Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Butuan City Hall

The New and Old City Hall Building, big transformation, bringing into the reality Mayor Plaza's vision. " Tomorrow will start today. The challenge is to make the present a springboard for the future, where today's initiatives will build the pillars of tomorrow's generation.

Another landmark is the Butuan City Hall, it was inaugurated in August 2, 2005, the day when Butuanons celebrate its 55th Charter Day. The old city hall still is being utilized as offices of the PESO, LTTMO, Butuan Manpower Training Center, Community Affairs,City Comelec and the PRC.

In keeping up withe advanced technology, and modern archetecture, Butuan City Mayor Democrito Plaza II, "Boy Daku" to everyone, once has said, "commitment extends beyond the present to preparing our future. Because we have laid firm foundation, we are not forever chasing today's crises, but are able to focus on building for tomorrow."

Today, Butuan City Hall Complex is considered as one of the best City Hall in the country, and the best in Mindanao.


This hill site or “Bood” in Butuanon dialect in Baragay Pinamanculan, is the historic site of commemoration when Magellan and his men erected a cross and celebrated the 1st Mass on Philippine Soil on March 31, 1521. It is the highest elevation and promontory overlooking the whole of Butuan bay and Masao River.

Today, the indigenous “Hadlayati Tree” still abounds lording over a Clonal nursery and tree park, and the serpentine Masao River (ElRio de Butuan) amidst fishponds and archaeological treasures.

On this hill an image of the cross was put up to celebrate the historic event of the 1st Mass and the planting of the sign of the cross in Philippine soil. Pigafetta recorded this event which took place in the afternoon of March 31, 1521 after the Easter Mass was celebrated in the morning of the same date. Two Butuanon brother kings attended these Easter ceremonies of 1521. According to the chronicles of Pigafetta, rice fields and Balanghai boats could be seen on the hill where they were.

The park was constructed not just for its historical significance but to provide to the people of Butuan including its visitors to rekindle the past during the first landfall of Magellan in the Philippines.

Interesting Sites in Butuan You'd Love to Explore: Mount Mayapay

“You’ll know Butuan can’t be far away when you see the majestic Mayapay at a distance”

According to historians, Mt. Mayapay got its name from the ancient Madjapahit Empire which bears much meaning and influence on Butuan’s pre-historic and archeological discoveries which supports its claims as the first kingdom in archipelago.

It has an elevation of 675 meters or 2,214 ft. above sea level, it provides a good camping ground for people who need fresh air and is awed by the majestic view of Butuan.

Mount Mayapay is the highest peak along the Butuan City-Buenavista Mountain and is located West of South from the Butuan City proper.

However, in 1751 the mountain was called in the ‘Mapa de Caraga’ as MONTE de MINAS but geographically it does not belong to the territory of Butuan but to the town of Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

Its predominant feature is the plateau formation at the peak overlooking Butuan City and nearby municipalities along Butuan Bay. There are three barangays and a sitio found along the foot of the mountain namely: Nongnong, Bonbon and Dumalagan, Butuan City and Sitio Tapnigue, Sangay in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

Mount Mayapay can be reached through 4 alternative routes:
1. From Butuan City to Barangay Nongnong with about 21 kilometers to the base of the mountain. From the base to the top will take about 1 hour more or less through trekking.
2. From Butuan City proper to Sitio Matin-ao, Bonbon is about 12 kilometers then about 4 hours of trekking to the top of the mountain.
3. From Butuan City to Barangay Dumalagan is about 20 kilometers and another 8 kilometers through access road to the top of the mountain.
4. Butuan City via sitio Tapnigue, Sangay, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte id about 20 kilometers or about 25 minutes ride then hiking of about 3 hours to the top of the mountain.

Existing Developmental Activities Implemented within Mt. Mayapay
 Reforestation/rehabilitation on degraded watershed area – 58.35 hectares
 Agro-forestry – 29.0 hectares
 Nursery establishment
 Vegetative measures – 9 hectares
 Trail road

Butuan City – ‘The Historic City’

The City of Butuan is the regional center area of the Caraga Region located at the Northeastern part of Agusan Valley sprawling across the Agusan River is Butuan City, known for its archaeological sites. BUTUAN is a term believed to have originated from the sour fruit “Ba-tu-an”. 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 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.
Butuan’s history, culture, arts and people date back to the 4th century as showcased in museums which makes Butuan an exciting source of cultural artifacts in Mindanao.
As early as the 10th century, according to the Chinese Song 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 archeological 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 1,683 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.

