Surigao del Norte

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Surigao del Norte
Surigao del Norte provincial capitol
Surigao del Norte provincial capitol
Flag of Surigao del Norte
Official seal of Surigao del Norte
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 09°40′N 125°38′E / 9.667°N 125.633°E / 9.667; 125.633Coordinates: 09°40′N 125°38′E / 9.667°N 125.633°E / 9.667; 125.633
Country Philippines
Region Caraga (Region XIII)
Founded June 16, 1960
Capital Surigao City
 • Type Province of the Philippines
 • Governor Sol Matugas (Liberal)
 • Vice Governor Arturo Carlos Egay, Jr. (Liberal)
 • Total 1,972.93 km2 (761.75 sq mi)
Area rank 61st out of 81
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 442,588
 • Rank 59th out of 81
 • Density 220/km2 (580/sq mi)
 • Density rank 41st out of 81
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 1
 • Municipalities 20
 • Barangays 335
 • Districts 1st and 2nd districts of Surigao del Norte
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 8400 to 8425
Dialing code 86
ISO 3166 code PH-SUN
Spoken languages Cebuano, Surigaonon, Tagalog, English

Surigao del Norte (Tagalog: Hilagang Surigao; Cebuano: Amihanang Surigao; Surigaonon: Probinsya nan Surigao del Norte) is a province in the Philippines located in the Caraga region of Mindanao. Its capital is Surigao City.[3] The province consists of two major islands—Siargao and Bucas Grande—in the Philippine Sea, and a small region at the northernmost tip of the island of Mindanao. This mainland portion borders Agusan del Norte, and Surigao del Sur to the south.

Surigao del Norte is the second northernmost of the Mindanao provinces and is an important transportation hub between Visayas and Mindanao. Numerous ferries cross the Surigao Strait between Surigao and the island of Leyte carrying vehicles and passengers between Liloan in Southern Leyte and Surigao City.


Prior to its creation as an independent province, Surigao del Norte was part of the historical province of Surigao.

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.[4] The town of Surigao became a city on August 30, 1970 pursuant to RA 6134.[5]

Dinagat Islands had been a part of the First District of Surigao del Norte until becoming a province on its own on December 2, 2006, with the approval of Republic Act No. 9355,[6] the Charter of the Province of Dinagat Islands, in a plebiscite. Between February 2010 and March 2011, the islands were part again of Surigao del Norte but were reinstated as a separate province.


An aerial view of Surigao del Norte

Surigao del Norte is an archipelago province situated at the rim of the Asian continental shelf. It is located at the northeastern tip of Mindanao and faces the Philippine Trench. The province is bounded by the Dinagat Islands on the north, east by the Pacific Ocean, south by the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Sur, and on the west by the Surigao Strait.

The province has an area of 197,293 hectares (487,520 acres) which is roughly equivalent to 9.67 percent of the total land area of Northern Mindanao. It covers 27 municipalities and a component city.

The province has many caves and tunnels in its islands. Some are half-submerged in water most of the time and could be accessed only during low tides like the Sohoton Cove at Bucas Grande Island.

Its biggest islands are usually mountainous and rich in minerals. Nonoc Island has one of the world's largest deposits of nickel. The smaller ones either rest on sand and gravel or have a limestone base bonded by boulders, reefs and sandbars. Some islets which include those in Del Carmen in Siargao Island are a cluster of rock formations jutting out from the sea covered with shrubs and coconut trees.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Surigao del Norte is subdivided into 20 municipalities and 1 city.

