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|City of Surigao
Siyudad nan Surigao
Dakbayan sa Surigao
|Nickname(s): City of Island Adventures|
|Region||Caraga (Region XIII)|
|Province||Surigao del Norte|
|Congr. district||2nd district of Surigao del Norte|
|Founded||June 29, 1655|
|Cityhood||August 31, 1970|
|• Mayor||Ernesto Matugas (Liberal Party)|
|• Total||245.30 km2 (94.71 sq mi)|
|• Density||570/km2 (1,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PHT (UTC+8)|
The City of Surigao (Filipino pronunciation: (sů-rēh-GAŮ) (Filipino: Lungsod ng Surigao; Surigaonon: Siyudad nan Surigao; Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Surigao) is located at the northeasternmost tip of Mindanao Island in the Philippines and the capital of the province of Surigao del Norte. It has a total land area of 245.34 km2 which is roughly 1.4% of Caraga region. According to 2010 census, 140,540 people live in the city with an annual growth rate of 1.52%. An average of 573 persons live per square kilometer, the most densely populated urban area in Caraga region.
The absence of a fort in Surigao belies its significance and sphere of influence during the Spanish period. It was the capital of the expansive province of the same name from 1750 until its dissolution in 1911, covering a third of Mindanao Island's total land area. It is one of the oldest port towns in Mindanao, founded by Spanish colonizers in 1655. Today, Surigao is among the most important seaports in the country. The Asian Institute of Management ranks the city as among the most competitive small-sized cities in the Philippines, with an estimated total income of 600 million pesos in 2012.
The city has abundant mineral reserves including gold, iron, manganese, silica, cobalt, copper, chromite and among the world's largest nickel deposits in Nonoc Island. Diverse species of fish and aquatic life can be found within its territorial sea boundaries. The city falls under the tropical climate type and prone to brief afternoon downpours and thunderstorms. Its location makes it an ideal jump off point for adventure-seeking tourists who visit nearby islands of Siargao, Dinagat and Bucas Grande. It is also Mindanao's closest landmass to the Visayas region, separated 11 nautical miles by Surigao Strait and a 40-minute ferry ride to Panaon Island. Surigao is the center of politics, commerce, industry and education for the entire province as well as parts of neighboring provinces of Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Bohol and Southern Leyte.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Geography
- 3 History
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Local government
- 6 Education
- 7 Economy
- 8 Healthcare
- 9 Infrastructure
- 9.1 Transportation
- 9.2 Senator Verano Port
- 9.3 Lipata Port and Ferry Terminal
- 9.4 Surigao Airport
- 9.5 Surigao Integrated Bus and Jeepney Terminal
- 9.6 Sanitary Landfill and Waste Treatment Facility
- 9.7 Surigao Provincial Sports Complex/Gymnasium
- 9.8 Surigao Provincial Convention Center
- 9.9 San Juan-Lipata Coastal Road
- 10 Media
- 11 Telecommunications
- 12 Local Attractions
- 13 Annual Events
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
According to local historians, there are many versions regarding the meaning of Surigao and how this was derived. Like Sulo, which means sulog or current, the name Surigao may have been originally coined from the Spanish word surgir, meaning swift current.
There is also a popular legend about Visayan fishermen who went adrift on a stormy day at the mouth of today's Surigao River. With boats wrecked, they were unable to sail back to sea. They were met by a docile village chieftain named Solibao who offered them his abode. The fishermen helped the chieftain procure food for the village's daily subsistence in exchange for his hospitality. One day, with much luck, they were able to paddle back home after other fishermen came close to the village they now named after Solibao. Some of the men eventually returned and settled in the area, lured by their fortunate experience with Solibao. Years later during the 15th century, the Spanish galleons dropped anchor near the settlement and came ashore. The Spanish historian, worn from the long transpacific journey misheard the people when he asked for the name of the place, and wrote in his diaries Surigao instead, referring to the land at the northeasternmost tip of Mindanao Island.
The town was renamed Caraga after its founding, derived from the word calagan which means "land of the brave" or "fierce people". The Italian adventurer Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Careri, who published a book of travel in the country, cited Francisco Combes, S.J. as a source in saying that Calagan is derived from the two Visayan words, kalag for soul and an for people. Today, Caraga is the official name referring to the entire Region XIII, created through Republic Act No. 7901 on February 25, 1995, making it the newest region in the Philippines.
Surigao City is situated at the northeastern-most tip of Mindanao Island. It is bounded by Municipalities of Dinagat and Basilisa to the north, Philippine Sea and the Municipality of Cagdianao to the east, Municipalities of Sison and Tagana-an to the south, Mindanao Sea and the Municipality of San Francisco to the west and the Surigao Strait to the northwest.
