Surigao del Norte is situated in the northern tip of Mindanao, bounded by the offshore islands of Dinagat on the north and Siargao on the northeast. As of 2000, the province recorded a population of 481,416, growing at a rate of 1.84 percent, the fastest in the CARAGA region in the last five years. It is linked to Eastern Visayas and Luzon through a ferry service in Lipata, Surigao City.
The province is endowed with abundant natural resources. One of the major resources of metallic and non-metallic deposits are nickeliferous laterite ore with 292,010,409 metric tons, gold registers 26,857,886 metric tons. Others are chromites 1,118,585 metric tons, guano 25,500 metric tons, sand and gravel 18,000 metric tons, rock phosphate – 10,400 metric tons, limestone 61,070 tons and siliceous sand – 72,000 metric tons.
Considered as an excellent fishing area, its seawaters covers 12,540 square miles are abundant with different species of fish. It is along the tuna route.
Surigao del Norte has a fertile agricultural land measuring 142,111.36 hectares and producing annually 46,668 tons of rice 86,387 tons of coconut, 921 tons of corn, 19,094 tons of banana, 2,513 tons of vegetables and 34,368 tons of root crops. Records in 1998 for livestock population included 385,480 chicken, 72,810 pigs, 21,150 carabaos, 2,729 cows, 4,833 goats, and 40,056 ducks.
It has beautiful spots such as beaches, caves, lakes, lagoons, waterfalls, hot springs, rock formations, etc. Because of these potentials, the province has been identified as one of the 20 priority tourism destinations in the country.
Surigao del Norte once a part of an old territory that existed in Northern Mindanao called “Caraga” named after the people called “Calagaus” believed to be of Visayan origin who inhabited the place at the time.
In 1538, Francisco de Castro, a Portuguese-born Spaniard in the expedition from Ternate in search of Luisa, landed on what presently is Surigao del Norte Province, there upon, baptized the inhabitants to Christianity.
Historically, the early Spanish settlement and development in Surigao del Norte was established in Tandang.
In 1638, the Recollect had a residence in the following towns, namely, Tandang, Butuan, Sidargo (Siargao), Bislig and Linao-a town located in the interior of Agusan.
It was February1, 1752, a year after the town of Siargao (Numancia) was burned by the Moros (Muslim Pirates), when the – Recollects had a residence – was transferred to Surigao.
In 1860, six military districts were established in Mindanao, Surigao and Agusan, including the territory lying between Butuan and Caraga Bays, from the third districts called the East Districts which was changed in 1870 to “Distrito de Surigao”.
In 1911, during the American Regime, Agusan was created as a separate province with Butuan as its capital. Pursuant to R.A. 2736 dated June 19, 1960, Surigao was divided into two provinces – Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.
Surigao del Norte has a very rich culture. The first “tribe” reached Surigao during the early period of migration, long before the glacial period that separated the Philippines from mainland Asia. Next came the people of rich Malay stock. This was followed by the Chinese, Japanese, and Arabs. Glints of European and American culture could also be identified in the Surigaonon culture.
During the later periods, migrants from Luzon and Visayas flocked to the province in a hope to seek for greater opportunity attracted by stories of other successful imigrants on the “Gold Rush”. Fortunately, they found greener pastures and decided to permanently settle here. This resulted to inter-marriages with the natives. Although noted for their ferocity, the people are actually peace-loving and gentle. The favorable climate made them somewhat non-temperamental. They have the humor of the Visayan, the frugality of the Ilocano, and othern traits that still surface, all of which are inherited from their forebears who ventured into this part.
Political Subdivision. The provice has 413 barangays (including Surigao City´s 53 barangays), 26 municipalities and one city as its capital. The province includes the islands of Dinagat, Siargao and Bucas Grande with appurtenant small islands namely: Hikdop, Nonoc, Zaragosa, Sumilon, Basul, San Jose, Nasapilid and others which shield the northern towns including Surigao City from the northwest monsoon and the field waters.