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Agusan del Norte

FOREWORD (source: www.caragatravelguide.com):

Tourism in Agusan del Norte is an infant industry. However, blessings of history, culture and the arts, natural endowments and people make her a blue-chip mix destination for heritage, sports, adventure and eco-tourism.

A heritage tour brings one back in time with visits to the 1872 Magellan Marker and the 15th Century Bitaog Tree in Magallanes, the 1878 Our Lady of Assumption Parish and Museum in Jabonga, and a first-hand look at Cabadbaran’s beautifully preserved Ancestral Houses and Community Museum.

Sports tourism destinations like the Arnis Camp in Jabonga, Badminton Camp in Cabadbaran and Table Tennis Camp in Nasipit are strong reflections of the province’s effort to preserve culture and the arts, on one hand, and grassroots sports specialization as a formula to sports development, on the other.

Teeing off, therefore, from her romance with the “baoto” o native dug-out canoe, the available adventure and eco-tourism menu on sale includes: canoeing the historic Lake Mainit and Kalinawan River; climbing the mystical Mt. Hilong-hilong; scuba diving the abysmal Vito Wall; trekking the panoramic Malimono Ridge; snorkeling the kaleidoscopic Goso-on Fish Sanctuary; rappelling the vertical entrance of Anibongan Cave; sailing at Nasipit Cove; sunset viewing at Mt. Carmel; camping at Looc Cove; Mamanwa encounter at Corro and others.

From the famous outdoor-saying, “The World is your Backyard . . . Go Outside and Play” – we invite one and all from ages 6 to 60 to come and play with us here in amazing Agusan del Norte.

Brief Description

Agusan del Norte is a second-class province and the smallest in the Caraga Region. It is mountainous along its northeastern and western parts. In between are flat, rolling lands particularly where the Agusan River cuts through as it empties into Butuan Bay. Agusan del Norte’s highest peak is Mt. Hilong-hilong, with 2,012 m. above sea level and is located in the Diwata Mountain Ranges near the eastern boundary of Surigao del Sur. Indigenous people of the Mamanwa, Manobo and Higa-onon tribes populate her majestic mountains.


Agusan was named after a Malay word “agasan” meaning “where water flows” probably because of a mighty river that traverses the area. Early migrants from Borneo and Celebes came to the region in Balangays or wooden boats. Nine such boats where excavated in the 70’s. One dates back to 320 A.D. pre-dating the European Boat and the Chinese Junk.

By the time the Spaniards arrived, the natives were already trading with foreign merchants as evidenced by 10th century ceramics unearthed near Butuan. Some historians claimed that Magellan held the first mass in the Philippines in Masao at the mouth of the Agusan River, and not in Limasawa, Leyte, on Easter Sunday of 1521.

Agusan del Norte was part of the province of Surigao during the Spanish Colonial Administration. By virtue of R.A. 1306 of 1914, it became an independent province of Agusan during the American Administration. On June 17, 1967, Congress passed R.A. 4979 dividing the province of Agusan into Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.

Other Facts:

Capital : Cabadbaran
Land Area : 2,503.9 sq./km.
Administrative Center : Cabadbaran
Predominant Industry : Agriculture


Located in the northeastern part of Mindanao, it is bounded on the north by Butuan Bay and Surigao del Norte; east by Surigao del Sur; west by Misamis Oriental; and south and southwest by Agusan del Sur.

Political Subdivision

The province has 11 municipalities, 164 barangays and 2 congressional districts. District 1 is composed of Butuan City and the municipality of Las Nieves. District II is composed of the municipalities of Carmen, Nasipit, Buenavista, Magallanes, RTR, Cabadbaran, Tubay, Santiago Jabonga and Kitcharao. Caraga Region XIII is composed of 4 provinces including the province of Agusan del Norte and 3 cities.


As of December 2003, the total population of Agusan del Norte is 299,313. Annual growth rate – 1.89%


Cebuano is the major dialect. Filipino and English are widely spoken. Minor dialects are Butuanon, Ilonggo, Mamanwa, Manobo, Higa-onon, Maranaw and Fukienese.


