Municipality of Dinagat

Dinagat, officially the Municipality of Dinagat (Surigaonon: Lungsod nan Dinagat; Cebuano: Lungsod sa Dinagat; Tagalog: Bayan ng Dinagat), is a 5th class municipality in the province of Dinagat Islands, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 10,632 people. 

Dinagat Municipality is the Mother municipality of the province of Dinagat Islands, Northeast the Province of Dinagat Islands, Southwk8est the province of Surigao del Norteand   East of Leyte.   It   has   a   total   land   area   of   13,994   hectares.   (Land   Uses   3,287hectares), it is endowed with a rich and bountiful sea life to provide livelihood to its 12,786 population (2010 census) scattered among its twelve (12) barangays.


In the early days of its existence, the pueblo was given different names such asKankayanit and Nantias  which means,  here, lived Kankayanit and Tias.  It was also called Busay where waterfalls was found, and Panagatan, a tongue-shaped cove wherethe natives went fishing. During the month of June, July, August and September when “Habagat” rages, its fury would deter one from going out fish at Panagatan and whoever goes   out   to   the   sea   becomes   seasick,   referred   to   as   “Gidagat”   and   “Indagat   “   inVisayan.


A story was told that a stranger reached the place in search of greener pastures. He approached a native and asked him what the inhabitants do for a living, and he answered that they farm and fish to live. His interest in fishing prompted him to inquire where the fish, and he replied and pointed to a place, saying in this native tongue, “dinhiniininadagat”,   which   when   translated   in   English   means,   here,   from   this   bountiful seawaters. The stranger thereafter called the place Dinagat. Since then and until now the name Dinagat has not change. It has been the official name of the first and the oldest community in Dinagat Island then composed of the six (6) sitios of Busay, Pangi,Masikop,   Masi-od,   Balinao-nao   and   Can-ondo,   and   is   still   the   official   name   of   the mother   Municipality   of   the   six   (6)   towns   of   Loreto,   Tubajon,   Libjo   (Albor),   Basilisa(Rizal), Cagdianao and San Jose, having a total land use area of 3,287.0000 hectares only, and twelve (12) barangays.


Dinagat Base Map

Dinagat was originally inhabited by people from the   neighboring provincesof Bohol and Leyte. The first settlers came from Leyte. The generous Leyteños informed some Boholanos traders of a fertile land east of Leyte. The Boholanos, adventurous as they  were  and   still  are,  set  their course   taking the  southward  direction  and  arrived Dinagat in the early part 1800. They found the seawaters of Dinagat abundant with fishin its clear, blue waters and reach marine life. Truly, the land of Dinagat was fertile, whatwith its virgin forest, verdant hills and mountains! Nature’s bounties encourage them to engage   in   fishing   and   farming   as   their   chief   means   of   livelihood.   The   early inhabitant/settlers were the families of Ventura, Ecunar, Ga and Gealogo, followed in 1825, by the families of Jarligo, Geraldino, Ensomo, Eviota and Gier.


The   early   part   of   1830   marked   the   establishment   of   Dinagat   as   part of the Spanish Pueblo of Surigao. The economic growth of Dinagat had gradually improved and   its   population had increased prompting  a  Spanish  priest   to   recommend   to   the higher Spanish authorities between the years 1840 and 1845, the conversion of Dinagatinto a separated pueblo.


In 1849, one Angelo Faxon, a clerk from the Spanish pueblo of Surigao was sent to Dinagat to make a survey of the economic conditions of the inhabitants and they found them financially insufficient and still unable to pay their taxes, but in kinds only like root crops and other farm products. They were encouraged to improve their lot inlife, and the place where they lived. On September 1845, the provincial officials of Surigao headed by Alcalde Mayor Luis   Ybañez   Garcia   after   knowing   that   the   settlers   had   considerably   improved economically, and were more than capable of paying their taxes passed a resolution and issued Section de Gobierno No. 36 requesting Governor General Manuel Crespo for the separation of Dinagat from the mother pueblo of Surigao, with an independent parish.   On January 23, 1855 Bishop Romualdo de Caraga favorably endorsed said request, so that on April 25, 1855, Governor General Crespo issued Dirrecion General No. 5505 Leg. 103, which created Dinagat as the first Spanish pueblo and the firstCatholic parish in Dinagat Island, comprising the barangays of Libjo, Loreto, Tubajon,and Cagdianao.The first set of municipal officials who served office during the periodfrom 1855 to 1856 were: Gobernadorcillo – Pedro Ga Ventura; Los Principles – MarcosJarligo, SereloEviota, Alejandro Geraldino, Leon Ga Ventura, LazaroGealogo,  JuanEnsomo, Miguel Gier.


