Located at the Northeastern part of Agusan Valley sprawling across the Agusan River is Butuan City, known for its colorful history and culture. BUTUAN is a term believed to have originated from the sour fruit “Batuan”. Others opined, it came from a certain “Datu Buntu-an”, a Tausug chieftain who once ruled Butuan and opted to return to Tawi-tawi than be christianized by the Spaniards. 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. Come up close!
Butuan City was originally located in Pinamanculan by the banks of the Masao River, a kilometer away from barrio of Libertad. Finding the Place less ideal because of the Flood, the people moved to Baug, now the municipality of Magallanes, at the mouth of the Agusan River. They again transferred to Lapaca, now known as Linungsuan in Barrio Banza about five kilometers inland of Agusan River. Still troubled by floods, the people once more settled, this time in the present site of the city proper.
A description of Butuan is not complete without infusing it with the significance of the Agusan River and its tributaries that provide the valley with rich soil from periodic floods. Its serpentine route through the city and two Agusan provinces provided the people with easy means of transportation for trade and commerce encouraged settlement along its banks. The Agusan River greatly helped the booming of the “Logging Industry” which earned Butuan the name “Timber City of the South.”
Butuan City sprawls across the Agusan River nine kilometers from its mount. Towards this, to the north and seaward, run fertile Ricelands. Halfway around the city to the southwest, roll the gently sloping hills over Mount Mayapay. To the east, the majestic Hilong-Hilong and Diwata mountain ranges protect the entire valley from fierce Pacific storms.
It is very difficult to pinpoint the exact time when the name Butuan first emerged. Certainly, the name Agusan came into being upon the creation of the province in 1914. Before this, the entire area had been known as BUTUAN, as can be born out by old historical records.
Northeastern part of the Agusan Valley sprawling across the Agusan River
POPULATION: 319,568 per NSO records
REGISTERED VOTERS: 184,343 per COMELEC records
27 Urban Barangays
59 Rural Barangays
Based on the 2011 Report of the Commission on Audit (COA), Butuan City, the only highly urbanized city in the region since 1985, is the 5th richest city in Mindanao w ith an annual gross income of P1,238,717,499.75.
Multi-lingual native Butuanon, Cebuano (predominant), and Tagalog
Dry – March to September
Wet – October to February
Minimum – 22C
Maximum – 35C
Local Holidays and major festivals
May 19 – City Fiesta (in honor of Senior San Jose )
August 2 – Adlaw Hong Butuan (Charter Day Anniversary)
The Balangay FestivAL from May 1 to 31 in honor of the city's Patron Saint , St. Joseph
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.
Business and Banking Hours
Butuan City is the commercial and entertainment center of the Caraga region. It is categorized as a highly urbanized city since 1985 and as the regional center of the Caraga region since 1998. Christians and Muslims living here enjoy the peace and progress of the city. Except for isolated petty crimes just like in any vibrant city, Butuan is generally peaceful conducive for more investments. Per record of the Licensing Office, there are about 8,600 registered establishments in the city and the number is growing. There are more than 35 commercial banks ( and the number is increasing) operating without noon break and with ATMs 24/7. In the recent PDIC data, total savings deposit in the city amounted to more than P21 billion. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is set to open its regional office here in late 2014. Nightlife is very much alive with restobars closing at 3:00 a.m. the following day. National-based retail giants SM City is set to open here, while Robinsons Place and Puregold are already operating giving the Butuanons and Caraganons more option in shopping, entertainment and dining. Filinvest, one of the largest real estate developers in the country, has started its construction of an upscale subdivision project while the Villar-owned Camella Homes is completing its project. A 9-hole golf course, is also among the projects of ABrown group. More low-cost and highend housing projects are sprouting in the outskirts of the city evident of the city's strong market for shelter. Familiar fastfood chains and coffee shops from Manila have their own outlets here through franchising. There are numerous internet cafes charging as low as P10 per hour while WiFi ready establishments are available. The Big 3 telcos (Smart, Globe and Sun) provide telecommunication services in the city and nearby areas. Outlets of several independent players in the oil industry are opening simultaneously in the major streets of the city, giving the major players a run for their money. Numerous car dealers are already operating here in the city for many years and more players are coming, manifesting the strong market in car dealership.