Surigao City is marked by rolling hills that gently buffers its eastern and western boundaries. To the southwest towers the Kabangkaan Ridge which divides the city from the municipality of San Francisco (formerly Anao-aon). Kinabutan River ( otherwise known as Surigao River) meanders Surigao valley before it empties to the Surigao tidal basin, a shrinking mangrove swamp fast overtaken by the city's expansion. It has an average elevation of 19 meters or 65.5 ft. above sea level. The highest elevation on the mainland at the Kabangkaan Ridge has a peak elevation of 465 meters above sea level. Along the border of Tagana-an is Mapawa Peak with an elevation of 245 meters above sea level. Barangays Cabongbongan, Nabago and Capalayan are at the foot of its slopes.
More than two dozen islands and islets make up two fifths of the city's total land area. They are separated from the mainland by Hinatuan Passage, which connects Mindanao Sea to the Pacific Ocean. The largest island of Nonoc is marked by a rusty-red weathering mantle of lateritic nickel ore, visible from any vantage point on the mainland coast. Its highest elevation at 263 meters above sea level typifies most of its hilly terrain. Across the channel at Hikdop Island, the highest point is Mt. Telegrapo at 100.05 meters. Hinatuan Island is similar to Nonoc's bare and rusty-red hilly appearance. Other notable islands of Hanigad, Sibale, Bayaganan and Awasan are generally flat, covered mostly with coconut trees and assorted hardwoods. Large swaths of mangrove and nipa palm forests cover its brackish waterways and shallow fringes of its coastlines.
Like most of the country, Surigao is officially considered a tropical rainforest climate type, Köppen class Af with an average monthly precipitation of 308.66 mm (12.5 inches). However, it is distinctly wettest between the months of November until March. During the drier season between April to September, brief afternoon showers and thunderstorms locally called sobasco, are commonplace.
|Climate data for Surigao City, Philippines|
|Average high °C (°F)||29
|Average low °C (°F)||22
|Precipitation mm (inches)||582.4
The site around Surigao was settled early on, even before the Spanish conquest. Fishing villages dotted along the coast facing the Hinituan Passage while Mamanwa tribes inhabited the interior highlands. The confluence of three major bodies of water- Pacific Ocean, Surigao Strait and Mindanao Sea, kept the area inhabited continuously for many centuries, although its historical importance waxed and waned as other parts of the archipelago were explored and developed. Nearby archeological digs attest early influences by Chinese, Hindu and Moro traders.
Ferdinand Magellan sailed into the Philippine Archipelago, reaching the island of Homonhon in an epic voyage of discovery and eventual circumnavigation of the world in 1521. Magellan's fleet proceeded to Limasawa through Surigao Strait, a notch northwest of the city's pelagic boundaries, before dropping anchor on the waters off the island of Cebu, ushering the Spanish colonization of the Philippines.
Present day Surigao originated from a site in the city proper formerly known as Bilang-Bilang where it served as a port of call for inter-island vessels. It was renamed Banahao which became an integral part of the old district of Caraga, a town founded on June 29, 1655. After Caolo, present day Siargao, burned in 1750, Surigao became the capital of the expansive geopolitical, eclessiastical and military district of Surigao which reached the fringes of Davao and would include today's provinces of Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, parts of Compostela Valley, Misamis Oriental, Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental. It officially became the permanent residence of the Augustinian Recollects on February 1, 1752 when all the canonical books were moved from Caolo to Surigao. The first canonical books bore the signature of Fr. Lucas de la Cruz. Previously, the place was just a "vista" of the parish in Caolo. Its strategic location and new status as the seat of government was costly. Surigao witnessed violent territorial struggles as it suffered ultimately from relentless Moro raids. In 1752, the town was devastated. Most of its 2,000 inhabitants were either killed or taken as slaves by the Moros.
First and Official Flag Raising in Mindanao. Father Alberto Masoliver, S.J., during his stint as the parish priest of Surigao in 1898, kept a compilation of his diaries, entitled Diario de la Casa de Surigao. His diaries are currently stored in the Jesuit archives at Centro Borja, Sant Cugat del Valles, Spain. He thus wrote in December 26, 1898, "Before 10:00 AM, the tri-color was hoisted from Casa Real ( seat of provincial government) and the Tribunal … without any formalities … without anybody's attention being drawn…..these people have no idea of what it is all about, and if they have… how peaceful and without malice they are.". Surigao then was the cabecera and the seat of government of the province of Caraga which had jurisdiction over Surigao, Butuan and Cagayan de Misamis ( Cagayan de Oro). Alejandro ( Jantoy) Gonzalez was the president of the Junta Provincial of Surigao during the time of the first flag hoisting.
- Controversy about the location of the First Philippine Flag Raising in Mindanao. The Philippines' National Historical Institute carries the mandate to decide on historical matters and to erect national markers. In a roundtable held on January 2000, the historians decided that the raising of the flag on December 26, 1898 by Alejandro Gonzalez in Surigao was duly sanctioned by Emilio Aguinaldo's government. The installation of the NHI marker in Surigao City followed suit.
