Placer, Surigao del Norte

Placer, Surigao del Norte

Placer is a 4th class municipality in the province of Surigao del Norte, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 21,542 people in 4,237 households.


Placer is politically subdivided into 20 barangays.

* Amoslog
* Anislagan
* Bad-as
* Boyongan
* Bugas-bugas
* Central (Pob.)
* Ellaperal (Nonok)
* Ipil (Pob.)
* Lakandula
* Mabini

* Macalaya
* Magsaysay (Pob.)
* Magupange
* Pananay-an
* Panhutongan
* San Isidro
* Sani-sani
* Santa Cruz
* Suyoc
* Tagbongabong


"1. From the Municipal Government Website"

The town of Placer was founded by Captain Felipe Custodio together with Capitan Luis Patiño in 1850. Capitan Felipe Custodio had two sons, Marcelino and Domingo who were adopted, trained and educated by the Spanish Governor.

The place was only a small plain along the shores surrounded by hills. The surrounding hills has three (3) creeks, the Egdoy creek, named after the landowner; the Jagimit springs named after a vine and the Ando creek, named after the landowner. These creeks enable the people in washing the glacial deposit containing particles of valuable materials-gold, besides flowing to the rice fields. Thus Capitan Felipe Custodio named the place “PLACER,” which means, mines and happiness because the people were happy and prosperous enjoying the rich resources of gold, abundant supply of varied kinds of fish and bountiful harvest from the rice fields.

Between 1850 to 1860, the Spanish officials wanted to change the name of Placer in honor of Saints in their quest of spiritual transportation among the towns inhabitants. It was also about this time that the two sons of Capitan Felipe Custodio, Marcelino and Domingo came home after about ten years of training, experiences and education with the Spanish officials. They insisted that the place be permanently named “PLACER”, because by this time one of the means of livelihood among the people was gold panning, practicing the method of extracting gold by Placer Mining . This question was brought to the Spanish Authorities in Manila and fortunately were convinced, perhaps, they were also interested about gold, thus, in 1860, the name “PLACER” was officially approved and from this time thrusts were set forth for progress and development and Placer become one of the oldest towns in the province being mother municipality of Mainit and Tagana-an and the grandmother municipality of Tubod and Alegria.

Father Ronaldo Sanchez, a Recollect priest, was the first parish priest in 1860 followed by a Jesuit, Father Antonio Franuto. Their careers were highlighted by spiritual, social and humanitarian accomplishments, building, churches, streets and administering spiritual missions. After a long period of Spanish rule, highlighted by nunmerous social and economic activities, the Jesuits were vanished and came the MSC Fathers.

In 1900, brought about by the tide of the First Global War the Americans occupied Placer. There was little or insignificant resistance on the part of the Filipino revolutionists. This period brought about many changes in the form of government and was marked by remarkable change and reforms in education, health and other reforms. The Americans recognized and identified the basic needs for growth and development and built more roads, bridges and school buildings.

In 1905 the Philippines Independent Catholic Church played a glorious part in the history of Placer. Due to the influx of different culture groups all over the country, the town is predominantly Aglipayan. Born of the aspirations of the people to worship God as free men in spirit and in truth, it has remained, until now, the citadel of free worship on this part of the Municipality. The first Secondary High School in Placer was founded and backed by a group whose religious affiliation were Aglipayans.

During the early part of the American regime the town suffered from Cholera Epidemic, so terrible that the dead could not be buried anymore but hust brought to a cave in the island of Tinago. After the Epidemic the town again suffered the revages brought by the hurricane in 1912. So strong and hitting Placer for about eight hours destroying largely the old buildings, school houses, rendering great damages to the town of Placer.

With the Americans, the Placernons pursued massive reconstructions efforts. Placer was able to pick from these disasters, calamities and epidemics.

The advance technologies and scientific facilities of the Americans set the turning point of the economic and social progress and development of the town. Mining companies in full operation and some under exploration poured their investments. The East Mindanao Mining Company; Mapaso Gold Field; km. 73 Mining Company in Layab; and the Suyoc consolidated Mining Company were in full operation, producing gold amounting to millions of pesos. It was during this gold boom that Placer became the Mecca of the working class, people looking and seeking for greener pastures from the Visayan Provinces and Luzon were attracted by the glitters of gold. There was abundance of employment and the people enjoyed its prosperity and again the name Placer, means mines and happiness.

But what was a period of peace and prosperity was again disturbed and shattered by the outbreak of World War II, bringing and causing destruction to this progressive municipality. The ravages of war did not spare the mining industries of Placer. All the old buildings, boulders and landmarks that were left undevastated by the hurricane in 1912 which could be identified as historical relies were totally destroyed and burned during the Japanese occupation.

From the ruins of World War II, Placer painstakingly rebuilt her shattered economy and social structure. Massive reconstruction and rehabilitation were undertaken through the War Damage Commission. School buildings, Municipal buildings, the other infrastructures were restored. Because the town of Placer is strategically situated in the center of copra producing places in the province and the town being accessible from the mainland and nearby towns by terrestrial and water transportation, the town of Placer because the center of commerce, industry and agriculture and was able to quickly pick up and recover fast the damages and ruins of World War II.

