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Diocese of Surigao

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Diocese of Surigao
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In a land area of 3,739 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the entire civil Province of Surigao del Norte and is a suffragan of Cagayan de Oro. 

Surigao del Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Caraga region in Mindanao. Its capital is Surigao City. The province consists of three major islands-Dinagat Island, Siargao Island, and Bucas Grande Island-in the Philippine Sea, and a small region at the northernmost tip of the island of Mindanao. This mainland portion borders Agusan del Norte, and Surigao del Sur to the south. Alongside the province is the Philippine Deep, one of the deepest of ocean depths in the world, measuring 10,790 meters. This geological configuration makes the province of Surigao del Norte prone to tectonic tremors.

Surigao City is the provincial capital of Surigao Del Norte and is located at the coast of the province, a mosaic of islands that lies at the rim of the Asian continental shelf. It is perched at the northeastern tip of Mindanao, a southern island in the Philippines, and faces that abysmal canyon known as the Philippine Deep. The historic Strait bound it on the North and East by the Pacific Ocean, on the South by the provinces of Agusan Del Norte and Surigao Del Sur and on the West.


As of year 2017 the total population of the diocese is 511,171 of which 81.40 percent are Catholics.

Surigao is home to the Mamanwa ethnic tribe. The Mamanwa is a Negrito tribe (variously called Konking, Mamaw, Amamanusa, Manmanua, Mamaua). The term Mamanwa means "First Forest Dwellers", derived from "man" (first) and "banwa" (forest). They are predominantly found in the hinterlands of NE Mindanao (Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur) crisscrossing the vast Diwata Mountain ranges.


Some 95 percent of the people speak Surigaonon as a major dialect, a dialect derived from Cebuano. Influences of the Cebuano and Boholano languages with a Tausug accent can be traced. A few speak Waray and Tagalog. A majority are able to speak English.


    (Dioecesis Surigensis)
    Suffragan of Cagayan de Oro

    Created as Diocese on June 3, 1939
    Erected: Nov. 10, 1939
    Titular: San Nicolas de Tolentino

    The Diocese of Surigao was established on June 3, 1939, comprising the then entire civil province of Surigao. In 1960 the province of Surigao was divided into two: Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur. On June 6, 1978 the Diocese of Tandag was established in Surigao del Sur. The Diocese of Surigao today covers the entire civil province of Surigao del Norte, while the Diocese of Tandag covers the civil province of Surigao del Sur. Both dioceses are suffragans of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.

    On Sept. 21, 1940, Msgr. John C. Vrakking, MSC was installed as the first bishop. Msgr. Vrakking got sick in 1953 and was succeeded by Father Charles van Ouwelant, MSC as administrator, and eventually on June 21, 1955, Msgr. Ouwelant was ordained second bishop of Surigao. After 18 years, in 1973 he opted to resign and give way to a Filipino bishop. On March 31, 1973, Most Rev. Miguel C. Cinches, SVD was installed the third bishop of Surigao whose place of origin is Dauis, Bohol, born on Feb. 7, 1932. Bishop Cinches labored for 28 long and fruitful years in the diocese of Surigao until finally the fourth bishop, Most Rev. Antonieto D. Cabajog, DD who is also from Bohol, was appointed on April 21, 2001 and installed on July 24, 2001.

    The original jurisdictional location covers the whole of Caraga region which comprises Surigao del Norte, Surgiao del Sur (Tandag), Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur. On March 20, 1967, Pope Paul VI decreed the separation of Agusan from the Diocese of Surigao and created as Diocese of Butuan. Msgr. Carmelo D.F. Morelos was appointed the first Bishop of Butuan on April 4, 1967 and was installed on July 10, 1967. Then on June 16, 1978 the Diocese of Tandag (Surigao del Sur) was created as suffragan of Cagayan de Oro with the first Bishop Ireneo Amantillo, CSsR, DD, installed on Nov. 7, 1978. The usual huge area of the diocese of Surigao was now reduced into mainly the province of Surigao del Norte which comprises the mainland Surigao del Norte and the two islands of Siargao and Dinagat.

  • Vision 
    "We the people of God of the Diocese of Surigao, true to our calling as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, aim to make the Church a living witness of God's loving presence by becoming a serving, evangelizing, and worshipping community."

  • Mission 
    To attain this vision, we commit ourselves to follow the call of Christ so that we become a community of disciples working in the vineyard of the Father. As such, inspired by the Holy Spirit, we resolve to:

    - Build and strengthen our Basic Ecclesial Communities; 
    - Revitalize Christian values in our families with traditional cultural affirmation; 
    - Promote an intensive re-evangelization through witnessing of all who belong to the Diocese; 
    - Involve actively the lay faithful in all Church activities in partnership with the Clergy and Religious; 
    - Support and intensify the promotion of priestly and religious vocations; 
    - Act appropriately and decisively on the religious, political, and socio-economic issues. 

    In all these, we endeavor to exercise and provide preferential love for the poor, culturally, economically, politically and spiritually, in our search for justice for all within the ambit of the Gospel of Jesus, as taught by the Church. 

