Britania Islands I Shall Return

When I first saw Britania Islands many years ago when Caraga Region a baby boomer in place I made a promise that will not be broken – I shall return.

The three famous words in the history brought us back to the core of memory when Filipinos wage war from Japanese Imperial Army in 1940’s. Then victorious claim began when Gen. Douglas MacArthur proclaimed ‘I Shall Return’ to the Filipinos, his promise never broken. And the war heat up in the white sand beaches of Dinagat Islands and Leyte.

Beautiful as it may seem that foreign people captivates the natures surrounds the war from very tropical scene. Coconut trees standby for many years marching along the white sand beaches were a mark of history a bullet ridden trunks, and some old age trees bend to kiss the turquoise water in the Pacific.

britania islands, surigao del sur
scenic view of hagonoy island

This makes me sense of good rapport that brought back the beautiful islands in the Pacific, particularly the hot spots making a name in the planet called Britania Islands. My family was too hot to handle in preparing the day before making a trip in one of the planet stopover. Those emotions started to plunge high in a 37 degree tripper and began to show on earth how the heaven was mold into one paradise fulfilling a scene of peace and amazement that a number of them started imagining things the gentle way.

I was so in static mode to put a challenge if I can pack my own kids going into rocking adventures that never defined them for life. Now, they want to make their own life packed with meaning in a roller coaster ride that began from home. Since growing at the age of four and six, and yet in my mind, they are still smooth to the demanding physical world of travel, jumping the remote places a hundred miles away from home that draw them into environmental shock.

I have seen them making duel outside against the sun, dust, and rain. And the house was in show from the darkest feelings of air and smell spreading at the center of modern day civilizations. Yet they became explorer of their own phase of health as grown-up kids struggling day to day and bring their bones and tissues to the highest level.

But here in the group of islands and islets became instruments how they behave from the forces of nature that forms a natural habitat for human beings. I believe natures once heal a dying flesh or a dying heart. When someone suffered from the crust of life that makes him vulnerable to any serial attacks of weaknesses and tragic ending, he must embrace Britania – from here another phase of life started to lift and a new person started to emerge.

The Mission Straight To Britania

britania islands, surigao del surThe travel going straight to Britania not anymore threatening for those who are in pain. The first time encounter is a rigid regimen that close to nausea while seeing moving trees and mountains and rousing vehicles opposite direction. The road to Britania seems not anymore in fighting mode when vehicle travels from Butuan City because all roads are in concrete state winning the government effort to wipe out bad roads in the province of Surigao del Sur that had became the symbol of ugly image when strangers coming in and out from different strategic locations.

I have gain a little glimpse of my two kids after two hours of travel that fall them into sleeps, then wake up from drowsy state looking those strange environment had never seen before. Well, it seems they are radically at ease fighting the ill-effects of travel. The roads along the highway have shown greatness that became a typical comfort for a smooth sailing adventures enroute to Surigao del Sur province. Added stimulation for a lucky trip is the short travel passing Los Arcos from Butuan City. This road cutting the trip enroute to Britania and banned the idea in getting San Francisco for another turn making another round of trip to Britania. This makes travel to live for less than three hours.

World of Mangroves

The vehicle has stopped where you can sense the population of mangroves thriving from any angle of the streets before continue to shut off at La Entrada. The entrance at La Entrada Resort moving out from a vehicle when  reading along the road yellow sign ‘This Way to La Entrada’, the core eyes began to sense heaven and earth, peppering the treasures back when witness less people in sight for the last time when I conquered Britania.

The dramatic background shoots the never ending straight line of stairs surrounded with mangroves. The boat is nowhere in sight but each one moves forward with a steady pace to capture the natures trek in a man-made stairs across the sea. Mangroves became a favorite outlook in the summer trees sprawling along the side like a thick wild grass trooping the side of stairs.  The winds from the sea bends them and dancing leaves welcome the advancing visitors from a distant land as moves closer the end point where the boat waited us to take to the point for another destinations.

britania islands, surigao del sur
la entrada stairs before leaving the mainland

I enjoyed taking angular shots of my camera before and after the steps.  I notice in one of my candid shots a boy sitting in a mangrove tree.  This single shot became a viral talk when people take it as a question of clarity when actually there was no boy around the vicinity.  It was a decision that ping the minds of those visitors that sometimes put a show in a camera to believe that this boy exist from the outside world.

