Butuan / Agusan Del Sur


Located at the Northeastern part of Agusan Valley sprawling across the Agusan River is Butuan City known for itís colorful history and culture. BUTUAN is believed to have originated from the sour fruit "Batuan". Others opined, it came from a certain "Datu Buntuan", a chieftain who once ruled Butuan. Scholars believed, it came from the word " But-an", which literally means a person who has a sound and discerning disposition. Whichever theories appear credible depends on the kind of people residing in Butuan, for whatever is said about them, Butuan continues to live on.

Butuanís history, culture, arts and people date back to the 4th Century as showcased in museums and festivals, makes Butuan an exiting source of cultural artifacts in Mindanao. As early as the 10th Century, according to the Chinese soong Shi (history), people from Butuan had already established trading relations with the Kingdom of Champa in what is now South Vietnam. By the 11th Century, Butuan was the center of trade and commerce in the Philippines. The best evidence to prove this fact is the discovery of 9 balangays (The BUTUAN BOAT) and other archaeological finds in the vicinities of Butuan City , particularly in Ambangan, Libertad near the old EL RIO de BUTUAN and MASAO river.

Welcome to a City that has seen over 1,677 years of recorded history! The original site of the First Easter Mass in Philippine Soil. Here, the present nurtures the past and vice-versa. While the future waits promisingly in the wings.

Agusanดs Prehispanic cultural history is traced back to the great influence of the Majapahit Empire through the discovery of an eight inch tall image of a woman in pure gold at Maasam, Esperanza, in the early 20ดs and 60ดs. The coming of the Spaniards was a visit to Rajah Siagu, a native chieftain along the Limasawa. Spanish galleons dropped anchor after an apparent long and weary journey commanded by Pernao Magalhao to visit his place on the occasion of Easter Sunday, on April 6,1951, the first mass in Agusan and for that matter in Mindanao was celebrated. Spanish troops came with friars who converted the natives into Christians. Administration of the affairs of the government was later centered on the church.

The revolt of Luzon had repercussions in Agusan who also took up arms against Spaniards. After the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10,1898, the Americans took over the civil government and again Agusan took arms this time against the American soldiers. But bolos and spears were no match to powerful guns, so in January 1900, Agusan yielded. This was then followed by peaceful road to self government which was halted by the treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec.7, 1941. The day of liberation came and in 1945 Agusan was very busy picking herself up for rehabilitation.

A very interesting sideline in the history of the province is her name. In the long time past Agusan was only known as "AGASAN" or "Where the Water Flows. In the ensuing years, the archipelago was discovered by a Portuguese navigator flying the Spanish flag. The greatest impact on this severe winding river was when it laid itself as a highway for the penetration of the Spanish explorers. These intrepid "Conquistadores" had their penchant of corrupting pronunciation and the place where the "Water Flows" or "Agasan" came to be called "Agusan" to the civilized world.

The population of Agusan del Sur predominantly consists of migrants from the Visayas regions and, therefore, the Visayan dialects are widely used by the populace. Of the Visayan dialects, it is Cebuano that is spoken by about 67% of the total population. In the native cultural communities, "Manobo" dialect is the most popular among the native tongues. Other native tongues are Banuaon, Hiligaynon, Kamayo, and others. There are only few foreigners in the Agusan Del Sur, majority of whom speak Chinese. The rest speak English, Dutch and Spanish of whom are the priests.

The large scale enterprises in Agusan del Sur deal mainly with logs and lumber productions and mining. This area had establishments consisting of logging firms; a lumber yard; rice and corn mills, and others. Commercial establishments has been growing steadily but most of the business activities are in small scale.

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  Information provided by Department of Tourism. Government of Philippines.


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