    We earnestly strive to faithfully heed to the mandate or call of Christ, our Lord and Master, with Mary our Mother and model, and proclaim to others the good news of the Kingdom. 

    The website of Diocese is available at:


A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay (village) is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.


  • Socorro Feeder Port is in the center island east of mainland Surigao City port. Its passenger and cargo-handling also serves the mainland of Dapa town in Siargao Island and the fish port of Claver town of that same province. 
    Surigao Airport is an airport serving the general area of Surigao City, located in the province of Surigao del Norte in the Philippines. The airport is classified as a Class 2 principal (minor domestic) airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, a body of the Department of Transportation and Communications.

    Getting Around
    Tricycle is the basic mode of transportation. There are also multi cab, buses, jeepneys and van for hire for long distance travel and inter-municipal route. Getting Here
         By Air
  • Philippine Airlines (PAL) flies daily between Manila and Surigao City
  • Cebu Pacific flies between Cebu and Surigao four times a week.
        By Sea
    There are five (5) shipping lines for inter island travel 
        By Land
  • Buses from Bicol, Samar, Leyte, Tacloban and Pasay via ferry boat have trips going to Surigao daily
  • Daily trips from any point in Mindanao going to Surigao are also available at regular schedule daily


  • Annual per capita income (in Philippines Pesos) is 18,948 (as of October 2010 USD437).

    The city has a lot of arable land, although very little is being cultivated. Abaca, copra, mais (corn) are the most important agricultural products, beside lowland palay, banana, vegetables, squash, rootcrops, mango, coconut, swine, chicken, cattle, goat, duck and turkey.

    However, the city receives much of its income from mining minerals like gold, silver, iron, chromite, nickel, manganese and copper. 

    There are six mining companies operating in the province. Majority of the stakeholders are Filipinos.

    Major Industries
  • Fruit Production and Processing in bananas, pineapple, mango, kaong and citronella oil
  • Coconut processing
  • Vegetable production and processing in squash, ginger and coffee.
  • Fishery: Its 25,948 square kilometers of marine fishery area offers the potential of large scale fishing, in addition to the 24,000 has. of inland fishing grounds which currently is the source of one of its exports of fresh and processed prawns. 10,000 metric tons of annual catch from inland fisheries mostly tilapia, mudfish and carp.
  • Forest-based Resources: In spite of the depletion of its forest resource, the province's 150,810 has. of forest land which comprise over 58 percent of its total land area, continues to supply the needs of its wood-based industries. The source for its thriving forestry-based activities such as furniture,
    components, and other furnishings is now augmented by its nearby sister province of Agusan del Sur.
  • Mineral-based Resources: The province's gemstones production is anchored on the estimated 1,566,139 metric tons of largely untapped gold deposits and its sizable supply of semi-precious and decorative stones. In addition, the province also has aluminum and manganese. Non-metallic minerals include a vast source


All the 27 municipalities of the province have a municipal telephone that facilitates calls between the towns and Surigao City. The province is also serviced with 4 telegram stations, 4 telephone stations, 12 citizen's band radios, 12 telex stations and 32 postal/sub-postal stations.

There are four (4) private telephone stations in the province which cater to domestic and foreign long distance calls. However, these telephone utilities, the PLDT, PT&T, RCPI and Cruz Telephone are not sufficient to meet the demands of the customers. A modernized microwave radio digital system is needed. The government has also a telecommunication system capable of transmitting messages nationwide and long distance calls to the 25 municipalities. Cell sites also available in the province owned and run by the Smart Telecommunication and Globe Company.

The province is also serviced with 3 AM radio stations, 2 FM radio stations and there are five (5) TV stations in the territory with one cable provider: Surigao Cable Television, Inc. Some radio and TV stations can be heard / seen by a relay broadcast from its Manila station.


The mainland and clustered islands of Surigao City has irregular or hilly topography with flat lands near the coast. It has an average elevation level of 19 meters or 65.5 ft. above sea level. The highest elevation in the mainland is the Kabangkaan Ridge situated along the border of the Municipality of San Francisco with a peak elevation of 465 meters above sea level. Along the border of Tagana-an is the Mapawa peak with an elevation of 245 meters above sea level with scattered descending slopes covering the barangays (villages) of Cabongbongan, Nabago and Capalayan. 

In the islands, the highest range is the island of Nonoc with an elevation of 263 meters above sea level, overlooking the Cantiasay Channel and the Island of Hanigad with a peak elevation of 163 meters. The highest point in Hikdop Island is in Mt. Telegrapo with a peak of 250 meters. The island of Bayagnan located on the eastern part of Surigao City has a highest elevation of 242 meters.

Surigao del Norte is composed of 27 municipalities, one city, and 435 barangays, and it is politically divided into two congressional districts. District I comprises the islands of Dinagat, Siargao, and Bucas Grande, which has 16 municipalities. District II includes Surigao City, the provincial capital, and 11 mainland municipalities.


Literacy rate (simple literacy) in the diocesan territory is 92.57 percent

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