Surigao del Sur

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Surigao del Sur
Capitol building in Tandag
Capitol building in Tandag
Flag of Surigao del Sur
Official seal of Surigao del Sur
Map of the Philippines with Surigao del Sur highlighted
Map of the Philippines with Surigao del Sur highlighted
Coordinates: 08°40′N 126°00′E / 8.667°N 126.000°E / 8.667; 126.000Coordinates: 08°40′N 126°00′E / 8.667°N 126.000°E / 8.667; 126.000
Country Philippines
Region Caraga (Region XIII)
Founded June 16, 1960
Capital Tandag
 • Type Province of the Philippines
 • Governor Johnny T. Pimentel (Liberal Party)
 • Vice Governor Manuel O. Alameda, Sr. (Liberal Party)
 • Congressman 1st District Philip A. Pichay (Lakas-Kampi-CMD)
 • Congressman 2nd District Florencio C. Garay(Liberal Party)
 • Total 4,932.70 km2 (1,904.53 sq mi)
Area rank 23rd out of 81
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 561,219
 • Rank 52nd out of 81
 • Density 110/km2 (290/sq mi)
 • Density rank 67th out of 81
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 2
 • Municipalities 17
 • Barangays 309
 • Districts 1st and 2nd districts of Surigao del Sur
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 8300 to 8318
Dialing code 86
ISO 3166 code PH-SUR
Spoken languages Surigaonon or/and Tandaganon, Kamayo, Cebuano, Manobo languages, Tagalog, English

Surigao del Sur is a province of the Philippines located in the CARAGA region in Mindanao. Its capital is Tandag City.[3] Surigao del Sur is located at the eastern coast of Mindanao and faces the Philippine Sea.


Before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the aborigines of the province were the Mamanua and Manobo. Later, Austronesian peoples from the Visayas came to settle with the natives. It was with the arrival of the immigrants that the province acquired its name from one of the natives, Saliagao, who lived near the mouth of the river. The name Saliagao was later pronounced Surigao by the inhabitants.

It is also said that long time ago, some Visayan fishermen forced by the strong current of the Surigao Strait, sought refuge in one of the huts somewhere in the province. The Mamanua 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, was extended from what is known as Agusan, including the islands east of it and the northern regions of Davao and the capital of the province that time was Caraga and so the Spaniards called the people Caragas.

The aborigines of Surigao del Sur were a conglomeration and mixture of different racial types, namely: Mandaya, Mamanua, Mansaka and Manobo. These racial groups were of Malayan-Indonesian ancestry which took place thousand years ago. In the course of their migration, these primitive nomads were believed to have separated their ways in some portions of the archipelago in a spirit of adventure and search for food (i.e., during the pleisto scene of the glacial ages). It was believed further that they first settled in the northern island of the country who later took their bancas and reach the shores of Mindanao particularly in the Provinces of Surigao and Davao. They scattered among themselves in spots either in pairs or by family clans, retaining their own customs, dialects and ways of life.

There was no trace of exact dates and places of arrival. But it was known that this group of people were very nomadic and were the remnants of the present Mamanua and Manobo found in the wilderness of the northern part of Davao bordering the Province of Surigao. Their migratory movement was said to have come from the hinterlands of Agusan and along the foothills of western and southern part of Surigao del Sur. It was pointed out that the cause of migration was due to famine and occurrence of death from diseases believed caused by evil spirits.

The Province of Surigao del Sur was created as the 56th Philippine province on June 19, 1960 by virtue of RA 2786 and was formally organized or separated from its mother province, Surigao del Norte, on September 18, 1960.

At the time of its inception, it was classified as 4th Class province with an annual income of over P300,000.00. Seven years later, because of rapid increase of revenue collection particularly from the logging ventures, it has been reclassified as Ist Class B and in 1980 as Ist Class A with an estimated annual income of around P13,000,000.00. Presently, it is reclassified as 2nd Class with a revenue adding up to P315,888,300.63.

Recaredo B. Castillo was the appointed the first governor and subsequently elected governor and Vicente L. Pimentel as the first elected congressman. Johnny T. Pimentel is the ninth and incumbent provincial executive.

Originally the province had 13 municipalities. In subsequent years, six more were added raising the number to 19 with Tandag as the capital. Now, two of its municipalities have been elevated to cities; the first was Bislig City. In 2007 Tandag was granted cityhood but it was nullified via a controversial decision by the Supreme Court a year later. In 2009, Tandag would get back its city status after the SC reversed its own ruling on December 22, 2009..


The Province of Surigao del Sur is the 56th Philippine province and is located along the northeastern coast of Mindanao facing the Pacific Ocean between 125°40' to 126°20' east longitudes and 7°55' and 9°20' north latitudes. It is bounded on the northwest by the province of Surigao del Norte, on the southeast by Davao Oriental, on its eastern side by the Philippine Sea, and on the west and southwest by the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.