I find fairy tale stories, witches, and draculas, magical power from amulet of invisible individuals living opposite of our world much more stabbing the curious mind when I saw the picture. But I believe of what I saw that this is human being having fun between rising water and swaying mangrove trees.

britania islands, surigao del sur
is this 100 percent human?

As we begin the journey into the world of islands and beaches in now famous Britania Islands of San Agustin, province of Surigao del Sur which its coastlines a hundred percent window to Pacific Ocean, this beautiful tourists spots of Caraga Region became endemic to all visitors – they always made a comeback!

The magic of many coral islands shown the image of God as an artist behind, making the islands and islets panoramic show before the sky and vast body of water were completely speechless human onlookers. The spirits were too high for them to explain that the whole journey in paradise broke that the total existence was the works of God’s hand behind that drove Britania Islands into world class exploration.

Hopping Britania Islands

britania islands, surigao del sur
boxing day for my girls

In the next few minutes, the boat has just release its strings attached to the port, I begin to think the luckiest guy in the planet since I was with places that people wanted to dream and embrace. Met the kind of place that pounded those staring eyes to the new world coming and witness how heaven and earth became your theme that put paint to the rest of your travel.

In my own way of discovery, there are 25 coral islands living in Britania trooping in an inland mass of mainland shoreline that facing the Pacific Ocean. I have seen one that is far away with neat white line that is almost escaping from the group of islands brave enough to take the strength of the Pacific Ocean.

I saw the face of my two daughters in fear when I look straight into their eyes. They keep on asking me while moving forward to Hagonoy island are their any sharks in the water. And I answered them, yes there are sharks!

I remember them when accidentally click the Youtube video when shark coming out in the water open its mouth with its sharp teeth sow terror behind them. Till then they keep asking sharks in the water. Although I have not seen any sharks or its fin floating of my entire career travelling the Pacific islands of Caraga Region. I do believe sharks best places to live is the presence of coral reefs where Caraga Region is rich of biodiversity of marine life. Probably, sharks are thriving among the marine population that I can think of. And they are living down under lurking for its victim to come but not with human beings. They rarely attack human.

I was in a static mood when I saw the islands keep nearing as the excitement began to show while my kid’s eyes still riddle with fear that bloating their minds. But I know for a little span of time from now they will forget everything that occupied their hearts and minds.

We passed to different coral islands that dripped my mind with wonder and totally amazed that has something to do with the shape of cupcake islands floating the clear blue water whose waves slamming the shallow parts with thunder. I can see how the waves level each other in the side playing like a wild fighter in the sea totally influenced by the current of the Pacific Ocean. But the cupcake islands standing each other in one lane became the source of attraction.

In the locals they called these two cupcake islands as Panlangagan that brought strangers challenge able to walk by foot during low tide from Boslon – the biggest island in Britania. The treasures of passing oneself in unbelievable fate crossing four islands in a row are difficult task if you are not associated with taking into score when water in the ground became scarce. It has something of interesting point in history that they became a burial ground of Japanese soldiers during the war. The islands brought the mind of Japanese that found the real treasures not for minerals ore or gold in their presence but find unexpectedly their own home in the soil.

Not just exploration making an impact in Panlangagan but the presence of cave in one of the islands brought another world of adventure besides exploring the world under the water.

britania islands, surigao del sur
I cupcake island in britania with its name panlangagan island
britania islands, surigao del sur
one of the three panlangagan islands

Our first stopover is in the island with long shape paradise with a name Hagonoy. We have passed different islands which stretches for miles then at the end part we drop first after the longest hop from the mainland. I thought it was small islet but when we keep nearing the shoreline it was worth the wait, the size brings us a football field.

