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Diocese of Tandag

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Diocese of Tandag
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In a land area of 4,552.2 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the civil province of Surigao del Sur. Surigao del Sur was created as the 56th province of the Philippines on June 29, 1960 by virtue of Republic Act. No. 2786. It was formally separated from its mother province, Surigao del Norte, on Sept. 18, 1960.

Today, Surigao del Sur is one of the four provinces of Caraga Region. Before 1995, Surigao del Sur belonged to the Southern Mindanao region (Region XI) while the three other provinces in the Caraga Region, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, were within the boundaries of the Northern Mindanao Region (Region X).


As of year end 2017 the total population of Tandag diocese is 694,958 of which 80 percent are Catholics or 555,980. 


Languages spoken in the area are English, Filipino, Cebuano, Surigaonon. Kamayo, Cantilangnon, Tagon-on and Manobo languages are spoken only by indigenous people in the region.


Diocese of Tandag
(Diocesis Tandagensis)
Suffragan of Cagayan de Oro
Created and Erected: June 16, 1978
Comprises the Civil Province of Surigao del Sur
Titular: San Nicolas de Tolentino, September 10

The Diocese of Tandag was created on June 16, 1978, carved out of the Diocese of Surigao. On Nov. 7, 1978, Bishop Ireneo Amantillo, CSsR, D.D., was installed as First Bishop of Tandag, a position he holds up to the present Bishop Amantillo was appointed by Pope John Paul on Sept. 6, 1978.

The diocese comprises the entire civil province of Surigao del Sur whose capital is Tandag. The province occupies about half of the eastern coastline of Mindanao facing the Pacific Ocean, just a few miles from the Philippine Deep, one of the deepest ocean depths in the world.

The two Surigao provinces, which were just one province before, are situated on the northeastern portion of Mindanao Island and is part of the Mindanao region known as Region XI. A political subdivision in 1960 gave to Surigao del Sur the bigger portion.

Surigao was one of the early centers of the faith dating back to 1622 when the Augustinian Recollects arrived. Earlier the explorer Villalobos had explored the area to subjugate the natives. The missionaries settled in Tandag, Bislig, and later in Cantillan, earlier known as Caraga. In 1895 the Benedictines came and remained until 1908. Then the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart came. In 1972 most parishes in the area came to be staffed by the diocesan clergy.

Its titular patron is San Nicolas de Tolentino, whose feast is celebrated September 10. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro.

In line with the recommendation of the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference (MSPC) and by the decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, the diocese has committed herself to the formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities orGagmay Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK).

With an information drive going on at present on the decrees of PCP II, coupled with a clarification of the vision-mission statements of the various apostolates at work in the area, the diocese is now pre-occupied with the formation, and later the implementation, of the National Pastoral Plan.


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 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 aBarangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.


Tandag Airport is the airport serving the general area of Tandag, the capital city of Surigao del Sur in the Philippines. It is one of two airports in Surigao del Sur, the other being Bislig Airport serving the general area of Bislig City. The airport is classified as a secondary airport, or a minor commercial domestic airport.

  Modes of transportation
By Land
Short distance commuting is done through the local motorized tricycles or trysikad, and jeepneys. There are also vans for hire within Tandag. Two bus companies, ply the routes of Tandag-Butuan, Tandag-Davao, and Tandag-Surigao City.

  Getting around
All municipalities are served by jeepneys that have intermunicipal routes.


The land area of the province is constituting 1.5 percent of the total land area of the Philippines. Almost three-fourths of the land area consists of highlands and forest-covered mountains.

Surigao del Sur is situated along the northeastern coast of Mindanao facing the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded in the north by the province of Surigao del Norte, in the east by the Philippines Sea, in the west by provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, and in the south by the province of Davao Oriental.

Surigao del Sur is subdivided into 18 municipalities and one city, Bislig with two congressional districts and 309 barangays.

First District: Tandag, Bayabas, Cagwait, Cantilan, Carmen, Carrascal, Cortes, Lanuza, Lianga, Madrid, Marihatag, San Agustin, San Miguel and Tago.

Second District: Bislig City, Barobo, Hinatuan, Lingig and Tagbina.


As of Sept. 2008, the annual per capita income is Philippines Pesos 20,793 (USD450 as of January 2010).

The Caraga region, particularly Surigao del Sur, is known for its rich mineral resources.

Most of its industries are timber-oriented, such as that of the Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP) based in Bislig.

Most fishing is from inland fish-ponds as the coastal waters near the Philippine Deep yield no fish since the place is frequented by earthquakes.

On agriculture: Major crops are palay, corn, coconut, sugarcane, and banana. The top five livestock are carabao, cattle, chicken, duck and goat.


Bislig, Tandag, Nasipit, Cabadbaran, Bayugan and San Francisco. All municipalities have post offices and telegraph companies. There are about nineteen (19) AM radio stations operating in the region. There are four (4) TV relay stations operating in the region and the region can be reached by telecast from Cebu and Cagayan de Oro City. All provincial centers have access to domestic and international telephone facilities, both landlines and cellular phones.

Three (3) telephone companies, namely BAYANTEL, CRUZTELCO and PHILCOM service the region. The government's National Telecommunications Program (NTP) Phase III had put in place telephone lines in the key cities and municipalities of the region. To date, there are twelve NTP sites constructed. Three cellular phone companies has also facilities in the region.


As of January 2009, the literacy rate in the diocesan territory is 91.87 percent.


Sirong Festival
Sirong Festival is an ethnic Mardi-Gras parade. Although some other Municipalities in the province of Surigao are claiming to have this festival originated from them depicts the early Christianization of the early Cantilangnons (theMamanwas and Manobos) wherein the natives tried to defend their land against Muslim envaders.

  Kaliguan Festival
Kaliguan Festival a yearly festivity in honor of St. John the Baptist, it is highlighted by beach dancing and the Search for Perlas ng Kaliguan. There are also sports activities at the beach, which include Pinoy Games.

  Pahinugod Festival
Fiesta is a religious activity. It is a Filipino tradition in honor of the Patron Saint of a certain place. People prepare sumptuous food for the visitors. Organizations hold activities to liven up the celebration. This is a Mardi Gras which is performed around the streets of Carrascal. The dancers with an array of select ethnic dance steps and a kaleidoscope of costumes would offer their movements and songs to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

  Kalumunan Festival
San Agustin, Surigao del Sur (August 28)
A reunion of relatives and friends during town fiesta of San Agustin celebrated through street dancing.

  Karawasan Festival
As part of the Charter Day Celebration. Karawasan is a festival of ethnic dances depicting the movement of crabs. Karawasan is actually a collective name given to the member of the crab family found to be great in the salty and freshwater of Bislig. The lavi

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