Historic Butuan

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“In the beginning, there was no Philippines but there was BUTUAN”

Such is the claim to fame of Butuan, a province located in the Caraga region in Northeastern Mindanao; a place known for its rich history and colorful culture.

Butuan is a term believed to have originated from the sour fruit “Batuan”. Others opined, 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 discerning disposition.

As early as the 10th century, according to the Chinese Song Shi (history), people from Butuan had already established trading relations with the kingdom of Champa in what is now South Vietnam. By the 11th century, Butuan was the center of trade and commerce in the Philippines. The best evidence to prove this fact is the discovery of 9 balangays (The Butuan Boats) and other archeological finds in the vicinities of Butuan City, particularly in Ambangan, Libertad near the old El Rio de Butuan and Masao River.

With almost 1,700 years of recorded history, Butuan’s past may very well serve as testaments of our people’s pride as future generations of Filipinos look back into our proud heritage.

Butuan Sights
The Diosdado Macapagal Bridge is the longest bridge in Mindanao, the only cable stayed bridge with steel deck and single tower with a total length of 10.3 kilometers. Inaugurated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on July 10, 2007, the project which begun on May 6, 2004 was completed in May 2007. 

Built at a cost of 2.2B pesos and funded through a Special Yen Loan Package from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), it is envisioned to provide a more reliable infrastructure with greater design and safer traffic measures.

The Butuan Regional Museum is the repository of historical and cultural materials and artifacts that proves Butuan’s prehistoric existence and rich cultural heritage. 

There are two exhibit galleries, the Archaeological Hall and the Ethnological Hall. 

The former contain specimens of stone crafts, metal crafts, woodcrafts, potteries, goldsmith, burial coffins, and other archaeological diggings; the latter exhibits contemporary cultural materials the Butuanon used for a living.

Five kilometers east of the city proper lays the graveyard of the Balangay 1 dated 320 A.D. or 1688 years old. This wooden plank-build and edge-pegged boats measured an average of 15 meters in length and 3 meters wide across the beam. To date, 9 Balangays have already been discovered in Ambangan, Libertad sites. Three have been excavated and others are still in their original buried sites

Located in Brgy. Pinamanculan is the First Easter Mass Eco-Park or Bood Pormontory. Towering on a hilltop is the image of a cross where the first suppose Easter mass in the Philippines was celebrated in March 31, 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan.

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