Surigaonon language

Native to Philippines
Region Surigao del Norte, most parts of Surigao del Sur, and some portion of Dinagat Islands, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Davao Oriental
Ethnicity Surigaonon people
Native speakers
500,000 (2009)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Regional language in the Philippines
Regulated by Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
sgd  Surigaonon
tgn  Tandaganon
Glottolog suri1274[2]

Area where Surigaonon is spoken according to Ethnologue

Surigaonon is a Philippine regional language spoken by Surigaonon people in the province of Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Sur, and some portions of Agusan del Norte especially the towns near the Mainit Lake, Agusan del Sur and Davao Oriental. It is a part of the Visayan language family and is closely related to other Philippine languages. Though it seems related to Cebuano it was due mainly to the influx of many Cebuanos in the region and some Cebuano words were loaned, although most Cebuano speakers can hardly understand Surigaonon speakers except for Cebuanos who has been living in the region for years.

It is very closely related to the Tausug language of Sulu (specially the root Tausug language without the Arabic words influence) and the Butuanon vernacular of Butuan. The very close variety spoken in Tandag City, San Miguel, Tago, Bayabas, Cagwait, Marihatag, San Agustin and most part of Lianga is called Tandaganon[3] and it can be classified as a separate language or simply just a southern variation of Surigaonon as most of the speakers live in the south (Surigao del Sur) and Surigaonon itself is the northern (Surigao del Norte) variation, which has far more speakers than Tandaganon, who occupy the municipalities of Surigao del Norte and the northern municipalities of Surigao del Sur. Surigaonon and Tandaganon can understandand each other perfectly well even if they use their own languages in conversation (the same treatment to Boholano dialect of Cebuano).

Surigaonon or/and Tandaganon is spoken in Surigao del Norte and most part of Surigao del Sur (except in the City of Bislig, Municipalities of Barobo, Hinatuan, Lingig and Tagbina where most of the inhabitants are descendants of Cebuanos who migrated from Visayas who speak Cebuano and the rest are natives who speak Kamayo a different language but distantly related to Surigaonon).


According to Dumanig (2005), Surigaonon has a similar phonological inventory as her sister Visayan languages, Cebuano and Boholano.


Below is the vowel system of Surigaonon (Dumanig, 2005):

Table of vowel phonemes of Suriganoon
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid ɛ o
Open a


Below is a chart of Surigaonon consonants (Dumanig, 2005).

Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive Voiceless p t k ʔ
Voiced b d a
Fricative s h
Flap ɾ
Lateral l
Approximant w j


Surigaonon has 25 consonant clusters (br, bl, bw, by, dr, dy, dw, gr, gw, kr, kl, kw, mw, my, nw, pr, pl, pw, py, sw, sy, tr, tw, ty, hw) and 4 diphthongs (aw, ay, iw, uy), which is similar to Cebuano.