The province is located outside the typhoon belt and has no definite dry season. Rainfall is pronounced throughout the year occurring heavily from November to January. Temperature ranges from 22.8 C to 32.1 C. Relative humidity is 84%.


Primarily an agricultural province, Agusan del Norte is the region’s leading rice producer. Other major crops are coconut, corn, mango, bananas, vegetables and prawns.

The province continues to be a major timber producer despite its extensive deforested areas. There are 23 lumber producers and plywood plants most of them operating in Butuan City. Minor licenses concentrate on gathering rattan which is considered the best in the country.

The emerging industry mix is on agri-business where its 2 special economic zones (TAPCEN & NANIE) Tubay Agricultural Processing Center & Nasipit, Agusan del Norte Industrial Estate will play a vital role in transforming the place from a timber dependent industry to a balanced agri-forestry-tourism industry.


The province is accessible by 2 daily flights from Manila; daily trips by ship from Manila and Cebu via the Ports of Nasipit and Surigao City; and by bus every 30 minutes from the cities of Surigao, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

Distance of Municipalities from the Provincial Capital (CAPITAL: CABADBARAN)

• Buenavista 47
• Carmen 60.8
• Jabonga 30.7
• Kitcharao 44.9
• Las Nieves 64
• Magallanes 11
• Nasipit 54.4
• Remedios T. Romualdez (RTR) 9
• Santiago 18
• Tubay 10.1

The Resources.

Agriculture and forestry are the predominant occupations in the area. Its rich agricultural lands and climate are ideal for the growing of raw materials and plantation crops such as banana, mango, abaca, and coconut. Its grasslands are ideal for cattle raising while its lush virgin forest is a potential source of timber.

Minerals such as limestones, marble, manganese and the province’s estimated 1,566,200 metric tons of gold deposits are generally untapped. The town of Kitcharao alone has 179 hectares of high quality limestone and marble with mineral reserves of at least 23,370,000 cubic meters.

Brief History

The winds of change that swept the province from the four corners of the world has witnessed the meeting of diverse local and foreign influences which nurtured the emergence of a unique and distinct Surigaonon culture.

In 1538, the eastern coast of Mindanao which included the present province of Surigao del Norte was visited by the Portuguese explorer Francisco de Castro, who found the place inhabited by the Caraga tribe who were believed to be Visayan of origin.

Five years later, Ruy Lopez de Villabos landed in the same region. His navigator, Bernardo de la Torre, named it Cesaria Caroli in honor of the reigning Spanish Monarch, Carlos V. The name, however persisted since the Spaniards preferred to call it Caraga after its chief inhabitants.

The Jesuit Missionaries in 1597 tried to evangelize the people of Butuan (Agusan) and Caraga (Surigao), with much difficulty and intermittent success. They were followed in 1622 by the Agustinian Recollects who established parishes in Tandag and Bislig in 1642. The Recollects stayed until 1875, then the secular priest took over followed by the Benedictine Monks from 1893 to 1908.

The ancient district of Caraga, which was established in 1609, comprised all of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, the Northern part of Davao Oriental and Eastern Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.

In 1860, six military districts were established in Mindanao. Surigao and Agusan, including the territory lying between Butuan and Caraga Bays, formed the third district called the East District which was changed in 1870 to Distrito de Surigao.

By the end of the Spanish rule in 1898, the two Agusan provinces were organized as a single politico-military commandancia named Butuan, with the administrative jurisdiction of Surigao. In 1901, this commandancia became a sub-province of Surigao, and in 1907, Agusan became a separate province.
It was on June 19, 1960, through Republic Act 2766 that Surigao province was divided to form Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte.

The Land

With a total of 273,902 hectares or 2,739.02 square kilometers, Surigao del Norte ranks third in the Caraga Region in terms of land area which is equal to 0.99% of the total land area of the Philippines.

Political Subdivision

Surigao del Norte is a group of islands at the rim of the Asian continental shelf. It is located at the northeastern tip of Mindanao facing the Philippine Deep. It is bounded on the north and east by the vast Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Provinces of Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Sur, and on the west by the historic Surigao Strait.

It is composed of 27 municipalities where Surigao City is the provincial capital.

