Philippines > Surigao del Sur
Surigao del Sur
If you want an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city , this province in Mindanao could just be your dream get-away. Dubbed as Shangri-La by the Pacific, this is exactly the place for tourists who do not want places that are too touristy. The mass tourism wave has not yet hit this part of the Philippines making it perfect for travelers who'd like to witness stunning natural wonders sans the huge crowd.
How to Get There
The nearest point accessible by commercial flights is Tandag City, the capital of Surigao del Sur. A local budget carrier offers these flights 3x weekly (MWF) but only to and from Cebu. If you are coming from Manila, the nearest jumping-off point to Surigao del Sur is Butuan City in Agusan del Norte. A flight from Manila to this city only takes 1.5 hours. Davao City may also be your transit point as local carriers and a few international airlines offer direct flights to this city. From Manila, flights to this city may take 1.75 hours.
There are inter-island vessels that ply the Manila-Butuan (30 hours) or Cebu-Butuan (12 hours) routes on regular schedules with Nasipit Port as transit point. At the wharf, you can take a jeepney to Butuan Integrated Bus Terminal where you can catch a bus or van to get you to Surigao del Sur.
From either Butuan Integrated Bus Terminal, San Franz (Agusan del Sur), or Davao City Ecoland Terminal, there are buses and vans that go directly to or pass by Surigao del Sur. For information on how to reach each of Surigao del Sur's attractions, follow the link to travel guide specific to each destination in the Top Things to See and Do section below.
Click an area on the map to change destination.
Where to Stay
Your choice of accommodation depends on where you plan to start or end your trip. From the list below, you only need to choose one as it takes only 2 days and a night (at max) to go around this province, unless of course you intend to stay there for long or for good.
- La Entrada Resort and Restaurant, San Agustin - Spanish for "the entrance", La Entrada is aptly named as it could be your gateway to Britania Group of Islands. Air-conditioned rooms for two cost between Php1,200 and Php3,000. The air-conditioned dormitory-type room which can accommodate 12 persons costs Php3,600. Fan rooms are also available at cheaper rates. Their restaurant serves good food at affordable prices ranging from Php100 to Php200 per head. They also offer Britania island hopping at Php 1,000/boat for 10 persons. You can reach them at 09218078974.
- Mac Arthur's Place, San Agustin - This is another popular choice as accommodation in, and/or jumping-off point to, Britania. At Php 1,500, you can rent a boat good for 10 persons for island hopping. You can also stay overnight in air-conditioned rooms for two ranging from Php 1,000 to Php 2,500. If you're traveling with a big group, you can stay at their dormitory-type room for 14 persons at Php 3,200. You can also have food cooked for you at an affordable price. You can reach them at 09258221481.
- Marky's Hostel, Hinatuan - It's very much like any ordinary house, so it's not a surprise many backpackers who stay here gets a homey feeling. Their rooms are cheap as well. You can get a room for as low as Php 150 per head (fan room)! Their cheapest air-conditioned rooms can be availed for Php 200 per head (double-deck, sharing). You can reach them at 09284397785.
- CJ's Hometel, Hinatuan - In CJ's hometel, you can stay in an air-conditioned room for as low as Php 250 (apartel-type for up to 6 people or dorm-type for up to 15 people). You can also cook your own meals in their kitchen. Aside from accommodation, they also offer island hopping around Hinatuan. You can contact them through these numbers: 09278024498 or 09296651641.
- Paper Country Inn, Bislig City - Just like most of the accommodation options in Bislig, this three-story pension house is budget-friendly. An economy room costs Php 600 per night. Their dorm-type rooms which can accommodate up to 6 persons cost Php 1,500 per room or Php 250 per head. Call them at (086) 628-3213 to inquire.
- Casa de Babano Pension House, Bislig City - This is your best option if you are travelling alone to Bislig. You can get a fan room for as cheap as Php 275. If you want more comfort, you can get an air-conditioned room for as low as Php 350 (triple sharing). Inquire about their latest rates by calling these numbers: 09752009704 or 09101509293.
Where to Eat
Most of the accommodation options listed above either have their own restaurants or have restaurants or eateries (carinderias or turo-turo as they are commonly called in the Philippines) nearby where you can dine. Alternatively, some pension houses allow their guests to cook their own meals. But if you want to try other options outside of where you stay, you can check out these places.
- Ocean View Park Restaurant, Bislig City - If you plan to drop by the International Doll House before or after visiting Tinuy-An Falls, you can have a meal or snacks in this restaurant which is in the same complex as the doll house. You'll surely want to grab some food upon reaching this restaurant because getting there requires you to climb not less than 250 steps. Aside from good food, you can also have a good view of the ocean from the hilltop location of the restaurant. You can have a meal for as low as Php 100.
- Gail's Resto and Coffee Shoppe, Bislig City - More than their coffee, they are known for Mutya ng Bislig, their version of the seafood chowder, a hot and creamy soup with whole crab on top of it. One serving that's good for sharing costs Php 600.
- Goldbar Restaurant, Tandag City - If you're heading to Surigao del Norte right after your Surigao del Sur trip or vice versa, you'll most likely pass by Tandag, the capital city of Surigao del Sur. If you happen to pass by on an empty stomach, you can have it filled up at Goldbar, a restaurant serving Filipino classics. The restaurant is right at one end of Tandag Boulevard facing the Pacific Ocean. You can have a meal for Php 150 in this cozy place while watching the waves come ashore Mabua Beach. For a much cheaper alternative, you can dine at any of the barbecue places along Tandag Boulevard. There's plenty of them. You can have a meal for as low as Php 50! The view of the boulevard at night will remind you of Roxas Boulevard in Manila.
Top Things to See and Do
It's actually possible to go around Surigao del Sur and visit its most popular attractions in just a day. Yes, you read it right, a day! If we were able to do it, so can you. But of course, that means you have to start the day really early. It will also help a lot if you have your own car (or if you rent one). Trust me, if you have a very limited time to go and see this place, taking public transport from one destination to the other is never a better idea. Although, if you're on a budget and you're travelling alone or with just a small group, I don't recommend renting a car as the cost can be too heavy on your pockets.
Click on each destination or adventure for a detailed travel guide. As preferences may vary from person to person, I have listed down different options on how you can visit these attractions and the things you can do in each of these. Below you can also find a suggested itinerary and sample costing to help you plan your trip.
Although we visited the main attractions of Surigao del Sur in just a day, I don't suggest that you do the same. The reason why we compressed everything into one day is because we also have to visit other places aside from Surigao del Sur. If you are visiting just Surigao del Sur, it's best to do a two-day itinerary.
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The expenses for Surigao del Sur trip can vary significantly depending on your transport, food, and accommodation preferences. Take advantage of promo airfares as transport can be a huge cost item. Below estimates are based on a 5-person tour. The more you are in a group, the cheaper the costs will be.
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The beauty of Tinuy-an Falls is really captivating. It makes you want to get wet even if you don't want to. It's undoubtedly one of the most beautiful falls in the Philippines.
The long road trip can be butt-numbing. Nonetheless, having a company of good friends with you makes you forget that you actually spent more time on the road than on the main attractions.
The good things that having a private vehicle can give you when you visit Surigao del Sur cannot be more emphasized. It not only saves you time but also gives you more flexibility. The van rental fee can get quite hefty, so better if you travel with a large group so that you can split the cost among yourselves. You could also extend your trip to include Surigao del Norte, just like what we did.
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