History of the Municipality of Tagana-an

Old Municipal Hall Building of Tagana-an


Tagana-an was first established as a Pueblo in 1876, and the first Capitan del Pueblo was Miguel Alfon. The first Paish Priest was Padre Jaime Plana, S.J. a respected parish priest in the Caraga, who celebrated the first town fiesta in July 16,1877, in honor of Our Lady of Mt. Camel. The town also celebrates the day of St. Joseph, every Mach 18-19th. Prior to this, Tagana-an was a Visita of Placer along with Timamana, Talavera, and Mainit.

The Pueblo of Tagana-an was reverted into a barrio of Placer in 1903 by the American government when, upon the downfall of the Spanish era, the people evacuated when an epidemic struck in along with many towns in Surigao-Caraga, and people refused to return to the area.

Only on June 22, 1947, after lobbying for some 31 years, was Tagana-an re-created as a Municipality by virtue of Republic Act. 194, defining, that the barrios of Tagana-an, Banban, Talavera and Opong, and the sitios of Libas, Cawilan, Dijo and Himana-ug, are separated from the Municipality of Placer, and constituted into the Municipality of Tagana-an in the Province of Surigao.

Counting therefore, from 1876 to 1905, (29 years) and from 1947 to the present (56 years), Tagana-an celebrates 75 years as a Municipality, and 126 years as a Parish.

Early account narrate that the early settlers of the Municipality, hiding from Moro Jihad fighters (1650-1780), inhabited the so-called Embaracadero or landing area at the mouth of Mangagao River. Thus the area was originally called “Tago-anan” which meant a hiding place. Through the yeas, the town was called “Tagana-an”, probably from the word Tagana, or “in reservation for”.

The early settlers had a religious leader called “Pandi” who presided over ceremonies particularly during harvest. The offerings were followed by the “Sirong”, a ritualistic dance of thanks and joy for a bountiful harvest . He also made “apong” or prayer of intercession for the sick.

The conquistadors of the West passed by the Hinatuan Passage along the coast of Surigao, mostly on their way from the Spice Island to the northern coast of Mindanao, the Visayas and Luzon.

In 1512, the Portuguese under Francisco Serrano, who came 9 years earlier than Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. In this the era, other Portuguese navigated in these waters like Garcia Jofre de Loaisa with Sebastian del Cano in 1526, Alvaro de Saavedra, 1528, Juan Pinto, 1534, and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived in 1567 poised for the Philippine conquest on Order of the King.

These sailors one way or the other used Mahaba Island as navigational reference as it is written in the map of Father Pedro Murillo Velarde. At one time, they landed in neighboring Nonoc, Surigao, Bucas Grande, and other neighboring settlements.

The exploits of the Portuguese are much less know, but the religious impact of their teachings in our present social life may be worth examining.

Municipal Hall of Tagana-an


Tagana-an is a coastal – estuarine town located at the eastern portion in the mainland of the Province of Surigao del Norte. It shares common boundaries with Surigao City, Sison and Placer in the mainland, Bucas Grande and Siargao islands off the seawaters of Hinatuan Passage.

Tagana-an is located at Longtitude 125 deg 35’ East and Latitude 9 degree 40 minutes and 25”.

Tagana-an is about 29 kilometers from Surigao City along the main highway. The Poblacion and coastal area is located 7 from the junction at lower libas. Another road passes through the rustic coastal barangays of Surigao City, known as the Arellano district.

Tagana-an has varied topographic features: rolling hills, mountains and watersheds, rice and coconut lands, mangroves, estaries, rivers and deltas. Municipal water consist of 10,000ha. Where 1,000ha. Could be available for mariculture. There are forested Karstick islands, caves, coral reefs, and beaches awaiting discovery and development.

Along the highway, Tagana-an is the most acessible town from Butuan City and Surigao of for its ecological type. The Municipal Planning and Development Office projects that local tourism may eventually evolve on aqua-culture farms.