Surigao del Sur is a province of the Philippines located in the Caraga region in Mindanao. The province is located on the northeastern part of Mindanao facing the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded on the northwest by Surigao del Norte, on the southeast by Davao Oriental, on the east by the Pacific Ocean and on the west and southwest by the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte. Surigao del Sur is located at the eastern coast of Mindanao and faces the Philippine Sea.
Surigao del Sur Province is subdivided into 17 municipalities and 2 cities, and the provincial capital is is Tandag. The province has a population of 501,808 and the area is 4,552.2 km2,that means 110/km2 density. Surigao del Sur is one of the supplier of agricultural items like, rice, banana and some tropical fruits. Copper, chromite and silver are also found here.
Before the Spaniards came, the aborigines of the province were the Mamanua and Manobo. Later, our Malay brothers from the Visayas came to settle with the natives. It was with the arrival of the immigrants that the province acquired its name from one of the natives, Saliagao, who lived near the mouth of the river. The name Saliagao was later pronounced Surigao by the inhabitants.
It is also said that long time ago, some Visayan fishermen forced by the strong current of the Surigao Strait, sought refuge in one of the huts somewhere in the province. The Mamanua who thought that these fishermen wanted to occupy the hut by force said “Agaw”, the term which was later given a prefix “Suri” by an immigrant.
Surigao formerly, was extended from what is known as Agusan, including the islands east of it and the northern regions of Davao and the capital of the province that time was Caraga and so the Spaniards called the people Caragas.
The aborigines of Surigao del Sur were a conglomeration and mixture of different racial types, namely: Mandaya, Mamanua, Mansaka and Manobo. These racial groups were of Malayan-Indonesian ancestry which took place thousand years ago. In the course of their migration, these primitive nomads were believed to have separated their ways in some portions of the archipelago in a spirit of adventure and search for food (i.e., during the pleisto scene of the glacial ages). It was believed further that they first settled in the northern island of the country who later took their bancas and reach the shores of Mindanao particularly in the Provinces of Surigao and Davao. They scattered among themselves in spots either in pairs or by family clans, retaining their own customs, dialects and ways of life.
There was no trace of exact dates and places of arrival. But it was known that this group of people were very nomadic and were the remnants of the present Mamanua and Manobo found in the wilderness of the northern part of Davao bordering the Province of Surigao. Their migratory movement was said to have come from the hinterlands of Agusan and along the foothills of western and southern part of Surigao del Sur. It was pointed out that the cause of migration was due to famine and occurrence of death from diseases believed caused by evil spirits.
The Province of Surigao del Sur was created as the 56th Philippine province on June 19, 1960 by virtue of RA 2786 and was formally organized or separated from its mother province, Surigao del Norte, on September 18, 1960.