Coordinates: 8°12′48″N 126°18′58″E / 8.2133°N 126.3161°E / 8.2133; 126.3161
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City of Bislig
Skyline of Bislig City on night time showing the nearby Bislig Bay taken at the Ocean View Park in Barangay Comawas
Skyline of Bislig City on night time showing the nearby Bislig Bay taken at the Ocean View Park in Barangay Comawas
Flag of Bislig
Official seal of Bislig
"The Organic City of the Philippines"
"The Booming City by the Bay"
"The City of Wonders"
Sulig Bislig!
Map of Surigao del Sur with Bislig highlighted
Map of Surigao del Sur with Bislig highlighted
Bislig is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 8°12′48″N 126°18′58″E / 8.2133°N 126.3161°E / 8.2133; 126.3161
ProvinceSurigao del Sur
District 2nd district
FoundedJanuary 1, 1921
CityhoodSeptember 18, 2000
Barangays24 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Panlungsod
 • MayorFlorencio C. Garay
 • Vice MayorAlfredo J. Carmelo
 • RepresentativeJohnny T. Pimentel
 • City Council
 • Electorate68,268 voters (2022)
 • Total331.80 km2 (128.11 sq mi)
71 m (233 ft)
Highest elevation
394 m (1,293 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 (2020 census)[3]
 • Total99,290
 • Density300/km2 (780/sq mi)
 • Households
 • Income class3rd city income class
 • Poverty incidence
% (2021)[4]
 • Revenue₱ 890.5 million (2020)
 • Assets₱ 2,173 million (2020)
 • Expenditure₱ 715.3 million (2020)
 • Liabilities₱ 736.3 million (2020)
Service provider
 • ElectricitySurigao del Sur 1 Electric Cooperative (SURSECO 1)
Time zoneUTC+08:00 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)86
Spoken languagesMindanao Cebuano, Bisliganon Kamayo, Filipino, English and other minority languages

Bislig, officially the City of Bislig (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Bislig; Filipino: Lungsod ng Bislig), is a 3rd class component city in the province of Surigao del Sur, Philippines. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 99,290 people.[3]

It is the most populous among the cities and municipalities in the province of Surigao del Sur.

Barangay Mangagoy, the downtown area often dubbed by its residents as "the little city within the city", is the center of trade and industry of Bislig which has a population of 32,464 as of the 2015 estimate. It is the largest barangay in the city and the entire province of Surigao del Sur in terms of population. Since Barangay Poblacion is often referred by the locals simply as 'Bislig', Mangagoy on the other hand is often mistaken as a separate town though it is only just one out of the 24 barangays that comprises the entire City of Bislig.

In 2000, Bislig was converted into a city per Republic Act 8804.[5] It is the easternmost city in the Philippines.


The legendary allusions as to how Bislig got its name could be traced back to the era prior to the coming of the Spanish conquistadors. The town got its name from a forest vine of the rattan family that grew in abundance along the banks of its rivers. This vine was noted for its strength and became known for saving a royal couple who crossed the swollen river in one of their hunting expeditions and who almost died as they were carried downstream by the rushing current. The legend has it that these hunters had already lost hope of surviving until they were able to cling to a vine which was about 1/4 inch in diameter called Bislig. As a sign of thanksgiving, the ruler named this place Bislig.

Historically, Bislig derived its name from the word "bizlin", a kind of gold, "which is worth two pesos a tael. The weight of a tael is one and one-eight ounces" in the 16th century, which the natives used for trade and barter. Prior to the coming of Spaniards, this terminology was understood in Luzon and in Mindanao. In the report of the Administrator of Royal Properties Andres Mirandaola dated September 8, 1573, sent to King Philip of Spain that "much gold found in the island of Mindanao, District of Butuan, Surigao ..." It is believed that this kind of gold found in the rolling hills and mountains of the southernmost portion of Bislig and Agusan Province.

However, historical records shows that the name has been variously spelled by the Spanish chroniclers. Conquistador Miguel de Loarca, in his extreme exploratory survey trip of the archipelago, first mentioned and spelled it "Beslin" in his historical accounts "Relacion de los Yslas Filipinas" in 1582, as well as in the Confirmaciones de Encomienda (1616–1700) which Bislig was under the encomienda of Alferez Juan delas Marianas in 1619. In the "Historia general de los religiosos descalzos del orden de San Agustin" of Fray Andres de San Nicolas in 1664 spelled it "Bislin" and also in the "Historia general... del Orden de San Agustin" of Fray Luis de Jesus in 1681. A Franciscan writer, Fray Juan de San Francisco de San Antonio spelled it "Baslig" in his "Cronicas" in 1738. Other Spanish chroniclers spelled it "Bislic" and "Bisliq".

