Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Surigao del Norte
Surigao del Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Caraga region in Mindanao. Its capital is Surigao City . The province consists of three major islands—Dinagat Island , Siargao Island , and Bucas Grande Island —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 northernmost of the Mindanao provinces and is an important transportation route 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.
People and culture
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 Toletino which is held annually on September 10. The Bonok-Bonok depicts the native folks’ merry-making to show gratitude to pagan gods for bountiful harvest and good health.
A collection of ancient archaeological diggings like burial coffins jars and antique Chinese kitchen wares unearthed in Panhutungan, Placer is on public display at the Surigaonon Heritage Mini-Museum located at the Boulevard in Surigao City .
The Surigaonon is of rich Malay stock with a sprinkling of Chinese, Japanese and Arab blood. European and American influences are also evident in the culture. With a population of almost 450,000 the lines between stocks can not be accurately distinguished.
Some 95 percent speaks Surigaonon as a major dialect. Influences of the Cebuano and Boholano dialects with a Tausug accent can be traced. A few speak Waray and Tagalog. A majority of the people are able to speak English.
- Surigao City
Mangrove is the major theme in the coastal areas of the province. The salt-water loving trees form interminable marine forests covering 175 square kilometres along the coasts of the mainland and the islands of Siargao and Dinagat. The province also boosts 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.
Many who are interested in game fishing and spearfishing will enjoy its bountiful seas along the tuna route. Over 23 different species are caught the whole year round. Marlin, tuna, lapu-lapu, mollusks, crabs, even squids, stingrays and octopuses can be bought fresh and cheap from the fish vendors and fishermen.
The unique “mancono” (ironwood) forests of Dinagat are still one of the watersheds most productive resources. By its nature, it is a slow growing and adapted to a mineralized soil. It must be carefully managed for sustained productivity.
The province also 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 Suhoton Cave 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, while Dinagat Island has major reserves of chromite. The smaller ones either rest on sand and gravel or have a limestone base bonded by boulders, reefs and sandbars. Some islets like those in Del Carmen in Siargao Island are actually nothing more than a cluster of rock formations jutting out from the sea crowned with shrubs and coconut trees. There are also springs, lagoons, caves, waterfalls, mangroves, marshes and whirlpools which are more appealing to all nature lovers.
Surigao del Norte is a mosaic of islands at the rim of the Asian continental shelf. It is perched at the north-eastern tip of Mindanao and faces that abysmal canyon known as 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.
The province has an area of 2,740 square kilometers which is roughly equivalent to 9.67 percent of the total land area of Northern Mindanao. It embraces within its domain 27 municipalities and a component city.
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 in full regalia its distinct cultural heritage through the Bonok-Bonok Maradjao Karadjao" Festival. It is a provincial city that offers a respite from the busting metropolitan life.
On the Northern side of the province is Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands. These island paradises are famous for their long stretch of sugar-fine beaches, perfect surf, vast mangrove forest, and deep waters teeming with a plethora of marine life.
Dinagat Island, situated on the north-eastern part of the province is a Shangri-La of adventurers. Its caves, rock formations and mountain lakes provide a perfect ambience for the thrill seeker and highly-strung individuals. It is also the seat of the greatest and historic Battle of Surigao Strait during the World War II and the entry point of the American Liberation forces before the momentous return of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Leyte.
The Panhutongan and Amoslog archeological excavations in Placer would give a glimpse of the origins of the province and its people. Such is the image of Surigao del Norte. It is a montage of history and unspoiled beauty. An untouched eden warmed by smiles of people with unquenching thirst for an exuberant lifestyle.
In 1538, the eastern coast of Mindanao which included the present province of Surigao del Norte was visited by a Portuguese explorer Francisco de Castro , who found the place inhabited by the Caraga tribe who were believed to be of Visayan origin.
Five years later, a Spaniard 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, never persisted since the Spaniards preferred to name the area "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 Augustinian Recollects who established parishes in Tandag and Bislig in 1642. The Recollects Stayed until 1875, then secular priests 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.
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 1897, the two Agusan provinces had been organized as a single politico-military comandancia named "Butuan", within the administrative jurisdiction of Surigao. In 1901, this comandancia became a sub-province of Surigao, and in 1907, Agusan became a separate province.
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