Convention Facilities /Hotel Accomodation
Butuan City has affirm its status as a convention city in this part of Mindanao. It has various hotels with complete amenities and convention facilities which can accommodate regional , Mindanao-wide and national conventions. Prominent of these are the Almont Inland Resort, Dottie's Place and Convention Center, Goat Together Hotel , the Balanghai Hotel and Convention Center and the 7-story Prince Hotel . These establishments can provide audio-visual equipments for multimedia presentation upon request. There are also budget hotels in downtown Butuan like Hotel Karaga, Royal Plaza Hotel, Butuan Luxury Hotel, Emerald Villa Hotel, Almont City Hotel, Luciana Inn ,Fortune Inn 1 and 2, Embassy Hotel, Red Palm Suites, Windsoar Hotel, to name a few. In 2012, conventions held were the National Vegetables Congress,the Mindanao Island Congress of the Phil. Councilors League, the Vice Mayors League of the Phil. Mindanao Island Congress, the Mindanao Baptists Convention and the 21st Mindanao Business Conference. IN 2012, Mindanao Congress of the Phil. Dental Association, Mindanao Interfaith Congress and the highly successful 67th National PICPA Convention attended by 2,000 CPA s all over the archipelago. In 2013, the city hosted the Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines Mindanao Area Convention and the Toastmasters International Congress. Early this year, 2014, the city was the venue of the Mindanao Assembly of the Local Budget Officers and this April, the National Convention of the Phil. Association of Building Officials will be conducted here.
Butuan City is the cultural and educational center of the region. Father Saturnino Urios University and Butuan Doctors College are producing topnotchers in nursing board exam while the Caraga State University ( formerly Northern Mindanao State Institute of Science and Technology ), is among the top performing universities in the country in geodetic, forestry and agricultural engineering producing topnotchers in its board exam. FSUU is listed as among the top 20 colleges/universities in the country by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) due to its exemplary performance in consistently producing passers in the licensure exams for CPA, lawyers, nurses , civil engineers and teachers . Recently, FSUU made it in the top 10 of the civil engineering board exam , CPA board exam and nursing board exam. It is also one of the top 200 universities in Asia, according to the 2011 QS Asia University rankings. St. Joseph Institute of Technology (SJIT) is also producing passers in nursing, engineering, LET and criminology exams. It is constructing a state of the art maritime school funded by Norway at the nearby municipality of Buenavista. Successful sailors and marine engineers are products of SJIT.
There are four tertiary hospitals in the city, 2 private hospitals, namely, the MJ Santos Hospital and Butuan Doctors Hospital, and 2 public hospitals, namely, Agusan del Norte Provincial Hospital and Butuan Medical Center, capable of providing quality health service to the people of the city. Other private hospitals are the Caraga Hospital and the Holy Child Colleges of Butuan Hospital. The PNP Regional Hospital is set to open also.
The Butuan City Water District provides potable water to the people of the city with the Taguibo river watershed as its main source. Mineral water of different brands are available in all grocery stores, drugstores, hotels and restaurants while there are establishments offering purified drinking water.
How to get there
Butuan is accessible by plane or boat from Manila and Cebu. Land transportation to any point of Mindanao is available.
The Bancasi Airport is the 5th busiest airport in Mindanao. It is undergoing major expansion to accomodate more flights. Daily flights from Butuan to Cebu, and Manila are being served by Cebu Pacific and PAL Express. The Bancasi domestic airport , according to the Air Transportation Office statistics, accommodated about 388,000 passengers and more than 5million kgs of cargo for 2010 alone. It has various food outlets within the vicinity for pasalubong. During Christmas season, lechon from Butuan are common sight being transported to Manila, for its crispiness and taste.
Butuan is easily accessible by boat from Manila, Cebu , and Bohol via the Nasipit port, 18 kms. from city proper. Weekly trips to Jagna, Cebu, Dumaguete and Manila are served by 2Go Travel, Cokaliong Shipping and Sulpicio Lines. Fares vary according to accommodations. Lumber products , bananas, and other agricultural products are transported to Manila and Cebu.
Orange colored tricycles are common in Butuan. They go around and even outside the city proper. Jeepneys 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. Green colored taxi units are also available in the city. But all are not metered, so remember to agree on the fare before boarding. Buses ply the routes from Butuan to other cities and provinces of Mindanao. Aircon buses with WIFI bound for Cagayan de Oro charged P335.00, P245.00 for Surigao City while going to Davao City is P460.00. There are also airconditioned vans going to these cities charging lower fares. For Dvao - P350, Surigao- P180 and CDO - P250.