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Madrid, Surigao Del Sur, Philippines

Madrid is a 5th class municipality in the province of Surigao del Sur, Philippines. Madrid was named after the capital city of Spain, Madrid. It has 14 barangay's and two comprising the poblacion, the brgy Linibunan and brgy Quirino. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 14,066 people in 2,862 households. The municipality of Madrid, Surigao del Sur lies in the northern part of the province, in the section 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 sixty kilometers from the capital town of Surigao del Sur, Tandag and hundred thirty kilometers from the city of Surigao.

Madrid is a narrow land along the coast of Surigao del Sur with an area of 14,126 hectares, representing 3.70 percent of the province total land area of 445,216. Approximately, 10,125 hectares or 26.6 percent of the total land area is classified under 0-3% slope; 2,250 hectares or 5.9% under 3-8%; 5,175 or 13.6% to 8-15% slope;1,780 hecatres or 4.8% under 15-30% and 18,670 hectares or 49.1 percent falls under 30-60% slope classification. The municipality of Madrid, received enough rainfall throughout the year. The first and last quarters of the year are the rainiest season and the rest of the year has less rainfall. The town is classified as under the type II climate classification.

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. Onboard the ship were two Jesuits 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 conducive to live in. 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.

The pioneers of the place 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. This 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. Many fascinating events happened before "she" was able to attain "her" present image as it is known today. Madrid and its people are moving on towards greater heights of progress.

  • Linibunan (The Poblacion)
  • Bagsac
  • Bayogo
  • Magsaysay
  • Manga
  • Panayogon
  • Patong Patong
  • Quirino
  • San Antonio
  • San Juan
  • San Roque
  • San Vicente
  • Songkit
  • Union

Here's that famous TV commercial of The Metro in Spain, featuring Filipinos and Madrid, Philippines.

Source: Wikipedia & CANTILAN
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