At the turn of the century in 1901, the American colonizers established a civil government in the province of Surigao, keeping the town of Surigao as its capital. Surigao was then among the largest municipalities in land area with a jurisdiction of 949.90 square kilometers, larger than today's Butuan. During this period, there was only one main road, the Old Spanish road. The commercial district, market and plaza ( Luneta) were all situated in one small area. In 1930, the Old Spanish road was abandoned and a new provincial road was constructed. The Casa Real was built where municipal administrators would hold their official functions. Surigao's core barrios- Taft and Washington, were named after United States presidents William Howard Taft and George Washington.
World War II
Surigao featured prominently in World War II's Pacific theater. On May 23, 1942, the Japanese Imperial Army under Colonel Yoshie occupied Surigao after arriving from Butuan. They formally took over on May 28, 1942 under Lieutenant Ichichara, taking control from Mayor Amat. Filipino guerrilla units based in Surigao continued to operate in the hinterlands. Liberation from the Japanese rule dawned on September 9, 1944. American planes started their campaign by bombing the town in the early morning. It was followed by a strafing of all Japanese warships docked at the Surigao wharf, which came to transport fresh troops and supplies to their forces in Leyte. No less than fifty warships were sunk by the raiding American bomber planes. After the attack, not a single Japanese ship was seen afloat. The following month, on October 24–25, the famous Battle of Surigao Strait, the final line battle in naval history, was fiercely fought by allied forces against the Japanese fleet. By April 12, 1945, the whole province of Surigao was liberated from Japanese occupation.
Post War Reconstruction
Massive reconstruction followed the destruction brought by the war. The Surigao Provincial Capitol was completed in 1946 atop the hill overlooking the city. Other facilities were built including schools, athletic field and municipal jail. In 1948, the first election of municipal officials was held. In the same year, construction of the Surigao Provincial Hospital commenced. Six years later in 1954, construction of the first municipal building started and was completed in 1955. Economic activities continued to flourish with the launching of gold mining operations by Mindanao Mother Lode Mines in Mabuhay, 10 kilometers away from the city. Rapid economic growth and immigration resulted to losing some of its fishing and agricultural barrios as they were converted into towns of Malimono (July 31, 1956), San Francisco (May 24, 1957) and Sison (September 15, 1959). During the same year, settlements including Capalayan, Libuac, Catadman, Mat-i, Lipata, Dakung Patag, Bunyasan, Cantapoy, Balite, and Bambanon were elevated into barrios, the forerunner of modern day barangays. At that time, Surigao was classified as a 1st Class B municipality with an annual income of P160,000.00 and a population of nearly 50,000. It was primarily an agricultural town producing mainly copra and basic staples including rice, corn, bananas and rootcrops. Fishing was also a major source of livelihood. On September 18, 1960, pursuant to the Republic Act 2786 dated June 19, 1960, the province of Surigao was divided into Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur. The town of Surigao remained as a capital, this time for the province of Surigao del Norte.
Surigao was on a rapid growth path. Already, it had a domestic airport, three movie houses, three hotels and two hospitals. However, on November 19, 1964, tragedy befell the town as it saw its most massive destruction yet. It was in the direct path of supertyphoon Ining, internationally code- named Louise , with peak winds at 240 kilometers per hour. The wrath of the storm was severe and devastation wide, both in infrastructure and human lives. Just as they overcame the destruction of war, the locals tenacity was again proven in the town's rebuilding. In a short time, after three years in 1967, Pacific Cement Corporation  started commercial operations in Mabuhay, producing among the highest quality cement in the country. In 1969, Marinduque Mining Industrial Corporation started nickel exploration in Nonoc Island with an initial capitalization of Php1.0 billion pesos, ushering a new era of prosperity.
Pursuant to Republic Act No. 6134, Surigao was converted to a chartered city on August 31, 1970 with Pedro Espina as its first city mayor.
|Population census of Surigao City|
|Source: National Statistics Office|
The demographics of Surigao City are evidence of an ethnically diverse city. Throughout its history, Surigao has been a point of entry for immigrants from other regions of the Philippines, enticed by the city's political significance, attractive natural setting, abundant resources and during the last century, increased mining operations. Butuanons, Boholanos, Tagalogs, Ilonggos, Warays, Cebuanos and various Mindanao ethnicities found home in Surigao and eventually learned how to speak the language. Some of their descendants now hold prominent positions in the city and provincial governments. Migrants from China also found home in Surigao; their direct descendants now comprise the bulk of successful merchants of the Surigao business community.
