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Total population
367,278[1] (2010)
Regions with significant populations
(Caraga, Davao Region)
Surigaonon, Cebuano, Tagalog
predominantly Roman Catholic, Buddhism, others
Related ethnic groups
other Visayans, other Filipinos, Other Austronesians groups (especially Indonesians, Dayak, Malays, Meratus Dayak and other non-Muslim Pribumi)

The Surigaonon people are an ethnolinguistic group who inhabited on the eastern coastal plain of Mindanao, particularly the provinces of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands. They are also present in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and in Davao Oriental. They are part of the Bisaya people, who constitute the largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group in the country.


Rajah Siawi and Rajah Kulambo, members of the nobility of the Surigaonon and Butuanon people, respectively, were encountered by the Magellan expedition in 1521 on the island of Limasawa (which was a hunting ground for the rulers). Antonio Pigafetta describes them as being tattooed and covered in gold ornaments. Pigafetta also records the name of the Surigao region as "Calagan".[2]: 141–142 


Currently, the Surigaonons number about 1,000,000 (estimates) based on the population of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and some speakers of Agusan del Norte.

Surigaonons are Austronesians, like almost all native Filipino ethnic groups. They are part of the wider Visayan ethnic group. Their language closely resembles Cebuano, albeit with some local words and phrases. Hence, it is considered by most linguists to be a separate language, the Surigaonon language. Because of the mass influx of Cebuano settlers to Mindanao, they also speak Cebuano as second language since Surigaonon is a Visayan language, other languages are Tagalog, and English as third languages. The vast majority of Surigaonons are Roman Catholics, very few are Muslims in contrast to its very closely related Tausug brothers which are predominantly Muslims.


Main article: Surigaonon language

Below is a table which demonstrates that Surigaonon is more related to Tausug than Cebuano:

English Filipino (Tagalog) Surigaonon Tausug Cebuano
What is your name? Ano ang pangalan mo? Unu an ngayan mu?/siman ang ngayan mu? Unu in ngān mu? Unsa ang pangan nimo?
My name is Muhammad. Ang pangalan ko ay si Muhammad. An ngayan ku ay Muhammad/ Ang ngayan ko si Muhammad. In ngān ku Muhammad. Ang pangan nako ay Muhammad.
How are you? Kumusta ka na? Kumosta na ikaw? Maunu-unu nakaw? Kumusta na ka? / Nagunsa na man ka?
I am fine, (too) Ayos lang ako. Madayaw da isab aku (Tandaganon) or Marajaw ako (Surigaonon). Marayaw da isab. Maayo ra ko.
Where is Ahmad? Nasaan si Ahmad? Hain si Ahmad?/ Haman si Ahmad Hawnu hi Ahmad? Asa si Ahmad?
He is in the house. Nasa bahay siya. Sa bayay sija. Ha bāy siya. Sa balay sya.
Thank you Salamat. Salamat. Magsukul. Salamat.
‘I am staying at’ or ‘I live at’ Nakatira po ako sa. Naghuya aku sa. Naghuhula’ aku ha. Nagpuyo ako sa.
I am here at the house. Nandito ako say bahay. Jari aku sa bayay. Yari aku ha bay. Ni-a ko sa bay.
I am Hungry. Nagugutom ako. In-gutom aku./ Tag gutom aku. Hiyapdi' aku. Gi-gutom ko.
He is there, at school. Nandoon siya sa paaralan. Jadtu sija sa iskuljahan. Yadtu siya ha iskul. Tu-a sya sa iskul.
Person Tao Tau Tau Tawo
River Ilog Suyug Sug Suba


The Surigaonons, like the closely related Butuanon people, are part of the larger Visayan group and have a culture similar to the Cebuanos. Pre-Hispanic Surigaonons are very fond of ornamental designs and displays. Most Surigaonons are agriculturalists.

See also

Surigaonon language


Ethnic groups in the Philippines


  1. ^ "2010 Census of Population and Housing, Report No. 2A: Demographic and Housing Characteristics (Non-Sample Variables) - Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  2. ^ Nowell, C. E. (1962). "Antonio Pigafetta's account". Magellan's Voyage Around the World. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. hdl:2027/mdp.39015008001532. OCLC 347382.