Surigao del Sur is one of the five province of Caraga Region located at the eastern coast of Mindanao facing its coastlines in the Pacific Ocean. The province is elongated in structure from north to south. It has more in length compare to its width in size approximately 300 kilometers in length and 50 kilometers at its widest stretch which makes a shape of wiggling snake moving to the south.
It is bounded on the northwest by the province of Surigao del Norte, on the southeast by Davao Oriental, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, and on the west and southwest by the province of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur. The Diwata Mountain Ranges lines the northwestern boundaries of the province.
It became the 56th province in the Philippines after its separation from mother province Surigao, while the other half is named Surigao del Norte by virtue of RA 2786 on June 19, 1960.
Surigao del Sur is called Shangri-La by the Pacific because its long coastlines faces the Pacific Ocean where beautiful sunrise beginning to emerge against the charm of green mountains, rock and coral islands, white sand beaches, and the amazing waterfalls and rivers. Of course the distance from the shorelines is the deep blue sea which is called the Philippine Trench or in some simplified as the Philippine Deep – the deepest in the world – next to Marianas Trench.
Surigao Del Sur is a province of the Pearl of the Orient, which is the Philippines. It has two cities located opposite to each other – one from the north and the other to the south. In the north is Tandag City the newly created city of Surigao del Sur which serves as the capital of the province. While in the south is Bislig City which has a tagline ‘A city by the Bay’ the home of the magnificent water falls Niagara of Caraga – the Tinuy-an Falls.
Surigao del Sur province composed of 17 towns namely Barobo, Bayabas, Cagwait, Cantilan, Carmen, Carrascal, Cortes, Hinatuan, Lanuza, Lianga, Lingig, Madrid, Marihatag, San Agustin, San Miguel, Tagbina, Tago. Each town possesses a character of nature havens that everyone will surely never missed.
Because of the rich culture and unraveled sceneries of the place, this is now growing in popularity among the tourists coming from other places in the Philippines and also started counting by visitors from countries around the world. For sure, you want to know more information regarding what to expect with this one of a kind place.
Searching for the best tourist destinations is one of the most challenging aspects of travelling. As much as possible, you have to make sure that you pick the right location so that your vacation should be the most memorable one ever. If you are tired of the largely promoted tourist destinations in the different parts of the world, why not try the unraveled beauty that Surigao Del Sur can provide you?
The People of Surigao Del Sur
The Philippine people are known because of their hospitality and generosity. They are in fact one of the most hospitable people in the whole world. Expect that as you land your feet on the grounds of Surigao Del Sur, beautiful peoples will welcome you. They will make you feel that you are a part of the place. The warm treatment and respects is there to govern when you are in unfamiliar place in the world. Here, the people in Surigao del Sur have excelled those characteristics.
By giving something have overflown against receiving something, unfamiliar faces will become happy. Some people will offer you their delicious native foods that you will get addicted to. They will treat you with respect just like one of their family members. Surely, you cannot find warm welcoming people as what you can expect from the people of Surigao Del Sur.
The languages they spoke dominated by Surigaonon. But there are places in the southern part of the province that started from Lianga up to Bislig City mostly speak Kamayo.
Cultures of People in Surigao Del Sur
As rich as the Caraga tourist spots are the culture of people in Surigao Del Sur. Basically, Surigao is the home of early settlers called Mamanwa as well as the Manobo tribe. They will present you their own unique cultural festival termed Sirong Festival. This is usually celebrated in the town fiesta particularly in Cantilan. Basically, Sarong Festival is about early Christianization of the first Cantilangnons that are Manobos and Mamanwas. This is where the natives of the place showcase how they defended their land against those Muslim invaders in the past. Not only that because you can also witness the people of Surigao Del Sur presenting to you their native dance wearing their traditional costumes. They might even invite you to participate in the dance which will make your vacation in this place a lot memorable. Here are the lists of festivals in Surigao del Sur:
Kaliga Festival – every June 19 – a thanksgiving dance festival of the Manobo Tribe. This is a harvest festival in Manobo term where the Manobo asks their Supreme Being to shower them with blessings during a ritual where they perform a dance.
Diwatahan Festival – Every 3rd Sunday of January. A Tandag version of Sinulog in Cebu City.
