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Madrid Surigao Del Sur
Madrid, Surigao Del Sur

Madrid is a fourth class municipality in the province of Surigao del Sur, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 15,223 people.

Madrid was named after the capital city of Spain, Madrid. It has 14 barangays and two comprising the Poblacion: Linibunan and Quirino.

The municipality of Madrid lies in the northern part of the province, in the cluster known as CarCanMadCarLan area. It is bounded in the east by the Pacific Ocean, the Diwata Mountain in the west, the municipality of Cantilan in the north and Lanuza in the South. It is about 56 kilometres (35 mi) from the capital town of Tandag, the seat of the provincial government of Surigao del Sur, and 130 kilometres (81 mi) from the city of Surigao. Madrid is a narrow land along the coast of Surigao del Sur with an area of 14,122 hectares (34,900 acres), representing 3.17 per cent of the province total land area of 445,216 hectares.

Madrid is politically subdivided into 14 barangays.

  • Bagsac (created in 1955)
  • Bayogo
  • Linibonan
  • Magsaysay
  • Manga
  • Panayogon
  • Patong Patong
  • Quirino (Poblacion)
  • San Antonio
  • San Juan
  • San Roque
  • San Vicente
  • Songkit
  • Union

The early beginning of the history of Madrid is described to be a typical one of a community development on the edge of a river, this river is presently called Carac-an and said to be once abundant of fish, shrimps, and other creatures, which served as are reliable source of food for the early inhabitants. The river runs in the Southern boundary of the municipality and it is now the main source of irrigation water supplying all irrigable lands of Madrid and the neighboring municipality of Cantilan.

The original name of Madrid was “Linibunan” a Visayan term describing a place covered by soil deposits which has been transported by force of nature. Linibunan came to be settled with more people when the Carac-an River gradually changed its course.

The growing community of Linibunan had been the object concern of the Municipality of Cantilan being parts of the territorial jurisdiction. Having recognized Linibunan to attain the qualification of a barrio, the Municipality Government of Cantilan, granted its creation as a barrio in the year 1911.

Religion, particularly Roman Catholic, had been the predominated the spiritual life of the people from the beginning and to the presents. The Catholic faith had been nurtured through the years under the administration of the missionary center, which was established in the year 1951. There were no recorded obstacles in the propagation and preservation of the Catholic faith for the fact that most Visayans composing the majority of the inhabitants were Catholic.

On June 13, 1913, the missionary authorities in Cantilan created the parish in Linibunan and assigned a parish priest named Fr. Garcia. Father Garcia contributed significantly to the historical making of the Municipality of Madrid, because he was responsible for changing the name Linibunan to Madrid, after the capital city of Spain. From then on, church documents bore the name Madrid Parish and gradually the name Linibunan became extinct. The name Madrid was officially recognized as the name of a new Municipality of Cantilan as embodied in Executive Order No. 561, dated February 2, 1953.

The Municipality of Madrid was once a part of Cantilan town. It was only declared Municipality on February 2, 1953. Madrid is blessed to have the Carac-an River. This River serves as the main source of sand and gravel to the entire CarCanMadCarLan region, as well as its watershed. Carac-an River will soon be a major source of power via the proposed construction of a mini hydropower plant. It is also a popular site for camping, and the provincial jamboree is often held here. One of the longest bridges in Mindanao is also located here.

Christianity first came into this part of Mindanao when in 1598, a Portuguese ship under Captain Francisco de Castro accidentally drifted into the east coast of Mindanao, part of the third district known as the District of Caraga which covered the present provinces of Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan Provinces and a part of Davao. On board the ship were two Jesuit missionaries, Fr. Valerio Ledesma, S.J., and Manuel Marino, a lay brother, who preached the gospel and baptized the inhabitants. But, it was only in 1596 that the first batch of Jesuit missionaries stationed themselves permanently in Butuan, at the town of Buenavista, and from there, they established mission posts in nearby areas. They were followed by the Recollects and then by the Benedictines.

The first center of Christianity in this part of Mindanao was Tandag, which was established in 1622; Siargao in 1623; Bislig in 1624; Surigao in 1754 and in Cantilan in 1851.

When Cantilan was established as the first center of missionary activity in 1851, Madrid was only a remote small sitio of Cantilan with few scattered houses. The small group of inhabitants in the area kept on clearing the land and planted it with various crops, predominantly rice. As a result of their hard and painstaking labor, the land became livable. The fertility of the soil and the proximity of the river began to attract people from the nearby places. Years after, they organized themselves and declared independence from the municipality of Cantilan.

Notable pioneers in the region were Rufino Urbiztondo, Cosme Frias, Andres Roy, Jorge Arpilleda, Antonio Malayao, Antonio Taguines, Geronimo Rubi, Isidro Uriarte, Enrique Guillen, Pedro Uriarte, Tomas Frias, Andres Arnan, Mariano Cuartero, and others. The settlement continued to attract people; his constant coming of immigrants and intermarriages among inhabitants increased considerably the population until finally, the local leaders found it for to convert the sitio into a barrio. Under the leadership of Rufino Urbiztondo, Linibunan, as the place was known, became a barrio of Cantilan with him as its first Teniente del Barrio. Linibunan means “water-covered lowland”. Digging around the place will attest to the fact that the topsoil in the area was deposited by floodwaters during the rainy season.