During Spanish times, Dinagat suffered the attacks of the Muslims who pillaged the   Christian   towns   in   retaliation   of   the   Spanish   invasion   of   their   territory.   The Dinagatnons to protect themselves from the lookout spotted Moro Ventas. The ringing could be heard at distant sitios during fear weather. The bell warned the woman and children to hide in the convent while the men armed themselves against the pirates.


One   night   the   pirates   attacked   Dinagat   and   the   inhabitants   were   caught unprepared. The Muslims went out the chapel lowered down the bell and brought it toBusay, an elevated place about seven kilometers away from the village, and threw the bell into a deep Vito (natural well). Thereafter, they looted the chapel and raped the women while the men helpless watched them. Many attempts to bring out the bell hadbeen made, but failed. Today it is still deep down the Vito of Busay.


There   were   local   defenders   among   the   inhabitants   lead   by   Ventura   brothers(Pedro and Lion) who were popular during those days because of their bravery and knowledge of “estucada”. They used their fighting skills to save the community, and (Linantip) was their arm of defense.


In 1860, when the government throughout Mindanao Region was reorganize into six   Politico   Military   Districts,   the   whole   Island   of   Dinagat   was   annexed   to   Surigao District, which comprised as the third, or East, District of Caraga. During this period, the ancient Island of Dinagat including all coastal territory was under the influence of the Spanish government.


In 1879, Barangay Mabua  ofDinagat  was occasionally  visited   by the   Parish Priest then assigned in Dinagat. Mabua was divided into six sections or barrios, but was still   under   the   jurisdiction   of   Dinagat.   By   1881,   the   name   Mabua   was   changed   to Loreto, the name was given by the Spanish Priest in honor of Loreto, the wife of the Alcalde Mayor of the Province of Surigao.


On September 4, 1890, the Governor General Manuel Sanches issued Direccion General No. 30 which created Loreto as the second Spanish Pueblo in Dinagat Island.The   first   seat   of   Municipal   Officials   who   served   into   Office   was:   Gobernadorcillo   –Agustin   Gupana;   Los   Principales   –   Trinidad   Ga,   Juan   Esme,   Francisco   Cunales, Adriano Maquinano, LaurianoLulab, Petra Cuadra, PaulinoLuib and SeverinoLongino.


The rule of Capitanes ended in 1899 when the town of Loreto was ruled by the revolutionists. Capitan Pecho was the prominent figure at this period. He ruled from 1899 to 1902 when the Filipino – American hostilities ended. Since then, Loreto was burned during Filipino – American war. During that time, Loreto was reduced back as abarrio of Dinagat. New changes were brought about. Aside from the old cedula taxes, land and internal revenue taxes were collected, the Local Government was reorganized. The head of the community was no longer the Capitan but the Tenientedel Barrio. By the   end   of   Spanish   rule   in   1898,   all   Spanish citizens vacated  the  district,  and  the government   was   controlled   by   the   native   officers   who   sympathized   during   the revolution.   Shortly   thereafter,   the   United   States   military   took   over   Surigao’s Administration, until Civil Government was restored in the Province on May 15, 1901.


On   December   20,   1918,   Governor   General   Francis   Burton   Harrison   issued Executive Order No. 60 creating again Municipality of Loreto in the Province of Surigao. The Municipal President who served office during the period from 1919 to 1922 was Constantine Gupana.


Upon   the   recommendation   by   the   Provincial   Board   of   Surigao   based   upon Resolution No. 63, of the Municipal Council of Dinagat headed by Mayor Prospero E.Borja, Cagdianao was created as a Municipality by virtue of Executive Order No. 367 issued on December 23, 1959 by the Late President of Philippines, Carlos P. Garcia.The barrios  of Cagdianao, Maatas, Bayantian, Cabungaan, Lahi, Santa Rita, Nueva Strella, Valencia, Boa and Tigbao, together with their respective sitios of Legaspi and Tapahan,   all   of   the   Municipality   of   Dinagat,   Surigao,   are   segregated   from   said municipality   and   organized   into   an   independent   municipality   to   be   known   as   the Municipality of Cagdianao with the seat of government at the Barrio of Cagdianao. The first Municipal Mayor   who   served   office   during   the   period   from   1960   to  1963,   was Prospero E. Borja.


On December 2, 1959, the two Municipal Councils of Dinagat and Loreto held a joint session at Barrio Libjo. They unanimously approved Resolution No. 5, series of 1959, creating the Municipality of Albor in Province of Surigao. It was agreed by the two councils that Loreto and Dinagat will contribute portions of their territories to comprise the   new   municipality.  The   Northern   portion   of   the   Municipality   was   part   of   Loreto, namely, Barrio Quezon, Libjo, Bolodbolod and San Jose. The Southern portion of the Municipality, such as Barrio Osmeña, Cahayag, Arellano and Plaridel were part of the Municipality of Dinagat.


