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Cantilan, Surigao del Sur

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Title: Cantilan, Surigao del Sur  
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Subject: Surigao del Sur, Madrid, Surigao del Sur, Caraga, Bislig, Municipalities of Surigao del Sur
Collection: Municipalities of Surigao Del Sur
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Cantilan, Surigao del Sur

Cantilan Harbour
Cantilan Harbour
Nickname(s): The Cradle Town
Region Caraga (Region XIII)
District 1st district of Surigao del Sur
Founded 1782
Barangays 17
 • Mayor Genito B. Guardo
 • Total 240.10 km2 (92.70 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 30,231
 • Density 130/km2 (330/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
Income class 2nd

Cantilan is a second class municipality in the province of Surigao del Sur, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 30,231 people.[3]

Cantilan is considered the "Cradle of Towns" in Surigao del Sur. It originally encompassed the whole area of Carcanmadcarlan or the present towns of Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmen and Lanuza.

The town has unspoiled beaches of gray and white sand, picturesque islands and islets, hills and rock formations, farmlands and green pasturelands, and forest areas with rare plants and animals. Cantilan is celebrating its town fiesta every 15 August. Highlighting to the said event is the Sirong Festival.


  • Geography 1
    • Barangays 1.1
    • Climate 1.2
  • History 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Economy 4
  • Tourism 5
  • Sirong Festival 6
  • Education 7
  • Transportation 8
  • Telecommunications 9
  • Notable Cantilangnons 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Cantilan is the second northernmost municipality of CarCanMadCarLan and so also the second northernmost municipality of the province. The neighbouring municipalities are Carrascal in the north-west and Madrid in the south-east.


Cantilan is politically subdivided into 17 barangays.[2] Buntalid and Magasang were constituted as barrios in 1956.[4]

  • Bugsukan
  • Buntalid
  • Cabangahan
  • Cabas-an
  • Calagdaan
  • Consuelo
  • General Island
  • Lininti-an (Pob.)
  • Lobo
  • Magasang
  • Magosilom (Pob.)
  • Pag-Antayan
  • Palasao
  • Parang
  • San Pedro
  • Tapi
  • Tigabong


Cantilan, like the whole island of Mindanao is considered having a tropical climate, with an average monthly precipitation of 308.66 mm (12.5 inches). However, its wettest season fall between the months of November until March. Dry season start between April to September with brief afternoon showers and thunderstorms locally called sobasco.

Climate data for Cantilan, Philippines
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29
Average low °C (°F) 22
Average precipitation mm (inches) 582.4


Cantilan existed as a settlement for more than three centuries as early as 1709.

According to legend, the word Cantilan originated from the big shell of a bivalve locally called, “Tilang”. A couple with beautiful daughters lived close to the location of the big shell. When suitors came to visit the daughters and were asked their destination, they would answer, “Can Tilang” (meaning “to Tilang’s"). Eventually, “Can Tilang” became “Cantilan”.[5]

According to sources, it was created by virtue of the Spanish Royal Decree of 1768 known as Maura Law. Another source states however, that Fr. Valerio de San Agustin implemented it in 1782 at “Daan Lungsod,” the old town in the coastal area. It was populated with people from Bayuyo, Ilihan and Calagdan. They constructed a fortification, a "Kuta", (Fort) made of limetones later named as Baluarte de Señor San Miguel, located across the river in the modern Cantilan.

  • 1782: Cantilan became a regular parish under Fray Valero de San Agustin, a recollect.
  • 1856: On October 14, a hurricane from the north which turned over east and south increased to an intensity that tidal waves changed the whole town into a sea. Every thing was swept away. On October 15, Cantilan became a wasteland. The survivors together with the parish priest Fray Modesto Marzo y Casabana then crossed the river and started to build the new Cantilan.
  • 1898: Cantilan total population had reached 10,026.
  • 1918: On December 10, Executive Order No. 52 of American Governor General Francis Burton Harrison was issued that divided Cantilan into three parts.
  • 1960: Cantilan became part of the new province of Surigao del Sur.


