Surigao del Sur is a province located in the Caraga region; specifically in the eastern part of Mindanao, in the Philippines. The province caters a long list of tourist spots. On top of our list are Tinuy-An Falls, Enchanted River and Britania Group of Islands. The best time of the year to visit these places is during the low rainfall season, which starts from July to October.
Roughly 18 kilometers from the downtown area of Bislig in Surigao del Sur, is the terrific and lovely Tinuy-an Falls – a chief tourist spot of Mindanao. Falling from a height of 55 meters and broadly extending at 95 meters, Tinuy-an is a three-layered waterfalls that is considered as one of the widest falls in the Philippines. This spot is around 4 hours away from Butuan City and 8 hours away from Cagayan de Oro City.
There are buses and private vans from Butuan City Integrated Bus Terminal going to Mangagoy – Bislig City’s commercial point. Tinuy-an Falls is situated in Sitio Sote, Barangay Burboanan. You can reach it by travelling a rough road from the city proper. Private vehicles can drive through it and can park outside the fall’s vicinity while public commuters can take motor-hires or habal-habal. The entrance fee is 50 pesos per head for adults.
Situated in the middle of Barangay Talisay and Cambatong, in the calm coastal town of Hinatuan, is the Enchanted River. It was once a mysterious and magical spot and most of the locals claimed that the river is enchanted. Due to the influx of tourist, the tranquility has gone a bit however the charm is still appended to its name. With its clear deep blue water, the waterway gives a genuinely striking scene.
Getting to Hinatuan from Surigao City is quite challenging since there is no direct transfers between these places; It should require multiple transfers. It is very convenient to hire a private van; If not, then you can either go to Butuan City (two hours from Surigao City) or to Tandag which is around four hours from Surigao City. Then from Butuan City, take a deluxe bus going to Hinatuan. If you choose to go to Tandag, you can take private van or jeepney.
It is advised to visit the Enchanted River on weekdays and in the morning to avoid a long line of tourists. Prepare 30 pesos entrance fee and picnic huts are also available inside. For your food, you can bring your own cooked meals or you can order from the stores beside the river.
Next thing that you have to do in Surigao del Sur is the Britania island hopping. This group of islands is located in the municipality of San Agustin. For this activity, you need to hire a Banca or a small boat to take you to the different islands and islets of Britania. Average rate of banca to visit the 4 major islands is 1,500 pesos. You can ask the locals on where to rent a banca. It is advised to do the island hopping early in the morning and bring a lot of food and water.
The first island that you can visit is the Hagonoy Island. This is most likely the best place to take a plunge at the shoreline since it is still high tide and the island itself is stunning. I personally love the island because of the amazing rock formation and calm aura.
Next island is the Naked Island. As the name implies, the island is pretty much naked. You can only see around five or six coconut trees and the rest is sand. It is not good for you to visit this island during noon because of the extreme heat. Take a lot of amazing pictures in this island, as you play along the wind, sands and its aura. During noon or lunch time, your tour guide will route you to the third island where you can relax, dip, play, take pictures, bond with your families and eat your meals.
For your side trip, you can visit the Ocean View Park and International Doll House in Bislig. This attraction is owned by Mrs. Ruelaine and Mr. Werner Willimann – they are residing in Zurich, Switzerland. This doll house and restaurant is situated on top of a hill and to get to the place, you need to climb up 200+ steps. It’s kinda challenging and rewarding at the same time because of the welcoming staff, educational tour and delicious foods.