One of the places that i want to explore is Surigao. It is located at the north easternmost tip part of Mindanao. The city serves as a jump off point to visitors of nearby Siargao, Dinagat and Bucas Grande islands. It is Mindanao’s closest landmass to the Visayas region. Eleven nautical miles across Surigao Strait separates the city from Panaon Island in the Visayas. It is actually an hour plane ride from Cebu or an overnight boat ride from Cebu. If you are from Iligan, Cagayan de Oro and Davao City there are buses that will take you to Surigao. But what we did was that we drove a private vehicle and took the Tagum-Montevista-Monkayo-Trento-Bislig route which is approximately 6 hours drive.
We took off from Davao around 8 in the morning. Our first stop was at Casa de Suman at Trento, Agusan del Sur. It is located at Hillsview Hotel, Resort and Bar. They serve and sell suman, budbud or sticky glutinous rice cake in so many flavors. You can choose from plain, chocolate, Pineapple, Nangka or Jackfruit, Monggo, Ube, Buko, Buko Pandan. This is best paired with coffee, hot chocolate or even with ice cream. But aside from the wide array of Suman flavor choices, they also offer food for lunch and dinner. We even bought organic red rice and organic vegetables too at their store. They have organic farm within their premises.
After spending the day at the road, we finally arrived at Barangay Talisay, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur where Enchanted River is located.
Enchanted River is truly enchanting! Looking at it from afar, the river is emerald green but on the other angle the river is sapphire blue. I’ve never seen a river as clear and as inviting as this. Since we arrived at 4 in the afternoon and they are closing at 5pm, we only spent an hour gazing at this natural wonder. Enchanted River is a deep spring river that flows into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Legend say that the river is haunted by supernatural beings or fairies which act as its protectors. The first exploration to the underground cave was made by Alex Santos in 1999 and eleven years later, Dr. Alfonso Amores led a major exploration that led to the discovery of a hidden underground cave opening at 30 meters depth. During its sixth expedition(June 17, 2014), Dr. Amores was not able to exit at 40 meter depth due to cardiac arrest that led to his death. As of writing, explorations continue aiming to discover its unexplored area beyond its 82 meters depth. Everyday at 12 noon to 1pm, there is a fish feeding and no one is allowed to swim. It was sad that we were not able to witness it. I promised myself that i will come back again.
Tariffs & Fees:
- Php 30.00 Adult (Local and Foreign)
- Php 5.00 Kids below 4ft (Local and Foreign)
- Php 24.00 Senior Citizen (Local and Foreign)
Sheds and Cottages:
- Pavillion Php 500.00 (good for 40-80 pax)
- Tent (Long Table) Php 200.00 (good for 20-30 pax)
- Bahay Kubo Php 200.00 (good for 10-15 pax)
- Nipa Hut Php 150.00 (good for 6-10 pax)
- Green Roof Php 150.00 (good for 4-6 pax)
- Extra Tables and Chairs Php 50.00 (good for 4 pax)
- Umbrella with Table & Chair Php 100.00 (good for 4 pax)
Rental and other Services:
- Life Vest Php 15.00/hour (present 1 valid I.D.)
- Battery Charging- Cellular Phone Php 15.00
- Rice Cooker Php 50.00
- Souvenir T-shirt Php 250.00
- Boating Rentals: Island Hopping (for 5 pax) Php 150.00/hour
For cottages reservation, please call 0909 955 3079.
We spent the night at Paper Country Inn in Bislig. It is a cozy place at the heart of Bislig. Very affordable and staff were very friendly and accommodating. We took our dinner and lunch at their restaurant. The food was great and very affordable.
Our next destination is to visit the Little Niagara Falls of the Philippines, Tinuy-an Falls which is just around 30 minute drive from Paper Country Inn. It located at Barangay Borboanan. It is well known in the town so we just asked for the location from the people we passed by. It is a multi-tiered waterfall found in Bislig also known as the Booming City by the Bay. It is a white water curtain that flows in three levels and said to be the widest waterfalls in the Philippines. Entrance is Php 50.00 per head. We had a grand time rafting and swimming! The cold water was very refreshing.
From Bislig we drove 92 kilomoters more from Barangay Borboanan, Bislig to San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. We had a quick stop over at DPWH Rest Area to see the spectacular view of Britania Group of Islands from afar. Locals display furniture and other products made of Magkuno wood. We bought Chopping Board made of Magkuno Wood for a very cheap price.
We finally arrived at La Entrada Resort & Restaurant and booked Britania Group of Islands tour. At the back part of La Entrada Resort and Restaurant is where the boats dock for the island hopping. We were accompanied by three very courteous boat men. Britania Group of Islands is composed of 24 islands and islets tucked in a peaceful barangay of Surigao del Sur. Britania is derived from the greek word “Prettanike” or “Brettanai” which means a collection of islands with individual names. We visited 3 islands due to limited time but the boat men took us to the the 3 famous islands so it was still worth it.
Our first stop was Hiyur-Hiyuran Island. It is a small island surrounded with palm trees and lots of sea urchins and starfishes.
Then we went to Naked Island.
Then we went to Boslon Island. This is where we enjoyed swimming and basked under the sun. This island has fine and creamy white sand comparable to that of Boracay.
