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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Surigao Adventure: Transportation, map and research

It was in some cable channel when I first saw the beautiful tourist spots in Caraga Region.  What attracts me most was the Tinuy-An Falls and Enchanted River.  These are situated in Surigao del Sur.  At an instant, I put Surigao in my soon to visit province.  Luckily, I was able to spot a promo fare going to Butuan (cheaper than a flight going to Surigao City or Siargao) last year and booked flight for me and my boyfriend without asking his permission yet, hehe.  From initial research, I learned that Butuan is nearer to Surigao del Sur, about 5 hours travel than in Surigao City which is 7 hours travel.

It was quite a challenge to research for itineraries, expenses and tours for our 5-day Surigao trip.  The famous destinations I've heard and read in Surigao Islands are Bucas Grande, Siargao beaches and surfing sites, Enchanted River, Tinuy-An Falls, Britania Group of Islands and Cagwait beach (Boracay of the Caraga Region).  I wanted to visit all these but 5 days is not enough.

I first draft our itineraries visiting all the famous destinations above.  Considering the travel time and our flight schedule.  I know I won't be able to visit them in 5 days.  It was unfortunate that the flight we got on the first day was at 9am arrival to Butuan and the flight back to Manila on the fifth day was changed by PAL Express to 8am instead of 11am.

Before I go on, let me share this map to you.  This is the Caraga Region.  I got it from google search but I forget from which site. 

Caraga Region
Let's do a little Geography 101.  These locations will be mentioned throughout this blog (and succeeding blogs about Surigao) so you may refer to these from time to time.

  • Placer, Surigao del Norte - this is where Badas junction is 
  • Claver, Surigao del Norte - this is where the Hayanggabon port is situated
  • Socorro, Surigao del Norte - located in Bucas Grande Island, part of Siargao
  • Surigao City, Surigao del Norte - flights with name "Surigao" is located here
  • Cagwait, Surigao del Sur - this is where the Boracay of Caraga Region is located
  • San Agustin, Surigao del Sur - where Britannia Group of Islands is located
  • Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur - where Enchanted River is located
  • Bislig, Surigao del Sur - where Tinuy-an Falls is located
  • Butuan, Augsan del Norte - alternate flight if you want to visit Surigao


Based from research, from Butuan City, its a 3 hour bus or van ride going to Surigao City where the pick up point going to Bucas Grande or Siargao is nearer.  All the while I thought, you need to ride a ferry (which is only up to 12 noon) going to Bucas Grande or Siargao.  With this schedule, we won't be able to catch the 12 noon last trip as we expect to be in Surigao by that time. Good thing I contacted several boatmen and they've suggested the easier way to go to Bucas Grande, through Badas junction in Placer, Surigao del Norte.

From Butuan airport, you can ride a multicab to take you to Butuan terminal. This is just a 20-minute ride. From the terminal, ride a bus going to Surigao City but tell the driver that you will alight in Badas Junction in Placer.  Travel time is about 2-3 hours.

Alternately, from the airport, you can ride a van going to Surigao City. It will only take you 2 hours to get to Badas junction.

From Badas, ride a van going to Hayanggabon.  Travel time is about 1 hour. Hayanggabon is where the port of pump boats are located going to Bucas Grande.  This is also the pick up point for the Bucas Grande/Sohoton tour.  In case you haven't contacted any boatman for your Bucas Grande tour, you can ask assistance from the Hayanggabon tourism center, which is located at the port. Boatmen can also take you to Socorro from this point.

In case your flight is from Surigao City, you can just ride a van/bus going to Hayanggabon.  Travel time is about 3 hours.


We contacted a boatman to tour us in Bucas Grande.  Pick up and drop off point is at Hayanggabon port.  In case we have an accommodation in Socorro, the boatman can pick up us at Bucas Grande and lead us to Socorro.  This can then be the starting point and drop off point for Bucas Grande tour.

Since its already lunch time when we arrived in Claver, we just stayed in one of the known accommodation near to the terminal, Revlun Pension House.