Coast Fishing in Cantilan

The inhabitants of Cantilan are called Cantilangnons. Its unique dialect is called Cantelangnon.


The main part is agriculture (rice, coconut palms), animal breeding (water buffalos, pigs and chickens/roosters) and coastal fishing. There is also a small branch of tourism. Interesting is the Lechon house that offers roasted pigs inclusive delivery.


Beach Resort at bay-bay

Points of interest:

  • Tinago Surf Break (Ayoke Island) – Unspoiled, Ayoke Island in Surigao is swell seekers’ haven
  • Baluarte Surfing Spot (Baybay II)
  • General Island wreck diving
  • Tilang Beach
  • Malinawa Cool Spring (Parang Cantilan)
  • Blue Lagoon

Cantilan has a pizzeria in barangay San Pedro which is a long beach (Baybay) with dark sand. At this beach a lot of party-places with waiting sheds. Some of them offer karaoke/videoke, they offer assorted drinks and snacks of your choice. Nearby lodges are available, including the Solar Lodge located fronting the shore.

Sirong Festival

The Sirong Festival is a mardi-gras parade participated by different contingents from other towns. A cash price and a trophy awaits to the winner of the street dancing competition and the final showdown (2009 Sirong Festival Champion (SURIGAO CITY, SDN Contingent)).

Modernism cannot play alone in the cultural viewpoint because the undetachable past is the heel of its adaptation of the present. Unless there is no past culture, the beauty of the modern art would fail its recognition. Acceptance of a new thing in art more concernedly on drama is dealt with delight, pleasure and entertainment. What has time imbibed today is good amusement which is the reachable means of divergence for the eyes and mind. This street drama is a slice of the past in Cantilan was performed in the portal of the old Immaculate Conception Church, in the streets of Linintian and Magosilom. The predecessors of the present generation had imprinted it as a form of drama called ”Sirong.”

Cantilan Sirong Festival 2008

Absurd as it may appear from the present generation and entertainment but it relives to have a place in the present mood of art. For modern Cantilangnon seems to salvage this old form but lovers of history in culture and arts like the BARDUGS delightedly bears a sense of concern to revive it adjacently and significantly to foster tourism.

This drama is related to a Christian religious activity which links to devotional tradition that could be traced back in Cantilan.

As time rolled on when Christianity was already established, hostility between the Christians and the Muslims ensued. This surely affected the coastal towns.The remnants of that war were presumably, the Moor raiders, called “Moros” (the Muslim Filipinos) the Spanish term for Moor or Muslim. ‘After the Christianization of Cantilan, raiding incidents were so alarming that the native Cantilangnons strove to make some defensive stand on some remote incidents by actual Sirong or escrima against the marauders.These incidents were the familiar sights to the villagers of Can Tilang. In some instances, when the raiders or Moros were ashore riding on their crafts, an apparition or a specter of a woman remarkably interceded and drove away the invaders. There were other incidents of this nature, the sources said, but all attempts of the marauders were foiled through the intercessor who protected the residents from an attack. The native Cantilangnons then became strong believers and more steadfast in their faith. They believed that the intercessor was an angel of God or a Saint.

The Moro problem created an opportunity for priests and people to find solutions to protect their lives and material interests. Fr. Miguel de los Arcos urged the people to fortify their town. This is now known as Baluarte de San Miguel.


Surigao del Sur State University

Cantilan has both public and private schools from elementary, secondary and tertiary.

  • Hotchkiss Learning Center
  • Cantilan East Central Elementary School
  • Cantilan Pilot School
  • Cantilan National High School
  • Saint Michael's College[6]
  • Cantilan Campus of the Surigao del Sur State University (SDSSU), formerly Surigao del Sur Polytechnic State College (SSPSC),and Surigao del Sur Institute of Technology (SSIT)[7]


Pedicabs are roaming the streets of Cantilan.

