Agusan Del Norte, Philippines

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Agusan del Norte is a small province located in the northeastern part of the Mindanao island. It is mainly an agricultural area with sloping and craggy terrain straddled by two vast mountain ranges. The province sits on 273,024 hectares of land with 73% forest cover.

Agusan, as it is generally known, is one of the provinces under the Caraga Region and has ten municipalities namely; Buenavista, Carmen, Jabonga, Kitcharao, Las Nieves, Magallanes, Nasipit, Remedios T. Romualdez, Santiago, and Tubay and two cities; Butuan and Cabadbaran.

Butuan City is the capital town of the province where the regional seat of government is located while Cabadbaran is a newly chartered city that has shown a steady economic growth in recent years.

Significant deposits of minerals such as gold, copper, nickel, manganese and ceramic are found in the municipalities or RTR, Cabadbaran, Santiago, Tubay and Kitcharao.

Forest production is concentrated in the municipalities of Las Nieves, Buenavista, Nasipit and Carmen where lumber and logs for paper and plywood are sourced.

The valleys of Agusan del Norte are major producers of agricultural crops such as rice, corn, coconut, abaca, banana, mango, cassava, durian, pineapple and coffee.

Although the province’s major source of income comes from agricultural production, its over-all output is below the optimum projections mainly due to the insufficient infrastructures such as farm-to-market roads, modern public markets and public transport.

Brief History

According to old verbal accounts, Agusan got its name from the word “agasan”, an ancient word for “water flow”, referring to the great Agusan River, the longest and the biggest river in Mindanao traversing the whole province.

It is believed that the first catholic mass was held in Masao, now Magallanes, and not in Limasawa Island in Leyte. Relics of the old “Balangay” or boat similar to the Spanish ships were found in Butuan City and nearby municipalities, further strengthening historical claims that challenged the Philippine history books.

Climate

Agusan del Norte is relatively safe from typhoons. Rainfall is abundant all throughout the year with heavy rains occurring from November to January. Average rainfall is recorded at 91.5 inches a year with an annual total of 217 rainy days.

How to Get There

The province can be reached via the national highways and the Mindanao Arterial Road System.

The nearest domestic airport is in Bancasi, Butuan City where daily flights from Manila and Cebu arrive. It takes about an hour and 30 minutes from Manila to Butuan and shorter time coming from Cebu. Buses shuttle passengers coming in through the Lumbia airport in Cagayan de Oro City.

Ferry boats call at Nasipit port from Manila and Cebu passing by Cagayan de Oro City.

Where to Stay

You can find better accommodations in Butuan City and Cabadbaran City than in municipalities nearby. Hotels are reasonably priced and clean. The best site we have found to search for affordable accommodations in the Philippines is HotelsCombined.com.

The city provides better security than in the suburbs. There is no taxi service in Agusan del Norte. You get around in a “motorela” and long distance trip jeepneys plying the national highway and special routes to remote barangays.

Places of Interest

Large yellow tunafish caught at Nasipit in Agusan del Norte.

  • Tinago Beach in Buenavista is about 15 kilometers from Butuan City. The long stretch of white sand is a popular resort frequented by locals.
  • Bolihon Beach located in Carmen boasts of white sand with interesting rock formations.
  • Veranda I and II is a beautiful beach resort in Brgy. Tagcatong, Carmen.
  • Humilig Caves are a cluster of five caves with fascinating stalactite and stalagmite formations.
  • Vinafor Caves are cavernous grotto carved by nature on the cliffs of Punta Diwata with a magnificent view of the Butuan Bay.
  • Sumag-a Falls can be found in Calamba, Cabadbaran, about 28 kilometers from Butuan City. This scenic attraction was developed and being maintained by the local government.
  • Mayagda Falls in Poblacion, Jabonga is an eye-catching cascade along the wayside.
  • Sumaliklik Falls located in Jaguimitan, Nasipit is approximately 31 kilometers from Butuan City. The trail going to the falls is a challenge for the adventurous spirit.
  • Sak-a Falls located in Barangay San Antonio is a layered cascade that springs from the slopes of Mt. Hilong-Hilong.
  • Lake Mainit, acclaimed to be the deepest lake in the Philippines, is a rich marine habitat ideal for snorkeling and diving.
  • Mapaso Hot Spring located in Mapaso, Santiago is approximately 40 kilometers from Butuan City.
  • Magellanes Marker located in Magallanes is about 35 kilometers from Butuan City. This historic marker was erected in 1872 to commemorate the celebration of the first Catholic Mass in Mindanao held on April 8, 1521.
  • Balangay Shrine Museum in Ambangan, Libertad, Butuan City houses the relic of the “balangay” or “boat” believed to be used by Ferdinand Magellan when they landed in Agusan del Norte in 1521.

Agusan del Norte is an idyllic suburban province that is slowly but surely gaining a comfortable niche in the tourism industry with the help of enthusiastic government officials who are working tirelessly to promote their place. This Eden is for you if you love the outdoors and its picturesque panorama.

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