From Academic Kids

Caraga is the newest region of the Philippines, also designated as Region XIII.


Region XIII, the Caraga Administrative Region or the Caraga Region was created through Republic Act Number 7901 as approved by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 25, 1995. The region is composed of four (4) provinces: Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur; three (3) cities: Butuan, Surigao and Bislig; seventy (70) municipalities and 1,346 barangays.

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Map of caraga

4 Provinces of Caraga Capital Agusan del NorteButuan city Agusan del SurProsperidad Surigao del NorteSurigao City Surigao del SurTandag City


The history of Caraga can be traced back to the 15th century when explorers discovered the existence of “Kalagans”, believed to be of Visayan Origin in one of the three districts in Mindanao. The word Caraga originated from the Visayan word "Kalagan": "Kalag" meaning soul or people and "An" meaning land. The "Kalagans have a long history of being brave and fearless. Thus, the region was called by early chroniclers as the "Land of the Brave and Fierce People".

The "Kalagans", called "Caragans" by the Spaniards occupied the district composed of the two provinces of Surigao, northern part of Davao Oriental and Eastern Misamis Oriental. The two Agusan Provinces were later organized under the administrative jurisdiction of Surigao and became the independent Agusan province in 1914. In 1960, Surigao was divided as Norte and Sur, and in June 1967, Agusan followed suit. While Butuan then was just a town of Agusan, the logging boom in 1950's drew business and businessmen to the area. On August 2, 1950, by virtue of Republic Act 523, the City Charter of Butuan was approved .

Geographical profile

Location and size

Caraga Region, situated in the northeast section of Mindanao, is located between 8000’ to 10030’ latitude and 125015’ to 126030’ longitude. It is bounded on the north by the Bohol Sea; on the south by the provinces of Davao, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental of Region XI; on the west by Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental of Region X; and on the east by the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

The region has a total land area of 18,846.97 square kilometres. This represents 6.3 % of the country’s total land area and 18.5 % of Mindanao. 47.6 % of the total land area of the region belongs to Agusan del Sur.


The region is characterized by mountainous areas, flat and rolling lands. Mountain ranges divide Agusan and Surigao Provinces and sub-ranges separate most of the lowlands along the Pacific Coast. The most productive agricultural area of the region lies along the Agusan River Basin. The famous Agusan Marsh also sits in the middle of Agusan del Sur. Among the lakes in the region, Lake Mainit is the widest. It traverses eight (8) municipalities: Alegria, Tubod, Mainit and Sison in the Province of Surigao del Norte and Tubay, Santiago, Jabonga and Kitchara in Agusan del Norte.


Caraga Region has Type II kind of climate, with no pronounced wet and dry season. It has been observed that during the months of November to February, occurrence of heavy rains is usually experienced in the region.

Land classification and major land uses

Of the total land area, 71.22 % is forestland and 28.78 % is alienable and disposable land. Major land uses include forestland comprising 31.36 % and 23.98 % of agricultural and open spaces.

Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP)

The region performed fairly well in terms of regional output contributing 8.01 % in 1998, 8.25 % in 1999 and 8.29 % in 2000 to the Mindanao GRDP. The region contributed 1.44 % in 1998, 1.48 % in 1999 and 1.50 % in 2000, to the Philippine economy. In terms of growth rate, the region accelerated faster and outpaced the other regions in Mindanao from 1998 to 2000, except for the Southern Mindanao Region which posted a 6.06 % increase in 1999-2000. Caraga Region recorded a 5.42 % increase during the same period.

GRDP in 2000 amounted to P14.336 Billion as against the 1999 performance of P13.599 Billion. The deceleration of the region’s economy from 6.03 % in 1999 to 5.42 % in 2000 was attributed to the slowdown of the Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry (AFF) and Services sectors. The improved performance of the Industry sector, from 5.69 % in 1999 to 6.69 % in 2000, cushioned the effects of what could have been a slowdown of the region’s economy.



Based on the final results of the 2000 census, the total population of the region was 2,095,367 which was 7.86 % higher than the 1995 population of 1,942,687. The annual population growth rate over the last five years was pegged at a manageable 1.63 %, one of the lowest in the country.

