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Diocese of Butuan
Diocese of Butuan

In a land area of 11,276.85 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the City of Butuan and the civil Provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur. 

Agusan del Sur is a landlocked province bounded on the North by Agusan del Norte, on the South by Compostela Valley, on the West by Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon and on the East by Surigao del Sur. 

Agusan del Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Caraga region in Mindanao. Its capital is Butuan City and it borders Surigao del Norte to the north, Surigao del Sur to the east, Agusan del Sur to the south, and Misamis Oriental to the west. It faces Butuan Bay, part of the Bohol Sea, to the northwest.

Butuan City is situated in the central part of the Province of Agusan del Norte. It lies flat along the banks of Agusan River following along course within the province of Davao del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte. The city is a strategic center of the Northern Mindanao Region. The national highways from Misamis Oriental, Surigao and Davao traverse the city and meet at the junction of Barangay Ampayon, effectively linking the Northern Mindanao provinces together. 

Agusan del Sur occupies a portion of the Northern Mindanao Region bounded on the north by Agusan del Norte, on the east by Surigao del Sur, on the South by Davao del Norte and on the west by Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon. The entire province has a lone congressional district, which is composed of 14 municipalities and 314 barangays (villages). Its capital town is Prosperidad where the Provincial Government Center is situated.

Agusan del Norte is divided into 10 municipalities and one component city. The highly-urbanized city of Butuan, being geographically located in Agusan del Norte, is traditionally grouped with the province, although it is governed independently from it with 1st and 2nd districts of Agusan del Norte (shared with Butuan City).

Butuan City is politically subdivided into 86 barangays. Of these, 27 are classified as urban and the remaining 59 are classified as rural.

Population

As of year end 2016, the total population of the diocese is 1,518,000 of which 78.80 percent are Catholics or equivalent to 1,196,000.

Five native tribes were found in the province, namely: Higaonon, Mamanwas, Talaadig, Banwaon and Manobo. Three of these tribes can be distinctly located the Manobos living along the National highway and the river towns towards the boundary of the Agusan del Sur and Davao del Norte and Banwaons and Higaonons living in the western side of the Agusan River, in the municipality of Esperanza towards the boundary of Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon. The original inhabitants of the Agusan del Sur were the Negritoes and Mamanwas. The descendants of the latter still inhabit the innermost recesses of Agusan del Sur's forested area.

Language

Cebuano is dominantly spoken followed by Boholano and Ilonggo. Of the native tongue, the Manobo language is the most popular. Other popular languages are Hiligaynon, Butuanon, Surigaonon, and Kamayo. A good portion of the population, however, can understand and communicate in Filipino, the national language. English is usually used in conversations with tourists who cannot communicate in Filipino, and in government transactions. It is also the medium of instruction in schools.

History

Suffragan of Cagayan de Oro
Created: March 20, 1967
Erected: July 10, 1967
Comprises: the City of Butuan and the civil Provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur
Titular: St. Joseph. May 19

The Diocese of Butuan was created on March 20, 1967, comprising the civil provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur. Its titular patron is St. Joseph, whose feast is celebrated on May 19 each year. This diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.

The name "Butuan" is believed to have originated from the sour fruit "Batuan"(Garcinia morella). Other etymology sources say that it comes from a certain "Datu Buntuan", a chieftain who once ruled over Butuan.

Butuan City is the regional center of Caraga Region. The regional offices of the different government agencies are located here almost all of it. It was the capital of Agusan del Norte until 2000 when Republic Act 8811 mandated the transfer of the capital to Cabadbaran City; however Butuan City still serves as the province's seat of government as many of the provincial government offices are located, including the provincial capitol.

Agusan Province was named after Malay word Agasan, meaning, "where water flows", probably because of the mighty river that traverses the whole area. Early immigrants from Borneo and Celebes came to the region in Balanghai or wooden boats. Nine such boats were excavated. One dates back to 320 A.D. The Malay settlers drove the aborigines, called Mamanwas, to the hinterlands.

By the time the Spaniards arrived, the natives were already trading with foreign merchants, as attested by 10th-century Chinese ceramics unearthed near Butuan. Some historians claim that Magellan held the first mass in the Philippines at the mouth of the Agusan River, and not in Limasawa, Leyte, on Easter Sunday, of 1521. Agusan was part of Surigao province during the Spanish colonial administration. By virtue of R.A. 1306 during the American regime, it became the independent province of Agusan. On June 17, 1967, Congress passed R.A. 4979 dividing the lone province into Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.

Education

As of October 2009, Literacy rate (simple literacy) is 88.21 percent.

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