Monday, December 15, 2014

Surigao Adventure Part 1: Surigao Del Sur

I love piso fares just because I get to travel cheaper here in our country. I suggest everyone to grab the opportunity when piso fares are being held. So Last June, Cebu Pacific had a piso fare and I booked for Butuan with Ter. Honestly, I have a very limited knowledge on what to see in Surigao but I booked anyway. When I researched about it, I got real excited because there are numerous places to discover :) This will be the first time I will blog in details (itinerary, budget and all) just because I had a hard time researching about Surigao del Sur-Norte trips. I hope this can help someone in the future.

We only have 6 days to visit both Surigao del Norte and Sur. At first, I thought it will really be easy but we didn't know that Surigao del Norte and Sur are very far from each other. Plus you have to travel back to Butuan to travel to both provinces. We planned on going to Surigao del Sur first then to Siargao. What we did was go to Britania group of islets first then see the Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls. I will post detailed IT and budget at the end of this post.

So we arrived Butuan then headed for Butuan's bus terminal. Just ride a multicab in the airport that is headed for the bus terminal. Ter and I preferred riding the bus rather than the van because vans get really packed and hot.

We arrived the bus terminal and rode a bus going to Tandag. Just tell the conductor that you will go to Britania group of islands. If they don't know that, just tell them to drop you off at Brgy. Salvacion at San Agustin. Travel time is around 5 hours going to Britania so ready your butt for the long ride!

We reserved one night at La Entrada and it is one of the best resorts ever! We arrived there at around 7pm already. Good thing their restaurant is still open because we haven't had dinner yet. The food was great and the price is reasonable! Everyone was really friendly there. I SWEAR! The rooms were nice and we were assigned in the area where it was surrounded by mangroves. We didn't see it when we arrived because it was so dark already but the following day, the beauty of the mangrove trees greeted us a good morning :)

Mangrove trees around the restaurant and rooms

We asked if tours will push through but they were  unsure because typhoon Ruby is slowly entering PAR. It was very unfortunate that Typhoon Ruby joined us on our trip :/ While waiting for the confirmation of tours, Ter and I just took photos of the islands (because we thought that that's the closest we can get to Britania group of islands) 

Good thing the administrators of La Entrada allowed us to see 2 islands of the Britania group of islands. Normally, there are 4 islands available for tour but we are super okay with 2. 

Vitamin SEA

It is beautiful. It can compete with some (but not all!) of the islands in El Nido :) (Although the other 2 islands that we weren't able to see are more beautiful than the 2 we went to) We even crossed islands because we can. CHAR. It was just low tide.
This is me awkwardly crossing the ocean with Kuya Allan
Some parts were full of shells so I suggest that you don't leave your slippers on the boat. After crossing the ocean, we just swam for a while (before the weather gets bad). The water was great. I wish we had more time :( But still I'm very thankful that we arrived safe and we enjoyed our 2 island tour with Kuya Allan and the gang. 

After the tour, we headed back to our resort, packed our bags and had lunch. The La Entrada experience was so amazing because of the awesome people that accommodated us and the super yummy and cheap food. I really recommend this resort to everyone going to Britania group of islands.

It is heartbreaking to leave La Entrada because I want to stay there forever CHAR! but we have to travel more to see the Enchanted River in Hinatuan and Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig. When going to Bislig/Hinatuan from San Agustin, you have to ride a bus/van going to Butuan and go down at Barobo Terminal. Travel time is 1 hour. Then from Barobo Terminal, ride a bus headed to Mangaggoy. Just tell the conductor where you are headed (either Hinatuan Terminal or Bislig). If you're heading straight to Enchated River, make sure to tell the conductor to bring you down at the Enchanted River crossing. 

So we rode a habal habal going back to the highway and we were waiting for a bus headed to Butuan but a van passed by first. We rode the van and it was the worst decision ever. It was so hot plus the smell was not really good. Good thing I didn't puke or pass out :/ We arrived at Barobo and rode a bus going to Mangaggoy then went down at Hinatuan Terminal. From Hinatuan terminal, we found a habal habal driver that will tour us around and he even suggested our accommodation for the night. His name is Kuya Tata and he's the best. So if you are doing a Surigao del Sur tour, you can contact him at 0907-8926375. Anyway, he suggested Casa Isabelle to us and the place was awesome. It fits travelers like us very well. The rate per night was cheap but the place was very clean and it is fairly new. Super sulit :)

Since we arrived Hinatuan at around 3:00, we still have time to go to Enchanted River. The ride from the Hinatuan proper to Enchanted River is around 30-40 minutes. Get ready your butts when you're riding the habal habal because the road will get a little bumpy. 

Enchanted River was beautiful. Up until now, no one has ever reached the bottom of this river. The water was very clear and you can even see fishes swimming beside you. Since this was a river, I expected the water to be fresh but no, it was salty which surprised me but I still enjoyed the swim nonetheless.

Underwater jeje pose
It was peaceful and we get to swim for a while without any audience or noise. We stayed there until closing time which was 5pm then went back to Casa Isabelle to rest. It's best to go to Enchanted River at 12pm because of the fish feeding. Sadly, we weren't able to make it so I guess, I'll be back.

Chillin at Enchanted River
For the party people there, I'll break the news to you: There is no night life in Hinatuan. So we just had dinner, a few drinks then headed home because it can get scary. Haha! Plus, we need to get up early tomorrow for our Tinuy-an Falls tour.

Kuya Tata told us that he will meet us at 5:30am so that we could arrive early in Tinuy-an Falls. The travel to Tinuy-an falls was rough. And when I say rough, I meant that literally because of all the rough roads we passed by. Despite the bumpy ride there, I enjoyed the scenery and fell in love with this country more. The trip was long but you will not get bored because you will see beaches, lakes, mountains and loads of trees on the way there. My suggestion: ENJOY THE VIEW and don't think about your butt hurting from all the bumpy roads. 

I was seriously left in awe when I saw the falls. It was beautiful. So Tinuy-an falls have 4 levels. The first two, you can immediately see upon arriving but to see the other two, you need to hire a tour guide to assist you in going up the very steep stairs. And the current above is stronger in some parts so you really need someone to guide you up there. 

1st level falls
2nd level falls
3rd level falls
4th level falls
The best time to go to Tinuy-an falls is in the morning (when the sun is high up) because you'll have the chance to see the rainbow up close. My picture doesn't suffice but it was a sight worth seeing! 

We didn't stay long here because we haven't had breakfast and there's really nothing else to do because we don't like to swim (but you can). You can also ride the balsa if you like to get to the falls up close. 

We went back to Hinatuan proper and had breakfast there. After breakfast, we said farewell to Kuya Tata, packed our bags then went straight to the bus terminal to catch a ride going back to Butuan to travel straight to Surigao City.

That's basically our Surigao del Sur trip. There are other sights to see but we decided to just visit the more famous destinations because we are pressed for time. I am sharing with you guys our itinerary and budget for the Surigao del Sur trip below:

Don't mind the travel to Surigao part
If you're on a tight budget, you can enjoy Surigao del Sur with less than P 4000 (P 5,500 with the airfare). I recommend Surigao del Sur for your next travel because you'll really get a feel of the provincial life (which I enjoyed so much). Everything is simple, no traffic, very peaceful and people are really friendly, despite the language barrier. I love everything about Surigao del Sur, and to break the stereotype, it's safe in Surigao! :)

Hit me up the next time you're traveling to Surigao del Sur :)

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