City or
District[7] Area
(per km²)
No. of

Alegria 2nd 65.28 14,539 222.7 12 8425 5th 9°28′06″N 125°34′37″E / 9.4684075°N 125.5768633°E / 9.4684075; 125.5768633 (Alegria)
Bacuag 2nd 95.85 13,211 137.8 9 8408 5th 9°36′30″N 125°38′18″E / 9.6084227°N 125.6382344°E / 9.6084227; 125.6382344 (Bacuag)
Burgos 1st 19.27 4,058 210.6 6 8424 6th 10°01′05″N 126°04′27″E / 10.0181311°N 126.0742822°E / 10.0181311; 126.0742822 (Burgos)
Claver 2nd 322.6 23,702 73.5 14 8410 2nd 9°34′23″N 125°43′58″E / 9.5730277°N 125.7326841°E / 9.5730277; 125.7326841 (Claver)
Dapa 1st 91.9 23,492 255.6 29 8417 4th 9°45′25″N 126°03′06″E / 9.7569104°N 126.051588°E / 9.7569104; 126.051588 (Dapa)
Del Carmen 1st 151.68 17,136 113 20 8418 5th 9°52′08″N 125°58′14″E / 9.8687641°N 125.9705006°E / 9.8687641; 125.9705006 (Del Carmen)
General Luna 1st 41.3 15,014 363.5 19 8419 5th 9°47′00″N 126°09′23″E / 9.7834704°N 126.1563014°E / 9.7834704; 126.1563014 (General Luna)
Gigaquit 2nd 138.11 18,784 136 13 8409 4th 9°35′38″N 125°41′51″E / 9.5938221°N 125.6976035°E / 9.5938221; 125.6976035 (Gigaquit)
Mainit 2nd 107.76 25,596 237.5 21 8407 4th 9°32′16″N 125°31′21″E / 9.537827°N 125.5225869°E / 9.537827; 125.5225869 (Mainit)
Malimono 2nd 80.13 18,316 228.6 14 8402 5th 9°37′06″N 125°24′07″E / 9.6184368°N 125.4018116°E / 9.6184368; 125.4018116 (Malimono)
Pilar 1st 77.11 9,456 122.6 15 8420 5th 9°51′50″N 126°06′01″E / 9.8638279°N 126.100284°E / 9.8638279; 126.100284 (Pilar)
Placer 2nd 61.29 24,600 401.4 20 8405 4th 9°39′27″N 125°36′05″E / 9.6573961°N 125.6015055°E / 9.6573961; 125.6015055 (Placer)
San Benito 1st 45.63 5,505 120.6 6 8423 6th 9°57′28″N 126°00′24″E / 9.9578206°N 126.0067116°E / 9.9578206; 126.0067116 (San Benito)
San Francisco (Anao-Aon) 2nd 56.72 13,335 235.1 11 8401 5th 9°46′40″N 125°25′26″E / 9.7779025°N 125.4239701°E / 9.7779025; 125.4239701 (San Francisco)
San Isidro 1st 42.03 6,973 165.9 12 8421 5th 9°56′12″N 126°05′13″E / 9.9365296°N 126.0869689°E / 9.9365296; 126.0869689 (San Isidro)
Santa Monica (Sapao) 1st 39.19 8,715 222.4 11 8422 5th 10°01′08″N 126°02′11″E / 10.0188427°N 126.0364378°E / 10.0188427; 126.0364378 (Santa Monica)
Sison 2nd 54.7 11,377 208 12 8404 5th 9°39′32″N 125°31′43″E / 9.6588554°N 125.5286221°E / 9.6588554; 125.5286221 (Sison)
Socorro 1st 114.45 20,304 177.4 14 8416 4th 9°37′06″N 125°57′54″E / 9.6183104°N 125.9650671°E / 9.6183104; 125.9650671 (Socorro)
Surigao City 2nd 245.3 140,540 572.9 54 8400 3rd 9°47′16″N 125°29′30″E / 9.7878962°N 125.4916763°E / 9.7878962; 125.4916763 (Surigao City)
Tagana-an 2nd 77.29 15,366 198.8 14 8403 5th 9°41′51″N 125°34′58″E / 9.6973759°N 125.5826923°E / 9.6973759; 125.5826923 (Tagana-an)
Tubod 2nd 45.34 12,569 277.2 9 8406 5th 9°33′20″N 125°34′08″E / 9.5556611°N 125.5688596°E / 9.5556611; 125.5688596 (Tubod)
 †  Provincial capital and component city      Municipality
  • Coordinates mark the city/town center vicinity, and are sorted according to latitude.
  • Italicized names are former names.
  • Income classifications for cities are italicized.

People and culture[edit]

Surigao is home to the Mamanwa ethnic tribe. Their dances are showcased in a local festival called "Bonok-Bonok", held at the feast of San Nicolas de Tolentino which is held annually on September 10. The Bonok-Bonok depicts the native folks' merry-making to show gratitude to God for bountiful harvest and good health.

A collection of ancient archaeological diggings like burial coffins, jars and Chinese ceramics unearthed in Panhutungan, Placer is on public display at the Surigaonon Heritage Mini-Museum located at the Boulevard in Surigao City.


Population census of
Surigao del Norte
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 327,113 —    
1995 340,043 +0.73%
2000 374,465 +2.09%
2007 409,468 +1.24%
2010 442,588 +2.87%
Data excludes Dinagat Islands that were part of Surigao del Norte
until 2006. Source: National Statistics Office[2]

The population of Surigaonon is mostly Austronesian stock, with some people of Chinese,and Arab heritage. European and American influences are also evident in the culture.

Some 95 percent of the people speak Surigaonon as a major dialect. Influences of the Cebuano and Boholano languages are present. A few speak Waray and Tagalog. A majority are able to speak English.


The dominant religion is Roman Catholicism with 94 percent adherence. Other religions include Aglipayan and some Protestant Churches.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Mangroves are the major vegetation in the coastal areas of the province, which form interminable marine forests covering 175 square kilometres (68 sq mi) along the coasts of the mainland and the islands of Siargao and Bucas Grande. The province is host to a variety of marine ecosystems like the lush seagrass beds and coral reefs which are relatively healthy and intact, supporting a rich diversity of marine flora and fauna.

Over 23 different species are caught the whole year round. Marlin, tuna, lapu-lapu, mollusks, crabs, even squids, stingrays and octopuses can be bought from fish vendors and fishermen.

The unique "magcono" (ironwood) forests of Surigao del Norte are one of the watersheds most productive resources. By its nature, it is slow growing and adapted to a mineralized soil.

Tourist attractions[edit]

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 its distinct cultural heritage through the Bonok-Bonok Maradjao Karadjao Festival.

On the northern side of the province are Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands. These islands are known for their long stretch of sugar-fine beaches, vast mangrove forest, and deep waters teeming with a plethora of marine life.

The Panhutongan and Amoslog archeological excavations in Placer would give a glimpse of the origins of the province and its people.


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Republic Act No. 2786 - An Act to Create the Provinces of Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. 19 June 1960. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "Republic Act No. 6134 - An Act Creating the City of Surigao". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. 31 August 1970. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  6. ^ "Republic Act No. 9355; An Act Creating the Province of Dinagat Islands" (PDF). Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Province: Surigao del Norte". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority - National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010 (Caraga)" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 

External links[edit]