Among the four (4) provinces, Agusan del Sur registered the largest population at 559,294, and Surigao del Norte the smallest at 481,416. In terms of growth rate, Surigao del Norte was the fastest growing province with an annual average growth rate of 1.84 % over the last five (5) years, while Surigao del Sur was the slowest at 1.35 % over the same period.

Butuan and Surigao Cities which were included in the census tabulation have total population of 267,279 and 118,534, respectively. Butuan City registered an annual growth rate of 1.70 % in the last five (5) years, while Surigao City posted 2.65 %.


Cebuano was spoken by 43.79% of the household population in the region. Other dialects spoken were Surigaonon, spoken by 25.21%; Kamayo, by 7.06% ; Boholanon, by 5.87%; Manobo, by 4.73%; Butuanon, by 31.9%; Hiligayon, by 2.87%; and other dialects by 7.20%.


The 1995 census revealed that the dominant religion in the region was Roman Catholic, with the population of 1,397,343 or 79% of the total household population in caraga.

Cultural communities

Caraga is home to several cultural communities. In 1995, they had a total of 675,722, representing 34.7% of the region's population. the biggest in number were the manobos with 294,284 or 43.55% of the total population of cultural communities. Most of them resides in the province of agusan del sur. othe rcultural communities in the region with significant populsation were the kamayo, Higa-onon, banwaon, Umayamnon, and mamanwa.


Poverty incidence in the region continues to upsurge from 51.2 % in 1997 to 60.1 % in 1998. Both numbers are way above the national average of 31.8 % in 1997. On the other hand, the region-wide average annual family income based on the 1994 and 1997 Family Income and Expenditures Survey (FIES) years posted 36.17 % increase, from P52,508.25 in 1994 to P71,498.50 in 1997. In 1997, the increase in average annual family income outpaced the increase in average annual family expenditures of P61,540.25 thereby translating to an average annual savings of P9,958.25 per family.


The region has an agriculture-based economy with rice, corn, coconut, bananas, mango and root crops as major products. Other crops which are also propagated in the region include palm oil with more than 100 square kilometres planted at present, rubber, abaca, coffee, pineapple and papaya. The region is also noted for its wood and wood-based products which are utilized primarily for housing and other industrial uses.

Cultural groups

Majority of the inhabitants of the region are of Visayan lineage. The ethnic residents include the Manobo, the Mamanwa and other tribes. It is reported that during the early years of the Caraga region, its inhabitants came from mainland Asia, followed by Malayans, Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Americans. Migrants from the Visayan and Luzon provinces later settled in the area. Most of its inhabitants speak the Cebuano dialect and reside in the rural areas.

Natural resources

Rich in natural resources, the region has large tracts of land available for development. The region is noted for its wood based economy, its extensive water resources and its rich mineral deposits such as iron, gold, silver, nickel, chromite, manganese and copper. Its leading crops are palay, banana and coconut. It has excellent tourism potentials because of its unspoiled and beautiful beaches, abundant and fresh seafood, ancient and historical landmarks, hot and cold springs, evergreen forests and balmy weather.

Major products

Its long stretch of shoreline promises abundance in production of fisheries and aquatic products. With its large tract of fertile lands, the region has a great capacity in producing varied commercial crops as well as livestock and poultry. Major agricultural products of the region are palay, corn, coconut, banana, rubber, oil palm, calamansi, prawns, milkfish, crabs, seaweeds and mango. Caraga's proximity to Cebu and Manila makes it a favorable shipping point for products to and from these markets. Nasipit Port can serve as a secondary shipping hub to Cagayan de Oro when traffic volume from other points in Mindanao increases. With a roll-on, roll-off (RORO) ferry service now in place, Surigao City serves as a vital transportation link for trucks and buses bound for Luzon.

Tourist attractions

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Lying at the veritable edge of the Philippine archepelago, Siargao is reputed as the surfing capital of the Philippines that host the annual international surfing event. Its waves combine the best qualityfeatures of top-rated waves of Hawaii's fabled "pipeline" and the top-billed wave of Indonesia. The huge and powerful "pacific rollers" has been ranked among the top five breaks in the world, including the "Cloud Nine" which is considered one of the world's top surfing waves. Another excellent breaks, which offer the adventurous surfer's top-class exploratory surfing without crowds, are found in the towns of Tandag and Lanuza.

