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Title: Surigaonons  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ethnic groups in Mindanao
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Total population
1,000,000 (estimates) based on the population of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and some speakers of Agusan del Norte
Regions with significant populations
Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Davao Oriental
Surigaonon and/or Tandaganon, (Second languages) Cebuano, Tagalog, English
predominantly Roman Catholic, 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 part of the wider Visayan ethnolinguistic group, who constitute the largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group. Although traditionally grouped with the Cebuanos, the Surigaonons are a distinct identity.


  • Area 1
  • Demographics 2
    • Below table demonstrates that Surigaonon is more related to Tausug than Cebuano 2.1
  • Culture 3
  • History 4


Surigaonons populate 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.


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.

Their ancestors were the Austronesian-speaking immigrants who came from South China during the Iron Age. The Surigaonons are Visayans. 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.

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

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


The Surigaonons have a culture similar to the Cebuanos. Pre-Hispanic Surigaonons are very fond of ornamental designs and displays. Most Surigaonons are agriculturalists. Spanish annals described the Surigaonons as ‘good and obedient, but are not very hardworking’.


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