|Region||Caraga (Region XIII)|
|Mayor||Democrito D. Plaza II (independent)|
|Area|| 817.28 km²|
|Total (2000)|| 267,279|
Butuan City is the regional center of the Caraga Region in the Philippines. It is located at the northeastern part of Agusan Valley in northern Mindanao, sprawling across the Agusan River. It is bounded to the north, west and south by Agusan del Norte, to the east by Agusan del Sur and to the northwest by Butuan Bay. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 267,279 people in 50,273 households.
The name "Butuan" is believed to have originated from the sour fruit "batuan". Other etymology sources say that it comes from a certain "Datu Buntuan", a chieftain who once ruled over Butuan.
As early as the 10th century, people from Butuan had already established trading relations with the Kingdom of Champa (now southern Vietnam). By the 11th century, Butuan was the center of trade and commerce in the Philippines. This was evidenced by the discovery of 9 balangays and other archeological artifacts in the vicinities of Butuan City, particularly in Ambangan, Libertad near the old El Rio de Butuan and Masao River.
Much controversy and debate has been generated with regard to whether the first mass in the Philippines was celebrated in Limasawa, Leyte or in Masao, Butuan City. It is certain, however, that Ferdinand Magellan did drop anchor by the mouth of Agusan River in 1521 and held a mass to commemorate the event.
The first municipal election in Butuan took place in March 1902 in accordance with Public Law No. 82 which coincided with the American occupation of the area.
In 1943, during the World War II Japanese occupation of the Philippines, Butuan was razed to the ground when the guerilla forces attacked the local Japanese garrison. Some years later, while still recovering from the war, the entire municipality was ruined by a fire on October 20, 1948.
The boom of the logging industry during the 1950s up to the middle of 1970s made Butuan the "Timber City of the South". The outcome of this was an influx of business and fortune seekers from other provinces. The once lethargic town suddenly became a bustling locality. The flourishing logging industry prompted Congressman Marcos M. Calo to file a bill converting Butuan into a city. On August 2, 1950, Butuan became a city by virtue of Republic Act No. 523, otherwise known as the City Charter of Butuan.
From being a chartered city, Butuan was reclassified into a highly urbanized city on February 7, 1985 pursuant to the provision of section 166 and 168 of Local Government Code of 1997 and Memorandum Circular 83-49 of the Ministry of Local Government. The re-classification was based on its output and population as certified by the Ministry of Finance and the National Census and Statistics Office.
Butuan City has a land area of 816.62 km², which is roughly 4.1% of the total area of the Caraga region. With a total population of 247,074, it has an average density of 303 persons per km², higher than the regional average density of 101 persons per km².
The existing land use of the city consists of the following: agriculture areas (397.23 km²), forestland (268 km²), grass/shrub/pasture land (61.14 km²) and other uses (90.242 km²). Of the total forestland, 105 km² is classified as production forest area while 167.5 km² is protection forest area.
In production forest area, mostly industrial tree species are grown. Protection forest area, on the other hand, contains a variety of species and is preserved to sustain ecological well-being. If these watershed areas dry up, heavy rains bring about rapid water run-off, creating flash floods; while sunny days bring about rapid evaporation, leaving the area arid.
Butuan City is endowed with swamplands near its coastal area. These swamp areas are interconnected with the waterways joined by the Agusan River. Most of the swamplands are actually mangroves that serve as habitat to different marine species.
The fishing ground of Butuan is the Butuan Bay, where two coastal barangays are located. These are barangays Lumbocan and Masao. The bay extends some two kilometers out to sea and joins the Bohol Sea.
Butuan City is politically subdivided into 86 barangays. Of these, 27 are classified as urban and the remaining 59 are classified as rural.
Agusan River is the widest, deepest and longest navigable river in Mindanao. As a tribute to the Patroness of the Agusan River, Senora Sta. Ana, the Abayan Festival was born – a day-long celebration of baroto races and a fluvial procession at the Agusan River.
Balangay Shrine Museum
Five kilometers east of the city proper lays the graveyard of the balangay dated 320 A.D. or 1678 years old. To date, 9 balangays have already been discovered in Ambangan, Libertad sites. Three have been excavated and others are still in Situ.
Butuan Regional Museum
This museum is the repository of historical and cultural materials and artifacts that testify to Butuan's prehistoric existence and rich cultural heritage. There are two exhibit galleries. In the Archaeological Hall, specimens of stonecraft, metalcraft, woodcraft, pottery, goldcraft, burial coffins, and other archaeological diggings are exhibited. At the Ethnological Hall are exhibits of contemporary cultural materials the Butuanon used in everyday living.
Looming southwest of the Agusan Valley is this majestic mountain plateau. It rises to 2,214 feet (675 m) above sea level. Mount Mayapay got its name from the ancient Madjapahit Empire. The history behind the Sri-Vishaya period bears much meaning and influence of Butuan's pre-historic and archeological discoveries.
The Kahimunan Festival is celebrated every third Sunday of January in celebration of the city patron Sr. Sto. Niño. This celebration is the version of the Sinulog festival of Cebu City. Kahimunan is a lumad term which means "gathering".
Cultural Festival/Tourism Consciousness Week is a celebration that lasts from the last week of July up to August 2 in celebration of the Charter Day of Butuan.
Abayan Festival is a cultural festival in celebration of St. Anne, patroness of Agusan River, celebrated every last Sunday of July.
Adlaw Hong Butuan is the charter day celebration of Butuan, which includes a thanksgiving mass, motorcade, palagsing festival, street party recognitions of outstanding Butuanons and city government employees night.
Butuan celebrates its annual fiesta for the celebration of city patron St. Joseph every May 19 of the year. The fiesta consists of many events such as a summer league basketball championship game, thanksgiving mass and more.
- Butuan City by Gerard Piepenbrock
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- A History of Butuan City at the Agusan–Surigao Historical Archive
- BUTUAN City Today
- Kahimunan Festival of Butuan