On our way back to La Entrada Resort and Restaurant, we were able to witness one of the most beautiful sunsets i have ever seen.
We ended the night with wine and videoke at MOA Music Lounge. We rented the place all for ourselves for Php 1,000.00 and stayed until 12 midnight.
The next day, we took a hearty lunch at their restaurant before we drove back to Davao City. La Entrada Resort and Restaurant staff are very friendly and accommodating. Our short stay here was really memorable.
From River to Falls to Islands, what more can you ask for? It was truly one of the most memorable weekend trip i had with my best friend and family. It was tiring but we had so much fun. It strengthened our bond and made wonderful memories together and that’s what travel does. You laugh at all the misadventures that comes with the trip and cherish the beautiful adventures you have.
Mindanao has so many things to offer to tourists and i am looking forward to explore more places in The Philippines’ Land of Promise. Let us Choose Philippines!
Salamat Karajaw, Surigao!
Thank you to Tata Roque and Hedda Valdehueza for the tips on this travel. 🙂
For details about this travel blog, feel free to comment below or send me an email, i am thrilled to hear from you.
Two years after, i came back to Surigao. We took the same route via Davao and still the same we drove a private car because it is more convenient hopping from one place to another. We took off at around 4am in the morning to get rid of the traffic at the road construction going to Tagum. We took breakfast at Jollibee Tagum and continued our journey to Tinuy an Falls. There is now a large signage when you are already near the falls. There is also a pasalubong center here.
The road is still the same though, not yet cemented but no major holes. It is a bit muddy though when it is raining.
You can go up the signage as it is designed to be a foot bridge.
Entrance Fee is still Php 50.00 per head.
The registration area and process did not change. This time, i did not ride the raft and swim at the falls. We just stayed there enjoyed watching the beauty of the Little Niagara of the Philippines.
Our next stop was a short photo op at the I love Bislig signage at Bislig Baywalk. It is a very clean place where one can chill and enjoy the view. It has a lot of benches for you to relax.
From the Baywalk, we went ahead to the Enchanted River. If before, you can go directly to the the parking nearby the main gate of the river, this time, there is a designated parking area with a fee of Php 20.00. There is also an orientation before anyone can ride the shuttle going to the river.
Orientation includes the guidelines when inside the premises of the river. Fish feeding is at 12 noon. During my last visit, i was not able to witness it since we arrived late at Enchanted River, around 4:30 PM. The river operates only up to 5:00 PM daily.
The left-most part of the river is now a no-swimming zone. There is a designated place to swim and rental of life vest is for Php50.00.
At 12 noon, the river is cleared. All those who are swimming are requested to go up to give way to the fish feeding. A song is played while the fisherman riding the boat slowly approaching the river and fed the fishes. It was so dramatic!
Before the fish feeding was done, we immediately went our to ride the shuttle as they have limited shuttles and there were a lot of people. parking area is a bit far so walking going to the parking is not an option.
Near the Orientation area is a market where you can have the option to have fresh seafood cooked. There is also a place where you can eat and have lunch or snacks. Surigao is known to have affordable fish and crabs.
From Enchanted River,we head to Britania Group of Islands. We did not have any prior reservations since we thought we just look around the hotels. Anyway it was lean season. We went there December 26-27, 2017.
Upon entering Barangay Britania, we were asked to pay Php25.00 per head for Environmental Fee. I was stunned when they asked for this since the last time we went there, we paid no such thing as Environmental Fee.
The first resort that you will see upon entering the barangay is La Entrada. The place that we stayed previously. We then went to the inner part of the barangay where resorts are lined up but we still decided to stay at La Entrada. Here in Britania, room rate per night usually costs Php 1,000-2,000.
We asked from the hotel to book us a boat for our island hopping the next day. Island Hopping costs Php 1,500.00 per boat.
We relaxed at the restaurant and waited for sunset. A beautiful sunset can be caught at the boat docking area at La Entrada.
A beautiful sunset can be caught at the boat docking area at La Entrada, so we continued our drinking session there while we enjoyed the magnificent Surigao sunset.
We were early the next day, we took our breakfast and took off for our island hopping.
The island hopping route was just the same as the first one. The only difference this time is that we did this in the morning while the last time we did it in the afternoon. The island hopping here can last only half day since the most common islands visited here are just 4 islands. However, this time, we bought fresh “lato” and sea urchin with yummy homemade vinegar from the local fishermen. They told us that they are not allowed to sell here but due to limited resources for earning money in their place, they still continue to sell and if they get caught, they will again harvest sea weeds and sea urchin in the sea and sell it. Life here is hard. During these times that i reflect and stop complaining about my petty life concerns, i get to appreciate my life even more. We gave extra money to the seller as a way of helping them. While we were there, we experienced a short downpour of rain and while waiting for it to stop, we had a few laughs with the locals and that for me was one of the most meaningful and memorable event in out trip.
It was another short but fun filled post-Christmas trip. La Entrada never failed to give us quality service.
We went back to the road and head back home but the trip won’t be complete if i will not drop by HilsView Restaurant. Bought their famous suman and went home to Davao.
It is the last few days of summer and if you are planning on another trip or last hurrah before classes begin again, you might consider this route. ♥