The Caraga Region

Caraga Region PhilippinesThe Caraga Region was created through Republic Act 7901 which was approved on February 25, 1995 by then President Fidel V. Ramos. Also designated as Region XIII, the region is situated in the northeast section of Mindanao. It is bounded on the North by the Surigao Strait, on the West by the Provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, on the South by the Province of Davao del Norte and on the East by the Pacific Ocean.

The name Caraga already existed in the lexicon of Spanish-era Philippines, dating more than 400 years ago. Spaniards formed Caraga through a military garrison in 1609 to reinforce their invasion of Tandag, which became the capital of Provincia de Caraga – covering the eastern part of Mindanao including the present-day Surigao and Agusan provinces. The Moros occupied Tandag that moved the capital to Surigao but they were driven out when the Spaniards returned in 1848. At the dawn of the 20th century, Provincia de Caraga was changed to Provincia de Surigao drowning the name Caraga into oblivion. But this name was revived by Representatives Charito B. Plaza, Eduardo L. Rama, Sr., Ceferino S. Paredes, Jr., Glenda B. Ecleo, Robert Barbers, Mario S. Ty, and Jesnar R. Falcon who championed the creation of this new region because they recognize the rich historical value of the name.

The Caraga Region is divided into five provinces: Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands; four cities: Butuan, Surigao, Bislig and Tandag, 67 municipalities and 1,309 barangays with a total population of 2,298,035.

It covers a total land area of 18,846.97 square kilometers which represents 18.48% of the total land area of Mindanao and 6.37% of the country. The region is richly endowed with natural assets and is most noted for its wood based and mining industries.

Caraga is considered as the richest region in terms of natural resources. It sits on 3.5 billion metric tons of metallic and non-metallic reserves. Thousands of hectares are planted with timber trees, oil, palm, abaca, banana, and other commodity crops. Its long stretch of shoreline promises abundance of fisheries and aquatic products.

Despite the richness of its natural resources, Caraga, ironically is one of the poorest regions in the Philippines. To urge economic development, the region adopted a strategy to enhance its competitive advantage and create an environment conducive to business growth.

Caraga has excellent tourism potentials because of its unspoiled and beautiful beaches, ancient and historical landmarks, hot and cold springs, evergreen forests and pleasant weather. While in the region, tourists can choose from a variety of activities, these includes surfing in Siargao, the reputed surfing capital of the Philippines, island-hopping, mountain-biking, trekking, scuba diving and caving.

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