Island hopping

Hop from island to island while you discover the picturesque landscapes and feast on the rich marine delights like the fresh blue marlin, crabs, squids, seaweeds, giant clams and lobsters. Once in Caraga, you can take your pick of which to visit. The alluring islets and islands of Guyam, Daku, Naked or Pansukian, La Janosa, Pig-ot, Dinagat, Bucas Grande, and Britania have white-sand beaches and are ringed by teeming coral reefs that are ideal for swimming and snorkelling.

Among the region's tropical treat include: a boat ride along the naturally-carved water channels amidst the jade-colored lush of mangrove forest in Barangay Manjagao; a journey to the floating village of Barangay Dayasan, and to Buenavista Cave; and a visit to the tropical island paradise of white sand beach, deep blue crystal water in Sagisi island. The Britania in San Agustin-Surigao del Sur hosts 25 unspoiled islets and islands of sugary-white sand and clusters of limestones hills, much like the fabled hundred islands in pangasinan. After having enough sightseeing, swimming and snorkeling, you can spread your picnic blankets in the sand and eat with gusto amidst the serenade of slashing waves and the whispering winds. But you have to bring your food and drinks since there are no restaurants yet in the islands.

Mountain biking

Great trails run all around the Cities of Butuan and Surigao, Surigao del sur, Agusan del Norte and Siargao. There are regular cross-country and downhill competitions done in these areas which are participated by local and international bikers. Caraga has an active and hospitable biking scene. Butuan or Surigao-based bikers regularly tour the rugged terrain of the region and are eager to show their routes to new comers.


Mt. Mas-ai and Mt. Hilong-Hilong are the best sites for trekking or mountain climbing. The views from the mountains are superb, taking in the full scope of the vast lower agusan valley. Close to Mt. Mas-ai lies the picturesque Lake Mainit, which is considered as the fourth largest lake in the country with a total land area of 147 square kilometres. Through the years, the lake is a known lair for pidjanga, tilapia, kasili, banak, haw-an, gingaw, saguyon and igi. Migratory birds, pagosi and tabokali flowers are its intermittent added attractions. From the cosatal areas of lake mainit to the hills of jabonga, tubay, and santiago offer the hikers the opportunity to explore the quiet and interesting life of these places. There are only few-established treks in the region, but everywhere else you will be hiking in areas vitually untouched by tourism.

Sea kayaking

Siargao first became famous for its surf, so kayakers who like big waves have a field day here. There are also mangrove swamps in the island where you can paddle both in the main channel and through narrow passages in the mangroves while seeing some wildlife and enjoying the serenity of the place. The first is just behind the Pansukian Tropical Resort while the other one is in del Carmen, where the largest contigous mangrove forest in the Philippines is located. The "must see" place in Caraga where you can paddle around spectacular limestone formation to a point where you can enter a narrow channel which soon becomes a cave is in sohoton cave and lagoon in Bucas Grande Island, which is more than an hour boat ride from Siargao. Since the sport is new here, only Pansukian Tropical Resort offer kayak tours in several locations around Siargao. Aside from sea kayaking, Masao & Agusan Rivers, Lake Mainit and the Agusan Marshland have tremendous potential for padding using wooden-canoes.

Scuba diving

Scuba diving is a new sport in the region, so there are no dive resorts available in the area but the Butuan Divers Club offers dive safari at Bito Wall in Bolobolo-Jabonga, Lipatan Shoal in Karihatag-Malimono, Punta Diwata Reefs and Balete Wall in Vinapor-Carmen, and artificial reefs in Calibunan-Cabadbaran. For adventurous divers, the coasts of Surigao offer interesting dive site while the islands of Sagisi and Corregidor are excellent for snorkelling activities.


