Agusan del Norte is a province located in the Caraga Region in Mindanao. Its capital is Cabadbaran City and it borders Surigao del Norte to the north, Surigao del Sur to the east, Agusan del Sur to the south, and Misamis Oriental to the west. It faces Butuan Bay, part of the Bohol Sea, to the northwest.
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.
In 1942, the Japanese Imperial forces landed in Northern Agusan.
In 1945, Filipino soldiers of the 6th, 10th, 101st, 102nd, 103rd, 107th and 110th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and the 10th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary together with the recognized Agusan guerrilla fighter units against the Japanese forces beginning the liberation in Northern Agusan during World War II.
During World War II, a unit of the joint Philippine-American defense force were located at Manot, Talacogon, in the interior of the Agusan Valley.
Created by Republic Act 4979 from Agusan province.
On August 16, 2000. The seat of provincial government was transferred from Butuan City to Cabadbaran by virtue of Republic Act 8811, although the province is yet to complete the transfer of provincial services and functions to the new capital.
Tourism in Agusan del Norte
The province of Agusan del Norte has many beautiful beaches in the towns of Carmen, Buenavista, Nasipit, and Cabadbaran City. It also has Mount Hilong-Hilong in Cabadbaran, one of the tallest in Agusan del Norte.
From the top of Prayer Mountain (Mount Pongkay), you can see the beautiful place of Cabadbaran like the the buildings, churches, sea, rivers and etc.
Culture and Heritage
- Magellan Marker : Erected in the time of Spanish District Gov. Jose Maria Carvallo in 1872, this edifice located at the mouth of the Agusan river in present day Magallanes, is the site of the first Catholic mass in Mindanao on April 8,1521. Magallanes, in the olden days was called Baug, formerly the site of Butuan.
- Centennial Bitaug Tree: More than 500 years old this was declared a centennial tree by the Phil. Centennial Commission on June 3, 1998. Location: Brgy. Caloc-an, Magallanes.
- Cabadbaran Ancestral Houses: Cabadbaran’s Ancestral houses are predominantly old Spanish architecture. The most prominent of them is the Atega Ancestral Home, the biggest and most beautiful preserved in Caraga. It is the abode of Cabadbaran’s revolutionary hero – Don Andres Atega.
- Our Lady of Assumption Church: After the devastating typhoon in 1876, Fr. Urios instigated Jabonganons to look for a higher ground for a permanent church. Fr. Chambo, SJ, started construction in 1878. Fr. Llobera, SJ, blessed it during the feast of Corpus Cristi, June 17, 1897.Today, it is the oldest Spanish church in the whole Caraga.
- Cabadbaran Museum: This is a mini-museum located at the ground floor of Teofisto Guingona Sr. Hall. It is a repository to the town’s old documents, as well as artifacts from Cabadbaran’s 4 archeological sites.
As the most proficient means of transport in a land of water, the native dugout canoe or “baoto” became synonymous to Agusan for the last 1,000 years. Today, canoeing has grown into an adventure and competition sport.
- Lake Mainit: Situated 80 ft. above sea level with a mean depth of 128 meter, the lake is a confluence of 28 rivers. Its area of 17,430 hectares with a total shoreline of 50 kilometers covers part of Agusan del Norte (Jabonga, Kitcharao, Santiago) and Surigao del Norte (Mainit,Alegria and Sison). It is known for its pidjanga, gabot, banak, haw-an, gi-ngaw,igi and kasili and is natural habitat to some endangered Philippine flora and fauna. Migratory birds from Russia and Japan and native flowers –pagosi and tabukali are its unique attractions.
- Kalinawan River : Declared as Caraga’s cleanest inland body of water, this 29.1 kilometer of pristine and picturesque river is Lake Mainit’s only outlet. It passes through the municipalities of Jabonga, Santiago, Tubay before it finally empties into Butuan bay. By history, it is one of the oldest trading and missionary routes in the Philippines. Its historical past (part of the Old Kingdom of Butuan even predates Philippine history. The river is fishing ground to the mamanwas since immemorial. The mamanwa tribe who inhabits around the lake and this river is the oldest indigenous tribe of the Philippines.
Aside from club and mountaineering federation climbs, the province also offers climbing tours for 6-10 people to any of these destinations:
- Mt. Hilong-hilong, 2,012 meter above sea level: Straddling over the eastern portion of Cabadbaran and RTR is Agusan del Norte and Caraga’s highest peak. Seven major waterfalls, an ancient rock art, a carpet of giant white anthuriums, still undetermined number of virgin caves, nesting site of the critically endangered Philippine Eagle, habitat of the Philippine wildcat, flying squirrel, tarsier , and microscopic flower not found anywhere else in the Philippines (German botanist circa 1920) are just some of its main features. By degree of difficulty, it is recommended to climbers with intermediate and expert skills only. A climb to the peak via Malvar Trail takes 4 ½ to 5 days. This mystical mountain was venue to the 17th national MFPI mid-year climb in 2002.
