Travel Diary: The Epic Visit to Agusan Del Norte, Agusan Del Sur & Surigao Del Sur in the Philippines

2:30:00 PM Pinoy Boy Journals 2 Comments

When i arrived in Butuan, i went straight to the bus terminal bound for Tandag. First stop was San Agustin, gateway to Britannia Group of Islands. Stayed at Oasis Resort and paid P1,000 for an overnight trip. Bought beer nearby and waited for sunset while drinking San Miguel Beer. I met 3 folks from Davao and decided to share the boat going to the islands. Played with little siblings who later on became my travel companions. Paid P600 for my share, and bought 1 bottle of Emperador and 1 Liter of Pepsi. Started drinking at 7AM. Hooray! Islands visited: Hagonoy, Naked, Hiyor-Hiyoran, Boslon. The best island is Hagonoy. Simply beautiful! 

On our way back, we had to pass by the walkway which was made of broken wood panels. Crazy! 

When i returned back to the resort, i was tired and hungry but needed to go to Bislig to spend the next night. From San Agustin, rode a multicab going to Barobo. From Barobo, rode a van going to Hinatuan. I alighted at the junction going to Enchanted River. Met this guy who originally charged me P400 for a round trip going in to Enchanted.  Managed to pay him less than P50 but gave another tip. Rode this habal-habal with shade. Bumped my head maybe five or more times. 

When i got to Enchanted, it was time for fish feeding. Beautiful! Nowhere else in the world can you see where salt and freshwater meet, with giant fish jumping up and down. 

After which, I went to the bus terminal in Hinatuan. Rode a van heading to Mangagoy bound for Bislig. I was hungry and tired so i couldn't walk up the stairs headed for Ocean View Restaurant. Went straight to Paper Country Inn. Room was forgettable. Ordered grilled squid and "Mutya ng Bislig" which is native delicacy. Loved it!

Went to walk for a night. It feels good to walk around Mindanao at night. I just wished this huge island is safer for tourists. Went to watch men playing billiards, went to a videoke place to drink a few bottles of San Miguel Beer again. The next day, i woke up a little late than usual. My sleep was good. 

Woke up, and the driver was waiting for me to head to Tinuy-an Falls. Katibawasan was beautiful but the falls of Tinuy-an was extremely Gorgeous!!! After a photo op, it was time for me to head back to the bus terminal bound for a long ride to San Franz, Agusan Del Sur. First item on the list for me was to eat! So, i went to good 'ol Mang Inasal. After which, I went to one of the habal-habal drivers and negotiated for a day tour. I knew this was off the beaten path as the drivers didn't know much where the tourist spots are. Hopefully, they get to learn the importance of tourism in their livelihood. 

So, i simply focused on exploring San Francisco and Prosperidad. San Francisco is 2012 most competitive town in the Philippines. You can see modernity, and it's such a thriving little town. In five years, San Franz will boom not only as the best stop over town but also as a tourist gem. Went to the municipal hall, the central market, bus stations. I also got to visit Gibong River, among other places. It was a short ride, and i wasn't able to explore Agusan Marsh due to lack of funds, but i will be back with more friends so i can share expenses with them. After the short tour around Agusan Del Sur, i was bound for Butuan. 

My driver was kind to me, and had a penchant for showing me what's best about his province. Added a few hundred pesos to him as a sign of gratitude.  It was a long journey from one city to the next. Oh, by the way, i also got to visit the foot of Mt. Diwata which was very pretty. Although, the lack of infrastructure is a bit disappointing. 

It was a long ride going to Butuan, and i arrived at sunset. Stayed at Prince Hotel which was recommendable. In love with the service there, and the staff are accommodating and helpful. Didn't go out much at night except for getting cash from bank. I'm broke. After this trip, i think i spent over P10,000 but when i think about it, i donated P10,000 to the income of each Mindanaoan I've dealt with. And of course, it feels good.

It was painful for me to have hurt Manong who gave me a broken tour of the city. He mistakenly brought me to Masao, the landing of Magellan in Butuan wherein i wanted to go to Bood Pormontory. I only paid him P70 but he was asking for more, an hour wasted and money wasted after, i told him to leave. i am not mad at him, but i thought about how he must have felt. But i was for fairness and equality. I knew P70 for a wrong trip was enough. Good people from The Prince Hotel helped me continue on with the trip. Rented a motorbike for P400 to get me around the city. I went to the new bridge, national museum compounds. Both National and Balanghai Shrine were closed on Domingo but it was okay. And then i went to Bood Pormontory, although the signs were clearly invisible to lost tourists. It was memorable because this was the place where the first mass was heard. I remember, it's been a long time since i last went to mass. i talk to God a lot but not hear mass. After which, i went to Banza Ruins and stayed there a for a bit. This was my up close experience with the beautiful river. And Mekong stands nowhere to her majesty. The ruins is out of this world. Hope the tourism booms here as it's definitely a must visit place for any devotee. After 4 sticks of Marlboro Reds and 12 ounce coke, it was time to head back to the airport. i still wanted to go to some places but i don't have anymore money like the latest expedition of balanghay and Sto Nino church.

I've just completed Caraga Region, and so far, my most favorite region in Mindanao. The people are shy but very friendly. Please stop illegal logging in Mindanao! I've seen more trees killed here than anywhere in the planet. I prayed to the mountain gods and tree gods, to say sorry for all the sins of mankind. I vow to return one day, and help alleviate this problem for real.


Unknown said...

Not all parts of mindanao have rebels or kidnappers walking on the streets, or hiding in the mountains (only in those muslim cities or towns) . It's actually much safer to walk outside at night and day than it is in metro manila; you've seen that yourself. Our tourism suffer from those reckless stereotypical comments so please be mindful next time. Thanks

@Unknown After traveling extensively across Mindanao, CARAGA or that side of the island seems like the most recommended for travelers. Because it's relatively unknown for Manilenyos, fear is there. But once you've visited the place, all worries fade. Peace!