Cagwait is a coastal town located in the central part of the province of Surigao del Sur. It straddles along the coast of Pacific Ocean and Mount Diwata. It has a total land area of 21,410 hectares and a population of 19,899 (NSO, 2007) scattered among its eleven (11) barangays.
Historical Origin of Cagwait
Young sailors from Leyte, who escaped from enslaving hands of Spaniards, sailed southward in 1840 in a boat called “veloz” and noticed they were passing into a bay resembling a human mouth, which in vernacular, it is called “mao rag wait.” The bay looked like an open mouth and the peninsula resembling the esophagus. The settlers later on called the place “Cagwait.”
Thus in July 1840, when Father Juan Engrova first baptized the people in the new settlement, wrote the name Cagwait in his record entitled, “Libros de Bautismos,” 1845-1860.
The diversity of the marine and forest ecosystem facing the bay and the land along it are fertile. It favors for growing crops that +attracted more and more settlers from other and nearby places.
The Founding of Cagwait
The town was founded on January 20, 1953 by which then Hon. Rafael Consuegra as the first appointed Municipal Mayor.
Municipal Mayors and OICs
January 1953 – December 1955
Egidio C. Lozada
January 1956 – December 1967
Adelfo C. Luengas
January 1968 – January 1986
Ernesto M. Camino
February 1986 – November 1987
Clenio L. Ondona, Sr.
December 1987 – January 1988
February 1988 – June 1998
Lillian Y. Lozada, CPA
July 1998 – June 2007
Bonifacio G. Ondona
July 2007 – June 2013
Lillian Yu Lozada, CPA
July 2013 to present
Cagwait was once a barrio of Tandag, the capital town of the province of Surigao del Sur in 1869. Cagwait was proposed as an independent Municipality in 1903 through the influence of an American who argued the distance of Cagwait from the mother town.
In 1918, Tago, another barrio of Tandag, was created as separated Municipality due to its rapid growth and progress. Cagwait became a barrio of Tago.
As a barrio of Tago. Cagwait had greatly contributed to the economic development of the town.
After 35 years, on January 20, 1953, Cagwait became a new Municipality separating itself to the Municipality of Tago. It was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 559 signed by then President Elpidio Quirino, making Hon. Rafael Consuegra as the first appointed Municipal Mayor. The inauguration was held on April 18, 1953. Consuegra served from the said date to year 1955 until Hon. Egidio C. Lozada became the first elected Mayor who served for three (3) terms from 1956-1959, 1960-1963, and 1964-1967.
Originally, five (5) barangays comprised the town, namely: Poblacion, Aras-asan, Bacolod, Bayabas and Bitaugan.
Barely eight (8) years passed after its establishment, Bayabas chose to split from Cagwait and became a separate town in 1961. The town has since increased at present to eleven (11) barangays. Added barangays are Lactudan, La Purisima, Mat-e, Tawagan, Tubo-tubo, Unidad and with the division of Barangay Bitaugan into two: Bitaugan East and Bitaugan West.
Present-day Cagwait comprises about 21,410 hectares, about 23.3% or two fifths which are flat areas of coastal plain and 76.7% or three fifths rolling, hilly and mountainous. The eleven (11) barangays are distributed into eight (8) homogenous ecological units as follows:
- Urban barangays: Aras-asan, La Purisima, Poblacion, Tubo-tubo, Unidad
- Rural barangays: Bacolod, Bitaugan East, Bitaugan West, Lactudan, Mat-e, Tawagan
- Coastal barangays: Aras-asan, Bacolod, Bitaugan East, Bitaugan West, Lactudan, La Purisima, Poblacion, Tawagan, Unidad
- Upland barangays: Mat-e, Tubo-tubo
- Riverine barangays: Bacolod, Mat-e, Tubo-tubo
- Estuarine barangays: Aras-asan, BItaugan East, Bitaugan West, Lactudan, La Purisima, Poblacion, Tawagan, Unidad
- Agricultural plain: Aras-asan, Bitaugan East, Lactudan, Poblacion, Tawagan, Unidad
- Mountain barangays: Bacolod, Bitaugan West, La Purisima, Mat-e, Tubo-tubo
The Municipality of Cagwait is situated on the central part of the province of Surigao del Sur, approximately 32 kilometers away from Tandag, the capital town of the province. It is one of the 14 municipalities comprising the first congressional district. It is bounded on the north by the Municipality of Bayabas, on the south by Municipality of Marihatag, on the west by Diwata Mountains and on the east by the Pacific Ocean.
The global position of Cagwait is between latitude 8°50΄ to 8°57΄ N and longitude 126°09΄ to 126°21΄ E. It is accessible by air and water through Manila-Davao, Manila-Butuan, Manila-Surigao, Cebu-Davao, Cebu-Butuan, and Cebu-Surigao routes and by land through Davao-Cagwait, Butuan-Cagwait and Surigao-Tandag-Cagwait routes.
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