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Municipality of Sta. Monica

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Municipality of Sta. Monica

The Municipality of Sta. Monica formerly known as “Sapao”, is part of Siargao (“Sidargo”) Island, that belongs to Surigao which is part of the old territory that existed in Northern Mindanao called “Caraga”. The latter was named after the people called “Calagans”, believed to be of Visayan origin. They were the inhabitants of the Province of Surigao at that time.

Historically, in 1538, the Spanish Expedition led by Francisco del Castro, a Portuguese-born Spanish, landed in what is presently Surigao del Norte province, and therein baptized theinhabitants to Christianity. The legendary name “Sapao” originated from a native fisherman, who threw his net to catch a school of fish that exclaimed “Sapao-sapao” whenever it was full, meaning the catch was so plenty that it overloaded the net. Hence, the name Sapao was given to the place. 

As early as 1683, a Spanish settlement and development was established in Tandag by the Recollect Fathers who had residence at Tandag, Butuan, Bislig, Linao-an in the interior of Agusan and Siargao Island. The stone arched gate of the old church of Sapao is the strong permanent legacy of this early Spanish settlement in Siargao Island.

After the Spanish-American War, the American military governor issued an Executive Order to revert Sapao into a barrio under the municipality of Numancia, until October 1, 1953. In March, 1947, a massive activity of revision and division of tax declarations at the Provincial Officer were undertaken between Numancia and Sapao in an effort to create Sapao into a municipality. The revision was completed in March, 1952. In the succeeding year, on October 1, 1953, His Excellency, President Elpidio Quirino issued Executive Order No. 624 officially creating Sapao into a municipality. A few years later, House Bill No. 7233 which became RA 4998, duly approved by President Ferdinand E. Marcos, changed the name Sapao into Sta. Monica.

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