Surigao is home to one of the country's oldest and most colorful tribes, the Mamanwa. They are similar to the Negritoes of Luzon Island in features and stature. They are generally short, dark-skinned with a crop of short kinky hair. Forced to settle in the hinterlands due to development, they continued to practice their customs and traditions. The faith about Kahimunan, one of their many tribal festivities, highlights music and graceful dancing. Revelers chant and play while accompanied by native musical instruments including the gimbar (drum), gong and bamboo percussion called kalatong and katik. Wild pigs, chicken and indigenous fruits including the rare kayape are among the offerings. A baylan ( priest) presides the celebration as a tribute and invocation to their god Magbabaya and departed ancestors for good health and abundant harvest.
Mamanwas are also known for their creative patterns, brass jewelries and indigenous crafts, displayed proudly on their costumes as they fill the streets at the height of the Bonok Bonok Maradjao Karadjao Festival every September 9, celebrated on the occasion of the feast of Saint Nicolas de Tolentino, Surigao City's patron saint. Bonok-bonok and its prehistoric origins was another ritual to thank their gods, presided by various village chieftains and their wives. Happiness and friendship are expressed through dancing, chanting and singing. They wave scarves of banay as symbols of goodwill, wealth and blessings for all tribal villages.
Today, majority of the Mamanwas still live in the hinterlands, occasionally descending to town to sell or barter handicrafts and fresh harvest. Their numbers are unknown as some groups still practice nomadism. Bands still subsist on foraging even as they have adopted a more modern lifestyle over the years.
Surigaonon, the official language in the city and province is unique among the Visayan dialects. It is also spoken by the majority of the population in the province of Surigao del Sur and around Lake Mainit in Agusan del Norte. Similarities with the Cebuano language is undeniable, however, staunch Cebuano speakers can hardly understand people who speak Surigaonon. There is no doubt Surigaonon existed as pure and distinct, slowly pelted overtime by Visayan words as migrants settled in the area. Today, Surigaonon is the most widely spoken language inherent in the entire Caraga region.
Surigaonon has similar consonant and vowel sounds, stress, intonation patterns to the Cebuano language and Boholano dialect. Surigaonon underwent certain morphophonemic processes, such as assimilation, deletion, alternation and metathesis (Dumanig, 2005). In the study conducted by Dumanig (2005) on Descriptive Analysis of Surigaonon language it was found that there are 18 consonants (b,d,g,h,j,k,l,m,n,ng,p,r,s,t,w,y,o,?) with 18 sounds and 3 vowels (a,i,u) with 5 sounds. It has also 25 consonant clusters (br, bl, bw, by, dr, dy, dw, gr, gw, kr, kl, kw, mw, my, nw, pr, pl, pw, py, sw, sy, tr, tw, ty, hw) and 4 diphthongs (aw, ay, iw, uy), which are similar to the Cebuano language (Rubrico, 1999). There are Surigaonon words that are spelled similarly but they differ in meaning depending on how each syllable is stressed (Dumanig, 2005). Surigaonon language follows two intonation patterns like the rising and falling intonation. The rising intonation is common in asking yes or no questions and the falling intonation occurs in ending declarative and imperative statements (Dumanig, 2005)
Surigao City is governed via the mayor-council system. The city council, nationally called Sangguniang Panlungsod, consists of the vice mayor and 12 council members. The mayor is elected directly every three years.
Surigao City is subdivided into 54 barangays, 33 in the mainland and 21 in the islands. Of the 36 coastal barangays, 15 are in the mainland and 20 are in the islands. The urban area covers 15 barangays or approximately 20% of the total land area. These include barangays Taft, Washington, San Juan, Sabang, Canlanipa, Cagniog, Luna, Togbongon, Rizal, Ipil, Mabua, Lipata, Punta Bilar, Mabua and Ipil.
- Punta Bilar
- San Isidro
- San Jose
- San Juan
- San Pedro (Hanigad)
- San Roque
- Serna (Bad-asay)
Surigao traces its roots to formal schooling in the year 1906 when the last group of Spanish Benedictine Missionaries, who had worked zealously to have founded the Cartilla or Doctrina School ( Escuela Catolica de San Nicolas), vacated Surigao. Soon after their departure, the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart also known as the Dutch Fathers, succeeded them, created the parish of Surigao, and made the Escuela Catolica de San Nicolas a parochial school which later became San Nicolas College. In 2002, Surigao became the first urban center in the entire Caraga region to host a university after San Nicolas College changed its nomenclature to Saint Paul University Surigao, a part of Saint Paul University System.
In 1969, Surigao School of Arts and Trades was established on 1.2 hectares of land donated by the provincial government. It focused on curricula geared towards technology at a time the city saw rapid transformation with the onset of nickel exploration at the Nonoc island refinery. While the school was built, it initially held classes at the Provincial Sports Complex with a core census of 14 teachers and 103 students. In 1998, the school was renamed Surigao State College of Technology after it merged with Malimono School of Fisheries. On June 4, 2013, Surigao del Norte State University was established under Rep. Act 10600, integrating Surigao del Norte State College of Technology with Siargao National College of Science and Technology in Del Carmen and the Surigao del Norte College of Agriculture and Technology in Mainit.