From Revlun Pension House, we rode habal-habal going to Hayanggabon port.  Travel time is 20 minutes.  Fare is 200 pesos for 2.  You can opt to ride a tricycle which is cheaper.  That time it was a Good Friday, so tricycle were scarce.

Boat from Hayanggabon to Bucas Grande is about 45 minutes, where our first stop was at Tiktikan Lake.  More details of our Bucas Grande tour in the next blog post.

Since our Bucas Grande tour was just day trip, we went back to Claver using same transportation and route.


We don't know if there's a bus in Claver bound to Bislig or to any province in Surigao del Sur.  We saw buses going to Tandag but from there, we don't know how do we get to Bislig, Hinatuan or San Agustin.  Also, since its holy week, there's not much buses waiting at Claver terminal to travel in Surigao del Sur.

So from Claver, we took the same route and rode the same transportation going to Butuan: van to Badas junction (1 hour), van from Badas junction to Butuan (2 hours).  There are also available buses in Badas junction going to Butuan.

From Butuan Terminal, there are buses going to Bislig but the sign board in the buses is Mangagoy.  This is the bus route to ride going to Tinuy-an Falls. 


As mentioned, from Butuan Terminal, there are buses going to Bislig (Tinuy-An Falls) but the sign board that you will see is Mangagoy and not Bislig.  The same bus route will also take you to Hinatuan where Enchanted River is located.

Butuan Terminal also have buses going to CDO and Davao.  Just for additional info.  Within the vicinity of the terminal, there are also van terminals going to CDO, Davao and many others.  I wasn't able to see them all as we were on the road when I saw it.  Also, there are vans that offers direct to Mangagoy trip.  I'm just not sure if its safe to ride there.

From Butuan to Mangagoy, travel time is around 5 hours.  The trip could have been shorten if there will be no bus stops.  It seems that the bus alight at all bus terminals of different municipalities.  Well, maybe because that's a provincial bus and the only available public transport to travel from one location to another.

You will alight at the last bus stop, Mangagoy, if you will be going to Tinuy-An Falls.  If you will be going to Enchanted River, you will alight at Hinatuan, that's about 4th or 3rd to the last bus stop.


From Mangagoy bus terminal, there are habal-habal available that offers ride going to Tinuy-An falls.  Travel time is about 30 minutes.  Roads can be rough going to the falls.


Since its already past 4pm when we finished touring Tinuy-An Falls, we will no longer be able to catch the operating hours of Enchanted River in Hinatuan.  This tourist spot closes at 5pm.  From research, travel from Tinuy-An Falls to Enchanted River is about 1 hour.  So we just decided to go to Britannia and just schedule Enchanted River the next day, as our last stop, before going back to Butuan.

The last trip of the buses going to Butuan at Mangagoy terminal is at 5.30pm.  This is the same bus route that we will ride going to Britannia.  We rode the same bus and alighted at Barobo terminal and wait for bus going to Tandag.  From Mangagoy to Barobo, travel time is 2 hours.

At Barobo terminal, we looked for bus going to Tandag.  We asked the driver to drop us at Barangay Salvacion, San Agustin.  Travel time is 1 hour.  It was already dark when we alighted at Barangay Salvacion.  We have no idea how do we get to our accommodation in Britannia (La Entrada to be specific).  Good thing there are habal-habal waiting at a waiting shed where we alighted in Brgy. Salvacion so we just asked them for instructions.  There are sign boards also about Britannia and some accommodations when we alighted so somehow I knew we were not lost.  The habal-habal took us to La Entrada.  Travel time is only about 5-8 minutes.


I know we will be taking the same route if we plan to go back to Hinatuan.  That will be to ride a bus going to Barobo terminal then transfer to a bus bound to Butuan and alight at Hinatuan.  Or we can just wait for a bus bound for Butuan in Brgy. Salvacion and ask the driver to drop us off at Hinatuan.  This route will take us about 2.5 to 3 hours travel time.  Since we are after the shortest time to go to Hinatuan, the night before, we conversed with the habal-habal driver and he offered his service to take us at Hinatuan for just 2 hours or less.  We grabbed that offer even if we will to pay a little bit more.

