It was summer of 2016 when I bought a plane ticket going to Davao. I booked online without any idea where to go. I had business reasons initially and had no plans on travelling but unfortunately, it was cancelled then. I was having second thoughts if I’m gonna pursue the flight until I read Biyahe ni Drew‘s blog about his trip to Bislig, Surigao del Sur so I ended up travelling alone.
On this blog, you will know how I was able to do my first solo flight to Surigao del Sur and 3 other provinces (Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and South Cotobato). But for now, I will share first my solo trip in Surigao Del Sur.
How to get there?
There are no direct flights to Bislig from Manila. If you’re coming from Luzon like me, book a flight to Butuan City, Agusan del Norte or Davao City which I did. Land travel from Butuan to Bislig takes three to four hours. If you’re coming from Davao, it will take four to five hours.
My flight was 5am so I arrived in Davao International Airport around 7am via Cebu Pacific which has plenty of flights per day. Then I rode a cab from the airport going to South Bus terminal in Davao City where I rode a bus going to Brgy. Mangagoy, Bislig, Surigao del Sur.
Tip: Don’t ride a black cab from the airport going to somewhere else unless you have plenty of budget. They have higher flag down rate than the ordinary white taxis.
If you’re also planning to go straight to Brgy. Mangagoy, just wait in front of the airport since there are some buses passing by. The fee is usually Php350 for a 5-6 hours travel time.
I arrived in Mangagoy around 3pm and met my tour guide. We just dropped my stuff in my inn which I can’t remember since it was unplanned. I mean, originally, my tour guide booked me in a different inn but when I arrived, it was fully booked so we went to another hostel. It cost me Php600 only for one night. Its only few blocks away so my tour guide can bring you there.
Around 4:30pm, we still decided to go to my first destination which is the Niagara falls of the Philippines or locally called Tinuy-an falls.
It’s a 20 min trip riding a habal-habal from Mangagoy to Tinuy-an falls. Though its almost late, I was still amazed at my first glance on the said falls. All that I uttered when I first saw it was “wow”. There was a guide who accompanied me going to the falls. We rented a raft which costed me Php150 only and I gave a hundred to the one who guided me.
Around 7pm when we decided to had dinner. There were many carinderias on the town proper. And then I went back on my inn and called it a day.
On my day 2, I had a special arrangement with my guide. Though I know its far, I told him to bring me to my next destination which is the Aliwagwag falls.
Aliwagwag Falls is one of the most visited natural attractions in Davao Oriental. It is also considered as the country’s highest waterfalls. The falls, made up of more than 100 cascading waterfalls and is made up of rock formations varying in shapes and sizes.
It is almost a 2 hour drive from Mangagoy to Aliwagwag but we made it for almost 1.5 hours only. There’s an entrance fee of Php50 only and you have other options for activities. I spent only 30 mins enjoying the water and the scenery. Then we went back to Mangagoy already.
The barangay has rules regarding habal habal with roof. That’s why we made sure to be back before 12nn.
We had lunch on our 3rd destination which is the Enchanted river. From Mangangoy, the place is almost an hour away. Along the way, you can have a photo opt with the “I Love Bislig” on their boulevard which we exactly did then went straight to Enchanted river.
One of the most popular tourist attraction sites in Philippines is the Hinatuan River which lays in the town of Hinatuan in Barangay Cambaton. This river is also known as the Enchanted river which has crystal-clear waters, such that you can see the riverbed even at the deepest part.
One of the most unique features of the enchanted river is its unfathomable depth. This is why many tourist swim in the shallow part of the enchanted river area with water’s shade range from aquamarine to blue. The dark blue color in the river simply means the water is very deep. The enchanted river has the most magical moment; at exactly 12 noon the caretaker rings the bell requesting everyone to get out from the water as is “feeding time”.
The entrance fee on this destination is only is Php40. The number of visitors on that day when I visited was bearable tho I heard that this place is really jam packed especially weekends and holidays. Aside from the cheap entrance fee, the LGU of Surigao Del Sur renovated the road up there that can be passable by all type of vehicles.
Just like any other tourists, I was tempted to swim and enjoy the water of Enchanted river. Though as far as I know, the LGU of the said province restricted the locals to swim in the river due to the preservation of it.
