The Caraga Region was created by virtue of RA 7901 on February 23, 1995. But unknown to maybe most of us, the name Caraga already existed in the lexicon of Spanish-era Philippines, dating more than 400 years ago. Spaniards formed Caraga through a military garrison in 1609 to reinforce their invasion of Tandag, which became the capital of Provincia de Caraga – covering the eastern part of Mindanao including the present-day Surigao and Agusan provinces.

The Moros occupied Tandag that moved the capital to Surigao but they were driven out when the Spaniards returned in 1848.

At the dawn of the 20th century, Provincia de Caraga was changed to Provincia de Surigao drowning the name Caraga into oblivion.

But this name was revived by Representatives Charito B. Plaza, Eduardo L. Rama, Sr., Ceferino S. Paredes, Jr., Glenda B. Ecleo, Robert Barbers, Mario S. Ty, and Jesnar R. Falcon who championed the creation of this new region because they recognize the rich historical value of the name.


Agusan del Norte

The agri-processing and industrial estates zone

Agusan del Sur

The agri-forestry center and food basket of the region

Dinagat Islands

The ecotourism and fishery center of the region

Surigao del Norte

The major ecotourism destination, fishery producer, and mineral-based processing industrial center of the region

Surigao del Sur

The agro-industrial, fishery, forestry, and tourism zone


Butuan City

The regional center and the major trading, processing, commercial and service center. It is also the show window of history and culture in Mindanao

Bayugan City

The agro-industrial and processing zone

Bislig City

The center of organic high-value crops and aquamarine products

Cabadbaran City

The agri-production and processing zone for high-value crops and aquaculture products

Surigao City

The commercial and trading center in the northeastern seaboard and the major processing center for minerals and fishery

Tandag City

The institutional, tourism, and trading hub

Functional Roles of the Provinces and Cities

Land Classification

The region has a total land area of 1,913,842 hectares classified as follows: 30 percent alienable and disposable lands (A&D) and 70 percent forestland. On the production side, the areas utilized for agricultural purposes cover 30.42 percent, timber production comprised 52 percent, and mineral production, 9.33 percent of the region’s land. About 71 percent of the region’s forestlands, which comprise 57.57 percent production forest and 13.01 percent protection forests are used for timber production.


As of 2015, the region’s population reached 2,596,709 with a population growth rate of 1.28% and a population density of 136 persons/ km2. The region’s population is expected to double in 2069.

In 2040, the region’s population will reach 3,519,917. Among the identified growth centers, Butuan City will have the largest population with 513,326. This represents a 34 percent increment of its 2015 population. However, Surigao City will have the highest population growth with 37 percent to reach a population size of 243,839 in 2040. Bislig City’s population, which declined in 2015, is expected to grow minimally during the period. Among the provinces, Agusan del Sur will have the largest population of 943,009. In terms of population growth, Surigao del Norte will have the highest increase of 34 percent in its population size, which is estimated to reach 737,005 in 2040.

Projected Population, Caraga 2015, 2022, 2028, 2034 and 2040

PROVINCE/ CITY POPULATION 2015 AAGR 2022 2028 2034 2040
Caraga Region 2,596,709 1.28 2,801,887 3,023,276 3,262,159 3,519,917
Butuan City 337,063 1.77 374,439 415,961 462,086 513,326
Agusan del Norte 354,503 1.23 382,514 410,293 441,399 474,863
Cabadbaran City 73,639 1.27 79,535 85,634 92,345 99,583
Agusan del Sur 700,653 1.25 756,015 812,848 875,513 943,009
Bayugan City 103,202 0.77 111,356 113,090 118,384 123,925
Dinagat Islands 127,152 0.05 137,199 127,910 128,290 128,672
Surigao del Norte 485,088 1.76 523,417 597,923 663,832 737,005
Surigao City 154,137 1.93 166,316 193,867 217,422 243,839
Surigao del Sur 592,250 1.03 639,046 669,358 711,598 756,505
Bislig City 94,535 -0.42 96,924 99,373 101,884 104,458
Tandag City 56,364 1.63 60,818 68,410 75,366 83,030


  • Computation of projected population is only until 2040 to coincide with the Ambisyon Natin 2040
  • Computation of population doubling time (cities and provinces) used Exponential Method: Projected Population= initial value x 2^(t/T)
  • Since Bislig City indicated a negative growth, computation of projected population used a decaying factor/half- life formula: Projected Population = initial value x 0.5^(t/T).