81,728 hectares
27 Urban Barangays
59 Rural Barangays

Multi-lingual predominantly Butuanon, Cebuano and English

Dry – March to September
Wet – October to February

May 19 – City Fiesta (in honor of St. Joseph)
August 2 – Adlaw Hong Butuan (Charter Day Anniversary)

What to Wear
Lightweight clothing is recommended. Informal clothing is acceptable when visiting churches or offices. For formal occasions, the traditional barong tagalong is accepted for men. Bars, restaurants and hotels have no dress code but it is considered improper to wear shorts and slipper.

How to get there
Butuan is accessible by plane or boat from Manila and Cebu. Land transportation to any point of Mindanao is available.

Butuan has one domestic Airport, the Bancasi Airport proper with Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific flights. It has various food outlets within the vicinity and souvenir items.

Butuan is easily accessible by boat from Manila, Cebu and Bohol. Fares vary according to accommodations.

Oranged colored tricycles are common in Butuan. They go around and even outside the city proper. Multicab jeeps or AC’s (auto calesa) are used in the main city streets, with corresponding route numbers. Cars for rent are available upon request in most hotels and at the airport, but all are not metered, so remember to agree on the fee before boarding. Few metered taxes are also available in the city. Bus Company plies the routes from Butuan to other municipalites in the region.


Caraga derived from the word Calagan. In a book “Historia de Mindanao y Jolo” published in 1667 Fr. Francisco Combes, S.J., wrote that the name Calagan is derived from two Bisayan words....’kalag’ which means soul and ‘al’ for land. Thus, Calagan means “The Land of spirited and courageous people”. Both Pablo Pastells, S.J. and Sebastian de Oporto, described the inhabitants of Caraga as fearsome, hostile, treacherous, and warlike.

Since there is no ‘k’ in the Spanish alphabet, the ‘c’ is used for Bisayan words with ‘K’ in them. So, ‘kalag is written as Calag’, likewise, Kalagan’ as ‘Calagan’. Later, Calagan became Caraga.

On February 6, 1624 Governor General Alfonso Fajardo divided the island of Mindanao into two big sections, to avoid conflict over jurisdictions. The giant eastern portion of Mindanao Island comprised the “Provincia de Caraga”, and it was almost one-half of the entire island that comprised the province that constituted a portion of Misamis Oriental (from Gingoog), Agusan, Surigao and partly from Vergara.

In 1860, through a Royal Decree, Mindanao fell under one politico-military government and it was finally subdivided into 6 districts: Primero Distrito (Zamboanga), Northern District (Cagayan/Misamis), Eastern District (Caraga-Agusan/Surigao), Fourth District (Davao), Central District (Bukidnon/Cotabato), and South District (Basilan).

The Eastern District later known to become the province of Surigao, hence, the collective name of the old Caraga province was forgotten. A town in Davao Oriental of today carries the name Caraga but it does not refer to the new region at present.

In 1898, Agusan otganized a single-politico commandancia named Butuan, later on became a sub-province of Surigao...and in 1907, Agusan became a separate province. Its capital was Butuan which became a chartered city on August 2, 1950 by virtue of RA 523 authored by Congressman Marcos M. Calo. Further the province of Agusan was divided into two..AGUSAN del NORTE with BUTUAN CITY as the provincial capital, and AGUSAN del SUR with Prosperidad as its capital, based on the approved RA 4979 dated June 17, 1967.

In the process of regionalization when provinces and citries were grouped into regions, Agusan del Norte Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Norte became as part of Region X.

On February 16, 1995, House Bill #10643, principally authored by Congresswoman Charito B. Plaza of the First District of Agusan del Norte was passed and consolidated with Senate Bill #729 and finally passed by the Senate on February 20, 1995. This was signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 23, 1005.

Republic Act #7901, an act Creating Region XIII, known as The Caraga Administrative Region, heralded the birth of the Caraga Region with BUTUAN CITY as the regional center. The establishment of the new Caraga Region composed of the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and the cities of Butuan and Surigao brought back a large portion of land from the original Provincia de Caraga.