The early inhabitants of the place were religious people. Most of them were Christian and the missionaries based in Cantilan who visited the barrio once in a while to attend to their religious needs. In 1901, the people thought of Christianizing the name of their barrio. Fr. Paulino Garcia who was then the parish priest of Cantilan and a Spaniard by nationality, suggested that the barrio be named Madrid reminiscing of the Spanish capital. The people readily accepted the suggestion and since then, Linibunan was changed to Madrid.

For a decade, progress seemed slow, but then immigrants from other neighboring islands came, especially from Bohol, seeking good fortune in the reputed Land of Promise. A handful of Chinese came and engaged in business and trade with the natives. Due to its favorable geographical location, Madrid became the center of trade and commerce in the area. With the rapid growth of commerce and trade, population also increased. Business enterprises boomed and people started making permanent residences in the town. Then the local leaders became aware that Madrid can now qualify into a municipality. Headed by then Teniente del Barrio Sotero Irrizari, the Barrio Council and other Civic Leaders passed a resolution asking the President of the Philippines to elevate Madrid into a municipality. With the help of the Provincial Board, the cherished dream of the people of Madrid become a reality when President Elpedio Quirino issued Executive Order No. 561 making Madrid as one of the municipalities of Surigao del Sur on February 2, 1953. The municipality was inaugurated on July 4, 1953 amidst great splendor.

It maybe well to mention that when Madrid became a municipality on February 2, 1953 by virtue of Executive Order 561, there was some kind of controversy as to who will be the first mayor. However, a long and protracted legal battle, the courts settled the controversy and proclaimed Guillermo Arpilleda as the first mayor of Madrid.

Madrid today has a total of fourteen (14) barangays and a population of around 14,500 people. Classified as a 5th class municipality, it is the commercial hub of the CarCanMadCarLan area.

The alluring Town of Madrid was once a barrio of Cantilan. It was created into a municipality on February 2, 1953 by virtue of the Executive Order No. 561. As early as the 1950s settlements was so vibrant for such reason as it was separated from Cantilan. Data shows that upon the conduct of 1960 census, the town posted 8198 people. The population grew at the average growth rate of 3.038 percent, and the 1970 census recorded a total of 11,059 people. A sudden drop in population was experienced, with the 1975 census counting 10,627 people, the lowest among the recorded censuses. The decrease in population was attributed to an insurgency in the hinterland barangays of Madrid. Peace and order was slightly stabilized in the 1980s, resulting in an increase in population at 3.329 percent growth rate. The 1980s were a highly productive decade wherein agricultural activities, and therefore the population, increase. As younger generations leave in search of better academic pursuits, the average growth rate has leveled at 0.023 percent, and population growth models predict an average of 15 people added annually to the total municipal population.

Population census of Madrid
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1960 8,198
1970 11,059 +3.04%
1990 12,977 +0.80%
1995 12,992 +0.02%
2000 14,066 +1.72%
2007 14,957 +0.85%
2010 14,888 −0.17%
2015 15,223 +0.42%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority

Madrid is not actually identified as a major tourist destination of the Province of Surigao del Sur due to the lack of existing attractions, facilities and amenities. Tourism related activities have never been developed nor given as top priority project because of strong competition from the neighboring towns. Despite of the limited contribution of tourism industry to the local economy, the town possesses different scenic spots awaiting for development, such as the following:

  • Bayogo Cave;
  • Panlangagan Cave;
  • Panlangagan Heights and NIA Dam;
  • Wild and exotic beach facing the magnificent Pacific Ocean at Brgy. Daan Union;
  • Man- made attraction, the Carac-an bridge (the second longest bridge in Mindanao at 510 meters long) that serves as a landmark prior to entering the municipality;
  • The Bayogo Irrigation Dam, that serves as the life-blood for agriculture;
  • The ancestral homes and ruins of antique houses which are of great historical significance at Daan Union;
  • The Carac-an River, one of the cleanest river in Mindanao;
  • Daan Union Fish Cage and Pen;
  • Lib-og Beach Resort at Daan Union.

All of these mentioned attractions do not have acceptable facilities and utilities except for some native cottages available at the beaches. Most of the identified tourist spots do not have accessibility. Transportation and mobility is one of the major problems that prevents visits from local and foreign visitors.

Health Personnel

There are 9 personnel manning the Municipal Health Office, 1 Physician (Municipal Health Officer), 1 Public Health Nurse, 1 Medical Technologists, 4 Midwives and 2 Sanitary Inspectors. The Municipal Health Office is backed up by the presence of Madrid District Hospital located in the poblacion, which serves as its core referral hospital. Nutrition – Madrid has a very high incidence of malnutrition in the year 2000 with a prevalence rate of 6.6. Out of the 2,665 preschool children weighed, 20 were severely underweight, 156 moderately underweight and 917 mildly underweight.

Waste Management

The manner of garbage disposal in the area varies from one barangay to the other. The most common are burning, burying and composting. Ninety percent (90) of the 2,862 households have sanitary toilets of which 6.6 percent are of unsanitary type and 3.4 percent without toilet. Eighty one percent (81%) has access safe water supply while 18.7 percent has doubtful source.