In 1996, Caraga Regional Science High School was established in San Juan, providing students in the entire region an opportunity to join an academe of reputable standards, now nationally recognized. Students undergo a rigorous highly accelerated 4- level curriculum which includes two years of general studies and two years of a chosen major. With much success as it garnered consistent topnotchers in the National Secondary Achievement Test (NSAT), students also have opportunities to carry out independent research and compete in Intel Science Fairs.
San Sebastian College Institute of Law- Surigao Extension located in Taft opened in 1997.
- St. Paul University Surigao (formerly San Nicolas College)
- Surigao del Norte State University 
- Philippine Women's University
- San Sebastian College - Recoletos Institute of Law
- Surigao Education Center 
- St. Jude Thaddeus Institute of Technology
- STI College Surigao 
- Northeastern Mindanao Colleges
- St Ignatius Loyola Computer College
- Center for Healthcare Professions
- Surigao Doctor's College
Surigao City underwent rapid economic growth that spanned nearly two decades beginning in the late 1960s. Pacific Cement started commercial operations manufacturing Portland cement and the Canadian- owned company Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corporation ( MMIC) also started extracting nickel and iron ore in Nonoc Island. This was a boon to the city as it generated more commerce to meet an increasing demand for goods and services. At the end of the decade in the 1970s, within a short period from cityhood, Surigao attained first class status. Likewise, mining activities increased by a manifold in other parts of the province, primarily extracting gold and copper. The city became the nexus of mining operations for the entire Region X, at the time among Philippines' largest regions encompassing nearly half of Mindanao Island. Philippines' Bureau of Mines and Geosciences moved its regional headquarters in the city at Km. 1. In 1983, MMIC stopped commercial operations due to financial losses and heavy debt as a result of plummeting prices of nickel and high operating costs. Commercial activities in the city slowed, relying on basic services, small-scale industries, agriculture and fishing. Even the copra processing plant Surigao Coconut Development Corp. ( SUCODECO) in Lipata folded, another casualty from the weak prices of commodities in the world market. Added blow to Surigao's already weak economy came when typhoon Nitang ( internationally codename Hurricane Ike) struck the city in September 1984. The devastation was severe and wide. There were lots of casualties numbering close to 2000 human deaths. This extract from The Times on 6 September 1984 reports on the aftermath:
While more than 300 people are now known to have died, Mr Salvador Sering, the deputy governor, believes 1,000 died in the provincial capital Surigao City alone. The city has run out of coffins and people are being buried in mass graves. Some 200 residents of the town of Mainit were reported to have drowned when a lake burst its banks. As the clearing up continues, cholera and typhoid vaccines have been flown to the devastated areas.
From the mid 80s until the turn of the 21st century, Surigao's economic woes mirrored the rest of the nation, returning to a bedroom community as it saw some of its original families leave looking for opportunities in other places, both local and overseas.
During the last decade, the city saw improvement of its key macroeconomic indicators. Increased retail activity was evident downtown as new stores opened and existing ones expanded. The success of major restaurant chains Jollibee, Greenwich and Chowking and Mang Inasal opened the floodgates for more investments in the city. McDonald's also opened in March 2013. Hotel rooms doubled with the opening of new hotels and expansion of existing ones, with adequate convention facilities. Port expansion was completed in 2009, increasing its handling capacity. Today, it is one of the country's top seaports for gross registered tonnage handled , also posting the highest cargo and passenger traffic in Region XIII.
Agriculture and Fishing
The city's primary agricultural produce includes rice, corn, vegetables, rootcrops, coconut, copra and bananas. It is a major supplier of fish and crustaceans; its exports reach buyers as far as Hong Kong, Japan and China. A tuna canning factory is planned, the first in the Caraga region.
For many years retail activity in Surigao is centered around its park, Luneta and are almost all located along the streets of San Nicolas, Borromeo and Rizal. In recent years, although more department stores were built, the city's main shopping area remained here. Among the major stores are Metro Surigao, Palma, Absolute Essentials, Unicity, Eduhome, WSS, Asialink and TT & Company. A new uptown shopping district is fast shaping up in the city's Barangay Luna. Gaisano Capital Mall and Citihardware opened in early 2012. Parkway Mall opened in December 2012.
The once prosperous Nonoc Island has been identified as a special economic zone ( Ecozone) by the national government, a boon older residents are quite familiar not too long ago. Once fully realized, this project will put the island's existing infrastructure, including a 1300-meter concrete airstrip and two 60,000 dwt seaport, back in operation. In 2005, China's Jinchuan Group Ltd. submitted a proposal to invest approximately USD 1.0 billion for the rehabilitation and revival of the Nonoc nickel refinery. In 2010, Jinchuan renewed its interest in Nonoc, offering a bigger investment at USD 1.5 billion. However, its insistence for another feasibility study and disagreements over the operating structure shuttered the deal with Philnico who owns the mining rights for the island. In January 2012, San Miguel Corporation of the Philippines entered into a memorandum of agreement with the city government to rehabilitate and operate the Nonoc mines for USD 3 billion, the single biggest investment in the country yet.