Turquoise clear water beginning to emerge surrounded the island after crossing some deep blue sea, then for a moment a live show of shallow reef with white sand beneath the boat floor began a taste of paradise rarely seen of entire life. The countdown slowly begins, and everyone uneasy to propel against the excitement that killing the emotion before making the first step of history touching the powdery white in a longest fills.

britania islands, surigao del sur
hagonoy island

From that point everyone started to jump quickly and explore the world of neat and white close to the world and free from total sins.  The beauty can be seen from the inside making glow towards the outside washing sorrow and fear down to the sands. My wife and two kids take a plunge to the clear water after touching the first step, and myself taking steps the gentle white powdery sands before the naked feet. This makes the beauty when walking with your bare feet from a paradise free from a bad world. Nothing else but a pure revelation from Mother Nature creating a paradise that is keeping for a hundred years.

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discoverer on the loose
britania islands, surigao del sur
coral island sweet encounter

I have tried to look those faces of my two young kids after the touchdown, and it seems they bloom and alive not anymore bomb with fear in their eyes. The thrust of Mother Nature have change their emotions into desire exploring the new found world surrounded with slamming water in the shoreline. We talk about coping mechanism how fear and sorrow deviates our normal life once ruled the free spirit. In a step behind my naked feet having an eye with those little souls shimmered with joy and fun. I can felt that life is so different for them after they create a historic visit in an exciting world of Britania.

From that moment I can see my wife and kids faces the joy and happiness cannot be taken away from them.

britania islands, surigao del sur
standing at boslon at the back are the two panlangagan islands
britania islands, surigao del sur
wife favorite haven

After embracing the farthest spot of  Britania we have to move back to the boat we are in and diverted our attention to other hot spot called naked island. I have seen two of them fighting to surface from below the water mark. Those waves from the ocean started gaining their confidence to crush the islands with thunderous slams almost covered one naked island in the left. The saga continues from the next one who are much clearer and dignified but in the end when high tide peaking the moment, they thwart and gulping down the island gone by the sea. But these islands fight back to survive, and tomorrow they are here comeback to life.

britania islands, surigao del sur
this naked island fighting to survive

We drop by to another destination called Boslon Island. The famous landmark has its own station of the cross standing the right side of an island. Putting the symbol of spreading Christianity when the famous Spain colonizer Ferdinand Magellan able to dominate the natives with friendship and embraced Christianity. Caraga Region became the core of Christianity when Magellan making blood compact with the king in Butuan and celebrated the First Mass in the Philippine history.

I was in love at first sight seeing the finest sands in the ground, and those never fade turquoise water in the background making attribute to an island paradise. Along the side follow the directions when undiscovered giant rock leaning against a mountain rock able to stand for years against from outside force of Pacific waves and rousing tropical storms which find yourself hiding in a narrow space between them. This giant rock leaning from another rock became a nature hunt when someone makes an escape to Britania  then leave the island.

britania islands, surigao del sur
boslon island a unique haven
britania islands, surigao del sur
infamous shot at boslon island
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stealing boslon island on the other side

We stayed the whole afternoon at Boslon island explore how it became famous from the rest of the islands trooping the Pacific. From that point of scene I understand why people coming back to Britania that put them the merits in exploiting heavenly place and admit leaving the uncleaned theme of their life, and leave Britania with new found feeling and strength putting mark the never ending series of ‘I shall Return’ to the islands.

While everyone is making attention the farthest island alone from the group of islands that can be seen from the naked eye the white line and green vegetation. The boat captain is undecided to make a trip since it was already late afternoon and the windy eastern air becoming blossom in the middle sea. If we made across the open sea then no choice but to make a cut  to the mainland against from packed of increasing waves and prepared our things homeward bound in no time.