By Land

Buses ("Bachelor Express"), Vans and Jeepneys ply from Cantilan to Tandag and Surigao City vv on the coast-road Surigao-Tandag. Unfortunately, the connection to Surigao City is sometimes a hassle during rainy season, because cars/vans can be trapped in the mud between Adlay (Carrascal) and Claver. The unattractive part of the "road" (no concrete) has currently (as of December 2012) a length of 12.5 km. Concreting of road is still on-going.

By Sea

Inter-island vessels like 2Go and Sulpicio Lines ply the Manila-Surigao City routes on regular schedule. Cokaliong also has schedules from Cebu-Surigao City routes on a daily basis. The harbour in the Cantilan river can be used by Pump boats only. On the east side of the Capungan peninsula, that separates the Lanuza bay from Carrascal bay, exists with "Consuelo Port" also a harbour for bigger ships.

By Air

The next Airports are Surigao Airport (IATA: SUG, ICAO: RPMS) and Butuan Airport (IATA: BXU, ICAO: RPME). The Tandag Airfield (IATA: TDG, ICAO: RPMW) has limited flights from Manila and Cebu City starting on June 30, 2014.


Cellular Network Providers:

Notable Cantilangnons

  • Leopoldo D. Yau - Born in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur on August 15, 1940. One of Intel's microchip inventor. He owned more than 20 US Patented inventions mostly for Intel Corporation, the world's largest semiconductor chip maker, based on revenue.[8]
  • Fr.Pacifico A. Ortiz, SJ - Born in Cantilan on September 1913. He became the personal chaplain of the then President Manuel L. Quezon, later appointed as the first Filipino President of Ateneo de Manila University.[9]
  • Prospero Arreza Pichay, Jr. (Butch Pichay) - Born on June 20, 1950 in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur. He is the son of Provincial Treasurer Prospero Pichay Sr. He became the Congressman of Surigao del Sur 1st district from 1998 until 2007.
  • Gov. Pedro Arreza Coleto - Born in Cantilan who became the first Cantilangnon to serve as a Governor of the undivided province of Surigao in 1922. Prior to his Gubernatorial designation, he was sent by the Americans to be trained as a soldier at the Philippine Military Academy and served as an officer in the Philippine Constabulary.[10]
  • Lt. Gen. William Hotchkiss III - Born on January 8, 1943 in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur. He was a member of the famed Blue Diamonds, a combat ready pilot. On November 29, 1996, he became the 24th Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force. Further, in line with environmental protection, he is an ex-officio member of the Philippine Eagle Foundation. He is currently the CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) Director General.
  • Lt. Gen. Hernando Delfin Carmelo Arreza Iriberri, PMA Class "Matikas", 1983 - Current Commanding General of the Philippine Army (56th).[11]


  1. ^ "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 1 July 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: SURIGAO DEL SUR". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "An Act Converting into Barrios Certain Sitios in the Province of Surigao, and Dividing the Barrio of Macalaya into Two Barrios, Municipality of Placer, in the Same Province". Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  5. ^ Historical timeline of Cantilan.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Cantilan Personalities (Leopoldo Yau) - Cantilan Historical Preservation Movement". 
  9. ^ "Cantilan Personalities (Fr.Pacifico Ortiz,SJ) - Cantilan Historical Preservation Movement". 
  10. ^ "Cantilan Personalities (Gov.Pedro Coleto) - Cantilan Historical Preservation Movement". 
  11. ^ "BGen.Hernando Iriberri". Appointed commander of the Army’s 503rd Brigade in Abra province. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 

External links

  • Cantilan Historical Preservation Movement
  • Statistische Informationen des NSCB
  • The Official Website of Municipality of Cantilan
  • Philippine Standard Geographic Code
  • Local Governance Performance Management System
  • eCarCanMadCarLan Portal
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