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“History of Sarangani”

Region South-Central MindanaoSOCSARGEN Growth Cluster
Capital Alabel
Land Area 444,179 has
Population 411,713
Population Growth Rate 3.476% per annum
Population Density 104 persons/sq. km.
Per Capita Income Php 15,350.00
Per Capita Expense 13,471.00
Literacy Rate 92%
Functional Literacy Rate 86.87%
Labor Force 181,000 (54.1%)
Minimum Daily Wage Agricultural:   Php 200.00
Non-Agricultural:   Php 190.00
Municipalities Malungon, Glan, Malapatan, Alabel, Maasim, Maitum, Kiamba
No. of Barangays 140
Major Dialects/Languages Cebuano, Ilocano, Ilonggo, Tagalog,Muslim, B’laan, and English
Infrastructure 145-km. main artery connecting the seven municipalities and traversing through General Santos City, which maintains an international airport and Makar WharfRoad Network (in kms.)

National      271.39836

Provincial    322.611

Municipal     344.__*

Barangay   1,878.12

Major Industries Agriculture: coconut, fruit and vegetable contract growing, rice and corn

Aquaculture: Milkfish, Tilapia, and Prawn

Potential Industries Oil palm plantation, abaca farming, boat building, marble mining, lime and limestone production, dried flowers processing, handicraft, dried fish processing, and coco coir.
Major Products Agriculture: Copra, rice corn, fruits and vegetables, and sugarcane

Aquaculture: Prawn, Milkfish, Tilapia, Grouper, Sergeant fish

Natural Resources Commercial Deposits of gold, iron, ore,copper, marble, cement lime, limestone, guano, fishing ground, agricultural lands and mangrove eco-cultural sites.
Indigenous People B’laan, T’boli, Tagacaolo, Kalagan, Manobo, Ubo and Muslim



Administered as part of the Cotabato Empire during the American period, the area (now Sarangani) was incorporated in 1966 into the province of South Cotabato.

Sarangani was established as an independent province in 1992 through Republic Act 7228 authored by former Rep. James L. Chiongbian. This landmark legislation spurred development in the former third district of South Cotabato.Since pre-Spanish times, Sarangani has been occupied by indigenous tribes and Muslim groups whose rich cultural heritage has meaningfully survived to this day.

In fact in 1992, Sarangani old-time residents have found relics or artifacts of cavemen or ancient tribes who had inhabited at Pinol Cave, Maitum, Sarangani. Etching out various facial expressions in clayed portraits, the artifacts of anthropomorphic secondary burial jars are believed to have great significance not only to Philippine prehistory but also of Southeast Asia. (Click here for more details on this archaeological finds.)

National Museum’s researchers described the artifacts as “unparalleled in Southeast Asia” that date back to the Metal Age (nearly 2000 years ago). This year (2002) another discovery of potsherds from different ages likely 3000 years old was unearthed at Linao Cave, seven kilometers from the Maitum municipal hall.

The same group of researchers could not directly tell if Linao Cave was also a burial site like Pinol Cave was, but they observed, however, that it (Linao Cave) “may likely have been a ritual site.” The recovered shards, accordingly, depicted sketches of people believed to be older than the Maitum Jars.

Sarangani Province was named after Sarangani Bay. The name itself is legendary — it is about Saranganing, an adventurous son of a Sangil family from the coast of Celebes off Indonesia. His voyages often brought him to the Sultanate of Buayan (now General Santos City), the stronghold of Maguindanaoans. His outstanding character impressed the people that they named the bay in his honor.


Sarangani is subdivided into 7 municipalities grouped into two parts, separated by the Sarangani Bay. The western part consists of Kiamba, Maasim, and Maitum, while the eastern part is composed of Alabel, Glan, Malapatan, and Malungon.











The early inhabitants who first inhabited Saranggani were the indigenous natives, called “MunaTo,” a native term for “first people.”[2]

In 1942, the Japanese troops occupied Sarangani.

In 1945, Philippine Commonwealth troops entered Sarangani.

Before its inception in 1992, Sarangani was part of South Cotabato and held its title as the Lone Third District of South Cotabato. The province was created by Republic Act No. 7228 on March 16, 1992, penned by the late Congressman, James L. Chiongbian. His wife, Priscilla L. Chiongbian is the retired Governor of Sarangani.

Sarangani celebrates its 16th foundation anniversary with its theme “Ang Galing Mo, Sarangan,” with the November 27 to 29, 2008 6th “MunaTo Festival.”

It’s landmark “Isla Parilla” resort is now an “AA” world-class resort, built within a man-made island..[3][4]

Sarangani also has, as treasure, its ancient burial jars, discovered by archaeologists from the National Museum in Ayub Cave, Maitum, in 1991 and in 2008, at Sagel Cave, Maitum (now declared by National Historical Institute as a national historical sites). Amid Mindanao’s armed conflicts, artifacts found thereat prove settlements of pre-historic civilization in Maitum.



Sarangani, the Mindanao’s front door to BIMP-EAGA, is the southernmost province in mainland Mindanao. It is cut midway by General Santos City, giving its two sections hammock-like shapes that hug the mountains and Sarangani Bay.

Sarangani is surrounded by the Celebes Sea, Sarangani Bay, and the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur.

The province is also the coastal zone of SOCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos City), one of the country’s fast growing development clusters.

It has seven municipalities (Alabel, Malapatan, Glan, Malungon, Maasim, Kiamba, and Maitum) with 140 barangays. Alabel, the provincial capital, is only 16 kilometers from General Santos City.

With the province’s strategic geographical location, it has great potential of becoming an industrial zone in Region 12.


Sarangani has a total land area of 4,100.42 square kilometers. Among the municipalities comprising the province, Malungon is the biggest with 896.63 sq. km. followed by Glan. Maitum is the smallest with only 324.35 sq. km.