The recent entry of major international mining company Sumitomo with USD 1.3 billion investment in the province sparked renewed interest of its vast mineral reserves and has helped spur secondary economic activities in the city. Other mining companies like Philex Mining Corporation , Mindoro Resources Ltd. and Anglo Ashanti are in various stages of exploration.
Tourism figures showed 200,000 foreign arrivals in the city in 2011, registering a 37% growth.
In February 11, 1997, the Congress of the Philippines enacted Republic Act 8244 converting Surigao Provincial Hospital into a regional training hospital and renamed it Caraga Regional Hospital, effectively expanding its scope and services that would include the entire Caraga region with a catchment population of nearly 2 million people. Today, this 150- bed tertiary hospital, a core referral facility, is rapidly expanding with intensive care units that includes Coronary, Pediatric, Surgical and Burn.
In October 2010, the city opened a PP35 million Drug Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Anomar. Established under the aegis of the Department of Health, it is the first and only facility in the entire Caraga region solely focused on the treatment and rehabilitation of victims of substance abuse.
Other hospitals in the city include Miranda Family Hospital and Surigao Medical Center.
Multiple modes of transportation in the city are all privately owned. The tricycle, a motorcycle with locally made sidecar that can accommodate as many as six passengers, is the main taxi that ply the city streets. Buses and jeepneys follow fixed routes to outlying barangays, towns and neighboring provinces. The city is also served by outrigger water taxis called pump boats that follow scheduled sea routes to island barangays. Larger vessels called Lantsa have scheduled trips to Siargao, Dinagat and Bucas Grande. Regular ferry service connects the city to ports in Southern Leyte, Cebu, Manila and Agusan del Norte. There are direct flights to Manila and Cebu originating from the city's airport with occasional chartered flights to Siargao, Butuan and Tandag.
Senator Verano Port
This historic port completed a PP414 expansion and upgrading in 2009 to meet world standards and increasing cargo demand from a revitalized mining industry in the province. Additional 2000 square meters of reclaimed area and 120 meters of berthing space were added, enhancing its role as one of the major ports in the region. This serves as a port of call for numerous local and international shipping lines.
Lipata Port and Ferry Terminal
Touted as the Gateway to Mindanao, Lipata Port serves as the entry point to Mindanao Island forming part of the extensive Pan Philippine Highway also called Maharlika Highway AH26 that originates from Laoag City to its southern terminus in Zamboanga City. The port has ro-ro capabilities that provides regular service to the ports of Liloan and San Ricardo, both in Southern Leyte.
Classified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines as a principal domestic airport, Surigao Airport (SUG) is one of the two airports that serve the province of Surigao del Norte and northern parts of Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Norte. Cebu Pacific and Airphil Express have regular scheduled flights from Surigao to Manila and Cebu. Small private planes operate chartered flights to Siargao's Sayak Airport. Due to increased passenger traffic and cargo, it is currently undergoing feasibility studies for future expansion or possible relocation to accommodate larger aircraft.
Surigao Integrated Bus and Jeepney Terminal
Pan- Philippine Highway AH26's northernmost terminus in Mindanao winds up in this city, dissecting the Surigao Valley before the Surigao-Davao Coastal Road spurs at Bad-as, Placer town. Surigao is a vital stopover in the highway system, often preferred by travelers because of its laid-back appeal. An integrated bus and jeepney terminal serves companies with routes that reach major destinations including Ormoc, Tacloban, Legazpi, Manila, Butuan, Tandag, Davao, Bislig, and Cagayan de Oro. Bus companies serving this terminal includes Bachelor Express, Philtranco, PP Bus Line and Surigao Express.
Sanitary Landfill and Waste Treatment Facility
Cashing in on a 21-ton average daily collected garbage in the city, the local government of Surigao, with a PP150 million grant from the Swedish government and assistance from the Land Bank of the Philippines, built a sanitary landfill in Sitio Looc in 2009. It is considered a model for solid waste management through its P45 million-worth Waste Treatment Facility, the first in Mindanao. Likewise, it has a Material Recovery Facility, which treats recyclables, and a Leachate Collector, which extracts and treats liquids from garbage.
Surigao Provincial Sports Complex/Gymnasium
This historic sports complex hosted numerous national and regional events in the past. It underwent several renovations, the most recent in 2009 at a cost of PP320 million. The latest renovations are state-of-the-art, among a few in the entire country. The complex is situated on the 2- hectare Vasquez field and includes a 3500 person capacity grandstand, a fully air conditioned 3500 seating capacity gymnasium, a brand new amphitheater, an Olympic-size swimming pool and a fully rubberized track and field oval.