Land area[edit]

Ricefield in Cantilan

The land area of the province is 493,270 hectares (1,218,900 acres),[1] representing 27.75 percent of the total land area of Caraga Administrative Region and about 5.14 percent and 1.74 percent of the total land area of Mindanao and Philippines, respectively. It is elongated in shape extending from the northeastern part of Carrascal to the southernmost municipality of Lingig. It is approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi) in length and 50 kilometres (31 mi) at its widest point which runs from Cagwait to San Miguel. Municipal-wise, San Miguel has the biggest land area accounting for 11.08 percent of the total provincial land area while Municipality of Bayabas has the smallest constituting about 0.64 percent only.

Of the 5,230.50 sq. kilometers land, only 1,703.72 sq. kilometers or 32.22 percent are classified as alienable and disposable (A and D) while 3,583.523 sq. kilometers or 67.78 percent are forest land. Tagbina has the biggest share of alienable and disposable land with 234.21 sq. kilometers or about 56.51 percent of its land area followed by Hinatuan with 202.52 sq. kilometers or 63.56 percent of its land area.

Out of the 3,583.523 sq. kilometers of forest land, 636.076 sq. kilometers are protection forest, 2,582.43 sq. kilometers production forest, 12.68 sq. kilometers are non-forest agriculture and 352.337 sq. kilometers are for non-forest mining. As of today, the province still has vast area of remaining old growth and mossy forest.


The province falls under Type II climate of the Philippines, characterized by rainfall distributed throughout the year, although there is a distinct rainy season which begins from the month of November and ends in March. However, the climatic behavior of the province for the past few years has shown variations wherein the onset of the rainy seasons no longer occurs on the usual time. Months with low rainfall are from July to October with September as the driest month. Wet months are from November to June with January as the wettest month.


Surigao del Sur is subdivided into 17 municipalities and two cities. These municipalities are subdivided into 309 barangays and has two congressional districts.



Mineral Resources[edit]

Surigao del Sur is endowed with substantial quantities of metallic and non-metallic minerals. Among the metallic minerals are copper, gold, chromite, cobalt, nickel and lead zinc. The non-metallic minerals include limestone, coal and feldspar, clay diatomite/bentomite and coarse/fine aggregates. There are small and large scales mining activities in the province. One of the corporations operating in a large scale is the Marc Ventures Mining Development Corporation located at Carrascal and Cantilan operating in an area of 49.7389 sq. kilometers on gold mining. Another is the CTP Construction and Mining Corporation, also in Carrascal, which focus on gold and nickel mining in an area of 35.64 and 48.6916 sq. kilometers, respectively. The Carac-an Development Corporation, also in Carrascal, with an area of 506.3764 sq. kilometers Small scale mining activities are found in the municipalities of Barobo, Carmen and San Miguel.


Population census of Surigao del Sur
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 452,098 —    
1995 471,263 +0.78%
2000 501,808 +1.36%
2007 541,347 +1.05%
2010 561,219 +1.32%
Source: National Statistics Office[2]

Surigao is home to the Mamanwa and Manobo tribe. Their dances are showcased in a local festival called "Sirong Festival", held especially during the town fiesta of Cantilan. The Sirong Festival depicts the early Christianization of the early Cantilangnons (the Mamanwas and Manobos) wherein the natives tried to defend their land against visayan invaders.

The Mamanwas and Manubo, the ethnic tribe of Surigao, have been converted to Christianism long ago, during the early times of the Spanish conquest.


Surigaonon or/and Tandaganon is spoken in most part of Surigao del Sur (except in the City of Bislig, Municipalities of Barobo, Hinatuan, Lingig and Tagbina wherein most of the inhabitants are descendants of Cebuanos who migrated from Visayas who speak Cebuano and the natives who speak Kamayo a different language but distantly related to Surigaonon).

Cebuano, Tagalog, and English are also widely spoken throughout the province.

Coastal Fishing


Surigao del Sur is one of the supplier of agricultural items like, rice, banana and some tropical fruits. Copper, chromite and silver are also found here. Marine and aqua culture is very abundant in the province as well. It is one of the primary livelihood of the native people in the place as the province is well known for producing seafood and sea by-products.


The Tinuy-an Falls, located in Burboanan, Bislig City.

Bislig's main tourist attraction is the Tinuy-an Falls, known as the "Niagara Falls" of the Philippines. It is a white water curtain that flows in three levels about 55 meters high. Its critically acclaimed majestic and unique natural formation was once appeared in the International Travel Magazine. It is also known as the widest waterfalls in the Philippines.

Surfing in Surigao del Sur is widely known and have been one of the local and tourist attractions. This extreme sport can be found in Cantilan and Lanuza. Another sport being played is the skimboarding in which several municipalities has been attracting tourists.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  3. ^

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