Proposed Network of Settlements

The identification of the network of settlements was based not only on population movements but also on the strategic roles of these settlements relative to regional development. The following are the proposed network of settlements in the region:

Proposed Network of Settlements, 2040

Agusan del Norte Butuan City   Cabadbaran City Buenavista Nasipit 8 municipalities
Agusan del Sur   San Francisco Bayugan City Trento Prosperidad 10 municipalities + 4 emerging municipalities
Dinagat Islands     San Jose 6 municipalities
Surigao del Norte Surigao City   Dapa Claver 18 municipalities
Surigao del Sur   Bislig City Tandag City Barobo Carrascal 15 municipalities

Regional Center

A regional center has a population size of >200,000, and functions as the market and service center with direct links to other areas in the country through the land, air, and sea transport channels. Butuan City, being the regional capital, is identified as the main regional center that serves as the major trading, processing, commercial and service center of the region and show window of history and culture in Mindanao.

On the other hand, Surigao City, which serves as an entry and exit of Caraga Region to Visayas and Luzon through the Lipata roll on-roll off (RORO) port, functions as the commercial trading center in the north-eastern seaboard and the major processing center for minerals and fishery.

Sub-Regional Center

A sub-regional center has a population size of at least 120,000. The cities of Bislig, Tandag, and Bayugan and the municipality of San Francisco are identified as sub-regional centers. Despite the contraction of the population of Bislig City, its proximity to the Davao Region in the eastern seaboard and the presence of natural resources provide a great development opportunity for the city to elevate itself into a sub-regional center.

Improving/upgrading the Lawigan Port in Bislig City to international standards would change the economic and socio-cultural landscape of the Surigao-Davao coastal municipalities.

By 2040, the city of Tandag as the provincial capital of Surigao del Sur will flourish as the agri-processing and trading hub of the province and the service center of the mineral processing zone of Carrascal and Cantilan in the same province. Bayugan City, with its unique geographical location as a crossroad to the municipality of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur in the northern front, Malaybalay city of Bukidnon in the western front, and other major trading cities of Caraga in the east, plays a pivotal role as the agro-industrial center of the province of Agusan del Sur. The municipality of San Francisco on the other hand is a bustling town and is an important trading and commercial center in Agusan del Sur. Traders, businessmen, and locals from the adjacent towns of Surigao del Sur prefer San Francisco’s highly competitive service and commercial establishments. Its importance will further grow in the coming years as Agusan del Sur will be connected to Region X via the east-west lateral roads in Malaybalay City and the municipality of Impasugong of Bukidnon and the Loreto – Tagum Road of Davao Region.

Provincial Center

Provincial centers, which have a minimum population size of 50,000, are cities or municipalities in a province that have roles similar to that of regional centers but on a smaller and more limited scale. Accordingly, the newly created city of Cabadbaran is identified as a provincial center. Cabadbaran City shall serve as the agri-production and processing zone for high-value crops and aquaculture products. The municipalities of Buenavista and Nasipit of Agusan del Norte are anticipated to morph into provincial growth centers because of their proximity to the regional center, which is Butuan City. The proposed coastal road with bridges that will traverse Nasipit – Buenavista – Butuan City – Magallanes will disperse development dividends to Buenavista, Nasipit, and even Magallanes. The municipality of Trento will serve as the alternate provincial center for Agusan del Sur as it is a crossroad in going to Bislig City of Surigao del Sur, five river towns of Agusan del Sur, and Tagum City of Davao Region.

