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PIA Press Release
2008/11/17

Feature: The Land of Promise awaits…!

by Malou C. Furia

Butuan City (17 November) -- Butuan City is situated at the Northeastern part of Agusan Valley sprawling across the Agusan River and is known for its colorful history and culture.

Butuan is believed to have gotten its name from a sour fruit "Batuan". Others supposed it came from a certain "Datu Buntuan", a chieftain who once ruled Butuan. Scholars believed it came from the word "But-an", which literally means a person who has sound and perceptive disposition.

Butuan history, culture, arts date back to the 4th century as seen from its relics and artifacts making it an exciting source of cultural artifacts in Mindanao. As early as the 10th century, according to Song Shi (history), people from Butuan had already established trading relations with the kingdom of Champa in what is now South Vietnam. In the 11th century, Butuan was the center of trade and commerce in the Philippines as evidenced by the discovery of 9 Balangays (the BUTUAN BOAT) and other archaeological finds in the vicinities of Butuan, particularly in Ambangan, Libertad near the OLD RIO de BUTUAN and MASAO River.

Butuan City is originally located in Pinamanculan by the banks of the Masao River, a kilometer away from the 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. Then again, transferred to Lapaca, now known as Linungsuran in Barrio Banza about five kilometers inland of Agusan River. Still troubled by floods, the people once more resettled, this time permanently in the higher place called Agao, which is the present site of the city proper.

To describe Butuan is not complete without infusing it with the significance of Agusan River and its tributaries providing the valley with rich soil from periodic flood. Its winding route through the city and the two Agusan provinces provide the people easy means of transportation for trade and commerce and encourage 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 mouth. Towards this, to the north and seaward, run fertile rice lands and halfway round the city to the southwest, roll the gently sloping hills over Mount Mayapay. To the east, the majestic Hilong-Hilong and Diwata mountain ranges protecting the entire valley from fierce Pacific storms.

As everyone knows, ancient Filipinos may have their alphabet, however these writing have been destroyed by the elements as they were written on a fragile medium of wood and leaf. The more reliable source were documents written by court scribes of nearby kingdoms with a strong sense of history, such as China, this being the oldest civilization.

In the compilation of the book of William Henry Scott, "Filipinos in China Before 1500", he translated the various annals of China's ruling dynasties dealing with trade missions from the Philippines, the earliest mention of any place-name in the Philippine archipelago in a written document was about Ma-I and Butuan during the Sung dynasty period. W.H. Scott wrote that "the first Philippines tribute mission to China appears to have come from Butuan on 17 March 1001". The Song Shi (Sung Dynasty history) noted the various tribute/trade missions from 1001 to 1011 AD.

The Song Shi (Song Hui Yao Ji Gao, vol. 197) recounted that in October 1003, Butuan's King Qi-Ling sent two of his ministers, Li-yi-han and Jia-mi-nan as emissaries to present tributes of native products and red parrots. By 1004, the Emperor's messengers fetched the Butuan envoys to witness the New Year Festival with their lanterns and feast.

Butuan's continued trading directly with China is simply because of economic advantage to buy and sell goods with the Chinese than to continue the centuries-old pattern for middlemen to deal in behalf of the kingdom of Champa. Various evidence emerged that Butuan was an important trade center from the 9th to the 10th centuries which was a period of unusual energy and expansion in the Southeast Asia. Butuan is described by historians and European scholars as the "Land of Eden", the home of kings and land of gold.

As recounted by Jaffra, a Spanish exchange of Spanish merchandise, proof of which is what appears to be a gold manufacturing area somewhere In Manapa where intricate designs of jewelry moldings were excavated.

Today, after a thousand years, Butuan City remains steadfast in reclaiming its lost glory to become the Center of CARAGA Region, and the only highly urbanized city consisting eighty six (86) barangays. In 2000 Butuan reflected 267, 279 population while in 2007, it registered 298, 378 population per records from the National Statistics Office rising at the rate of 1.58% annually. Christianity predominates the religious faith while Islam comprises a minority number sharing it with other religious congregations.

Butuan has a land area of 82,728 hectares, and enjoys tropical weather through out the year. With mountain ranges surrounding the island, Butuan is free from typhoon and blessed with minimal rain from June to December sustaining its rich abundance in agricultural products.

Tourists are welcome in Butuan since they are actively courted by the government and locals alike with the hope to develop tourism industry as fast at it could knowing fully well that job opportunities will follow.

Every facility exists whether man-made or natural to give visitors a comfortable stay. The city is equipped with 1st class hotels while excursions are readily available to the eight historical sights (Suatan Burial Site, Bonbon Shell Midden, Balanghai Boats, Banza Church Ruins, Balanghai Shrine, First Flag Hoisting, First Catholic Mass) both within and around the mainland.

It is a good place to break one's journey for a few days longer and enjoy the climate all through out the year.

Numerous untapped natural resources abound in the city, scenic habitués, land conversion to subdivisions/sports arena/and or recreation area, shopping centers, and more. Butuan's strategic location is very much adjacent to Cebu, General Santos City, Davao, Cagayan del Oro, Iligan, Bislig, Iloilo, Zamboanga, and Manila is merely a couple of hours' drive by land, boat or by plane.

Another advantage the city has to offer is its size. It is so compact that no one needs to undertake a long journey, interesting sights are within an hour's drive and a detailed tour of any area can contentedly be made in half a day.

To those with interests in history, the Balangay boats and artifacts can be viewed and much can be learned from the impressive museum near the city government's premises.

With educational institutions and learning system numbering 108 Day Care Centers, 23 Pre-Schooler, 120 Elementary Schools, 35 Secondary Schools, 14 Tertiary Schools, and 16 Technical/Vocation Schools, Butuan has advanced as a source of educated professional people. It is easy, friendly society and has actually been a forge of every social origin (Luzon, Visayas, Chinese, Spaniards, Europeans, Japanese, Australians, Germans, Indians among other nationalities and etc.).

Stability, prosperity, bustling economy, roads, bridges, domestic flights seven days a week and infrastructure boom have been brought to Butuan over the past years by the Plaza family who have wisely led its people through and electoral process.

The Plazas were originally from Surigao and migrated at Talacogon, Agusan del Sur (once part of Butuan before it was divided into Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte through a Presidential Decree) are from a poor but industrious, hardworking and deeply religious people. The late Democrito O. Plaza is the embodiment of a person worthy of emulation who worked his way to the top echelon of society and later established businesses ranging from cement, real estate, restaurants, entertainment chains among others in various part of the country. He left behind investments, properties and practically own the entire Agusan del Sur area. Honorable Democrito "Boy Daku" Plaza II now, the local chief executive of Butuan followed the footsteps of his late father Democrito O. Plaza as the undefeated City Mayor of Butuan, a record, unsurpassed in the political history of the land.

Butuan City's thrusts of active tourism industry is a crucial task for economic advancement, a challenge which entail prospective investors to discover investment opportunities. With very minimal crime rate and the most livable city nation wide which ranked 6th as the most promising progressive mid-sized city, investors are at ease that Butuan City Government supports their need in every way possible like tax holidays and other incentives.

"Boy Daku Plaza II", your public servant from Butuan, welcomes everyone to come, visit, and invest in the historic land of gold, the ancient trading port, the ancient land of kings and more! Much of nature's discovery awaits and be acquainted with Butuan… Your home. Where your investment is safe, partners in progress. (PIO-Butuan City/ PIA-Caraga) [top]

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