Surigao Travel Guide and Itinerary – Surigao City, officially known as the City of Surigao (Surigaonon: Siyudad nan Surigao; Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Surigao; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Surigao), is a 3rd class component city and capital of the province of Surigao del Norte, Philippines. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 171,107 people. It is located at the north-easternmost tip of Mindanao, it has a total land area of 245.34 km2 which is roughly 1.4% of Caraga region. The absence of a fort in Surigao belies its significance and sphere of influence during the Spanish period. It was the capital of the expansive province of the same name from 1750 until its dissolution in 1911, covering a third of Mindanao Island’s total land area. It is one of the oldest port towns in Mindanao, founded by Spanish colonizers in 1655. It has abundant mineral reserves including gold, iron, manganese, silica, cobalt, copper, chromite and among the world’s largest nickel deposits in Nonoc Island. The Asian Institute of Management ranks the city as among the most competitive small-sized cities in the Philippines, with an estimated total income of 600 million pesos in 2012.
The city serves as a jump off point to visitors of nearby Siargao, Dinagat and Bucas Grande islands. It is Mindanao’s closest landmass to the Visayas region. Eleven nautical miles across Surigao Strait separates the city from Panaon Island in the Visayas. Surigao is the center of politics, commerce, banking, industry and education of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands as well as parts of neighboring provinces of Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte and Southern Leyte. The site around Surigao was settled early on, even before the Spanish conquest. Fishing villages dotted along the coast facing the Hinatuan Passage while Mamanwa tribes inhabited the interior highlands. The confluence of three major bodies of water- Pacific Ocean, Surigao Strait and Mindanao Sea, kept the area inhabited continuously for many centuries, although its historical importance waxed and waned as other parts of the archipelago were explored and developed.