Kaliguan Festival – A yearly activity in honor of St. John the Baptist highlighted by beach dancing and a search for Perlas ng Kaliguan beauty pageant in Cagwait. There are also sports activities at the beach which include pinoy games, ball games, swimming and boat racing.
Taephag Festival – Every 27th of June. A common Manobo ritual used for opening a kaingin, rice planting, harvesting and other farming activities in the town of Tagbina.
Pahinungod Festival -Every 14th-16th of July. This is the mardigras which is performed around the streets of Carrascal. The dancers with an array of select ethnic dance steps and a kaleidoscope of costumes would offer their movements and songs.
Paladong Festival – Every 28th of August. The town of Hinatuan has the art of performing the ritual of “ladong” conducted by a “ladongan”, a person who has the power and ability to cure as medium to call the spirits (abian) and relay the wishes to the clients through an offering.
Kalumunan Festival – Every 28th of August. Located in San Agustin a reunion of relatives and friends during town fiesta of San Agustin celebrated through street dancing, “tabo” of farm products and a choral competition participated by neighboring towns.
Kadagatan Festival – Every 25th of July. A yearly festival in the town of Cortes done through street dancing, to promote continuing awareness of people in the conservation and protection of natural resources especially marine life.
Sirong Festival – Every 15th day of August. In Cantilan, a war dance between Muslims and Christians reflecting the Christianization of the early Cantilangnons. Uniquely portrayed here is the “Escrima” (Arnis) and “Alabacion” (Chanting to a Goddess).
The Economy in Surigao Del Sur
Surigao Del Sur will have a booming economy in terms of tourism, agriculture, and mining. This place in Caraga is championed for its scenic spots and everyone loves to comeback to embrace Mother Nature. The province boasts its agricultural products like tropical fruits, banana, rice and others. The place is also in line with the mining field. In fact, this is one of the richest sources of silver, chromite and copper in the Philippines and in the entire Asian continent.
Tourist Spots in Surigao Del Sur
Of course, the most awaited part of tourists like you is to know the best attractions that you can visit in Surigao Del Sur. Well, this place has lots of things to offer you. For sure, after witnessing the natural wonders and attractions in Surigao Del Sur, you will find yourself planning for your next vacation in the place.
As of this moment, four hottest spots everyone is craving to visits and keep asking at Caraganon.Com. The first one is Britania Islands located in the town of San Agustin – a group of coral islands and islets loves to hop from one place to another with its white powdery sands and pristine jade water. The waters here are calm, enabling you to see the clear and colorful underwater depths.
Next in line is Tinuy-an Falls located in Bislig City with a known tagline ‘Niagara of Caraga’ a very relaxing getaway where you can splash with the waters, probably the widest in the Philippines. This comes with leveled three-tiered waterfalls, offering you crystal clear waters. The water temperature remains cool, thus easing away all your stresses and tensions away.
The third place goes to Hinatuan Enchanted River located in the town of Hinatuan. The word itself ‘enchanted’ is a perfect description for a visiting traveler when visiting this kind of river. We used to think that water from the river was a product of falling water started from the mountains but here it is not. The magical clear water coming out below the earth surface from a deep hole that no one able to scores its deepness, and colorful fishes coming out at 12 noon added attraction and enchantment to a magical world.
If you are already done visiting those places, do not let time pass by without visiting Cagwait White Beach – the Boracay of Caraga, the hottest fourth on the list. The fact is that the virgin beauty of the beach can be paralleled to the top island destination also in the Philippines, which is Boracay. Here, you will be amazed of the pure white sand with clear blue waters. You can also spend your time here from sunrise to sunset to experience the enchanting beauty of the place.
In the event that you want to witness the aquamarine life in Surigao Del Sur, a visit in Turtle Island is what you need. Here, you get the chance to snorkel with other tourist and expert divers. Surely, you will be amazed with the rich coral formations and varieties of fishes that will swim with you. Turtle Island – it is located in the municipality of Barobo. It is an 8 hectare beach where multicolored reefs abound. It has white sand, blue waters teeming with marine life. Viewed from a distance, the shape and formation of this island is like a huge turtle floating in the Pacific Ocean. It is accessible by pump boat for about 30 minutes.
If you want to dig more the beauty of Surigao del Sur, here are the lists that tourists want to explore, and once you are there the demands getting higher. These places not yet spoiled and in the future it will become hottest spots in Caraga Region.