Surigao Provincial Convention Center
Located at the provincial capitol complex, the Surigao Provincial Convention Center had hosted various national and regional conventions held in the city. It has a seating capacity of approximately 2500 persons.
San Juan-Lipata Coastal Road
Completed in 2007, it connects the Port of Lipata to downtown Surigao, cutting the travel time in half. It includes a series of bridges across coastal barangays San Juan and Sabang. The longest, Banahaw, spans the Surigao tidal basin.
Six radio stations, frequency modulated (FM) stations and amplitude-modulated (AM) band cover the broadcast media. There are also five regular and cable TV stations-UNTV Channel 39, ABS-CBN Channel 12, GMA Channel 10, Studio 23 Channel 23, and GMA News TV Channel 27. Two local publications, Surigao Today  and Periodico Surigao cover the print and World Wide Web media containing news of city's current events.
Leading telecommunication companies built facilities in Surigao paving way for clear connections to other parts of the country and the rest of the world. The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Philippine Communications (PhilCom), Bayan Telecommunications (Bayantel), Sun Cellular, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications operate vital transmission towers in the city.
- Mabua and Ipil Pebble Beaches. A contiguous beach of smooth grayish pebbles are its most unique feature. Popular among locals, rental picnic cottages and resorts abound in the area.
- Berok Island. Surrounded by vast mangroves as far as the eye can see. This small shell beach is accessible only by motorboat. There is a choice to snorkel in the adjacent reef or explore the labyrinthine mangrove forest.
- Basul Island. Visible from any vantage point in Surigao City, this tiny island appears like a lone sentry at the entrance of Hinituan Channel. Fine white sand beach mixed with assorted shells rims a grove of coconut trees.
- Panomboyom Beach. Horseshoe shaped white sand beach at the southern tip of Hikdop Island. Beautiful panorama and visible swift currents.
- Danawan Island. Straddling in the periphery of Surigao Strait just across Hikdop Island. This unspoilt white sand beach is rich in rare sea shells.
- Sumilom Island. Remote island in the middle of Surigao Strait with white sand beaches.
- Sibale Island. A mile strip of coconut tree- fringed white sand beach 45 minutes by pumpboat from the city.
- Sagisi Island Beach. A 3- kilometer stretch of white sand beach with a fringing coral reef that abounds with diverse marine life. This beach is about an hour ride by boat from the city proper.
Points of Interest
- Surigaonon Heritage Center/ Rock and Mineral Museum. A small collection of ancient burial coffin jars and antique Chinese kitchenwares are showcased in this museum. Some of the artifacts were unearthed at an archeological dig in Panhatungan, Placer. It also contains a significant collection of various rocks and minerals found in the province.
- Luneta Park. The heart of downtown Surigao for over 100 years, this plaza remains the centerpiece of the city, hosting annual events, gatherings and concerts. A few pre-war acacia trees survive, enhancing this park's laid back Spanish appeal in the shadow of Surigao Cathedral.
- Surigao Strait. Site of the famous naval battle of Surigao Strait which took place on October 24, 1944, between the fleet of Admiral Oldendorf of the US Seventh Fleet and that of Admiral Nishimura of the Japanese Imperial Navy.
- Buenavista Cave. A three kilometer cave with three entrances located in Hikdop Island. From the main entrance in Pagkawasan, Buenavista, visitors wiggle through a collapsed boulder into a grand chamber complete with what locals call the Kings Throne. A knee- deep pool culminates the subterranean trek approximately 100 meters from the main entrance. It has an array of impressive stalactites and stalagmites and is home to some unique species of cave bats and snakes.
- Zaragoza Rock Formations. Exquisitely unique rock formations that appears to float in the sea. This collection of gray dagger-like formations approximately 20 feet high stands out against a backdrop of dense coconut trees and nipa palms ( Nypa fruticans) and covers an area of one hectare. Historically a known burial ground of ancestors. Not too far is another rock island called Tamulayag that resembles a giant vase with trees perched on top. Both are accessible thirty minutes by pump boat from Surigao City docks.
- Raza Island. The island has among the world's rarest phenomenon- a simultaneous interplay of high and low tides. The alternating tides occur roughly every six hours. Locals are adaptive, taking advantage of this occurrence by picking sea shells on one side of the island during low tide and continue doing so on the other as the tide reverses.
- Bitaugan Whirlpools. These maelstroms of various dimensions are almost all occurring during ebbtide. They have a characteristic behavior to pull, twirl, and suck into their vortices anything that comes near them. They are called magic whirlpools due to their peculiar behavior to appear and disappear at certain nature-designated time intervals. The appearance of Pahibongan, as locals call them, are usually followed by almost inaudible explosions and just as quickly vanish after the explosions. The whirlpools are scenic spectacles to behold at close range with their enthralling spinning water.