In the first detailed map of the Philippines in 1749, published in "Historia de la Provincia de Filipinas" by a Jesuit, Father Pedro Murillo Velarde spelled it Bislig, as did in the "Historia General ..." of Fray Pedro San Francisco de Assis in 1768 and in the "Mapa dela Provincia de Caraga" by Francisco Alegre in 1751. A complete statistical data of District of Caraga compiled in 1750 spelled as "Bislig", and also in the document titled "Provincia de San Nicolas de Tolentino de Agustinos descalzos dela Congregacion de España y Indias" in 1879.

From the time on, it is known and spelled as Bislig.


Bislig is approximately 208 kilometres (129 mi) northeast of Davao City, 152 kilometres (94 mi) south of Tandag City (the provincial capital), 44 kilometres (27 mi) south of Hinatuan, and 158 kilometres (98 mi) southeast of Butuan.

Bislig has a land area of 40,503 hectares spread over 24 barangays, with close to half, which are tropical rainforests, is classified as "public forest".


Climate data for Bislig
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 29.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.6
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 21.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 710

Bislig has a tropical rainforest climate (Af) with heavy to very heavy rainfall year-round and with extremely heavy rainfall in January.


Hagonoy Island during night time

Bislig City is politically subdivided into 24 barangays. Each barangay consists of puroks while some have sitios.

  • Bucto
  • Burboanan
  • Caguyao
  • Coleto
  • Comawas
  • Kahayag
  • Labisma
  • Lawigan
  • Maharlika
  • Mangagoy (City Downtown)
  • Mone
  • Pamanlinan
  • Pamaypayan
  • Poblacion (Bislig Proper Seat of the City Government)
  • San Antonio
  • San Fernando
  • San Isidro (Bagnan)
  • San Jose
  • San Roque (Cadanglasan)
  • San Vicente
  • Santa Cruz
  • Sibaroy
  • Tabon
  • Tumanan


Andres Soriano Avenue

The first inhabitants of Bislig were believed to have come from the Agusan Valley in the hinterlands of Mindanao beyond the Magdiwata Mountains. These people used spears, bows and arrows and lived a semi-nomadic life and were called Manobos.

They were ruled during the later part of the seventeenth century by a native leader called "Bagani", meaning a formidable leader. They were very brave, tough and war-like. They also introduced edible crops such as rice, corn and rootcrops to the area.

At the turn of the century, Spanish colonizers and missionaries imposed the rule of Spain and brought with them Tagalogs, Ilonggos, and Cebuanos from the north as members of their expeditionary forces.

Long before it became a town on January 1, 1921, per Executive Order No. 62 issued by Governor General Francis Burton Harrison on December 28, 1920 (with Primitivo A. Castillo as its first Municipal President, Vice-president: Sulpicio P. Laurente & Councilors: Ciriaco Alba; Bartolome Alvar; Higino Basañez; Escolastico Carmen; Tomas Masancay; Basilio Dua; and Macario Tenchavez), Bislig was already an established political instrumentality or "pueblo" in the Province of Surigao (now Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte). Earlier, the province was a part of an even bigger territory stretching from northeastern Mindanao down to the island's southeastern "pueblo" of Caraga and Man-ay in Davao Oriental. Caraga was originally the seat of political, military and religious authority.[7]

Following its becoming a town, efforts were made to improve and develop Bislig until the advent of its citihood campaign in 1999; and by virtue of Republic Act No. 8804, Bislig was converted into a component city. This was duly ratified and approved in a plebiscite conducted on September 18, 2000.


Population census of Bislig
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 2,165—    
1939 4,840+2.26%
1948 5,019+0.40%
1960 16,409+10.37%
1970 40,405+9.42%
1975 45,458+2.39%
1980 81,615+12.41%
1990 103,510+2.41%
1995 103,668+0.03%
2000 97,860−1.23%
2007 102,009+0.57%
2010 96,578−1.97%
2015 94,535−0.41%
2020 99,290+0.97%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[8][9][10][11]

A local language, called Kamayo is sometimes used by the residents, though they usually use the more general Cebuano language of the region.