Adhika Beach – located in Barangay Habag in the Municipality of Lanuza. It is a privately-owned beach resort with cottages and rest house for visitors who will rest overnight.
Barcelona Beach – it is a unique black sand beach with picnic huts located just 30 minutes away by pumpboat from Mangagoy, Bislig City.
Dapdap Beach – located in Dapdap, in the Municipality of Barobo.
Mahayag Beach – situated just 8 kilometers north from the capital town of Tandag. Mahayag is a coastline purok of Barangay Buenavista. The beach resort is one end of the cove occupying about a hectare in area. The place is ideal for holding seminars or family reunions. One can idle the time away by boating, fishing or swimming on the man-made pools at the sea.
Tandag Beach – located right in the capital town of Tandag, it is guaranteed to enchant all beach lovers with its grey sand and crystal clear waters. It is a nature lover’s paradise, a promised adventure for snorkels and diving enthusiasts.
Ayoke Islet – this is part of Barangay Isla General Luna (General Island), an island barangay of Cantilan. It is famous for “kolo”, a fruit similar to langka but different in taste. It is where the lighthouse of the town is located to guide fishermen and passenger ships passing the area.
Bag-ong Banwa (Double B) – this is also part of General Island fronting the Pacific Ocean. Its shoreline is covered with very fine white sand. It has cottages to accommodate visitors. A big cave can also be found where stalactites and stalagmites are so abundant. This is a 30-minute boat ride from Cantilan Wharf.
Bat Island – also known as Mangkagangi Island. It is located just two miles east of Tandag. It has enticing white beach, guano-filled caves and bats inside, offering a unique experience to all adventure seekers. Just a few meters from the island is a deep, blue sea which is ideal for scuba diving.
Casarica Island – a pristine white beach with crystal clear waters which is only a 10-minute ride by pump boat from Consuelo Port.
Hagonoy Island – a 1.7 hectare island with a perimeter white sand. It is a 20 minute ride by a motorized banca from Mangagoy, Bislig City. An island filled with coconut and green trees, it is surrounded by a beautiful white beach and a blue, crystal clear and calm water ideal for swimming.
Huyamao Island – presently owned by the nine heirs of the late Teodoro Urbiztondo, this private majestic island is covered with very fine white sand. This is located in front of Baybay, Cantilan shoreline. From there, one would not fail to notice the white sand along the mountain island that is compatible to the sand bar of Camiguin. Its water is so pristine, one can even clearly see the sea bed while riding a banca.
Kabgan Island – located in Sua in the municipality of Barobo. A mile long pristine white sand beach, multicolored reefs, good for scuba diving, swimming and fishing.
Linongaw Islands – These are big and small islands that tower over Tandag. These are veritable havens of white sand, multi-faced rocks fringed with skyscraping trees dominated by monkeys and singing birds, being the habitat of age-old bats.
Campamento Cave – Located in Silop, Gamuton in the municipality of Lanuza
Hercules Wall – Located in San Jose in Bislig City, it is a 2-3 meters wide passage in between solid high rocks, stones and other natural grown trees in the area.
Pagbutuanan Cave – located in Brgy. Wakat, Barobo.
Tagbina Cave – Located underneath a rocky mountain where the Municipal Hall of Tagbina town is perched, overlooking the expanse of territory comprising the jurisdiction of the town. The portal of the cave is visibly seen as one goes uphill on the concrete road leading to the Town Hall. The cave has long been in existence as one product of nature and has been a haven for birds and other forms of life that dwell in labyrinth-like places. Other caves are the San Isidro Cave and the Km. 3 Cave both located in Bislig City.
Balinganga Falls – it is located in the communal forest of Barangay Cancavan in Carmen streamlining the verdant and sprawling mountain. It is unique considering that one could only and truly enjoy the cool and refreshing crystal clear water and see the splendor and awesome beauty of nature after a breathtaking trek.
Bao-bao Falls – it is located in Lianga. Once developed, kayaking is the ideal activity at this beautiful and challenging clear water. The site offers a natural splendor of an unspoiled environment.
Busay de Mabuhay Falls – located in Barangay San Roque in San Miguel. It is like a pitcher-full of water poured over a cup-like place where very deep, cool fresh water invites one to take a swim. Located in the midst of the jungle, this waterfall offers a mini cave underneath the flowing water that can accommodate 3 to 4 persons.
