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“On the northern water of the Surigao del Norte mainland lies Dinagat Island dubbed by Gen. Douglas MacArthur as one of the “three sentinel-islands guarding the Central Philippines from the enemies in the Pacific.” Together with Dinagat as the first class established municipality in this island were four other towns, among which was Loreto, originally called “Mabua” because of the ever-foaming river that runs right into the heart of the community. Boholano settlers first established Loreto as early as 1847. In 1881, its name metamorphosed into its present name, Loreto, in honor of the wife of the governor at that time.

Created as a municipality in 1898, Loreto was reduced to a barrio in 1902 after the American soldiers razed it to the ground. However, it regained its township in 1919 through the untiring efforts of its civic-spirited leaders.

The municipality were populated by Boholanos who were the original settlers; Leyteños, Cebuanos, Samareños and other immigrants followed suit.

Copra had been most important export and lumbering an important industry. Loreto is situated along a coastal plain, and fish abound in its waters.

In the lowlands grow the tikug grasses utilized then and now by the womenfolk as materials in making mats which are in great demand because of the fine workmanship and durability. The local weavers have learned the embroidery designs of the well-known Basey mat-makers. On the rocky mountains from as far as Omasdang near the Desolation point, to the southern hills of Sinaongag, now Navarro, are found such rich minerals as chromite, manganese, copper, coal and the like.

Other sources of income then were the hard wood exported to different places in the country and the well-known species of orchids, the so- called “aristocrats of the woodland” such as the mariposa or butterfly orchids, the tiger, dendrubium anespum, dendrobium superbum, which were abundantly found in the forests of the municipality.”


Source: 1970 Souvenir Program of Philippine Public Schools Inter-scholastic Athletic Association Meet (PPSIAA)

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