Poverty Incidence of Bislig


Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]

Bislig is the largest town on the eastern coast of Mindanao. Situated between Mati in the south and Surigao City in the north, it serves as a commercial center for Surigao del Sur and northern Davao Oriental. It is also accessible by road from the landlocked municipalities of Agusan del Sur and Davao de Oro. It markets itself as a center of organic high-value crops and aquamarine products.[20]

Espiritu Street

Barangay Mangagoy is the center of trade and industry of the city which has a population of roughly 50,000 and is the largest barangay in population in the entire province of Surigao del Sur. Espiritu Street and the adjacent areas is colloquially often referred simply to as 'Barrio' by the locals. It is where most of commercial activity in Mangagoy is located. It houses national and local banks, restaurants, and service centers. There are also accommodating inns and hotels, as well as motorized tricycles, jeepneys, and buses ply its concrete roads and highways.[21]

Bislig was the location of the defunct company PICOP Resources, Inc. (PRI, or previously known as the Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines), which was the largest paper mill in Asia and one of the largest in the world. Established in 1963, it was involved in both logging (raw material extraction) and paper & pulp manufacturing, one of the first companies in the world to feature this integrated approach to paper & pulp production. PICOP attracted workers from around the country and helped boost Bislig's population, converting the then-sleepy outskirt barangay of Mangagoy into a boomtown.[22] PICOP's forest concessions extended into Barangay Tabon and included an area where the Philippine eagle lived. The company reached its peak in 1984. However, during the late 1980s the company started to falter caused by several issues, with political turmoil and mismanagement, to name a few.[23] PICOP began to mount losses and in a couple of decades, concluded operations. It ended operations in 2001[24] and completely shut down by 2008. The closure caused massive problems in Bislig, whose local economy was deeply intertwined with the company.[25]

In a televised press conference aired by the Presidential Communications in September 2020, construction firm JM McGregor Haggens, Inc. announced that they will be embarking in a multi-billion peso port complex in Bislig to be called "The Maritime City", the first of its kind in the country. The hub will consist of at least 15 projects, including an oil refinery, oil depot, shipyard, container port, cold storage, food processing plant, power plant, water treatment facility, hospital, hotel, integrated market, convention center, and a government center. The first phase of construction is scheduled in early 2021. The said project will be funded by Aria Indonesia-Aria Asset Management of Luxembourg and nine other entities from different countries.[26][27]


Tinuy-an Falls

Known for its ecotourism, Bislig's main tourist attraction is the Tinuy-an Falls, known as the little "Niagara Falls" of the Philippines. It is a white water curtain that flows in three levels about 55 meters high and 95 meters wide. Its critically acclaimed majestic and unique natural formation was once appeared in the International Travel Magazine. It is also said to be the widest waterfalls in the Philippines.

A Philippine eagle found in the city's wild sanctuary.

Other known tourist attractions include: the white-sand beaches of Hagonoy Island; the various white sand beaches in Barangay Lawigan facing and considered a part of the Pacific Ocean; the underground river of the educational Delot and Hinayagan Cave; the Togonan Falls in Barangay Sibaroy which is a 30-minute ride a far from the city proper; the wild sanctuary of the Forester's Park; the wide range waters of the Mone River and the man-made Lake 77 which offers a boat ride tour and a floating cottage ideal for picnic and fishing; the Kamayo Heritage Park; the Cawa-Cawa Sa Awog; the Sian Falls; the Bislig Hot Spring; the Florland Inland Resort in Barangay San Vicente; the Maria Regina Highland Farm and Resort in Dao-Dao, Barangay San Fernando; the Chocolate Beach ideal for the avid mud skim boarding enthusiasts; the newly developed Mabakat beach (the former Dampingan area) ideal for surfing aficionados; the International Doll House at the Ocean View Park in Barangay Comawas; and the City Baywalk Park. Trekking and bird watching could also be available in Bislig's densely natural forested areas.[28][29]

Bislig hosts an annual festival called "The Karawasan Festival" during the charter day of the city which features an inter-school ethnic dance competition. Karawasan came from a local dialect which means "movement of the crabs". Karawasan is held every 17th day of September. It was replaced by the "Tinuy-an (Sayaw) Festival" since September 2013 and reinstated in 2019.