After an hour of swimming, I decided to had an hour of island hopping at the back side of the river which Drew Arellano also did in his show. The is Php150 per hour.
Here are the few places I went to during the island hopping.
Meet doggy! (Locals said that he doesn't have a name and I'm too lazy to give him one.) Well, siya lang naman ang sasalubong sayo kapag palapit na ang bangka sa island nila. As in tumatahol siya at wagging tail pa! HAHA! 🙂 Im a bit sad because I can't take him home but he can be the reason why you wanna visit here. 🙂 Not to mention the beauty of the resort itself. 🙂 Sorry! Dog lover here. 🙂 . . #adventure #karlasolotrip #solobackpacker #dog #mindanaoescapade #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travelph
After enjoying Enchanted river, you may take a quick island hopping tour for only Php150.00 per hour and this is one of what you'll see. 🙂 Stingray and shark sanctuary. 🙂 . . They are in safe hands. 🙂 According to our local tour guide, they will release them in the open sea when its about time. Feeding time! 🙂 . . #everydayadventure #karlasolotrip #solobackpacker #itsmorefuninthephilippines #islandhopping #travelph #pinasmuna
We had a late lunch. There are many eateries upon the entrance gate of Enchanted river. We ordered a plate of adobong pusit for only Php150 which is already good for 3 persons.
Around 4:00pm when we departed to our next destination which is the Libuacan Cold Spring.
The spring is located in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur which locals consider as their safe haven. Libuacan cold spring is a quiet, peaceful and serene safe haven. It is a place that could relieve stress and will definitely give its visitor a breath of fresh air.
Around 4:30pm when we decided to depart to where I’m going to sleep on my 2nd night. We arrived in my home stay at around 6:30pm and just had a simple dinner.
And the following day, I’m already in my next destination which is in Britania Group of Islands.
This time, I am up as early as 6am to do island hopping in Britannia islands in the Municipality of San Agustin, Surigao Del Sur.
We visited 6 islands namely Hiyor-hiyoran island, Naked island, Boslon island, Hagonoy island and Paglangagan islands.
Our first stop was Hiyor-hiyoran island. It has a nice wide open beach lined with a handful of palm trees. I didn’t swim here since it’s full of seaweeds and corals.
The next island we visited is the Naked Island. The island is basically a white sand bar with some rocks. Swimming here is also possible with its clear blue waters. You may swim on both sides of the island. It’s quite small and local tourists would only stop here to take photos.
The third island is just beside the Naked island, Hagonoy island. A long stretch of island with a handful of coconut and talisay trees. Swimming here is ideal. The sand is fine and white and the waters are crystal clear.
And the 4th stop is Boslon island where most tourists would stop by for lunch, mainly because there is a lot of shade under some trees and rocks.
During low tide, one may also walk to the nearby twin islands collectively called Paglangagan Islands, which are my last islands. These two islands are mostly rocky though, and one must wear slippers to get there as the path connecting these islands to Boslon Island is mostly consist of dead crushed corals.
After island hopping, we had our breakfast in a nearby carinderia.
Around 9am when we went to the nearest waterfalls located on the next town namely Bao-Bao falls. This shallow waterfalls in the middle of green forest will make you feel like you’re in a virgin rainforest that is cool soothing and relaxing.
Around 10:30am when we decided to visit the last destination in Surigao–Cagwait white beach in Cagwait Surigao Del Sur. Locals here name it the Little Boracay of Surigao due to the fine white sand of the island. It also has a long stretch shore line perfect for beach bummers.
It's only for three days but my heart is now full of everything– happiness, adventure, excitement! Everything! I'll never forget the place where I had my first solo backpacking trip! 'Till next time, Surigao Del Sur! Next destination– South Cotobato 🙂 . . #karlasolotrip #solobackpacking #adventuretime #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travelph #mindanaoescapade
Around 3pm when I decided to go back to Davao and travel to my next destination– South Cotobato. I will explain how I was able to travel from Surigao Del Sur to South Cotobato on my next blog.
Without the help of my tour guide, my Surigao trip will never be possible considering my time and budget. Thanks to Kuya Romnick! He helped me arranged my itinerary and my home stay. Please contact him at 09299582345/09151745145 or thru his Facebook account Romnick Quinonez
Feel free to drop some comments or questions on the box below. Thank you! Happy travelling!