- Mt. Mabaho,1,823 meters above sea level.Besides being Caraga’s second highest peak, it is also the K2 of Mindanao. Its massive peak of wet solid rock rising acutely to 80-90 degree angle makes it almost impossible to climb without gears. Except for a native “gamhanan” of old, according to legend no one has yet conquered its peak to this day. Known to the natives as “Panlabaw” it is an intriguing destination for experienced mountaineers, technical climbers and extreme adventurers. Location : Santiago
- Mt. Mas-ai, 1,680 meter above sea level, Located at Brgy. Del Pilar, Cabadbaran is another high peak. Among its features is Lake Balwang. It is negotiable in 3 days. It was venue to MFPI’s Mindanao in 1997.
- Mt. Mayapay, 675 meters above sea level. Occupying part of Butuan and Buenavista, this mountain is closely associated with the Higa-onon tribe. It is the most accessible climbing destination from Butuan City. It is negotiable in a day and is a perfect fun climb destination.
- Mt. Mina-asug, 534 meters above sea level. Located in Brgy. La Fraternidad, Tubay, it is negotiable less than a day. It is an ideal practice climb destination for beginners.
The province’s 102 kilometers of marine coastline offers a menu of 22 dive sites. Diving in Carmen is an excellent 80 ft. of visibility. Reef life rich with soft and hard corals plus abundant reef and pelagic fishes. Profile ranges from sloping walls to cliffs with depths from 40 ft. to over a hundred, with generally sandy floors.
Jabonga and Tubay sites, on the other hand, are generally rock formations: crevices, caves, alleys, overhangs and walls with depths from 45 ft. to over 200. Pelagics abounds together with snappers sweetlips and trevallies. Fish life is bountiful.
- Carmen - 15 Dive sites
- Tubay - 1 Dive sites
- Jabonga - 6 Dive sites
- Gosoon Fish Sanctuary, Carmen
- Cahayagan Fish Sancrtuary, Carmen
- Amontay Cove, Nasipit
- Humilog Caves, Brgy. Humilog, RTR
- Ka-anislangan Cave, Brgy, Tagbuyacan, Santiago
- Libas Cave, Brgy. Libas, Jabonga
- Anibongan Cave, Brgy. Guinabsan, Buenavista
- Carmen sea lane
- Nasipit Cove, Nasipit Sea lane
- Buenavista Sea Lane
- Lake Mainit
- Amontay Canyon Area, Nasipit
- Santiago Tubay Ridge
- Malimono Ridge, Jabonga
Festival and Events
- Baoto Festival: Held annually every June 13-15. This is an island race for dug-out canoes, the main event of which is the 30k Baoto Marathon – the longest paddling race in the Philippines. Other events are: the 150 meter double slalom (men /women, boys / girls; and the 75 meter single sprint –men/women, boys/girls. Side activities include: a BMC clinic; SRT clinic, Paddling Clinic, Arnis Demonstration; and Water Rescue Demonstaration.
- Sumayajaw Festival: Held every August 14 during the town fiesta of Jabonga, is a thanksgiving celebration for the bounties showered by the Heavenly Father through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Lady of Assumpcion – patroness of Jabonga.
- Lisagan Festival: Held every 3rd Sunday of October is an annual celebration that showcases the Mamanwa dance healing rituals. It is a re-enactment of a miraculous healing of a Mamanwa native in 1910 while dancing in front of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This statue was brought to Magallanes from Las Nieves, Barcelona Spain.
- Araw ng Agusan del Norte: This is a founding anniversary celebration of the Province of Agusan del Norte every June 13-17. Activities: Trade Exhibit; State of the Province Address; Barangay Night; Employees Day; Peoples Day; Inter-Agency Sports Competition; Concert at the Park; Choral Competitions; Flatboat Race and a national 4 x 4 Race.
- Saging Festival : Held every 2nd week of January during Araw ng Buenavista is an Agri Fair that showcases the bounties of Buenavista with special focus on the banana
List of Accommodations
- Secuanda Beach Resort and Hotel - Brgy. Tolosa, Cabadbaran
- Casa Alburo Hotel and Restaurant - L.Dagani, Corner A.Mortola St. Brgy. 6, Cabadbaran
- Carmen Veranda I & II - Brgy. Tagcatong, Carmen
- Vinapor Beach Park (Jurassic) - Brgy. Vinapor, Carmen
The province is accessible by 2 daily flights from Manila. The two airlines operating at the city of Butuan are Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines. This aircraft can accommodate around 150 people.
Flights to Butuan are mainly domestic in nature however connect with important domestic destinations from where International flights are available.
Province of Agusan del Norte has daily trips by ship from Manila and Cebu via the Ports of Nasipit and Surigao; and every 30 minutes by bus from the cities of of Surigao, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.