DESTINATION: Surigao del Sur

The first time I visited Surigao del Sur was on a whim. But it was also what started my wanderlust. I mean, I think the thirst for travel and adventure has always been with me. But it was never really given a chance to spread it’s wings.

Calm waters and beautiful sky palettes. Shot taken at Mc Arthur's Place, Britania, Surigao del Sur

Calm waters and beautiful sky palettes. Shot taken at Mc Arthur’s Place, Britania, Surigao del Sur

Anyway, it was back in December 2013. A friend pushed me to take some time off and spend it there. “Magical” was the word he used to describe it to me. I was skeptical. Sure the place will be pretty but I highly doubted it was as AH-MAZING as he made it sound. Surely it was just a ploy to actually get me to take the 12 hour trip! (CDO to Surigao del Sur takes a round 8 hours. But my first trip took more than that because we had several stop-overs.) 

But boy, was I wrong! The place truly was enchanting. Fresh ocean breeze, nostalgic sunsets, and blue waters springing with underwater life. I can simply go on and on.

This year, an opportunity to come back to this place came up. It made me think…NOT! After all, what other option is there aside from grabbing the chance? And so came May 10, 2015 and I was riding the van at 2:30 in the morning towards the place dubbed as the “Shangri-la of the Pacific”.

GETTING THERE

 By AIR

Surigao del Sur actually has an airport in Bislig and in the provincial capitol of Tandag. However, there is no commercial airline serving at present.

Nearest serviceable airport are in Butuan City, Surigao City in Surigao del Norte, and in Davao. From any of these places, you can then take the bus bound for Mangagoy, commercial center of Bislig.

By LAND

From Surigao City and from Butuan:

  1. If your starting point is Surigao City, take a bus bound for Butuan.
  2. From Butuan City Integrated Bus Terminal, take a van or a bus bound for Mangagoy, Bislig.

*NOTE: Travel time from Surigao to Butuan is 3 hours. Butuan to Mangagoy is 5 hours.*

From Davao City:

  1. At Ecoland Terminal, ride a bus bound for Mangagoy. That’s it. You are set.

*NOTE: Travel time is approximately 6 hours.*

 

MY TRAVEL CHOICE

Being left with very little time to plan things out turned out to be a blessing in diguise, I think. What started as a trip for four became much more than that. OUR travel choice? TOUR PACKAGE! 😀

Luckily for us, CDO Travel and Tours provided us with a very neat package. So there we were, all 21 of us – yes!! 21 of us! – tucked away in 2 big vans.

After a long and bumpy ride, up and about ready for Tinuy-an Falls.

After a long and bumpy ride, up and about ready for Tinuy-an Falls.

'Coz every body is a summerbod. haha :D Island Hopping, le go!

‘Coz every body is a summerbod. haha 😀 Island Hopping, le go!

Shout out to our tour coordinator (who should be given Best in Customer Service Award) Tomas, who went the extra mile to make sure that we had the best of time. Hurray to kuya drivers Noel and Felix as well. Yey!!

Just a little segway if I may. If you are thinking of going on short get-aways and is considering looking for an agency, you might want to check out CDO Travel and Tours. Aside from the Surigao Package, they  also have Domestic Barkadahan Packages for Boracay, El Nido, Coron and Ilocos Norte. Check out their FR page here.

 

ITINERARY

DAY 1

2:30am – Departure from CDO.

6:30am – Butuan.

Stop over for breakfast at Jollibee.

Visit Saint Joseph Church (Butuan) on the way.

visiting Saint Joseph on the way

visiting Saint Joseph on the way

9:15am stop over at Pocto Cave in Lianga.

Stop Over: Stretching our bodies and exploring Pocto Cave

Since we had some time to spare and the cave is basically on the way, why not?

The cave is not yet developed. In fact, Tomas said that he had been meaning to explore the cave for a while now but we were the first ones he finally got to invite.

It’s a bout half a kilometers walk from the highway to the cave entrance. No entrance fee since it’s not exactly ready for a steady stream of tourists.

Inside Pocto Cave

Inside Pocto Cave

The cave is very wide and has high ceilings. In the inner sanctum is a bust. The locals don’t know anything about it when we asked though.

the head sculpture inside Pocto Cave

the head sculpture inside Pocto Cave

The experience had left us hot and thirsty. Good thing there were a lot of coconut trees around. For P15, we had fresh buko juice to ease our thirst. 😉

 

Refreshin break brought to you by coconut juice!

