THE PROVINCE OF AGUSAN DEL SUR is located in the Caraga region in Mindanao and its capital is Prosperidad, bordered by Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Bukidnon, and Misamis Oriental in the north.
The history of Agusan Del Sur is similar with Agusan Del Norte since they used to be one province under one local civil government. The place was greatly influenced by the Madjapahit Empire during pre-Hispanic era with the discovery of the 8 inch tall Golden Tara image in 1917, as well as molten jars at Prosperidad.
During the 16th century, the Augustinian missionaries arrived and set forth their mission in the place till the 19th century. The place was part of the province of Caraga during most of the Spanish period. Then in 1860, it was placed under the comandancia of Butuan, a district of the province of Surigao. Upon the arrival of the Americans, lumbering became an important activity in Agusan Del Sur and on 1914; the province of Agusan was created by the American government. Agusan was divided into Agusan Del Norte and Sur in 1967 by virtue of Republic Act 4979.
The province of Agusan del Sur was born on June 17, 1967 under Republic Act No. 4969. The municipality of Prosperidad became the capital of Agusan Del Sur and the Government Center has been set up in Barangay Patin-ay.
Agusan Del Sur now has a total land area of 896,550 hectares or 8,966 square kilometers, making it the seventh largest province in the country. Major municipalities comprise almost 60% of the province total land area, 76% is forestland and 24% or 2,137.5 square kilometers of land is considered alienable and disposable. However settlements and commercial areas already occupy some of the forestlands. Agusan Del Sur is an elongated basin formation with mountain ranges in the eastern and western sides forming a valley, and half of the southern province is an area filled with swamps and lakes.
Currently, the place has a total population of 559,294 in 103,637 households. The annual population growth rate is 1.79%. There are five tribal groups living in Agusan Del Sur: Aeta, Mamanwa, Bagobo, Higaonon, and Manobo. The population is predominantly composed of immigrants from the Visayas wherein intermarriages are common between immigrants and natives. The residents speak Cebuano, Boholano, Ilonggo, Visayan but they also speak and understand English and Filipino language. On the other hand, most of the residents are Roman Catholics, followed by other religions such as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Aglipay, Iglesia Ni Cristo, and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
In terms of weather condition, the province falls under the Type II classification of weather which has no dry season with very pronounced wet season of heavy precipitation. Maximum rainfall generally occurs from the months of December to January. The average temperature is 27 °C.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY IN AGUSAN DEL SUR
Agusan Del Sur residents are mostly engaged in agriculture and forestry with rice, corn and fruits as the major agricultural crops. The province's rice production has the estimated capacity to feed 1,072,456 people. However rice is still insufficient especially in the upland and hard to reach barangays. While corn plantations cover 255.25 square kilometers of the land for both white and yellow corn with a total production of 55,767 tons with surplus corn grits of 31,106 MT. Banana is also another abundant crop in Agusan as this is also where Banana chips are processed. Other investment produce are oil palm plantation, crude oil processing and coconut trees products.
There is also a poultry and livestock production, but there is insufficient supply of meat. Thus, poultry and beef are still imported from Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City. The province has an abundant supply of fresh water fish like mudfish, catfish and tilapia.
ART AND CULTURAL HERITAGE IN AGUSAN DEL SUR
Similar to its sister province Agusan Del Norte, the place also celebrates important all-year round festivities such as the Kaamulan Festival which is held every September 23 and it showcases the authentic tribal performances and/or rituals by the tribal priests. Another festival is the Naliyagan Festival which is celebrated every June 12 to 17 in Prosperidad, this festival depicts Agusanon culture and heritage with natives showing off their tribal dances and rituals. A trade fair also takes place during the festival.
The province also has their own version of the Sinulog Festival of Cebu which the Agusan residents celebrate it as Kahimunan Festival during the first Sunday of January in Bayugan municipality. The festival highlights street dancing portraying tribal life in Agusan Del Sur. Last but not the least, is the Santikan Festival which is celebrated every June 12 to 15 annually in Trento municipality. This festival offers various friendly competitions.
AGUSAN DEL SUR PRODUCTS
The province has various agro-industrial products that help in the further growth of the province economy.
MUNICIPALITIES OF AGUSAN DEL SUR
The province has one congressional district and one city. It composed of 14 municipalities and 314 barangays. Its capital town is Prosperidad which is the seat of the provincial government.
This is a vast expanse of marsh covering an area roughly the size of Metro Manila. It contains nearly 15% of the nation's fresh water resources in the form of swamp forests. Over 200 individual bird species, plants such as lily pads, hyacinths and other hydrophytic plants and numbers of catfish, carp, soft-shell fresh water turtles and crocodiles, as well as natural "bonsai" trees can be found here.
This Falls has exotic hanging ornamental plants.
This Falls is situated in the heart of a jungle with clear waters emitting from the springs cascading onto boulders of limestone.
Handicrafts at Green Valley Furniture
This River is the only gateway to Binaba Falls and it is the source of water supply irrigating some of the rice fields in the province.
This is the earliest known image of Indian Origin, a Buddhist image of the Sailendra Period of the Sri-Vijaya history which is a 21-karat gold figurine. The said statue is presently kept at the Gem Room of the Chicago Field Museum in USA.
Mount Diwata Hot and Cold Spring
Surrounded by a naturally preserved forest, Mt. Diwata Hot & Cold Spring offers not only impressive scenery but a natural medicine to tired urbanites and nature lovers. The area is a 4-kilometer hiking distance from the Maharlika Highway.
This mystical mountain is situated in San Francisco which is 633 meters high, making it the perfect site for a fun climb by regular mountaineers. This is the sole source of potable water and a recipient of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ reforestation program, dubbed as Billion Tree Act.
“Tugonan” was derived from the word "Tugon" meaning a promise which offers a natural wonder with towering trees on its vicinity, wild ornamental plants and orchids..
The major entry point is in Butuan City (74 Kilometers away from Prosperidad); access to the province from Cebu or Manila is essentially the same as the access to its regional capital. The province can only be reached via land transportation through the Davao-Butuan National Highway. Three minor roads also provide access for travelers coming from Tandag, Lianga, Barobo, and Bislig in Surigao del Sur. One road connects the southwestern part of the province and Asuncion, Davao Del Norte.