Albor became a Municipality on February 29, 1960 by virtue of Executive OrderNo. 381 issued by the late President of the Philippines Carlos P. Garcia. The name “Albor” is a combination of the two surnames of Mayor Moises Alfaro of Loreto and Mayor Prospero Borja of Dinagat. The First two letters “AL” came from the surname Alfaro, the Mayor of Loreto and the last syllable “BOR” came from the surname Borja,the   Mayor   of   Dinagat.   The   first   Municipal   Mayor   who   served   to   office   was LambertoLlamera, Sr.


On June 17, 1967, Rizal was created as a municipality under Republic Act No. 4986. The Barrios of Rizal, Cortes, Paniog, Naga, Melgar, Puerto Princesa, Catadman, Tag-abaca,  Columbus,   Montag,   Roxas,   Bagtasa   and   Colo.   In   the   Municipality   of Dinagat, Province of Surigao del Norte, are segregated from said municipality, to be known as Municipality of Rizal, same Province. The seat of Government was located at Barrio Rizal. The First Municipal Mayor who served to office was Rolando Meso. Later, the Municipality of Rizal was renamed to Basilisa by virtue of Republic Act No. 5775, which took effect on June 21, 1969.


In 1966, there was a joint session made by the Municipal Council of Loreto and Barangay   Council   of   Tubajon,   creating   Barrio   Tubajon   as   a   Municipality.  Upon   the recommendation   of   the   Provincial   Board   of   Surigao,   Tubajon   was   created   as   a Municipality under Republic Act No. 5643 on June 21, 1969. The Barrios of San Vicente, Sta.   Cruz,   Roxas,   Mabini,   Malinao,   Navarro   and   Emelda   are   separated   from   the Municipality of Loreto and transferred to the Municipality of Tubajon. The first Municipal Mayor was Jacinto S. Pinat, Sr.

          On November 15, 1989, San Jose was created by virtue of Republic Act. No.6769 which was signed into law by President Corazon C. Aquino. Barangays such as, San   Jose,   Matingbi,   Jacquez,   Aurello,   Mahayahay,   San   Juan,   Don   Ruben, JustinianaEdera, Sta. Cruz, Cuarinta, Wilson and Luna are segregated from Dinagat to constitute a separated and independent Municipality of San Jose, both in the Province of Surigao del Norte. The first Mayor who served to office was Ruben B. Ecleo, Jr.,


The Founding


The year 1885 marked the creation of the Municipality of Dinagat, enabling act Direction General No.5505, Leg 103, occupying the territorial boundaries of the whole island. From 1889 to 1990, its boundaries were gradually reduced to six municipalities, namely: Loreto, Cagdianao, Libjo, Basilisa, Tubajon, and San Jose.

The town became a part of the province of Dinagat Islands in December 2006, when the province was created from Surigao del Norte by Republic Act No. 9355. However, in February 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional, as the necessary requirements for provincial land area and population were not met. The town reverted to Surigao del Norte. On October 24, 2012, however, the Supreme Court reversed its ruling from the previous year, and upheld the constitutionality of RA 9355 and the creation of Dinagat Islands as a province.


Dinagat is politically subdivided into 12 barangays.

  • Bagumbayan

  • Cab-ilan

  • Cabayawan

  • Cayetano

  • Escolta (Poblacion)

  • Gomez

  • Justiniana Edera

  • Magsaysay

  • Mauswagon (Poblacion)

  • New Mabuhay

  • Wadas

  • White Beach (Poblacion)


According to the Bureau of Local Government Finance, the annual regular revenue of Dinagat for the fiscal year of 2016 was ₱60,621,325.90.



Population by age group

According to the 2015 Census, the age group with the highest population in Dinagat is 10 to 14, with 1,258 individuals. Conversely, the age group with the lowest population is 75 to 79, with 154 individuals.

Historical population

The population of Dinagat grew from 10,095 in 1960 to 10,632 in 2015, an increase of 537 people. The latest census figures in 2015 denote a negative growth rate of 3.45%, or a decrease of 2,154 people, from the previous population of 12,786 in 2010.


The municipal center of Dinagat is situated at approximately 9° 58' North, 125° 35' East, in the island of Dinagat. Elevation at these coordinates is estimated at 11.6 meters or 38.2 feet above mean sea level


 • Type

 • Mayor

 • Vice Mayor

 • Congressman

 • Governor

 • Vice Governor

 • Electorate


 • Total

Zip/Postal Code

: Sangguniang Bayan

: Simplicio S. Leyran Jr.

: Petnel O. Sombrado

: Alan 1 B. Ecleo

: Arlene "Kaka" Bag ao

: Nilo P. Demerey Jr.

: 8,080 voters (2019)

: 139.94 km2 (54.03 sq mi)

: 8412