surigao city Lion´s Club and approximately 10 kms. away from the city proper. It is accessible both by land and sea transportation. Ipil Beach Recreation Center is equipped with bathroom dressing room facilities and renovation center suited for small beach parties.

Danawan Beach. Is an island resort in Danawan Island, just across Hikdop Island going west. Its white beach is so rich in rare sea shells. Shell aficionados often go there to collect rarities.

Sabang Beach Resort. It is a kilometer long sprawling black sand beach that has shallow waters up to 400 meters from the shore. This partially developed and along the seaside portion of PCUM Subdivision in the city proper.

Mabua Beach Resort. This beach adjacent to Ipil Beach forms an arc that extends to a length of about three kilometers to Ipil Beach. aside from fine white pebbles which is its dominant feature, it has also rock formations which serve as natural diving boards for swimmers. Alongside is a precipice which is a nice and challenging place for amateur mountain climbers. It has several private cottages built underneath, dense coconut trees which could be used for a minimal fees.

Panomboyom Beach. Is a part of Barangay Baybay which is located at the southern tip of HIkdop Island. It is known for its fine white beaches grossly dominated by fine coral rocks which has been splashed by the waves to the shore.

General Luna Beach. A discovery of foreign surfers and scuba divers. White sand beaches line the shores for miles and miles facing a handful of islets some hundred meters away from the unrushing waves of the Pacific.

Mapawa Cave. Located at Barangay Mapawa. It is approximately 15 kilometers away from the city proper. It has cathedral shape inner domes richly decorated with magnificent stalactites having like natural chandeliers balanced by an enthralling sight of varied sized stalagmites.

Buenavista Cave. Located near Sitio Pagkawasan of Barangay Buenavista. It can be reached by water transportation and is approximately four miles from the city proper. It has three entrances which all lead to a cavern approximately 3 kms. in length. Unique stone formations inside the cave create an illusionary vision of a majestic "King´s Court" complete with other chambers. It has also an underground pool which is knee deep and is about 100 meters from the main entrance. Like the Mapawa Caves, it has also impressive stalactites and stalagmites which bare witness to the fact that nature is still the formost sculptor.

Punta Kalabera, Catadman. Located at the northeastern portion of Hikdop Island. It is a beautiful naturally sculptured skull stone formation which local folks call Punta K Labera. Near or at a distance it looks like a skull of a man. This has been formed as a result of the continuous lashing and splashing of the waves.

Zaragosa Rock Formation. Located on Sibaldo Island. It has unique dagger-edge structures about 20 ft. high occupying an area approximately one hectare in size, almost surrounded by waist-deep crystal clear sea waters. Adjacent to this are two fine white beaches which are excellent sites both for swimmers and beach combers. In the olden days, bodies of cholera and small fox victims of the adjoining barangays are dumped on this area to rot. This is locally called as Sangatan. adjacent to this attraction is a big solitary rock island known as Tamulayag, where trees grow although it has no soil. At a distance, it looks like gigantic floating flower base.

Basul Island. Located northwest of the city, it is noted for its enticing white beaches richly interpolated by empty shells casing and fine corals. Like a sentry of the entrance of the Surigao Channel, this can be easily spotted from a ship approaching the city. As the norhtwest direction of this island can be seen the Surigao Strait (site of famous naval battle of Surigao Strait) which look place on October 24, 1944, between the fleet of Admiral Oldendorf of the US Sevent Fleet and that of Admiral Nishimura of the Japanese Imperial Navy.

Raza Island. Even without developing the area, it is already in itself an attraction in this island, one can witness the fascinating and simultaneous interplay of both high and low tides; low tide on one side of the island and high tide on the other. Every 6 hours the tide reverses its course. No wonder then, it is a common sight to see people picking up sea shells along one side of the shore and continue doing so on the side as the tide reverses.

Bucas Grande Island. Where the famous Sohoton Cave is situated and eerie, magnificent experience of passing through a cave that is only passable during low tide, into a lagoon of countless islets.