Festivals and events[edit]

  • Tinuy-an Sayaw Festival : Bislig City's major festival celebrated every September 17. It is the city's co-major event along with the Karawasan Festival.
  • Charter Day Celebration : Celebrated from September 16 to 18, the city celebrate its cityhood.
  • Mangagoy Fiesta : Celebrated every July 19, the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul.
  • Sinulog Festival : Celebrated every third Sunday of January during the feast of Santo Niño.
  • Kawadang Festival : Celebrated every September 21, four days after the Karawasan Festival.
  • Poblacion Fiesta : Celebrated every September 22, the feast day of Santo Tomas de Villanueva.
  • Uli Bislig : Celebrated every September 16, it literally means "going back home to Bislig".
  • Karawasan Festival : As part of the Charter Day Celebration, a dream come true for the City Government of Bislig. Karawasan is a festival of ethnic dances depicting the movement of crabs. Karawasan is actually a collective name given to the member of the crab family found to be great in the salty and freshwater of Bislig. The lavishness of such local marine resource has, in fact, made Bislig City known to other places in the country. It was replaced by the "Tinuy-an Sayaw Festival" until it was reinstated in 2019.


City proper land public transportation[edit]

List of accredited transport cooperatives as of January 2021:[30]

  • Jodab Transport Service Cooperative
  • Mangagoy Transport Cooperative
  • Surigao del Sur Transport Service Cooperative (SURSURTRANSCO)


Air travel[edit]

  • From Manila or Cebu to Davao City as transit point, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Cebgo and PAL Express ply the Manila-Davao vice versa (approx. 1hour and 45 minutes travel time) and Cebu-Davao vice versa (approx. 55 minutes travel time) routes with several trips daily.
  • From Manila or Cebu to Butuan as transit point, PAL Express, Cebu Pacific and Cebgo ply these routes three times a week (Manila-Butuan – approx. 1hour and 30 minutes travel time; Cebu-Butuan – approx. 45 minutes travel time).
  • From Cebu to Tandag City as transit point (approx. 1 hour and 5 minutes travel time), Cebgo ply this route three times a week (destination terminated as of 2019).

Additionally, the concrete runway of Bislig's commercial airport can accommodate light commercial planes of the Fokker 50 class, though most of the time the airport is only used for the occasional private plane.

In early 2012, Jetstream of Mid-Sea Express (later Fil-Asian Airways) announced the routes Cebu-Bislig v.v. and Davao-Bislig v.v. operational at the Bislig Commercial Airport occasionally and seasonally only which lasted until 2014.[31]

In October 2019, Leading Edge Air Services Corporation opened its Bislig-Cebu vice versa trip which lasted until January 2020. Future scheduled commercial flights will open during peak season.

Private and government charter planes and choppers still usually land at the airport.

Land travel[edit]

  • From Davao: Air-conditioned vans may be hired for a 4-hour and a half trip to Bislig City at reasonable rates located in the Ecoland Bus Terminal. Regular trips of Bachelor Express aircon and non-aircon buses also ply the Davao-Bislig route as early as 2:00 a.m. daily.
  • From Butuan: Air-conditioned vans may be hired for a 3-hour trip to Bislig City at reasonable rates located in the City Integrated Bus Terminal. Regular trips of Bachelor Express and Davao Metro Shuttle air-con and non-aircon buses also ply the Butuan route as early as 2:00 a.m. daily.
  • From Tandag: Air-conditioned vans may be hired for a 2-hour and a half trip to Bislig City at reasonable rates located in the City Bus Terminal. Regular trips of Bachelor Express air-con and non-aircon buses also ply the Tandag route as early as 2:00 a.m. daily.
  • From Catarman, Northern Samar (Visayas): In November 2015, Philtranco bus lines launched the route Catarman to Bislig via San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.[32]
  • From Cubao/Pasay (Metro Manila): As of March 2017, Philtranco bus lines launched the route Metro Manila to Bislig with Cubao and Pasay as transit points.[33]

Sea travel[edit]

  • Inter-island vessels like the Cokaliong, Lite Shipping Corporation, and 2GO ply the Manila-Butuan, Cebu-Butuan and Bohol-Butuan routes on regular schedules with Nasipit Port as transit point. Air-con vans are available at the wharf and in the Nasipit terminal. Bachelor Express buses are available in the Nasipit terminal as well for a specific schedule. One may also take a jeepney ride to the Butuan integrated terminal for the regular bus trips to Bislig.

