Union, Surigao del Norte
Union, pronounced "onion," is a village on the south coast of Siargao Island, in the Philippines. Union has pretty much the same boundaries as does Barangay Union, of the Municipality of Dapa, in the province of Surigao del Norte. See Dapa, Surigao del Norte. Union is bordered on the east by the Pacific Ocean and on the other three sides by jungle and tropical forest. It is located 2.5 km (1.6 mi) east of the village of Giwan (see Giwan, Surigao del Norte).
Barangay Union, according to the Philippine National Statistical Board, had a population of 2,645 people on August 1, 2007. Virtually the entire population of Union is Filipino. Virtually the entire population speaks Tagalog, most speak English and many speak other languages native to the Philippines, such as Visayan. A few foreigners from Canada and Europe have built large homes in Union and reside there. Most of the houses are primitive wood houses with either wood or concrete floors or are built of cement block. Virtually all houses have electricity, but very few have any air conditioning. There is no television service to Union.
Small parts of the village of Union are just outside the barangay, but 90% of it is inside the barangay boundaries. The village measures roughly six blocks long from southwest to northeast and four blocks wide from northwest to southeast. The highway runs the length of the village and is paved and well maintained in town. Most of the highway between Giwan and Union, while paved, looks as though it has not been maintained for many years. As the highway leaves the north side of Union, the maintenance of it stops.
It then curves a short distance due east and stops at the ocean edge. There is a ford two blocks long that crosses a shallow area where a river meets the ocean. It can only be forded by foot at low tide. On the other side of the river the road becomes not much better than a footpath and cannot be traveled by any vehicles. It gets somewhat better after passing two surfer resorts.
Many streets inside Union are paved and even the dirt streets are reasonably well maintained.
Union is predominantly Roman Catholic. However, it has three churches, the Catholic Church, a United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and a Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The Adventist Church is actually a bit south of the village.
While just to the east the surfer resorts of General Luna begin, Union has no tourism. Tourists sometimes swim in the river east of the village at high tide. Union has a large beach area on the east side of town. There are swimming areas and shelter houses for swimmers and picnickers on the beach. At the end of a pier near the south end of the beach are three large shelter houses for persons to dive, sight see and eat.
Ocean fishing plays a part in Union's economy, as bangka fishing boats are based along the village beach area. A bangka is a fairly large outrigger canoe, which is usually motorized. Union has at least one regular retail shop and at least one bakery. It is dotted with many sari sari stores. A shelterhouse in the center of town is used for barangay meetings and other community functions. Union has a fairly large public health clinic.
Since Union is small, people usually get around town by walking. An area in the center of the village is used as a motorized tricycle stop (see motorized tricycle (Philippines)). Giwan and Dapa township are reached by motorized tricycle.
- Wikimapia website, http://www.wikimapia.org .
- Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board website, http://www.nscb.gov.ph/activestats/psgc/ .
- Wikimapia website; Jack L. Ferreras, map of Siargao Island, ca. 2010.
- Wikimapia website; Gregg Bloom, Michael Grosberg, Virginia Jealous and Piers Kelly, Lonely Planet: Philippines (Footscray, Australia: Lonely Planet, May 2009), 10th ed., p. 378.