Hikdip Island. About 25 minutes boat ride from mainland city proper; where the Buenavista Cave is located just a few minutes away from the white beach

Sta. Monica Waterfalls. A gentle burst of falling water amid the tranquility of a virginal forest. This well-preserved natural environment is another come-on.

Buyho Waterfalls. Located at Barangay San Jose. The cascading waterfalls from a height of approximately 70 feet and comes from a natural pool-like reservoir which is the covering point of the uphill creeks and springs. Water drops to an almost flat stone surface at the base and then flows a ledge about 6 meters wide underneath a succession of shady trees.

Day-asan Floating Barangay. The Venice of Surigao City. Here houses are built along shallow water lanes amidst carefully selected mangrove clearings. It has water channels, instead of roads, and small bancas or river boats instead of wheeled vehicles. Purok centers, where local folks congregate to discuss issues or conduct meetings are located in the midst of the waterways. They are all circular in shape and have "salakot" type roofings. Day-asan is about two miles from the city proper.

Bitaugan "Magic" Whirlpools. These maelstroms are found during ebb tide. They have a characteristic behavior to pull, twirl and suck into their vertices anything that comes near them. They are called "magic whirlpool" due to their peculiar beavior to appear and then disappear at certain nature designated time intervals. Locally called Pahibhongan their appearances usually followed by an almost inaudible explosion and then the subsequent disappearance, after the "explosion" their vertices vanish, after sometime, it would again appear. This is a cycle.

Sagisi Beach. A 3 kms. stretch of white sand beach, deep blue sea waters and cool shade provided by its lofty coconut trees. It is a place to relax and enjoy the sun, sand and sea. Situated in front of Barangay San Jose, Surigao City and can be reached by a pumpboat from the city within 45 minutes.

Sohotan cave. Experience the thrill of passing through a cave, accessible only during low tide, into a lagoon of countless islets. Situated in Bucas Grande Islands.

Mainit Lake. This pear-shaped lake engulfs the municipalities of Mainit and Alegria. At a certain season, one can admire the purplish blooms of water hyacinths and lilies. Its placid waters is a sanctuary of thousands of wild ducks. This 17,340 hectares of freshwater is the fourth largest lake in the Philippines.

Lake Bababu. Situated between Puerto Princesa and Melgar in Basilisa, this mountain lake is a sight to behold. The steep vertical inclines add thrill to an avid adventurer. Lush vegetation dominates the virginal periphery.

Del Carmen Swamps. A vast swampland of preserved mangroves, habitat of the biggest species of saltwater crocodile in the country.

Festival

Maradjao- Karadjao (Surigao City, 2nd week of September). A day-long festival marking the annual city fiesta celebration. The main feature is the Bonok-Bonok, an ethnic Mamanua Dance performed by the natives during "Kahimonan" (Fiesta), workshop and wedding ceremonies.

A prelude to the celebration of the Maradjao-Karadjao festival is the Bulawanong Barangay "Bulawanon" means beautification. Before the Bonok-Bonok festivity is held, preliminary contest between the 22 barangays of Surigao City is ongoing to accentuate the month-long festivity that livens up to the household of respective family of Surigao City.

Other activities are streetdancing participated in by different private and government contingents using creative costumes, huge floats and hilarious chanting "Viva Señor San Nicolas! Viva Maradjao-Kradjao!"

Special Interests:

Wind Surfing

Snorkeling

Scuba Diving

Water Skiing

Surfing

Game Watching

Mountain Climbing

Diving

Boating

Fishing

Game Fishing

How to get there. By air - Philippine Airlines has flights from Manila to Cebu to Surigao City. It has also flights from Manila to Butuan and fro there avail of land transportation to Surigao city.

By land - Airconditioned bus from PasayCity and from any point of Mindanao, buses and jeepneys.

By Sea - Passenger boat direct from Manila and Cebu.