- Day-asan Floating Villages. Dense forest of mangroves dominate these cluster of villages built at the edges of shallow water channels. Instead of tricycles, locals, mostly fishermen, use small wooden boats as their prime mode of transport. Two foot bridges traverse across swift moving channels. These villages are about two miles from the city proper.
- Mapawa Cave. Accessible only by foot, it is a 30-minute trek from Mapawa village. It is characterized by small entrances that lead to larger chambers.
- Silop Cave. A unique cave with 12 entrances. Stalagmites and stalactites dominate the chambers. It is approximately 7 kilometers from the city proper.
- Manjagao Mangrove Forest. This vast mangrove forest situated in the coastal tidal waters around Manjagao Island is a sanctuary to various species of fish, marine life, birds and bats. The city plans to introduce boat cruises to encourage awareness of this unique ecosystem which is crucial to the sustenability of the environment.
- San Pedro Cantiasay Footbridge. This wooden footbridge is one of the country's longest at 391 meters. Originally conceived to ease movement and interaction among families in Sibale and Nonoc Islands, locals transformed the bridge into a promenade, providing a unique and relaxing experience as one is met with cool sea breezes while viewing the marine life under this wooden bridge.
- Sukailang Waterfalls. A cascading 50 feet waterfalls which is 20 meters away from the barangay proper. It can be reached by a tricycle in 30 minutes from the city proper.
- January 14 . Sto. Niño de Bad-Asay Feast Day. Catholic devotees from different parts of the province celebrate a thanksgiving mass followed by a dance (sirong) as offer to their prayers and petitions.
- May 29 . Santacruzan. Celebrated during the last day of Flores de Mayo, held in honour of Helena (known as Reyna Elena) and Constantine finding the True Cross in Jerusalem. During the procession, Reyna Elena and her escort follow a coterie of participants in traditional costumes as she holds a small crucifix to the tune of Hail Mary ("Dios Te Salve") as played by a rondalla. A dinner feast is served by the host after the procession.
- August 25–31 . Charter Day Celebrations. Weeklong festivities marked by a sportsfest, grand parade, evening gala affairs and the crowning of Mutya ng Surigao in commemoration of the city's founding (charter) on August 31, 1970.
- September 9 . Bonok- Bonok Maradjao Karadjao Festival. A day long parade marked by street dancing and festivities featuring the ethnic Mamanwa tribal dance, Bonok-bonok commemorating thanksgiving after a bountiful harvest, worship of gods and tribal wedding. Contingents from various private and government institutions in and out of town participate showcasing creative costumes, floats, dances and chants of Viva Señor San Nicolas! and Viva Maradjao Karajao! The dance rhythm starts with a slow beat as it pulsatingly goes faster, prompting snappy body movements to pace with the music. Colorful ceremonial costumes includes an elaborate beaded headdress or tubaw, bracelets and anklets. Prices are awarded to outstanding contingents in different categories at the culmination of the event held at the Surigao Provincial Sports Complex. The festival coincides the celebration of the annual fiesta honoring the city's patron Saint Nicolas de Tolentino.
- September 10–11 . Pasayan Festival. Pasayan, the local word for shrimp, and its bountiful harvest is celebrated with an annual cook-off. This culinary cookfest uses large quantities of shrimp prepared in a variety of recipes. Other highlights of this festival includes shrimp- eating contest, senior citizen backward marathon, palm wine, locally called tuba drinking contest, and threading- the- needle contest.
- October 2 . Kinilaw Festival. The Kinilaw Festival showcases different styles in preparing Kinilaw, a dish consisting of raw fish marinated in citrus, vinegar or coconut milk mixed with spices and served as an appetizer, similar to the South American ceviche. It also features other seafoods and marine products found in the area.
- October 25 . Battle Of Surigao Strait. Held every 25 October, in commemoration of the Second World War's Greatest Naval Battle, highlighted by a pre-dawn memorial service, civil-military parade and a memorial cruise along the Surigao Strait.
- December 26 . Commemoration of the First Hoisting of Philippine Flag in Mindanao. The Philippine Flag in Mindanao was first raised in Surigao in the morning of December 26, 1898 at the Casa Real ( town hall). The event was recorded in the diary of Fr. Alberto Masoliver, now kept in the Jesuit Archives in Spain .
- "Province: Surigao del Norte". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- "An Act Converting into Barrios Certain Sitios in the Province of Surigao, and Dividing the Barrio of Macalaya into Two Barrios, Municipality of Placer, in the Same Province". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- "An Act to Create the Provinces of Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- "Province of Surigao Del Norte". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- The Times, September 6, 1984
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||Surigao Strait||Basilisa / Dinagat
|Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands|
|San Francisco||Dinagat Sound|
|Sison / Tagana-an||Hinatuan Passage|