Part of Sarangani’s vast forest lands

About 66 percent of the province’s total land area is a forest land. Half of this is highly cultivated for corn. These are in Malungon, Maasim, Malapatan, and Glan.

The province has vast forest cover with 30 percent of the province’s total forest lands while 37 percent is classified as alienable and disposable (A & D).

Dense forest cover is located at the western side touching South Cotabato. The widest is found in the municipality of Kiamba with 87 percent of the municipality’s total forestland. Alabel is noted to have enormously denuded forestland with 32.49 sq. km. remaining forest cover.

Grassland forms 19 percent of the total forestland found in Alabel, and Maasim, mostly idled except for the latter’s pastural activities.

Two percent of the total forestland figure is croplands and coco estate distributed throughout the municipalities while Glan, Maitum, and Malapatan are known for their vast coconut plantations.

Sarangani’s flatlands are ideal for farming

Flatlands, rolling hills, and mountains characterized Sarangani’s terrain. The coastal towns of Alabel, Glan, Maasim, Malapatan, Kiamba, and Maitum are made up of vast stretches of fertile flatlands with slope ranging from 0 to 8 percent.

Mountains and rolling hills dominate the landscape of Malungon and the eastern and southern fringes of Sarangani, which border Davao del Sur and South Cotabato.

The province’s topographic characteristics are attributed to the presence of Alip Range, Daguma Range, Mt. Parker and Mt. Matutum. Mt. Busa, the highest peak located within the province has an approximate elevation of 2,083m above sea level.


Soil types of the province range from loam, sandy loam, fine sandy loam, silty clay loam, clay loam, and mountain clay soil. The province has also rich deposits of precious metallic and non-metallic minerals such as gold, copper, iron, silica, limestone, cement lime, coal, marble, gypsum, phosphate rock, sandstone, white pebbles and guano.


Northeast monsoon and southwest monsoon are the prevailing wind directions of Sarangani Province. These are respectively from the months of November to March and June to October.

There is no distinct dry and wet season in the area. Average rainfall is 28oC evenly distributed throughout the year. Thus, Sarangani is considered a typhoon belt area. Annual rainfall is 79.6mm with 78 percent relative humidity.

April is hottest month while January is coldest.


The SARANGANS showcase enormous cultural diversity of Blaan, Tboli, Tagakaolo, Kalagan, Manobo, Ubo, Muslim tribes and Christian settlers. Hospitable and fun-loving “Sarangans” (people of Sarangani) adhere to a unified direction for development.

Muslim consists of 7 groups; the Lumads, 17; and the migrant settlers, at least 20. The Blaans characterize the largest minority and are distributed in the municipalities of Malapatan, Glan, Alabel, Maasim, and Malungon. A bulk of this tribe is found in Malapatan constituting 37% of the municipal household population.

The Maguindanaos are settled in the municipalities of Malapatan, Maitum, and Maasim; Tbolis reside mostly in Maitum, Kiamba, and Maasim while Tagakaolos subsist entirely in Malungon.

Cebuano settlers are found in Glan and Alabel; Ilonggos are situated in Malungon while the Ilocanos live mostly in Kiamba and Maitum.

Thus, Sarangani’s mixed population of Cebuano-speaking Blaans and Muslims in the east coast, Ilocano-speaking Tbolis, Manobos and Muslims in the west coast, and Ilonggo-speaking Blaans and Kaolos in the north uplands, is unique and in harmony.


Sarangani’s population in 1995 Census was placed at 367,006. Of the total population, 48 percent were females and 52 percent were males.

The municipality of Malungon has the biggest population with 92,433 at the pace of 9.14%. Although Maasim was accounted to have the smallest number of people with 31,641 at 3.21% growth rate, it was Kiamba to have ascended least with only 2.17 percent.

In terms of population distribution by municipality, Malungon serves 24% of the total population followed by Glan, 20%; Alabel and Malapatan in tow with 13%; Kiamba, 11 %, Maitum, 10%; and Maasim, 9%.

The province’s population density was posted 83 persons per square kilometer of land in 1995 and expected to reach 113 persons per square kilometer by the year 2005 based on the projected population level.

Out of the seven municipalities, the municipality of Malapatan has the highest percentage of urban population at 51.67. Glan represents the least with only 23.20% of its populace living in the urban areas.

Sarangani has 84.9% dependency ratio. This is because the economically productive aged 15-64 consists only 54.1% of the provincial population. For every 100 persons of productive age in the province, there are 85 dependents, 81 of which are children.


There are 79,911 estimated number of households in Sarangani with 70 percent residing in rural areas and 30 percent in urban. The average provincial household size is 5.19.

Being culturally diverse, the province recorded 49 languages and dialects being spoken by its populace. 51.27 percent of the total households speak Cebuano, the widely used in the province except Maitum and Kiamba, where Ilocano is dominantly used as medium of communication.

Blaan dialect is spoken by 12.92 percent; Hiligaynon, 7.55 percent; Ilocano, 5.70 percent; Maguindanaon, 5.51 percent; Tboli, 4.42 percent; Tagacaolo, 2.79 percent; Kalagan, 0.90 percent; Aklanon, 0.82 percent; and Sangil, 0.81 percent.

Foreign languages spoken by immigrants include Indonesians, English, Chinese, Germans, Dutch, etc. Majority of the total household practice Roman Catholicism. The second largest religion is Islam and Protestant.


The province has a total literacy rate of 92% and functional literacy rate of 86.87% based on the latest DECS literacy mapping.

Illiterates usually come from poor families and children who have been out-of-school for a long time.

Majority of the functionally illiterates belong to indigenous constituents and disadvantaged groups, who hardly have access to education.



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