The Resources

The province boasts of lush virgin forests, a long stretch of white sand beaches with world-class surfing sites, magnificent rock formations, and abundant marine life.

Surigao del Norte has the biggest deposits of nickel, gold, chromite, iron, gravel and sand, limestone and sillica.

The rich and fertile land predominantly produces agricultural crops such as rice, coconut and rootcrops. Livestock and poultry-raising are also the main source of livelihood.


While the Philippine population is growing at 2.32% from 1990-1995, the provinces’ population has been growing at a slower rate of 0.70% per annum during the same period. As of 1995, Surigao del Norte has a population of 337, 294.


Since the capital of the province is Surigao City, access to the entire province is essentially the same as the access to its capital. Please refer to the rate and schedule of air, land and sea transportation.

The land
Source: www.philippine-Directory.com

Northern Mindanao's province Agusan del Norte (Region 10) is a resource rich and scenic region in the country.

It is bounded on the north by the province of Southern Leyte and Bohol Sea, on the south by North Cotabato and Davao del Norte, on the west by the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur, and on the southwest by Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. Region 10 has a total land area of 2,832,774 hectares (about 7 million acres) with very irregular coastline separated by large open bays. It embraces within its domain seven provinces, seven cities and 116 municipalities, and home to approximately 5 million people.
The province is mountainous along its northeastern and western parts. In between are flat, rolling lands, particularly where the Agusan River cuts through as it empties into Butuan Bay.

Its gentle rolling hills of tropical rainforest, tumbling waterfalls, amazing rock formations, enchanting caves, majestic volcanoes, fascinating lakes and pristine beaches with crystal clear water teeming with a plethora of marine life, renders one with awe in the vibrant and timeless hues of nature.

The highest peak is Mt. Hilong-Hilong (2,012m), located in the Diwata Mountains near the eastern boundary with Surigao del Sur.

As a cosmopolitan society, Northern Mindanao's city centers offer an endless array of excitement and entertainment. The streets are alive with jeepneys, tricycles (motorcycles with sidecars), sleek automobiles, and its sidewalk are crammed with hurrying crowds. Outside the bustle of airconditioned shopping malls are the gaiety of marketplaces that give the visitor a dose of local color.

Agusan del Norte's name was derived from the Malay word agasan, meaning "where water flows." This alluded to the province's mighty Agusan River that traverses the whole province.

Agusan River is the third longest river in the country. It is also one of the nine rivers that criss-cross the entire province. Logs are floated down Agusan River to mills for processing into lumber and plywood. Agusan del Norte is located outside the typhoon belt and has no definite dry season. Rainfall is pronounced throughout the year, occuring heavily from November to January.

The people

Although a Butuanon dialect exists, most of the inhabitants speak Cebuano. The Manobo tribe, numbering 53,000, is the largest cultural community in the province. Other major ethnic groups comprise the Mamanwa, Higanon and Lapaknon. There is a Monobo-Mamanwa Reservation in Bangonay, Jabonga, at the southern end of Lake Mainit.

History and Culture

Northern Mindanao is rich in history and culture. Its indigenous traditions are showcased in year-round festivals all over the region and its heritage expressed and reflected in their arts and crafts. Relics and artifacts of a glorious past are displayed with pride in the different museums found in the region.

Commerce and industry

Primarily an agricultural province, Agusan del Norte is the region's leading rice producer after Bukidnon. Other major crops include corn, vegetables, coconuts and bananas.

The province continues to be a major timber producer despite its extensive deforested areas. There are 23 lumber producers and plywood plants, although most of them operate in Butuan City. Minor licensees concentrate on gathering rattan, considered the best in the country.

Butuan City is the commercial and transportation center of the Agusan Valley.

Agusan's Capital Butuan City

Butuan City is the city of antiques and archaeological finds. The city of Balanghais. The pre-historic city by the river.

Archaeologically, Butuan City was a big flourishing settlement and trade center in Southeast Asia 700 B.C., whose people were highly civilized natives. The discovery of nine balanghais in Libertad is a unique phenomenon all over the world, and has no parallel in Southeast Asian Prehistoric Archaelogy.


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