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The City of Surigao is a 2nd class city and the capital of the province of Surigao del Norte, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 132,151 people. The total land area of the city is 245.34 sq. km. Surigao City is a mosaic of islands that lies at the rim of the Asian continental shelf. It is perched at the northeastern tip of Mindanao, a southern island in the Philippines, and faces the Philippine Deep. The historic strait bound it on the north and east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the provinces of Agusan Del Norte and Surigao Del Sur and on the West. It is blessed with abundant mineral reserves, fisheries and aquatic resources, and tracts of fertile arable lands, which are the primary sources of its people's livelihood. Its location in the coast offered enough opportunities to enjoy its wide array of beaches ranging from white, grayish-sandy to the gravel smooth pebbled ones, as well as other places of interest. Its outlying islands fronting the Pacific further augment the fun and adventure, especially surfing.
What is now the city proper of Surigao was formerly known as "Banahao", which contained a good port for ships called "Bilan-Bilan". Banahao was part of the old district of Caraga, which later on became the politico-military district of Surigao with Tandag (presently the capital of Surigao del Sur) as its capital. Caraga derives from the word Calagan which means "Land of the Brave" or "fierce people". The Italian adventurer Francisco Giovani Careri, who published a book of travel in the country, cited Francisco Combes, S.J. as a source in saying that Calagan is derived from the two Visayan words: kalag or calag which means soul or people and for land.Surigao officially became the permanent residence of the Recollects on February 1, 1752 when all the canonical books were moved from Siargao to Surigao. The first canonical books bore the signature of Fr. Lucas de la Cruz. Previously, the place was just a "vista" of the parish in Caolo (Siargao). This date may be considered as Surigao's foundation day.
It was through Surigao Strait that the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan after a brief stay at the island of Homonhon, sailed into the Philippine Archipelago during the epic voyage of discovery and eventual circumnavigation of the world in 1521. It was this body of water that the Battle of Surigao Strait was fought in World War II, from October 24-25, 1944 between United States, Filipino and Japanese fleets. Surigao is named after the old province (district) of the same name (Surigao). There are many versions regarding the meaning of Surigao; how this was derived. Like Sulo, which means sulog or current. Surigao probably came from the Spanish Surgir, meaning swift water or current. With the division of Surigao into two provinces, Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte, the Municipality of Surigao became the capital of Surigao del Norte. It became a chartered city on August 31, 1970.
The mainland and clustered islands of Surigao City has irregular or hilly topography with flat lands near the coast. It has an average elevation level of 19 meters or 65.5 ft. above sea level. The highest elevation in the mainland is the Kabangkaan Ridge situated along the border of the Municipality of San Francisco with a peak elevation of 465 meters above sea level. Along the border of Tagana-an is the Mapawa peak with an elevation of 245 meters above sea level with scattered descending slopes covering the barangays of Cabongbongan, Nabago and Capalayan. In the islands, the highest range is the island of Nonoc with an elevation of 263 meters above sea level, overlooking the Cantiasay Channel and the Island of Hanigad with a peak elevation of 163 meters. The highest point in Hikdop Island is in Mt. Telegrapo with a peak of 0.05 meters. The island of Antoine Beltran located on the eastern part of Surigao City has a highest elevation of 3, 450 meters.
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 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 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.