The city had developed sea ports at Barangay Lawigan and Caramcam District in Barangay Mangagoy for the increasing demand of people travelling to other provinces. Currently, operations of the Lawigan sea port is placed on hold due to project constraints.


  • Andres Soriano Memorial Hospital Cooperative (Private)
  • Babano Family Medical Clinic – Hospital Inc. (Private)
  • Bislig District Hospital (Government)
  • HealthLink Medical Clinic and Laboratory (Private)
  • Saint Vincent de Paul College Maternity & General Hospital (Private) (on indefinite hiatus; for redevelopment)


De La Salle John Bosco College

Private schools:

Public schools:


Telephone lines in Bislig are connected through PLDT, PhilCom (now acquired by PLDT) and Globe Home Phone (a subsidiary of Globe Telecom). Mobile communications are provided by Smart, Talk 'N Text, Globe, TM and Sun Cellular.

Bislig City's cable and TV satellite providers are:

  • Estrella & Sons Bislig City Cable TV (BCCTV)
  • Cignal Digital TV (GCS Mobile Link official service provider)
  • G Sat Direct TV

Internet providers are:

  • Estrella & Sons Bislig City Cable TV (BCCTV)
  • PhilCom/PLDT
  • Smart Bro and Sun Cellular
  • Globe

It has also local FM radio stations, AM stations and an internet radio:

Notable personalities[edit]


  1. ^ City of Bislig | (DILG)
  2. ^ "2015 Census of Population, Report No. 3 – Population, Land Area, and Population Density" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. Quezon City, Philippines. August 2016. ISSN 0117-1453. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 25, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Census of Population (2020). "Caraga". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved July 8, 2021.
  4. ^ "PSA Releases the 2021 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. April 2, 2024. Retrieved April 28, 2024.
  5. ^ NSCB – 2001 Factsheet – 12 New Cities Created Archived April 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, July–December 2000.
  6. ^ "Climate: Bislig". Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Friends of Bislig History Book Archived May 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Census of Population (2015). "Caraga". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  9. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Caraga" (PDF). Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. National Statistics Office. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  10. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Caraga". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. National Statistics Office.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "Province of Surigao del Sur". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "Poverty incidence (PI):". Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  13. ^ "Estimation of Local Poverty in the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. November 29, 2005.
  14. ^ "2003 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. March 23, 2009.
  15. ^ "City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates; 2006 and 2009" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. August 3, 2012.
  16. ^ "2012 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. May 31, 2016.
  17. ^ "Municipal and City Level Small Area Poverty Estimates; 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. July 10, 2019.
  18. ^ "PSA Releases the 2018 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. December 15, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  19. ^ "PSA Releases the 2021 City and Municipal Level Poverty Estimates". Philippine Statistics Authority. April 2, 2024. Retrieved April 28, 2024.
  20. ^ "About Caraga". National Economic Development Authority - CARAGA. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  21. ^ Barangay Mangagoy, City of Bislig in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao - Philippine Islands Archived December 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Bislig City in Caraga — Caraga rising paradise". Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  23. ^ Casiro Casiro, Reynante; Catubig, Emmalyn. "Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP): Its History and Socio- Economic Impact in Bislig City, Surigao Del Sur". International Conference on Public Organization (ICONPO) 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  24. ^ "Picop to shut down Oct 31". Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  25. ^ Sicat, Gerardo P. "Rise and fall of PICOP – Mindanao's timber plantations (Part II)". Retrieved January 15, 2024.
  26. ^ Port Calls
  27. ^ JM McGregor Haggens, Inc.
  28. ^ "Surigao del Sur - Department of Tourism". Archived from the original on January 14, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  29. ^ Bislig City & Mangagoy City – The "Twin Cities of Gold" on the Island of Mindanao (Philippines Lifestyle)
  30. ^ "Accredited Transport Cooperatives as of January 2021" (PDF). Office of Transportation Cooperatives. January 2021.
  31. ^ Fil-Asian Airways
  32. ^ Philtranco Official Website.
  33. ^ Philtranco 2017 routes.

External links[edit]