|Surigao Del Sur|
No. of towns: 19
Land area: 4,522.16 sq. km.
Brief history. Surigao del Sur was created as the 56th Philippine province on June 29, 1960 by virtue of R. A. No. 2786 and was formally separated from its mother province, Surigao del Norte, on September 18, 1960.
At the time of its inception, it was classified as a 4th class province with an annual income of over P300,000.00. Seven years later, because of rapid increase of revenue collections particularly from logging ventures, it has been reclassified into first class B. Presently, it is classified as first class A with an estimated annual income of around P13,000,000.
Originally, the province had 13 municialities. In subsequent years, five more were added, raising the number to 18 with Tandag as the capital town. Today, with the creation of the new town of Carmen, there are 19 municipalities, with 293 barangays. Of these barangays, Mangagoy in Bislig, Diatagon in Lianga, Aras-asan in Cagwait, Pantayan in Cantillan, Puayat in Carmen.
Before the Spaniards came, the original inhabitants of the province were the Mamanwas and Manobos. Later, our Malay brothers from the Visayas came to cattle with the natives. It was with the arrival of the immigrants that the province acquired its name from one of thenatives. Saliagao who lived near the mouth of the river. This name Saliagao was later pronounced Surigao by the inhabitants. It is also said that long ago, some Visayan fisherman forced by the strong current of the Surigao strait, sought refuge in one of the huts somewhere in the province. The Mamanwas who thought that these fishermen wanted to occupy the hut by force said "agaw", the term which was later given a prefix "Suri" by an immigrant.
Surigao formerly, extended from what is now known as Agusan including the island east of it and the northern regions of Davao. When Magellan left Homonhon, where he met two native chiefs, Rajah Kulambo and Rajah Ciago, he visited the northern part of the province on his way to Cebu for a short time, Rajah Kulambo was from Butuan, then a part of Surigao. The Portuguese in 1550, however, under the leadership of Francisco Castro, an explorer, stayed longer in Butuan to baptize the natives including their chiefs.
Villalobos explored the northern part of the province when he headed an expedition to look for Laoaisa who was sent earlier.
He did not find the party and that because the natives were hostile he did not stay long. The capital of the province at that time was Caraga. So the Spaniards called the people Caraga.
Because of the hostility of the natives, attemps of the Recollect fathers to establish missions failed. Sometimes in 1809 or during the early part of the 17th century another expedition was sent under Juan de la Vega to subdue the natives. Many became christians. This was followed by peace and progress with the people engaged in frequent Moro raids. As a measure of defense, a watch tower and a fort was constructed in Tandag. This was one of the series of fourteen defenses distributed throughout the Philippines. It was not affected by the revolution.
In 1849, the southern portion of the province was separated and made into a polotician-militar province called Nueva Guiposo. The region is now known as Davao. Surigao became the eastern District, comprising Agusan and all the islands between the towns of Butuan and Caraga in 1869. The year 1870, it was named District of Surigao.
Misguided elements in the island of Surigao, known as "colorum" took up arms against the government in 1924. The provincial commander with some officers and enlisted men were killed during one of the encounters. The battleship Sacramento escorted by a coast guard cutter bombarded Socorro, the seat of the rebel government. Some three hundered seasoned soldiers picked from different provinces were placed under the command of Colonel Clarence Bower to check-up the escape to the mainland.
Around seven hundered surrendered. The leader, who was able to penetrate the cordon started another uprising in Timamana. The government forces killed fifty six fanatics. They were left to decay for three days to disprove their belief that they would live again on their third day.
During then World War II, guerilla units were organized with the seat of resistance in Cagwait. The capital which was then occupied by the Japanese suffered the heaviest destruction from both air and sea bombardment. Thousands of Japanese were killed and the town was reduced to ashes.
Geography. The province is located on the northeastern part of Mindanao facing the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded on the northwest by Surigao del Norte, on the southeast by Davao Oriental, on the east by the Pacific Ocean and on the west and southwest by the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte.
Political subdivision. Surigao del Sur is composed of 19 municipalities namely: Barobo, Bayabas, Bislig, Cagwait, Cantilan, Carmen, Carrascal, Cortes, Hinatuan, Lanuza, Lianga, Lingig, Madrid, Marihatag, San Agustin, san Miguel, Tagbina, Tago and Tandag. It has 293 barangays.
Climate. The northeast trade wind is the prevailing wind almost the year round particularly during the dry season. Strong winds occur especially during rainy season, monsoon blows, but they could hardly be considered as cyclonic storms like those occuring in China Sea.
Language / Dialects. Major dialect is Surigao-non although majority still speak the Cebuano. Some tribes found in Surigao are the Manobo, Ubo, Bilaan and Mandaya.
Major industries. Surigao is known largely of its logging and wood processing industries.
Points of interest
KM 97 Swimming Pool. Located in Punta Tugas, Carrascal between the boundary of Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte.
Two Linugan Islands (Tandag). Tago river snakes up to the hearth of Diwata Mountain in the west passing the hinterland town of San Miguel. A multi-million peso NIA irrigation dam was constructed in this river in barangay Sagbayan.
Libas Suda Hot Spring. Located in San Miguel, about an hour ride from the town site.
Iron Mountain (Punta Tugas, Carrascal). A huge scenic mineral mountain lay the biggest iron reservation in the hemisphere. Also, a zigzag ala Baguio´s Kennon traverses this iron mountain which towers majestically over the islands viewing the Pacific Ocean below.
Mangkangagi Island. Found 2 miles from Tandag seashore. The island offers three guano-filled caves, white-sand beaches. Ideal site for excursions, picnicking and fishing.
Maletangtang Cave. Located near the national road of Cantillan. It is known for its beautiful boatshape form and cool springs, guano filled caves and its ever fresh cool water for field trips and picnics.
Cagwait White-sand Beach resort (Cagwait, about 10 minutes from the town site). It is a white-sand beach resort famous for its fine white sand which extends to a blue, calm and crystal clear sea water.
Malinawa Beach (Barrio Parang, Cantillan, about 10 minutes ride from poblacion). It is a white-sand beach, best suited for picnicking, excursions and field trips.
Tandag Beach Resort. Located 50 meters away from the poblacion. A U-shaped beach being managed by thePhilippine Department of Tourism. The resort has resthouse with dressing rooms and a kitchen.
Borboanon Falls. Thos can be reached in a 20 minute ride from Mangagoy.
Turtle Island (Barobo, about 30-minute ride by pumpboat from Barobo). An 8-hectare white sand beach whose multi-colored coral reef adds to the attraction.
Barcelona Beach. It can be reached in a 30-minute ride by pumpboat from Mangagoy. A black-sand beach along which are the picnic huts, for swimmers.
Hagonoy Island. It can be reached in a 30-minute ride by pumpboat from Mangagoy wharf. It boasts of its white-sand beach. Swimmers and scuba divers also flock to this island.
Cantillan Beach resort. Located 55 kms. away from Tandag.
Nihon Falls. Located in Bislig, Picop.
Picop Plantation (Paper Industries Corp. of the Phil.). Located in Mangagoy, Bislig, 160 kms. from Tandag. One of the biggest pulp and paper companies in the Far East / pulp and paper making / housing subdivision on hills / waterfalls within the PICOP area, the Nyholm and Borboanon Falls. Its facilities include guesthouse, sports and recreational facilities, and a modern housing subdivision.
How to get there. Aerolift has direct flights to Surigao City. Philippine Airlines
also has flights from Manila to Butuan and from there avail of
land transportation to Surigao. Another flight is from Manila
to Cebu to Surigao City.