The town of Placer has attained unprecedented heights with the flourishing of commercial establishments that boast the health of her economy, when in May 1960 a conflagration razed and reduced ther town of ashes. All the commercial establishments including the Municipal building were burned. Up to present, one can still see the debris, the remnants of what the towns was many years ago.

The town of Placer again stated to rise form the ashes but had not yet reached the degree of recovery when in November 1964, typhoon Louise furiously and mercilessly hit the municipality of Placer causing great damage and destruction to lives and properties. The people in the rural area that depend solely in the coconut industry were greatly affected.

The Municipal Mayors were:Capitan Felipe Custodio, Capitan Luis Patiño, Principales Domingo Custodio, Principales Francisco Eliot, Capitan Julian Delola, Capitan Marcelino Febra, Teniente Mayor Marcelino Custodie, Teniente Mayor Beltran Eliot, Teniente Mayor Simeon Calinawan Sr., Teniente Mayor Eleuterio Mondaya Sr., Teniente Mayor Nicolas Elimanco, Teniente Mayor Maximo Delola, Municipal President Ysidro S. Custodio, Municipal President Montano C. Patiño, Municipal President Tomas Mosende, Municipal President Emilio S. Custodio Sr., Municipal President Andres P.Ojeda, Municipal President Pedro E. Pinson, Municipal President Ceferino Lozada, Municipal President Agustin E. Patiño, Alkalde Marcelo F. Patagan, Municipal President Calixto G. Jusay, Mayor Leon Elacion, Mayor Buenaventura C. Canda, Mayor Eleuterio Mondaya, Mayor Jesus T. Patiño, Mayor Basanio M. Espanto, Mayor Aladino E. Tiujongco, OIC Mayor Luisito Patagan, OIC Acting Mayor Jose Dapar, Jr., OIC Mayor Montano Patiño, Mayor Encarnacion N. Patiño, Mayor Roberto S. Lerio, Sr., Mayor Enrique N. Patiño and now Mayor Donald P. Villejo, Sr. whose thrusts and priorities for development towards a sustainable future for Placer, whose dedication and commitment is to pursue and implement genuine programs that shall serve the best interest and welfare of the people, anchored on his visions to adopt the policy of transparency, a people centered development strategy which allows widespread participation, in the planning process, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; his goal and objective for a pro-God, Pro-Country and Pro-People development strategies and programs.

"2. From the 1970 Souvenir Program of Philippine Public Schools Inter-scholastic Athletic Association Meet (PPSIAA):"

The sprawling mini town of Placer is 34 kilometers from the capital town of Surigao del Norte. Like most of the towns of the country, it is fraught with legends although most of them have no basis in fact.

In the unrecorded history of this town, sometime in the early 1800s when Moro depredations were in bloom, Placer was ravaged by Moro marauders. During one of these raids, the fleet of Moro vintas almost succeeded in landing on the shores of the town, when a big woman of extraordinary size and height with a gleaming sword appeared on top of Baluarte island at the pert of the town. With her supernatural power, the Moros could not land but retreat to a nearby town of Bacuag. It was believed that the big extraordinary woman who repelled the landing hordes was Santisima Trinidad, the patron saint of the town. Thus the natives were spared from the incursion of the Moro invaders.

It is said that this town was the first to rise in revolt and produced famous revolutionary leaders as Capitan Emilio Custodio, Capitan Andres Calinawan, Capitan Montano Patiño, Capitan Isidro Custodio and others. During the American-Spanish war, these freedom fighters were on the side of the Americans.

Geographically, Placer is just a little coastal town but rich in mineral and marine resources. Three big barrios of Placer, viz.: Mainit, Tagana-an and Tubod have been created into municipalities. But in spite of the separation of these three barrios from the mother municipality, Placer managed to stand on her feet 0- financially speak9ing. The income of this town, according to its last budget, is over P100,000 which is considered big for a small town like Placer. This town can compare favorably if not more with the big towns of Surigao del Norte insofar as income is concerned.

Stories of hospitality are in no way exaggerated in Placer. When a visitor comes to the place, he is greeted with extraordinary cordiality. The friendliness and warm-hearted welcome extend to home, table and entertainment. The natives, 80% of which are Boholanos, are fascinating and entertaining to visitors and are extravagant and lavish in their entertainment and food. During the town fiesta, even the humble farmer joins in the celebration. The town fiesta of Placer does not fall on a fixed date - it is on the ninth Sunday after the Holy Week. Because of this movable date, the non- Christians of this province sometimes lose of the yearly celebrations and are nowhere to be found in the town.

In the early 1930s Placer became the Mecca of job seekers because of the glitters of gold. This town then had a number of mining companies in operation but these firms closed shop when war broke out in 1941 and never resumed operation.

After mayor Villejo, Hon. Filemon Napuli took the responsibilities and made the town more progressive. A lot of investors came in to participate and do business. Together Mr. Ernesto Ballesteros as the local government head and the local officials, Placer has been more progressive, safe and clean.

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