It was the most dramatic moment when leaving the island soon after able to unmask the reality behind Britania success. Touching down only two islands while the rest of the group of islands and islets became a witness to our eyes drawing composure and wonder beyond our soul. The visit beyond compare and what we lost our time is jumping to Hiyor-hiyoran island. We kissed this island with embarrassment as a fact we only saw those standing coconut trees and white ground breaking goodbye as we take pride to our pleasant memories moving forward to the mainland.

britania islands, surigao del sur
little girl wish come true
britania islands, surigao del sur
leaving a trail in boslon island

I told myself that there are places to hold on before you die. Living in Caraga Region is like sitting in a mass of gold, making find of unexplored places. You can say before God and men that a thousands of them cross a light impasse to your mind when to go and kissed the beautiful hotspots of Caraga. To the very least I accomplished taking the few numbers of them, but not taking into consideration that there are beautiful places unexplored in the vast area of Caraga Region.

My visit to Britania Islands became a never ending series when making call to historic phrase ‘I Shall Return’ and the journey man is not anymore in a bad hit when talking those rising paradise in the Pacific drawing a sad note for those individuals who are free but not putting this place in their hit list before they die.

Surigao del Sur – Shangri-La by the Pacific

surigao del sur mapSurigao 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.

The other provinces of Caraga are Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, and Dinagat Islands.

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.

tinuy-an falls,-bislig-city

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?

britania islands, san agustin, surigao del sur

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

britania islands, san agustin, surigao del surOf 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.

tinuy-an falls, bislig cityNext 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.

hinatuan enchanted riverIn 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.

BEACHES

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.

cagwait white beachBaucawe Beach and Winding Road – it is a beach resort situated in Lianga. The winding road leading to the beach serves as its unique attraction.

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.

ISLANDS

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.

britania islands, surigao del surBag-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.

CAVES

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.

FALLS

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

LAGOON

Blue Lagoon – situated in General Island, Cantilan, this province, the lagoon has a deep blue crystal clear water safely enclosed by an island.
LAKES

Danao Lake – Located atop the mountain of General Island. This is good for those who love hiking, nature tripping and swimming.

PARKS

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.

RIVERS

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.

SPRINGS

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.

OTHER DESTINATIONS

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?

Cagwait White Beach Resort, Cagwait, Surigao del Sur

Early morning at 5 sitting down in a quiet corner of the room after waking up from the alarm clock that set me up, reminded me of going to Cagwait White Beach Resort located in Cagwait town of Surigao del Sur province. It has been in the fourth day in Tandag City and the plan must push through before I bid goodbye Tandag City in the sixth day.

Tandag which was declared recently as one component city of Surigao del Sur was lucky enough to become a city which hounded some questionable eligibility from Supreme Court decisions. Until last February the decision was final with other new cities of Caraga Region, Bayugan City and Cabadbaran City.

I have to take the advantage because Tandag is much closer to Cagwait White Beach which will take half hour of travel compare to my origin place Butuan City which has almost three hours.

I have been dreaming Cagwait White Beach known as Boracay of Caraga. In my first post I was just a passerby witnessing a billboard for Kaliguan Festival for a quick moment of time then gone, then go back to my birthplace Butuan City, the center of Caraga Region.

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

The windy morning greeted me as I move out from the door looking some chair at the center of the cafeteria I live. The morning was just quiet and no one else in sight making a move, not anything from the lighted streets leveled before my eyes.

Looking passed the street constructed in a mountain top while I am sitting at the rooftop of a three-story building. A unique parallel position between me and the street is enough like a closer world in the outside.

Sitting the chair in a quiet and still atmosphere, giving me some cool reminiscent after doing my job yesterday from those professional head teachers who want to learn more of computer programs. Some of them find it hard to communicate since they are getting old and hate the technical word of computer language. They spar the mouse in their hand like holding tight causing tired muscles clicking left and pressing hard. And maybe hearing the word mouse is not a joke because they believe it is a pest running in the corner of the house or ruining the crops in the backyards.

The cold wind started drifting my skin layer as I opened the glass in a table top to get a sachet of coffee. If someone witness something strange going at the top then it might kill me since a thief mission started before dawn. But they believe visitor started pulling up everything for his own mission.

