What is now the city proper of Surigao was formerly known as Banahao. 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. In its original size during the Spanish era, Surigao was the biggest province in the whole of Mindanao with territories including parts of Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte and up to Gingoog River in Misamis Oriental.
Surigao officially became a town when it became the permanent residence of the Recollects of February 1, 1751. Previously, the place was just a vista of the parish in Caolo (Siargao).
There are many versions regarding the meaning of Surigao. Like Sulo,
which means current or sulog. 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.
Surigao City is located in the northeastern
tip of Mindanao. It is blessed with abundant mineral reserves, fisheries
and aquatic resources as well as tracts of fertile arable lands that are
the primary sources of its people's livelihood. Its location along
the coast offers an opportunity to enjoy a wide array of beaches.
Its outlying islands fronting the Pacific Ocean add to the fun and adventure
nature provides for visitors to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle
of hectic urban life.
As of 1995, Surigao City has a population
of 104,909 with a growth rate of 2.20% from the last censal year.
It has a predominantly young population with a median age of 17 years old.
Most of Surigaonons are Catholics. Their mother tongue is Surigaonon
but most if its people are fluent in English, Tagalog and Cebuano.
Buenavista Cave. Brgy. Buenavista, Hikdop Island, Surigao City. Forty five (45) minutes from the city is this enchanting cave. The interior stone formation depicts the illusionary image of a grand King's Court complete with inner chambers complemented by picturesque stalactites and stalagmites. The highlight of the journey down this cave is the knee-deep pond situated in one of its innermost caverns resembling a throne.
Basul Island. It is the nearest islet from Surigao City characterized by fine white sand on one side and rugged rocky shore on the other side. It can be reached by motorized pumpboat in 30 minutes from the city port.
Lisondra Rock Formation. Barangay Lisondra. Surigao City. This rock islet is best defined by the ranges of its unique, natural rock formations, solidly and concretely enhanced by the different variations of its colors and shades. Opposite is another isolated vase-like rock formation complementing this somewhat mysterious creation of nature, which was a burial ground of the early inhabitants of the surrounding islands. It only takes a 40-minute boat ride to reach this unique rock formation coming from the city proper.
Punta Baluarte. Brgy. San Jose, Surigao City. It is a historical landmark which was used as observatory point by the Spanish friars and later by the Japanese during the Second World War. It is a hill overlooking the town and the surrounding waters and islands, which to date is simply marked by a maroon castle replica. Complementing the landmark is the brightly colored kiosks along the beach which provide an ideal picnic and resting area. Punta Baluarte is about one hour by pumpboat from the city proper.
Mabua Pebble Beach. Barangay Mabua, Surigao City. Thirty minutes by land westward from the city is this kilometer-long stretch of multi-sized pebble beach. Laden with parallel lines of native cottages set in the natural backdrop of coconut tree-laced hills and deep cool waters, the place is ideal for swimming, windsurfing, jetskiing or simply, lying in wait for the occurence of its dramatic sunset.
Pearl Farm. Brgy. Nabago, Surigao City. Pearls... its beauty and luster made it one of Surigao's priced dollar earners. To experience the underwater scenery of its marine culture is as enchanting as the movement of the live corals of its environment. A natural aquarium of incomparable beauty, the farm is the pride of Barangay Nabago, 30 minutes by land or by sea from the city proper.
Mangrove Forest. The cradle of
marine life and sanctuary of various species of fish, the mangrove forest is
one of nature's most interesting habitat. A boat ride along the naturally-carved
water channels amidst the jade-colored lush of mangrove trees and the visible
rich coral undergrowth, is an island tropical treat one rarely experience.