Refreshin break brought to you by coconut juice!

Anyway, if you have plans of exploring Pocto Cave anytime soon, bring flash light. And water! Very important. *wink*

10:25am onwards to Britania, Surigao del Sur

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A glimpse of Britania Group of Islands. This site is just a few minutes after the Pocto Cave drop off.

 

10:55am Arrrival at Mc Arthur’s Place

FYI: There is an entrance fee of P25 and an environmental fee of P25. This was inclusive of our tour package though.

12:15pm Lunch

1:45pm Check-in

Ours were two dormitory type rooms. Simple and low-key. Just enough for our needs. :)

Day 1 was basically our free day. You get to have the afternoon all to yourself.

Us? Well, most had slept the afternoon off. 8 hours worth on the road is pretty exhausting. For the rest of us (whose motto seems to “Sleep is for the weak!”) played card games to while away the time.

5:30pm Fishing

Or at least that was the plan. We easily gave up on the idea though, opting instead to go the easy way and just pick which type of fish to have for dinner. The resort prepared and cooked our fish of choice to dishes of our preference.

6:00pm Dinner.

After dinner, we were once again left to our own devices. Some opted to sleep early in preparation for the next day’s events. Others stayed up later, watched fireflies, and did some catching up. After all, we may see each other often in the office but rarely are the times we just get together and talk about our lives.

Calm waters and beautiful sky palettes. Shot taken at Mc Arthur's Place, Britania, Surigao del Sur

Calm waters and beautiful sky palettes. Shot taken at Mc Arthur’s Place, Britania, Surigao del Sur

 

Day 2

4:30am Explore McArthur.

There is nothing quite like the stillness of a place coupled with the fresh breeze of the sea and the bustles of little life that calms the spirit.

6:00am breakfast

7:15am bound for enchanted river

9:15am enchanted river

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Enchanted Rover, Hinatuan

We bought/ordered lunch just outside the resort. You can opt for fresh catch and have it cooked the way you like it or you can select from their ready to eat options.

11:30am lunch

FotorCreated

Lunch is served!

 

12nn fish feeding

12:30pm to tinuy-an

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Having fun underwater.

 

After lunch picture. Preparing for Tinuy-an Falls.

After lunch picture. Preparing for Tinuy-an Falls.

2:15pm tinuy-an

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Tinuy-an Falls

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Obligatory Jump Shot. ;)

 

 

 

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Getting up close and personal.

Tinuy-an Falls behind its curtain of water

Tinuy-an Falls behind its curtain of water

88 steps to the top (source)

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Taking 88 steps to the upper level of Tinuy-an.

 

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‘Coz we are on top of the world! haha :D

 

5:00pm to international doll house

6:00pm ocean view park and international doll house

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Unfortunately, we just had to be there on a Monday.

So now, we know better. Don’t go there on a Monday, alright? 😉

6:10 to 6:30pm Dinner at Baywalk, Bislig

7:10pm back to mcarthurs place

9:20pm back at mcarthur

 

Day 3

6am breakfast

To the islands and beyond ;)

To the islands and beyond ;)

7:30 island hopping 4 islands Diving/snorkeling

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Britania Group of Islands, here we go!

 

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muni-muni ^_^ haha

 

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Ang walang kamatayang jump shot! haha :D

 

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what do you see in the middle of the sea?!?

 

11:40 back to dorms, wash up, prepare

12:45pm Goodbye McArthur’s Place.

1:25pm lunch Erve’s Fastfood in Lianga

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View in Lianga.

 

Try the tikud amo or literally  monkey’s heel. I don’t have a picture of it in case you are wondering. Tikud Amo is sold like contraband. haha 😀 Ask for it and they’ll serve it to you. 😉

Sea food ba kamo? Seafood overload.

Sea food ba kamo? haha 😀 Seafood overload.

 

2:15pm enroute

9:15pm back to the City of Golden Friendship!

 

 

Photo Credits:
Alex Tabuan Jr
Christy Bacoto
Joevel Patalinghug
Rinly Pajaron
Vincent Anthony Cabe aka Tomas
Xavier Zeusseth Vamenta