Surigao History, Philippines
Banahao was the former name of the city of Surigao. This little fact came from a book entitled “chronicas” published in year 1738. Surigao City became the Recollects’ permanent place of residence and this took place on February 1, 1752. That day is considered by most Surigao folk as the foundation day of the place.
Banahao or Surigao, as it is known today, was a component of the district of Caraga. “Caraga” from “calagan”, means “land of the brave” or “fierce people”. But contrary to the latter meaning, Surigao City inhabitants may be brave but they are far from being fierce.
Many people believe that the name “Surigao” came from the work “Surjir” which is a Spanish word. “Surjir” in English means “swift water or current”. This is just one of the numerous versions among the people’s stories on how the name of the place came about. Surigao is also a name of an old province so some even thought that the name was a copy.
Surigao was divided into two. Surigao del Sur became a separate entity form another part named Surigao del Norte. The municipality of Surigao was declared a city on August 31, 1970. Every year, the people of Surigao celebrate the 31st August as the city’s chartered day.
In World War II, the Surigao Strait became a significant part of international history. From October 24 to 25, 1944, the United States and Japanese fleets fought along this body of water. It gained even more popularity due to this historic event. Furthermore, in this same Strait, Ferdinand Magellan and his crew took the strait’s route sailing through its waters to get to Homonhon where they rested. This historical information mentioned Surigao Strait in various history books on both the World War II and regarding Magellan’s voyage in proving that the world is indeed round.
One of the several landmarks that bear historical importance is Punta Baluarte. This was the Spanish friars’ observatory point and later on, was occupied by the Japanese during the Second World War.
Memories of the Spanish era will never be erased in this city’s history. These links to ancient happenings make Surigao City even more interesting.
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