The limestone karst bedrock of some areas in Surigao and Agusan provinces (particularly in the towns of San Agustin, Tagbina, Lianga, Rosario, and Bislig) features dozens of caves but none of these are regular destinations for recreational cavers. Located within the towns of Tagbina and Bislig, Banbow and Tatol caves (whixh are ranked the 6th & 9th longest caves in the Philippines) are recently declared by the japanese cave explorers as the third longest cave in the country. Further expeditions are expected as more cave systems are discovered. Some of the most frequently visited and accessible caves in the region are Buenavista & Silop Caves in Surigao City and Libas Cave in Jabonga-Agusan del Norte. These caves have impressive limestone formations and naturally carved stalagmites, stalactites and columns.

Events and festivals

The events and festivals offer you an experience in color and character, giving a good view of the rich culture that make up caraga's heritage. Whatever time of the year, there will always be an event or festival for you to experience and enjoy like kahimunan, balangay, kaliguan, lisagan, bonok-bonok maradjao karadjao festivals. Feel the excitement also as the surfers across the globe converge in Siargao to pit their skills during the annual international surfing competition.


The entire region is connected by roads from and to the major commercial, trading and processing centers of Cagayan de Oro and Davao. Butuan City is being developed as the regional center with modern facilities. There are secondary seaports and airports in the region. It has an increasing number of telecommunication facilities and the presence of LIPATA ferry services .

Social development

Education and skills development

The regions literacy rate of 93% in 1990 was marginally higher than the National Average of 92.57%. supporting the educational of the region in 1997 were the 1,478 public and 49 private elementary schools, 110 public and 71 private secondary schools, 26 secondary schools annexes, and 7 vocationals schools.

the region has a total of 50 higher education institutions comprising 41 private higher education institutions, 4 CHED supprivise institute and 5 states universities and colleges. among the HEIs, San Niculas College is identified as the center for development in teacher education and the regional center for gender and development, it bieng the seat of CARAGA Womens resources center. one SUC, NORMISIST, is the seat of the CARAGA center for environmental studies and management (CCESM) which will act as the Focal point of capability building and coordination for environmental efforts in the region.

for the school year 1996-1997, paticipation rate for public elementary schools was 93.65%. for public secondary schools registered a lower rate 56%. the teacher pupil ratio for both levels were within the standard of one(1)teacher per forty (40) pupils. Cohort survival rates were considered low for both the elememtary and secondary levels at 66.23% and 68.93%, respectively. For the school year 1996-97, dropout rate at the secondary leel was high, especially in butun city (9.5%) and Surigao Del Sur (7.8%). This can be one of the couses why the majority of the population finished only up to the elementary school level.

Health and nutrition

All the vital health indicators from 1992-1997 showed a decreasing trend except for maternal morality rate. Crude birth rate decreasing from the 1992-1996 .five-year average of 21.02 18.71 in 1997. Crude death rate also decreased from 3.60 in 1992-1996 average to 3.0 in 1997. Infant morality rate increase from an average of 1.33 in 1992-1996 to 1.56 in 1997.

All of the leading causes morbidity from 1992 to 1997 were due to comunicable diseases and showed a reduction in rates for every 1000,000 population, except for pneumonia (836.30 to 1,200.23), diarhea (1,059.40 to 1,133.11),influenza (655.36 to 926.74), and malaria (216.80 to 366.5). With regards to the leading causes of morality, Lifestyle-related diseases like cardiovascular diseases and cancer top the list, replacing the comunicable diseases.

The region is faced in problems of edemic disease like schistomiasis and malaria. Although there was a slight reduction on its prevalence for the past three years, still Caraga ranked as number two in schistosomiasis cases and number six in malaria cases nationwide.

Malnutrition rate posted at 49.25%, of which 34.05% were classified as midly underweight, 11.66% as moderately underweigth, 1.43% as severely underweight and 3.60% as overweight.

Life is expectancy for the region based on the 1995 census of population recorded 65.73 years old for males and 70.98 years old for females.

As of 1997, there were 62 hospitals in the region, of which 35 were government and 27 were private. Out of the 27 private hospitals, 20 were primary, 4 secondary and 3 tertiary. Out of the 35 government hospitals, 18 were primary, 14 were secondary and 3 were tertiary.There were 73 main health centers 489 barangay health stations manned by 76 doctors, 147 nurses, 35 medical technologist, 45 dental aids, 52 dentist,608 midwives and and 137 sanitary ispectors. All of these were devolved to the local government units in accordance to the 1991 local Government code.