Zipping a cup of coffee to fight against the cold wind is just a moment to get energize early morning before moving to bus terminal en route to Cagwait White Beach.

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

Bus Terminal to Cagwait White Beach

Leaving the building I find my way of hundred stairs in climbing up to the street of Tandag. Walking through a terminal bus in a near distance never mind the dawn started to emerge in a cool and quiet morning. Meeting few structures along the streets with few people moving till up myself in terminal. Seems Tandag was just a baby hungry for development as the state of city hood begin for years.

Sitting in a rural bus was just typical setting where few passengers coming from different locations in going to some rural areas of the province. I notice young man carrying 30 brand new laptops sealed in package to be distributed in remote areas the farthest from Tandag with no fear of apprehension from would-be robbers along the way when sky still dark. When asked where to deliver he answered to Tagbina.

Deal business in a far-flung town that is surpassing seven more towns I guess before reaching Tagbina. Business is part of struggle from day to day when strangers coming in and out in the bus. He talks anyone he meet in the bus and telling them could be the cheapest laptops you can acquire if you have me but keeping an eye to his valuable assets.

This young man is set to become an entrepreneur for life if anything goes alright in his travel for the rest of his life.

Technology has gone so far that started in the Western World, and now the demands of thirty laptops went through in no time in the remote rural town of the province. Peoples seems addicted to the technology and they can acquire easily through cash on delivery or installment process.

The price of laptops nowadays goes in a downward trend since oversupply and competitive market becomes apparent, added measure was the invasion of mobile computing world like the rise of smartphones and tablets.

This young man promised everyone of having the advantage, and business became his recipe in life. I almost forgot where I have to go then someone shouting for Cagwait, till that moment I consumed 30 minutes or more, when I move out from the bus I am already in the center town of Cagwait.

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

Embracing Boracay Of Caraga

Along the highway, there was an adjacent road in going to Cagwait White Beach Resort and you have to wait for single motor called ‘habal habal’ in local community to carry you to the beach. Since still 6 in the morning, wrap up myself alone do the walking for hundreds of meters till I drop in a distance and my forehead badly sweating.

I think I have a bad estimate when someone told me you can reach Cagwait White Beach Resort by walking. I guess it was just kilometers away.

Single motor or ‘habal-habal’ at last came to the rescue and drop me at the entrance of Cagwait White Beach. Of course, seeing a vast land of white sands was an exciting tone and lifting the spirit for those first timers wants to make historic visit in the ‘Unseen Paradise’. The white line curving in a distance paints a warm impression. Sunrise began spreading its rays that merge in the ocean and sands putting glowing effects in Mother Nature.

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

Skies were clear and the weather was perfect for just visitor and incoming visitors of the day. Exploring the scene of natures it is captivating to say what others telling when witness a horseshoe shape paradise resort facing the Pacific Ocean with clear blue water mixed of blinking crystal when rays started to elope with water that bounces the large waves in the shorelines.

High tide started to diminish as large waves contains the white sand beach like sometimes an angry mob in a friendly gestures. The sounds of the bouncing waves sometimes like a bomb, but if someone asked me how it did to my ears they are sweet like a gong of music spreading healthy tone inside the auditory nerve. They played like magic as the bluish clear water mixed in fine white sand leveled each other fighting in the shoreline.

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

I walked a straight line tried to investigate how Cagwait White Beach became famous in the minds of the local. I have not seen anyone in the beachline except on the base of the curve in the far where three peoples never end their revelry embracing the white sand beach for life. In this moment I owned the beach alone drifting in a quiet pristine paradise.

This place became Boracay of Caraga but in an opposite rivalry since Boracay already a populous shorelines bumping each other shoulders either foreign or local tourists along the way. But here in Cagwait White Beach is like walking in a no man’s land, at least I met two fishermen along the way busy untangling the net with their few catches.

