Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Surigao Adventure Part 2: Surigao City/Butuan

Part 2 of our Surigao adventure was supposed to be Siargao - Sohoton trip in Surigao del Norte but unfortunately for us, we were stuck in Surigao city because all ferries are cancelled because of Typhoon Ruby. So I'll just tell you how we killed time and made Surigao City fun (for us). 

If you read about my Surigao del Sur trip, we came from Hinatuan bus terminal. There's no direct bus going to Surigao city so we have to go back to Butuan. The ride was again 5 hours from Hinatuan then we rode a bus in Butuan's bus terminal headed for Surigao City. Travel time was around 3 hours. 

When we arrived Surigao at 7pm, we hired a habal habal driver to take us to a good hotel near the port. We were still very hopeful during that time that the weather will get better and we will be allowed to cross to Siargao. We stayed at E.Y Suites and it was so-so. It was okay for a night but if you're staying longer at Surigao city, I do not recommend this hotel. We slept early that night because we were too tired from the 8 hour travel we did. 

The next day, we woke up early (5:30am) to check on the port's situation. We arrived the port and we saw that trips are cancelled but we were still very hopeful so we stayed there for a few hours. We made friends with the stranded people there and most of them are stuck there for 2 days already. We left at around 9:00 because we got hungry and we decided to just give up and try again the next day. After breakfast, we looked for a better place to stay for the night and we found the best hotel ever in the whole wide world. Char! We stayed at The Grande Suites in Surigao City. Okay. Here's the best thing about this hotel, for the price of 1380, we had free dinner and breakfast (which were both yummy, mind you!), free ride anywhere in Surigao (as long as Kuya Kent, the driver, is there), free wifi and super nice rooms. They even upgraded us from Standard to Deluxe for no particular reason. Plus, the staff are super friendly and funny :) It was one of the best staycation I had just because of the staff there.

Anyway, after settling in, we decided to visit Mabua Pebble Beach. The winds are getting stronger but this did not stop us. What is amazing about Mabua is the pebbles in the beach. People doesn't even know where the pebbles came from. We just stayed there for a while to have pictures then left afterwards because there is nothing left to do. Also, the waves were getting stronger because of the storm so we had to leave for our safety. Kuya Kent told us that if there's no storm, we can see Samar and Leyte from where we are standing so that's how near we are from the storm which kinda scared me.

The rest of the day was spent at our hotel because it's raining and the winds are really getting stronger. We just watched the news the whole day and updated ourselves with the storm. We really felt unfortunate that we are stuck in Surigao but also fortunate that we found a good hotel with the most friendly staff. 

The next day, we tried going to the port again but still no trips for us. We gave up on our Siargao dream but we promised to be back. 
The faces of people that will be back!
We just decided to hear mass at their cathedral even if it's in Bisaya. 

The closest to Siargao that we can get

Then we headed back to the bus terminal to go back to Butuan. Instead of trying again the next day to wait for ferry schedules, we went back to Butuan. 

When we arrived at Butuan, we found a place to stay then went out for late lunch. We were researching on what to see in Butuan and we saw that there are great restaurants there. So we felt that our Butuan trip will be all about food and it was! We had lunch at Margie's and I really recommend this if you're visiting Butuan. Food is great and the price is quite reasonable. I also love how the decors in the store is so unique. 

After lunch, we went to the Balangay shrine. Butuan is famous for the balangays and it was amazing to see one live. I have a fascination with history and seeing things that I learned from school really amazes me (maybe this is the reason why I like museums and traveling). From Margie's, you can just ride a jeep going to Libertad and ride a tricycle to take you to the museum. Just a little note, there are a lot of museums in Butuan and the Balangay shrine is different from the National Museum.

After Balangay Shrine, we went to Banza Church Ruins. From Libertad, we just rode a jeep then went down the intersection in Banza. We rode a habal habal going to the ruins and it is quite far from the city. It is located beside Agusan River and it has a nice view of the sunset. There is nothing much to see there so we just waited for the sunset. The church ruins is somewhat far from the highway and there's no habal habal drivers waiting there so we walked from the ruins to the highway. We rode a habal habal to take us back to the city and Ter and I already decided to have burgers for dinner. 

We found Isla's burger shack online and saw the good reviews so we badly want to eat there. Unfortunately for us, we didn't find it. And the people there doesn't know where it is :/ We ended up eating at Weegool's and it didn't disappoint. 

We had an early night because we got so tired from going around Butuan. The next day, we decided to go to Butuan National Museum before going to the airport for our 3:30 flight. I wish they develop more of the museum because I believe that there's so much history in Butuan, they just need to focus on it more. We saw more balangays and different tools used by them before. 

After the tour, we went back to our hotel, ate at Margie's again for lunch then went to the airport. We were worried that our flight will be cancelled because the storm is slowly going to Manila but Cebupac decided to push through with the flight. 

We were there at 12:30 but our flight was delayed so we got to board at around 4:30. The flight was full of turbulence and I was praying so hard while we were flying but we landed safely. Actually, it was one of the smoothest landing I ever had with Cebupac. Good job to Mr. Pilot! We arrived to a very rainy Manila but we got home safely and this trip will definitely be remembered for the adventures and misadventures :)

I will see you next year, Siargao!

Here's our itinerary and budget for the rest of the trip:

If you haven't read the first part of my trip: Surigao del Sur trip

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