Social welfare services

In 1996, carage had 1,619 welfare facilities of which 1,238 were Day care Centers;8 were Senior citizens'Center; 3 were Productivity Skils capability Building for Disadvataged Women (PSCBDW); and with 1 each were the child Learning and Resource Center, Women Center, Home for the Girls, Lingap Center, Balay Silongan, Foster Home for Exploited Children And Women, and Haflway Home for Improved Mental Patients.

On the community-based services, only the PSCBDW is beig managed by DSWD while the rest are managed by the LGU's.


The region had unique housing profile in 1990. While other areas complain of housing shortage, a segnificant number of houses, particularly in Agusan del norte and Surigao del norte were vacant, However available statistics do not give the magnitude of substandard of units to be replaced and current housing backlog. Currently, the cities of butuan and Surigao and the capital municipalities of the provincees are not spared from housing problelms, i.e. squatters bought by urbanization.

Infrastructure-utilities development

Roads and bridges

The region is connected to the major centers of its neighboring regions by the Maharlika Highways that runs from Davao City to Butuan, Cagayan de Oro and Surigao Cities. The provinces are interlinked with concrete roads, except for Surigao del Sur. Total road lenght of the region runs to 7,515.596 km. Road density was at 0.3988 as of 1995. There were 1,325.558 km classified as national roads in the region and 1,289.774 km of city and proivincial roads. The total municipal raod lenght for the region was 696.46 km.

The region had bridges with the combined length of 23,775.49 meters linear. Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur had the longest bridge length 9,288.520 m linear and 7,853,4 m linear, respectively.

Ports and airports

As the overland gateway to Visayas and Luzon, the region is accessibele by sea through the baseport of nasipit, Agusan del Norte; Lipata Ferry Terminal in Surigao city; and other terminal ports of Surigao Cit, Tandag, and Bislig. Fast craft ferry services also ply Surigao-Cebu everyday. Private ports can also be found in the different municipalities of the region, however, only three of these 42 ports are operational.

The region is also seviced by commercial flights to and from Manila and Cebu through the airports of butuan, Surigao, and Tandag. The Bislig airport used to serviced commercial flights before its operation were suspended. There are six other private owned airports in the region. The ports and airports are supported by the road natworks that connect the provinces within and outside the region.

Communication/telecommunication facilities

The region had improved its telecommunication facilities over the pats year, especially in the cities of Butuan and Surigao and the urban towns like Bislig, Tandag, Nasipit, Cabadbaran, San Francisco and Bayugan. All Municipalities had post offices and telegraph companies. About nineteen AM radio station operate in the region. There are four TV relay stations in yhe region and the region can be reached by telecast from cebu and cagayan de oro city. All provincial centers have access to domestic and international telephone facilities, both landline and cellular phones. The region is serviced by three telephone companies, namely , CRUZTELCO, Bayantel, and PHILCOM. The government's National Telecommunication Progarm (NTP) Phase III had put in place telephone lines in the key cities and Municipalities of the region. To date there are twelve NTP sites constructed and these are due for operationalization in March 1999. There cellular phone companies also have facilities in the region. There are three internet services providers serving Butuan City and two in Surigao City.

External links

Regions and Provinces of Mindanao
Zamboanga Peninsula: Zamboanga del Norte | Zamboanga del Sur | Zamboanga Sibugay
Northern Mindanao: Bukidnon | Camiguin | Lanao del Norte | Misamis Occidental | Misamis Oriental
Davao Region: Compostela Valley | Davao | Davao del Sur | Davao Oriental
SOCCSKSARGEN: Cotabato | Sarangani | South Cotabato | Sultan Kudarat
Caraga: Agusan del Norte | Agusan del Sur | Surigao del Norte | Surigao del Sur
ARMM: Basilan | Lanao del Sur | Maguindanao | Sulu | Tawi-Tawi

Caraga is also a municipality in the province of Davao Oriental.


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