Travel Guide: Enchanting Surigao del Sur

Situated in the easternmost part of the country and mainland Mindanao, Surigao del Sur is a quaint province mostly known as a vast mining and logging area for decades now. Despite a lowly turnover in terms of tourism, the province is home to some of the most wonderful and unique natural attractions that travelers would love.

Surigao del Sur is part of the Caraga Region (Region 13) and it shares borders with Surigao del Norte in the north, Agusan del Sur to the west and Davao Oriental to the south. It is located right next to the vast Pacific Ocean. Tandag City is the provincial capital.

In recent years, alongside the frequency and affordability of domestic flights, Surigao del Sur and its hidden treasures have become accessible to many visitors flying into Tandag City from Cebu or transiting through the key airports surrounding the province from Manila. Visiting this province would not be complete without checking out its tourist sites that include the widest waterfalls in the country, an enchanting underwater cave system, and islets with white sand beaches.

What to See

River enchante

Fall Into the Charm of the Enchanted River

falls tinuyan

Conquering the Country’s Widest Falling Wonder: Tinuy-an Falls

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britania group

Island Hopping in Britania Island Group

Getting There

The province is conveniently accessible by plane through its capital city, Tandag. Cebu Pacific is the only carrier that plies daily Cebu City-Tandag City routes.  Tandag is a strategic jump-off to all destinations in the province. However, a popular transit route to conveniently reach the province is through Butuan City, CARAGA’s regional center. Cebu Pacific and PAL have daily multiple flights to and from Manila. This is a popular option for visitors that intend to try the Bislig-Hinatuan loop.

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From Butuan, traveling to Bislig City or Hinatuan takes about 4 hours by bus passing through most of the major towns and cities of Agusan del Sur. From the Butuan Bus Terminal, take the Bachelor Express bus going to Mangagoy (Bislig). The bus will pass by the town of Hinatuan, where the Enchanted River is located. The trip ends in Bislig City’s commercial center, Mangagoy. This is also where the accommodations and restaurants are located.

Another option of reaching Surigao del Sur is coming from Davao City for about 5 to six hours by bus.

Local Transportation: Motorcycle (Habal-Habal/Skylab) and Hired Vans for local tours | Bus and UV Express for inter-province and inter-town trips.

Where to Stay

Accommodations in Bislig City are relatively affordable as there no high-end hotels or resorts in the area. We stayed at Casa de Babano located right at the city center for Php 500.00 per airconditioned room/night. Restrooms are shared and they also have their in-house restaurant and bar/entertainments. They also have their accredited tour guide and driver for Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls with rates from Php 1,200 to Php 1,500. Please refer to this list of Accommodations in Bislig City.

Travel Notes:

  • While the van is relatively faster, we still recommend taking the bus due to convenient stops in almost all towns, allowing you to take of your personal needs. This could also give you some time to check out the town proper of the province.
  • There are no airconditioned bus plying the Butuan-Mangagoy (Bislig) route.

Special Concern:

  • Please be very careful in dealing with habal-habal drivers. If possible, pre-book your driver/guide beforehand or avail through your hotel to avoid excessive rates as tour guiding seem to be not regulated in Bislig-Hinatuan area.
  • While on the road on-board the habal-habal, don’t hesitate to call the attention of the driver/guide to maintain a relative speed for your own safety. Please note that these motorcycles don’t have helmets.
  • Clarify first with your driver/guide the breakdown of the Day Tour rates. It should already include the gasoline for the duration of the tour. Inquire with the driver if you will have to take another motorcycle if coming from Tinuy-an Falls going to the main road for a fee.
  • Please secure the contact numbers of local authorities for emergency purposes.

Checkout our more of our Tinuy-an Falls and Enchanted River experience.

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