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

It seems walking alone with my bare feet as I used to be, touching in the wilderness the cotton like sands which formed my feet across for miles. I have never felt exhausted and drained. Energy is continuing and soul is alive when heart engaging the distance of the sands. When looking back of what I accomplished I can’t believe of what I have done. Those falling sweats in the skin started influencing the healthy lifestyle in the sea.

At the end portion of the beach find my way of small rocks littered the sea. Sitting in one of the rocks find a resting place while looking back the baseline of the horseshoe shape paradise which becoming far away in the naked eyes. The white lines draw back the coastlines witnessing one end to the other end.

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

The waves of the sea started splashing my feet, my mind striking back how many miles it takes in reaching the opposite end of the white curve. The paradise is too long to explore and losing the time embracing the whole beach.

I was impressed when mountains and coconut trees forming alliance of Mother Natures behind a pristine white beaches. But if you know how mountains behave when it has its own threatening formations like when giant crocodile submerge in the sea waiting for a victim in a moments of fun and adventures. In a tropical place like Caraga, mountains and landscapes forming like wild animals added attraction before the eyes.

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

Digging More of Cagwait White Beach

Cagwait White Beach Resort became known before as Waikiki Beach in the Philippines when famous American pilot Charles Lindbergh witness the horseshoe formation while on plane likened in his hometown resort in Hawaii islands.

The discovery was just an accident when the purpose of coming in Caraga Region is for the wildlife campaign when the land in Cagwait mountainous area under concessions of logging industry turns out a sanctuary of Philippine eagles. Since then history became the tagline when Cagwait White Beach having a twin resort located in Hawaii Islands.

Peoples from different location of Caraga and Philippines started flocking to witness the celebrations of Kaliguan Festivals every June 24th of the year. Tribal dance takes pride wearing colourful ethnic dress in the middle of the celebrations with the beauties entrance vying for Perlas ng Kaliguan.

Kaliguan Festival started in 1996 that brought the tagline of Cagwait White Beach as the ‘Unseen Paradise’ but not anymore as far as neighboring towns of Surigao del Sur and the entire Caraga Region. In addition of road project completion from Butuan City in going to Tandag City, Cagwait White Beach pose a perfect conditions when escape from urban life.

cagwait white beach, cagwait, surigao del sur

Believing what you have seen the wonder of natures what to do is capture the sights and sounds that is lacking before the young years of life.

Hinatuan Enchanted River – magical Caraga Destination

photos and words by Guest Blogger Mary Grace Monton on May 22nd, 2011

Out of a busy life, pampering oneself is a luxurious choice. My option? Nature trekking.

Together with my school pals we headed off to Hinatuan Enchanted River at Talisay, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. We departed Butuan City at exactly 4 : 00 o’clock in the morning making sure to witness sunrise on our way.

We rented van services to maximize our savings but we have travel companies for bus routes operators in going to Hinatuan Enchanted River. Unless if you are a celebrity and famous you can have your own suv or a limousine bus for maximum comfort.

hinatuan enchanted river, hinatuan, surigao del sur

The trek amazed us of the picturesque view of green bushes, towering trees and wide rice paddies along the way. Adding to our excitement is the smell of the morning breeze. This is how we engrossed Caraga Destination in meeting natures along the way.

It took us three hours to reach the place that started from Butuan City. But never mind we enjoyed it anyway.

Welcoming you to Hinatuan Enchanted River as I make my entrance with this famed marker for visitors to pose for a moment.
hinatuan enchanted river, hinatuan, surigao del sur

My way down to the most awaited scene while taking my hotshot for a while.
hinatuan enchanted river, hinatuan, surigao del sur

This is what makes enchanted! The river is deep blue like an ocean. This is where the mouth of the river comes out and the source of water. The birth of the river started naturally the flow of water from the mountains. But here it is not. Water comes out in a magical way below the earth surface. And it’s amazingly deep.
hinatuan enchanted river, hinatuan, surigao del sur

hinatuan enchanted river, hinatuan, surigao del sur

hinatuan enchanted river, hinatuan, surigao del sur

hinatuan enchanted river, hinatuan, surigao del sur

hinatuan enchanted river, hinatuan, surigao del sur

Hinatuan Enchanted River turned out to be far beyond our expectations. Wow! The site is such enchanting. The blue water with fishes of different colors is truly a gift of nature. The jade-blue water is so inviting that one could wade off to water instinctly. Thank God for the life vest for rent in the area for only P10.00/hour.