Comparison between Surigaonon, Cebuano, and Tausug

English Tausug Surigaonon Cebuano
What is your name? Unu in ngān mu? Omay imo ngayan? (Surigaonon), Unu an ngayan mu?/Unu may imo pangayan?/ Unu an pangayan nimo?/ Unu'y pangan mo? (Tandaganon) Unsa ang ngalan/ngan nimo?
My name is Juan In ngān ku Juan An ako ngayan ay Juan (Surigaonon), An ngayan ku kay Juan/An ako ngayan kay Juan/ Ang pangayan ko si Juan/ An ako pangan(ngan) kay Juan(Tandaganon) Ang ngan naku kay Juan
How are you? Maunu-unu nakaw? Kumusta naman kaw?/ "Kumusta na kaw?"(Surigaonon),"Kumusta nasa kaw?"(Tandaganon) Kumusta na ka?
I am fine, (too) Marayaw da isab Madayaw da (sab(isab) or da nu-un) aku (Tandaganon) or Marajaw da/ra i-/sab aku (Surigaonon) Maayo da/ra (usab)
Where is Ahmad? Hawnu hi Ahmad? Hain si Ahmad?(Tandaganon)/ Haman si Ahmad? Haman/Hain man/asa si Ahmad?
He is in the house Ha bāy siya Sa bay siya or yaun siya sa bahay(Tandaganon) / Jaon sija sa bayay? or jadto sija sa bayay (Surigaonon) Naa siya sa balay/bay
Thank you Magsukul Salamat Salamat
‘I am staying at’ or ‘I live at’ Naghuhula’ aku ha Yaghuya aku sa(Tandaganon)/ Naghuya aku sa(Surigaonon)or taga ___ Nagpuyo ako sa
I am here at the house. Yari aku ha bay. Yadi aku sa bay(Tandaganon)./ Jari aku sa bayay Dia ko sa bay.
I am Hungry. Hiyapdi' aku. In-gutom aku or Paga-gutom ako(Tandaganon). / Tag gutom ako Gi-gutom ko.
He is there, at school. Yadtu siya ha iskul. Yadtu siya sa iskuylahan(Tandaganon). /Jadto sija sa iskuylahan. Tu-a sya sa iskuylahan
Person Tau Tao(Tandaganon)Tawo (Surigaonon) Taw/Tawo
(Sea/River) current Sug Suwg(Tandaganon)Suyug (Surigaonon) Sug/Sulog
Day Adlaw Buntag(Tandaganon)Buntag (Surigaonon) Adlaw
Night Duwm Gabi-i/Duwm(Tandaganon)/Duyum (Surigaonon) Gabi-i
Today Biháun Kuman na adlaw(Tandaganon and Surigaonon) Karon/Karong Adlawa
Yesterday Káhapun Káhapun Gahapon
The day before yesterday Ta’kisa Min-agi na adlaw(Tandaganon)Nin-agi na adlaw (Surigaonon) Miaging adlaw/usang adlaw
Tomorrow Kunsuwm Siluwm/ Silom(Tandaganon)Silum (Surigaonon) Ugma
The day after tomorrow Ku’nisa Sunod na adlaw(Surigaonon/Tandaganon) Sunod adlaw
Tonight Duwm ini Kuman na duwm or Kuman duwm(Tandaganon)/ Kuman na duyum or Kuman duyum (Surigaonon) Karong gabii
Last night Kábi-i Kábi-i(Surigaonon/Tandaganon) Kagabii
Morning Mahinaat/Maynaat Buntag(Surigaonon/Tandaganon) Buntag
Afternoon Mahapun Hapun(Surigaonon/Tandaganon) Hapun
Noon Mataas Suga Gabi-i(Tandaganon)Udto (Surigaonon) Udto
Midnight Tungaan Duwm Tunga-tunga nan Duwn or Tunga'y Duwm(Tandaganon)Tungay-duyum (Surigaonon) Tunga sa gabi-i/tungang gabii
What day is today? Adlaw unu biháun? Unu na adlaw kuman? or Unu kuman na adlawa?(Tandaganon) Oman na adlaw kuman? (Surigaonon) Unsa nga adlaw karon?/unsang adlawa 'ron?
What day will you leave? Adlaw unu kaw tumulak? Unu na adlaw kaw mu-larga or Kun-o kaw mo-larga(Surigaonon) /Kanus-a kaw mu-larga(mu-panaw)(Tandaganon) Unsa nga adlaw ka mo-larga?/unsang adlawa ka mo-larga?
My walked last Saturday. Miyanaw aku sin sabtu’ yaun. An ako panaw adton sabado (Surigaonon) - An ako panaw nan sabado yadtu.(Tandaganon) Ang lakaw naku niadtong sabado.
When did they eat? Ka’nu sila kimaun? Kagun-o sila nangaon? (Surigaonon), Kinun-u sila kin-maun?/Kagan-o sila nangaon(mikaon)?(Tandaganon) Kanus-a sila mikaon?
When did you arrive? Ka’nu kamu dimatung? Kagun-o man kaw nin-abot? (Surigaonon), Kinun-u/Kagan-o kamu(kaw) min-abot? Kanus-a kamo miabot?
When are going to school? Ku’nu kaw pa iskul? Kun-o man kaw mukadto sa iskuylahan? (Surigaonon), kinun-u/Kun-o kaw mokadto sa iskuylahan?(Tandaganon) Kanus-a ka mo-adto sa iskuylahan?
Where are you going? Pakain kamu manaw? Haman kaw pasingud? or haman kaw mukadto? (Surigaonon), Pahain kamu mamanaw?(Tandaganon)/ Hain kaw pasingud?(Tandaganon) Asa ka pa-ingon?
Who is that guy? Hisiyu in usug yaun? Siman jaon? or siman jaon sija? (Surigaonon), Sin-o yaun?/ Sin-o taraw yaon(informal)?(Tandaganon) Kinsa na nga tawhana?
Who own this shirt? Kansiyu in badju ini? Kanin-o ini baro? or simay tag-ija ini na baro? (Surigaonon), Kanin-o ini badu?(Tandaganon) Kang kinsa nga sinina kini?
Where is mother? Hain hi Inah? Haman si mama? (Surigaonon), Hain si nanay?(Tandaganon) Asa si mama?/hain si nanay?
When was your birth date? Ka’nu kaw piyag-anak? Kagun-o man kaw natawo? or kagun-o man kaw tag-anak? (Surigaonon), Kinun-u kaw in anak?/Kagan-o kaw gi-anak?(Tandaganon) Kanus-a ka gipanganak/natawo?
Why are you crying? Mayta’ kaw timangis? Oman nag tuwaw man kaw? (Surigaonon), Nasa ga-hilak(ga-tyaho) sa kaw?(Tandaganon) Ngano nga nagahilak ka?
How do you sleep? Biyariin kaw magtuwg? Un-hon man nimo pagkatuyog? (Surigaonon), Paga unu mo pagkaturog?(Tandaganon)/Paga unu mo sa taraw pagkaturug?(informal) Unsaon man nimo pagkatug/pagkatulog?
How is mother doing? Maunu-unu na hi Inah? Kumusta man si Mama? (Surigaonon), Ya-unu na sa si Ina?/ Kumosta na si mama(nanay)?(Tandaganon) Kumusta na man si nanay/mama?

Sample words and phrases


  1. Surigaonon at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Tandaganon at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Surigao". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
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