Magkawas Falls – located in the Municipality of Lanuza. A five-minute hike from the national highway is an eco-destination that offers a gradual accelerando of nature’s beauty. This wonderful falls makes one irresistible to take a refreshing dip.
Sipangpang Falls – located in Barangay Cabangahan in the municipality of Cantilan. A hydro-power potential considering its waterfall cascading from a height of 22 meters.
OTHER FALLS :
1. Ave Maria Falls – Carrascal
2. Canlumawag Falls – San Jose, Bislig City
3. Kambawi Falls – Pamanlinan, Bislig City
4. Mendezona Falls – San Jose, Bislig City
5. Secret Falls – Burboanan, Bislig City
6. Sian Falls – Sta.Cruz, Bislig City
7. Sibaroy Falls – Sibaroy, Bislig City
Blue Lagoon – situated in General Island, Cantilan, this province, the lagoon has a deep blue crystal clear water safely enclosed by an island.
Danao Lake – Located atop the mountain of General Island. This is good for those who love hiking, nature tripping and swimming.
Forester’s Park – located in Bislig City. It has a vast tree plantation of different dipterocarp species such as falcata, bagras, mangium, etc. and natural grown trees.
Mini Forest Park – located in front of the municipal hall of San Miguel.
Municipal Tree Park – located in Marihatag.
Caguyao River – located in Caguyao, Bislig City, it is good for swimming and picnics. It is surrounded with natural scenic beauty along its meandering river channel.
Dinayhugan River – utilized as a dam of the National Irrigation Administration in the 1990’s, it is now best enjoyed by picnickers, rafters and cruisers. Rafts are available at the site. There is a cave nearby that holds large deposits of guano and treasure trove of relics. Fossils, artifacts and other anthropological curiosities which include tell-tale remains of the ancient church are also found inside the cave.
Suhoton Underground River – located in San Vicente, Bislig City. It is an underground river from a spring.
Tago River – the longest river in Surigao del Sur. It snakes up to the heart of the Diwata Mountain in the west passing the hinterland town of San Miguel. It’s approximately 60 kilometers in length from the mouth of Tago to the municipality of Cabadbaran in Agusan del Norte.
Bogac Spring – Located in Barangay Poblacion in Barobo. It has clear brackish water with scenic background and swimming area.
Malinawa Cool Spring – it is located in the municipality of Cantilan. A very cool spring surrounded by beautifully arranged big flat white rocks around the pool equipped with hower rooms, cottages and a mini convention center. The spring is constantly flowing 90 liters of fresh water per second. It is a 5 minute ride from the national highway.
Marga Hot and Cold Spring – located in Brgy. Castillo in the municipality of San Miguel. An amazing source of hot water sprouting from underneath the ground flowing side by side with a cold spring. The heterogeneous mixture of water is an ideal medicinal treatment for those with health problems. It is where one can find hot spring all year round.
Libuac Spring – located in Tagbina.
Estuarine Wetland Park – located in Baybay, Bunga, Lanuza.
Iron Mountain Road – it is locally known as “Noventa”. It is the site of the biggest iron deposit in the whole country. It is a 25 kilometers serpentine road, with an altitude of about 900 feet above sea level. The road leads to the highway boundary of Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte.
Laswitan – Art materials-made pools with clear undiluted seawater. They abound with a variety of fish. Laswitan is quietly nestled in between a mountain. The seawater enter the three pools during high tide through a narrow passage and through the frequent splashing of the giant waves that push the mountain rock. Laswitan is located in Barangay Madrelino some five kilometers away from the poblacion. To reach the area from the main road, one would walk nearly half kilometer and pass through steep slope.
Lanuza Marine Park and Sanctuary – located in Cagmino, Sibahay, Lanuza
Lanuza Surfing Paradise – located at Zone I, IV, Habag and Sibahay in the municipality of Lanuza.
Whew! That’s it. You see, Surigao Del Sur is indeed the best tourist destination in the Philippines. The place has lots of thing to offer to a tourist like you. Surely, you will fall in love with the beauty, culture and tradition of the place. So, why not pack your things now for a great Pacific getaway that you will only be able to experience in Surigao Del Sur?