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Details of Surigao del Norte

 

In the Beginning of History - Surigao's history dates back centuries. The winds of change that swept the province from the four corners of the world has witnessed the meeting of diverse local and foreign influences which nurtured the emergence of a unique and distinct Surigaonon culture.

In 1538, the eastern coast of Mindanao which included the present province of Surigao del Norte was visited by a Portuguese explorer Francisco de Castro, who found the place inhabited by the Caraga tribe who were believed to be of Visayan origin.

Five years later, a Spaniard Ruy Lopez de Villabos landed in the same region, His navigator, Bernardo de la Torre, named it "Cesaria Caroli" in honor of the reigning Spanish Monarch, Carlos V. The name however, never persisted since the Spaniards preferred to name the area "Caraga" after its chief inhabitants.

The Jesuit Missionaries in 1597 tried to evangelize the people of Butuan (Agusan) and Caraga (Surigao), with much difficulty and intermittent success. They were followed in 1622 by the Augustinian Recollects who established parishes in Tandag and Bislig in 1642. The Recollects Stayed until 1875, then secular priests took over, followed by the Benedictine Monks from 1893 to 1908.

The ancient district of Caraga, which was established in 1609 comprised all of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, the Northern part of Davao Oriental and Eastern Misamis Oriental.

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

By the end of the Spanish rule in 1897, the two Agusan provinces had been organized as a single politico-military comandancia named "Butuan", within the administrative jurisdiction of Surigao. In 1901, this comandancia became a sub-province of Surigao, and in 1907, Agusan became a separate province.

It was on June 19, 1960, through Republic Act 2766 that province was divided to form Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte.

The Land - Surigao del Norte is a mosaic of islands at the rim of the Asian continental shelf. It is perched at the northeastern tip of Mindanao and faces that abysmal canyon known as the Philippine Deep. It is bounded on the north and east by the vast Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Provinces of Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Sur, and on the west by the historic Surigao Strait.

The province has an area of 288,905 hectares of 2,740.14 square kilometers which is roughly equivalent to 9.67 percent of the total land area of Northern Mindanao. It embraces within its domain 27 municipalities and a component city.

Surigao City, the provincial capital is dubbed as the "Gateway to Mindanao". The ferry landing terminal in Lipata links Mindanao to Luzon through Eastern Visayas. It annually showcases in full regalia its distinct cultural heritage through the Bonok-Bonok Maradjao Karadjao" Festival. A provincial city that offers a respite from the busting metropolitan life.

On the Northern side of the province is Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands. These island paradise are famous for their long stretch of sugar-fine beaches, perfect surfs, vast mangrove forest, and deep waters teeming with a plethora of marine life. A tropical gem that has managed to preserve its beauty through the years.

Dinagat Island, situated on the northeastern part of the province is a shangrila of adventurers. Its enhancing caves, magnificent rock formations and mountain lakes provides a perfect ambience for the thrill seeker and highly-strung individuals. It is also the seat of the greatest and historic Battle of Surigao Strait during the World War II and the entry point of the American Liberation forces before the momentous return of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Leyte.

Mainland Surigao del Norte is a cradle of civilization of the province. The Panhutongan and Amoslog archeological excavations in Placer would give a glimpse of the origins of the province and its people. Such is the image of Surigao del Norte. A montage of history and unspoiled beauty. An untouched eden warmed by smiles of people with unquenching thirst for an exuberant lifestyle.

The People - The Surigaonon is of rich Malay stock with a sprinkling of Chinese, Japanese and Arab blood. Glints of European and American influences are also evident in the Surigaonon's appearance and culture. With a population of almost 467,228 the lines between stocks can not be accurately distinguished.

The Surigaonons are peace-loving and gentle. Its favorable climate makes them non-temperamental. They have the humor of the Visayan, the frugality of the Ilocano and other traits which were inherited from their forebears who ventured into this part of the archipelago. Some 95 percent speaks Surigaonon as a major dialect. Influences of the Cebuano and Boholano dialects with a Tausug accent can be traced. A few speak Waray and Tagalog. Majority are able to speak English. The People are predominantly Roman Catholic. The rest of population are Aglipayans, Protestant and other religions.

The Resources - Surigao del Norte boasts of vast reserve of natural resources. It has the biggest deposits of nickel, gold, chromite, iron, sand and gravel, limestone and silica. The wide expanse of the provinces' fishing waters teem with enormous supply of marine life. The rich and fertile agricultural land predominantly produces rice, coconut, and rootcrops. Poultry and livestock registered an output of 508,966 heads per annum.

Surigao del Norte is special hideaway of rustic charms and pristine beauty. Its panoramic landscapes never fail to lure visitors to indulge and experience a frolic in the sun, sand and sea.


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