We had our picture galore to the max posing at all angles with our best smiles. Say, cheese…!

I totally forgot my city life for I was so engrossed with the place seeing the divers as they splash in to the water with cheers from the people around them. Echoes of laughter are everywhere. I went up and down the stairs to get the best view of the place. There were also boats for rent so people could better explore the Hinatuan Enchanted River.

People gathered in tents savoring their food sold around. Some enjoyed eating their ‘baon’. Everyone is mesmerized by the place as shown in their happy faces.

hinatuan enchanted river, hinatuan, surigao del sur

hinatuan enchanted river, hinatuan, surigao del sur

Time flew so fast that we have to go back home at 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. It felt nostalgic to bid goodbye to Hinatuan Enchanted River that in many ways delighted our hearts of its true beauty. A truly gift of nature… A gift from God Almighty.

Wait! Memory full displayed on my cam. Never mind we brought home wonderful memories saved not only in our minds but in our hearts as well.

Britania Islands of Surigao del Sur

photos and words by Guest Blogger Clark Jayoma on March 17th, 2011

This is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been in our province. I admit I love to go places but asked myself also why go to far places when in fact we have such nice destinations close to our city like the now known Britania Islands located in the province of Surigao del Sur. It is a three-hour ride from my beloved hometown Butuan City. Of course, this will makes Caraga Region famous when precious white coral islands discovered facing the Pacific Ocean.

And when I saw the place for the first time, I can’t believe that we have a very, very awesome spot! These pictures simply show how amazing the place is. It is really breath-taking to see those small islands with white sands, because we did island hopping, and witnessed one island to another. The clear blue water was so tempting for anyone would like to go swimming and snorkelling. I could smell the sea breeze and hear the slashing waves hitting the shoreline while walking different islands. This makes Caraga Travel so full of fun and excitement.

Siargao Related: awesome Coral White Island that you should not skip in summer

britania islands, san agustin, surigao del sur

Britania Islands Clusters Of 25 Islands And Islets

Britania Islands was composed of unspoiled 25 white coral islands and islets of sugary white sand and clusters of limestones hills. It lured me and my friends as we take our journey using rented pump boat seeing different islands, mangroves, and rock formations. You can also do bird watching and caving if you wish because you can do a lot of things here enjoying yourself with nature.

britania islands, san agustin, surigao del sur

I’m not into caving but this one…romantic place for lovers and would-be lovers.
britania islands, san agustin, surigao del sur
One majestic shot of one coral island.
britania islands, san agustin, surigao del sur

White sands were luscious white and powdery. It seems a real threat to Boracay.
britania islands, san agustin, surigao del sur

On our way to different coral islands.
britania islands, san agustin, surigao del sur

Two rock islands started pressing against me. But the scene turns out beautiful.
britania islands, san agustin, surigao del sur

Throwing myself live and energetic against rocks and white sands.
britania islands, san agustin, surigao del sur

I feel so lucky that once in my life I witnessed the beauty of God’s creation that I have never been. So rewarding because in the prime of my life I was able see the beauty of nature with the help of my friends of course. It is really a cool, serene place with such a nice view. Every island is unique. There is even a white island with nothing on it but white crystal like sand. And it is really amazing to be there realizing that it’s only a few hours from our city.

We bought fresh fishes and the local residents from there cooked for our lunch. We rented pump boats because it is the mode of transportation going from one island to another. By the way, I spent less than a thousand Philippine pesos for this wonderful, priceless experience.

We were planning to come back there soon.

See you Britania Islands!

britania islands, san agustin, surigao del sur