Just off to the north of the Caraga region lies Butuan City, an ancient metropolis that has been the staging ground for some of the most significant events in Philippine history, including the first public display of the national flag and the first celebration of Easter. Toady it is also known as a prime tourist destination.
Rising to nearly 700 meters ( 2,200 ft) Mount Mayapay is one of the most impressive monuments in stone that nature has carved in the entire Caraga region.
Mount Maypay is very near Agusan Valley, and it one of the favorite destinations of climbers and adventurers. However, the mountain and the area around it is also rich in history, evidenced by the fact that the name Mayapay was derived from the Madjapahit Empire.
The Butuan Boats (Balangay)
No visit to the city would be complete without a look at the Balangays, the most ancient sea vessels ever found in the Philippines.
The wood boats, of which nine have been unearthed, date back to the fourth century AD, centuries before the Spaniards came. Another intriguing aspect of the Balangay is that their shape and design are unique; there is nothing like them elsewhere in the Philippines, or anywhere else for that matter.
The Golden Tara
Butuan City has had a such a long and varied history that numerous artifacts have been discovered in its vicinity more often than any other place. One of the most amazing is the figure known as the
It was in 1917 when a native resident unearthed the figurine from the banks of the Agusan River, itself a source of lore and legend. Weighing in an four pounds, it shows a woman sitting cross legged, with the whole thing made of 21k gold. Its origin is still unknown, but it is supposed by archeologists to represent a goddess.
The Agusan River
Much of the history and culture of Butuan City can be found and relived with a boat tour of the Agusan River, the largest in the whole of the Visayas.
If you take a boat tour of the whole river, you are not just passing by its waters, but because there are several communities that were built along the river bank, you will also get a chance to examine the life and cultures of the peoples then. Such as the importance of the place that a festival is held in its honor every year called the Abayan Festival.
The Butuan Regional Museum
It is only fitting that a city that has seen so much history have a sanctuary to hold its precious heritage, and the Butuan Regional Museum is just that.
The structure is officially classified into two parts: the Archaeological Hall features an extensive collection of crafts, metals, carvings, burial paraphernalia and other items dating from the city’s ancient past.
As more and more of its history is unearthed, more are added to the collection. The Ethnological Hall on the other hand, places more emphasis on the contemporary life, culture and works of the local inhabitants of Butuan.
The Diocesan Ecclesiastical Museum
The Diocesan Ecclesiastical Museum is recognized as the very first repository of Catholic relics in Mindanao, and is frequented by devotees.
As such, the museum houses some of the most important items in the Catholic Church’s history in Mindanao and Butuan City. Among those that you will be able to see are antique goblets, cups and attires worn by the various clergy that held office there.
The Sto. Niño Diocesan Shrine
Before the Santo Nino was taken to Cebu, Magellan had taken the statue to Butuan City, where it made a strong impression on the local populace. This would eventually lead to the creation of the Sto. Nino Shrine.
Located in Libertad, the shrine is noted for the number of images and relics that are housed there, which have been drawing in large numbers of people. Aside from the shrine itself, Mount Mayapay is nearby as well, providing an attractive contrast to the altar.