Population Levels, 2015, Caraga

Population Levels, 2040, Caraga

Small-Medium Towns

The small-medium towns have populations of <50,000. The rest of the 61 municipalities of the region belong to this category. These are the following:

Projected Small-Medium Towns

1. Carmen 1. Sibagat 1. Cagdianao 1. Alegria 1. Cantilan
2. Las Nieves 2. Esperanza 2, Dinagat 2. Mainit 2. Madrid
3. Magallanes 3. Talacogon 3. Basilisa 3. Tubod 3. Carmen
4. Remedios T. Romualdez 4. La Paz 4. Libjo 4. Placer 4. Lanuza
5. Tubay 5. Loreto 5. Tubajon 5. Tagana-an 5. Cortes
6. Santiago 6. Veruela 6. Loreto 6. Sison 6. Tago
7. Jabonga 7. Sta. Josefa   7.San Francisco 7. San Miguel
8. Kitcharao 8. Bunawan   8. Malimono 8. Bayabas
  9. Rosario   9. Bacuag 9. Cagwait
  10. San Luis   10. Gigaquit 10. Marihatag
  11. Del Monte of Talacogon   11. Socorro 11.San Agustin
  12. San Juan of Bayugan City   12. General Luna 12. Lianga
  13. Sampaguita of Veruela   13. Pilar 13. Tagbina
  14. Binucayan of Loreto   14. San Isidro 14. Hinatuan
      15. Burgos 15. Lingig
      16. Santa Monica  
      17. San Benito  
      18.Del Carmen  

Hierarchy of Settlements Map, Caraga, 2010

Hierarchy of Settlements Map, Caraga, 2040

Intra-LGU Alliances in the Region

Intra-LGU alliances are common in the region. These existing political alliances of LGUs are based on geographical contiguity, homogeneity of resources, comparable levels of growth and development, and similarity of development issues and concerns. Some of these towns are directly connected to the growth centers as indicated in the table below:

Intra-LGU Alliances in the Region

Agusan del Norte LASBUENASCAR Alliance Las Nieves, Buenavista, Nasipit, and Carmen Agro-forestry development, food production, tourism development, and biodiversity conservation  
Lake Mainit Development Alliance (LMDA) Agusan del Norte: Tubay, Jabonga, Santiago, and Kitcharao   Surigao del Norte: Alegria, Mainit, Sison, and Tubod   Biodiversity conservation, agriculture, fishery, tourism, and mining development
Agusan del Sur   Growth Diamond Bayugan City, San Francisco, Trento, andTalacogon Agro-forestry development, food production, and tourism development  
Dinagat Islands Dinagat Island Sustainable Development (DISDEV) San Jose, Cagdianao, Dinagat, Basilisa, Libjo, Tubajon, and Loreto Tourism, agri- fishery, and mining development    
Surigao del Norte LMDA   Hinatuan Passage Development Alliance (HiPADA)       Metro Siargao Alliance for Sustainable Development (MSASD)   See Agusan del Norte   Claver, Gigaquit, Bacuag, Placer, Tagana-an, Surigao City, San Francisco, and Malimono   Dapa, Socorro, General Luna, Del Carmen, San Benito, Pilar, Sta. Monica, and San Isidro     Agri-fishery, mining, tourism, and basic services development       Biodiversity conservation, agri-fishery, and ecotourism development    
Surigao del Sur Lianga Bay Development Alliance (LBDA)       Bislig Bay Development Alliance (BBDA)     Lanuza Bay Development Alliance (LBDA)   Barobo, Marihatag, Cagwait, San Agustin, Lianga, Tago, Bayabas, and San Miguel   Hinatuan, Tabina, Bislig City, and Lingig     Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmen, Lanuza, Cortes, and Tandag City Food production, aqua-marine, and ecotourism development     Agriculture,  aquamarine, forestry, and tourism development   Agriculture, fishery, tourism, and mining development  

Source: RPFP 2004-2030

Inter-LGU Alliances, Caraga


The region serves as another gateway to Mindanao through Butuan City and a transit point to and from Visayas and Luzon through the Lipata RORO Port in Surigao City. Thus, infrastructure development shall be one of the region’s development priorities to expedite the physical, economic, and socio-cultural integration of the region’s urban and rural areas as well as its growth centers with other growth centers in Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon. In line with this, the region shall continuously engage in the development and expansion of different transport channels, such as land, sea, and air transports to facilitate the smooth internal and external flow of goods and services. The principle of redundancy shall be applied to establish alternate transportation routes within and outside the region to avoid isolation, particularly during disasters.

Land Transport

As of the end of 2015, the region’s paved national roads reached 1,262.1 km. or 82.98 percent of its total road network.  Of this figure, paved national primary roads comprise 23.46 percent (356.8 km), national secondary road 39.04 percent (593.9 km), and national tertiary road 20.47 percent (311.4 km).

