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Surigao City

Surigao City - Land Of Peace

BRIEF HISTORY (source: www.caragatravelguide.com):

What is now the city proper of Surigao was formerly known, according to FRAY SAN FRANCISCO de San ANTONIO, as BANAHAO. San Antonio, in his “Chronicas” written in 1738, described Banahao as located at the Northern head of Mindanao within which there is a good port for ships called “Bilan – Bilan.”

Banahao was part of the old district of Caraga, which later on became the Politico – military district of Surigao with Tandag (presently the capital of Surigao del Sur) as its capital. In its original size during the Spanish era, Surigao was the biggest province in the whole of Mindanao with territories including parts of Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte up to Gingoog River, Misamis Oriental. According to the Philippine Commission Report of 1901, Surigao was ten times bigger than Rhodes Island and three times bigger than Connecticut. Because of repeated attacks by Moro pirates, the provincial capital was within the defensive perimeter of the Spanish naval squadron in Cebu and Ozamis.

Surigao officially became the permanent residence of the Recollects on February 1, 1752 when all the canonical books were moved from Siargao to Surigao. The first canonical books bore the signature of Fr. Lucas dela Cruz. Previously, the place was just a “vista” of the parish of Caolo (Siargao). This maybe considered as Surigao’s foundation Day.

It was through Surigao Strait that the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan after a brief stay at the island of Homonhon sailed into the Philippines Archipelago during the epic voyage of discovery and eventual circumnavigation of the world in 1521.

Likewise it was this famous and historic body of water that the greatest naval battle in history known, as the “Battle of Surigao Strait” was fought in World War II, from October 25-26, 1944, between U.S. and Japanese fleets.

Surigao is named after the old province (district) of the same name (Surigao). There are many versions regarding the meaning of Surigao; how this was derived. Like Sulo, which means swift water or current. With the division of Surigao into two provinces, Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte, the municipality of Surigao became the capital of Surigao del Norte. It became a chartered city on August 31, 1970.
By: Fernando A. Almeda, Jr.


Surigao City is geographically located in the northeastern portion of Mindanao. It lies between 9 to 10 degrees north latitude and 125 to 126 degrees East longitude. It is bounded by Dinagat Island on the north, the mainland of Surigao del Norte on the South, Hinatuan passage on the East, Surigao Strait and Southern Leyte on the West.


In the 1980 Surigao City Town Plan, Surigao City’s total land area was recorded at 24,534 hectares or 245.34 sq. kms. This total land area is roughly equivalent to 1.4% of Caraga Region’s land area of 1,884,697 hectares. This was officially recognized by DENR & NSO as the official land area of Surigao City.

Barangay Talisay, in the island barangays has the largest land area accounting for 9.8% of the city. It is followed by Barangay Nonoc and Barangay Cantiasay accounting for 9.6% and 6.3% respectively.


The prevailing climate in the city falls under climate Type II with no definite dry season but with a pronounced maximum rainfall from November to January. Its average annual rainfall is 3,6 73.8 millimeters (144.72 inches) based on a 50-year average. There are 242 rainy days within the year in the area making the city one of the “wettest” in the country. Its average temperature stands at a convenient 26.9 degrees centigrade with an average humidity of 85%.


The mainland and clustered islands of Surigao City has irregular or hilly topography with flat lands near the coast. It has an average elevation level of 19 meters or 65.5 ft. above sea level. The highest elevation in the mainland is the Kabangkaan Ridge situated along the border of the Municipality of San Francisco with a peak elevation of 465 meters above sea level. Along the border of Tagana-an is the Mapawa peak with an elevation of 245 meters above sea level with scattered descending slopes covering the barangays of Cabongbongan, Nabago and Capalayan.

In the Islands, the highest range is the island of Nonoc with an elevation of 263 meters above sea level, overlooking the Cantiasay Channel and the Island of Hanigad with a peak elevation of 163 meters. The highest point in Hikdop Island is in Mt. Telegrapo with a peak of 250 meters. The Island of Bayagnan located on the eastern part of Surigao City has a highest elevation of 242 meters.


Surigao City is comprised of 54 barangays, 33 are mainland 21 are island barangays. The city proper is divided into five (5) urban barangays namely: Taft, Washington, San Juan, Canlanipa and Luna. It has also eight (8) urbanizable barangays. Thirty-six (36) of the city’s barangays has an extensive coastline or coastal area of which 15 are from the mainland and 21 are in the islands.


The farthest mainland barangays from the city proper measures 20 and 18.5 kilometers respectively. These are the barangays of Cabongbongan and Nabago at the east side. On the west side, Barangay Sukailang has a distance of 15.554 kms., Barangay Anomar – 15.008 kms., Barangay Trinidad – 14.780 kms. and Barangay Danao - 14.272 kms. Of the island barangays, Barangay San Jose of Bayagnan Island has a distance of 19.000 vertical kilometers, followed by Barangay Aurora – 16.500 vertical kilometers, Cagutsan and Sugbay-16.000 vertical kilometers.

Brief Description

Surigao City is the capital of the province of Surigao del Norte, located at Northeastern Mindanao and serving as the gateway by land from the country’s largest island to the rest of the Philippines.

Surigao City is blessed with abundant natural scenic spots consisting of various arrays of beaches and island hopping destinations that can cater to different types of adventures, from swimming to snorkeling and scuba diving. Other natural attractions in the locality consist of mangrove forests, caves for spelunking, lagoons, waterfalls, rock and coral formations, and many more.

Another distinct advantage of Surigao City is its unmatched and untarnished socio-political stability. The city’s crime index measures less than one to two crimes reported per 100,000 population. It is very significant to note that the city is relatively free from the cudgels of organized crime syndicates and distinctly devoid of secessionists’ movements and clan violence commonly occurring in other areas of Central and Southern Mindanao.

In this dynamic and vibrant city at Northeastern Mindanao, expect only to find an excellent travel destination and potentially the next stop for doing business.


Surigao City is located in the northern tip of Mindanao. It is blessed with abundant mineral reserves, fisheries, and aquatic resources as well as tracts of fertile arable lands, which are the prime sources of its people’s livelihood. Its location along the coast offers a wide array of white sand or black pebbled beaches. It also boasts of beautiful islands.


Surigao City is the capital of the province of Surigao del Norte. It has 54 Barangays, 21 of which are in the islands and 33 in the mainland.


Surigao City’s population as of the year 2000 census was 118,534, growing at a rate of 2.56%.


Surigaonon, Cebuano, Boholano, Tagalog, and English are the major languages and dialects spoken in the city.


The prevailing climate in the city falls under climate type II with no definite dry season but with a very pronounced maximum rainfall from November to January. Its average annual rainfall is 3,673.8 millimeters (144.72 inches) based on a 50-year average. There are 216 rainy days within the year in the area, making the city one of the “wettest” in the country. Its average temperature stands at a convenient 26.9 degrees centigrade with an average humidity of 85 percent (85%).


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