National Road Network Statistics, 2015

Primary 358.03 356.80 1.24
Secondary 724.16 593.87 130.29
Tertiary 438.82 311.41 127.41
Total 1,521.03 1,262.07 258.96

Source: DPWH Caraga

The region shall continue to improve its road network, particularly in connecting urban and rural areas and other growth centers in Mindanao. The priority road network projects include roads connecting Caraga Region to Davao provinces, Bukidnon, and Misamis Oriental through the East-West Lateral Road segments; Tourism Road Infrastructure Projects (TRIPC); and several road networks linking service facilities and utilities, key production areas, and conflict-affected areas. Some of these roads may serve as alternate routes, particularly during disasters. The proposed Mindanao Railway System, which will traverse certain areas in the region, will further improve the region’s access to other growth centers in Mindanao.

Sea/Water Transport

As a gateway in the northeastern part of Mindanao, the region shall pursue modernization and expansion of seaports to provide efficient and competitive shipping services, such as world-class cargo handling services, and roll-on-roll-off (RORO), and passenger ferry terminals. In anticipation of the establishment of the Mindanao Railway System and the completion of the East-West Lateral Road segments connecting Davao and Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, the region shall embark on the development of the Butuan International Port to complement the existing Nasipit Port of Agusan del Norte and Lipata Port and Surigao Port in Surigao City, as entry and exit points to and from Visayas and Luzon. Both Butuan and Surigao Ports are considered in the possible sea transport routes for Cagayan de Oro City– Gingoog City – Butuan City – Surigao City route; while Surigao City is also identified for General Santos City – Zamboanga City – Surigao City sea transport route.

As the region is composed of islands and a river basin, the region shall also carry out the improvement of the inter-island transport system in the Pacific Rim as well as its riverine transport system in the Agusan River. The Agusan River has traditionally been used as a transport highway in the region, particularly in bringing forest and agricultural products from Agusan del Sur to Butuan City.

Air Transport

There are four (4) airports in the region, which are located in Butuan City, Surigao City, Siargao Islands, and Tandag City. The Butuan City Airport and Surigao City Airport have daily direct flights to and from Cebu and Manila. The airports in Siargao Islands and Tandag City have weekly flights to and from Cebu City. A Manila-Siargao-Manila route thrice a week will be launched before the end of March 2017. The Butuan City Airport also serves Camiguin Province, Gingoog City, and several municipalities in Misamis Oriental because of proximity and the regularity of flights. On the other hand, the increasing mining and tourism activities in the Surigao provinces bolster the need for improving the Surigao City, Siargao Islands, and Tandag City airports.

In view of the foregoing, the upgrading and expansion of the above-mentioned airports shall be pursued by the region to include compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards; modernization of the air transportation navigation, surveillance communication, and air traffic management (CNS/ATM) technology; and expansion and upgrading of existing airport facilities.

Digital Infrastructure

Information and communication are considered vital to the region’s development particularly in expanding access to knowledge and markets.   Thus, the region shall embark on the development of digital infrastructure to support the interconnectivity of the region’s growth centers to other parts of the country and the world. There is an urgent need for the implementation of the government broadband program to have a seamless and reliable digital highway.

Major Existing Airports and Seaports, Caraga


The region is prone to both geological and climatological hazards. The provinces of Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur are included in the top 20 most vulnerable provinces to climate change in the country. On the other hand, the main earthquake generators in the region are the Philippine Fault Zone that traverses Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao; and the Philippine Trench situated approximately 100 kilometers from the mainland of the eastern seaboard towards the Pacific Ocean.

List of Natural Hazards in Caraga Region

Geological Earthquake, liquefaction, earthquake-induced landslide and tsunami
Climatological Earthquake, liquefaction, earthquake-induced landslide and tsunami

To effectively reduce potential risks and vulnerabilities, the region shall pursue the aggrupation of affected LGUs into three areas of concern, such as coastal management, floodplain/catchment management, and earthquake and liquefaction management. Hence, the strengthening of Intra-LGU alliances is critical to ensure alignment and consistency of interventions.

Multi-Hazard Map, Caraga Region