Aside from what I mentioned, route from San Agustin to Hinatuan, when you get to Hinatuan terminal, there are tricycle and habal-habal available to take you to Enchanted River.  Travel time is about an hour or less.  You will encounter rough road going to Enchanted River but this is better than the road going to Tinuy-an Falls.


The habal-habal we hire took us to Hinatuan terminal where we waited for a bus bound to Butuan.  From Hinatuan to Butuan, travel time is about 4 hours.

All the buses we took were non-airconditioned.  Please watch out for my succeeding blog post on our Surigao Adventure :)    For the meantime, you might want to check our itinerary on this Surigao Adventure trip.


  1. Thanks for sharing this info.

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  3. Nice place and blog!Very informative po at ganda ng mga kuha..I love Philippines!Gusto namin pumunta dyan this summer safe po ba? Sa Manila kami manggaling how much po lahat cover expenses if we want to try Britania Island, Enchanted River, at Hinatuan. Magkano po kaya lahat magagstos at par may idea kami sa sharing ng mga expenses.. Thanks!

    1. hi. when in summer do you plan to go here, March ba? kasi ang stingless jellyfish most abundant in April onwards. we were there end March, ang liliit pa ng mga jellyfish. safe naman kahit summer time.
      i'm still drafting my blog on our surigao expenses. pero all in all (except airfare), ang nagastos namin is around Php 14.8k for 2, 5d/4n inclusive of accommodation, sohoton tour in bucas grande, britannia island hopping, day tour in tinuy-an falls and enchanted river.

  4. Una, i'd like to thank you! napakahelpful nitong post mo super! hirap na hirap ako magresearch nasa post mo na pala yung kelangan ko for our IT! gujab!!! kudos din sa napakadetailed na transpo directions.

    would you be able to share yung budget nyo? baka 2 or 3 lang kami kasi sa trip and worry ko since 5 days lang kayo tapos almost 15k, per person na ba ito or hati pa? saan kayo napamahal? iniisip ko kasi kung hindi muna ako mag bucas grande since mas mahal boat rental nya and plan ko din separate trip surigao del norte (bucas + siargao). hahahaha sorry haba ng questions. salamat!
    sana nga may easier way from claver to bislig! i shall do more research.

    1. hello Mariane,

      thank you for the kind words and apologies for the late response... nung nagreresearch din kasi ko, litong lito ko sa transpo kaya naisipan kong i-share yung mga na-research ko :) anyway, di ko pa pala na-post yung mga nagastos namin kasi di ko pa natatapos blog ko, hehe. for the whole 5-day trip, halos naka 15k kami pero good for 2 na yun. di kasama dito yung airfare (i think its around 2k per person, mla-butuan-mla). medyo mahal nga yung bucas grande tour pati yung lunch na provided samin (well namahalan ako considering di naman spectacular food :D). pero pwede naman kayo mag packed lunch. ako naman plan ko separate ang siargao at surigao kaya di muna kami nagpunta ng siargao. medyo magkalayo rin kasi ang bucas grande at siargao.

      meron akong nabasang blog about claver to san agustin na transpo by bus. mas malapit na ang san agustin to hinatuan.

      if you have more questions, pwede kang mag leave na lang ng message sa FB page ko para mas mabilis kitang ma-reply-an :)

      thanks again.

  5. Actually, if you are already in Surigao City and you wanted to travel to Socorro Island, there are two deatination of boats going there from Pier 2. Just tell the tricycle to drop you at the port going to Socorro. It takes 2 hours. You can drop by at the port of Pamosaingan for 150php , then take habal-habal going to the municipality where you can find accomodations and boats for the tour going Suhuton, etc. with the minimum cost of 2,500 to 3k depends on negotiation and the number of persons. Other option is, you can also directly stop at municipality for 200php fare. There are several places to go asides of taking boat across the island for the tourist spots. There is Kapihan view where you can take zip lines, the Eco Park, Atuyay falls and two other places. But, you don't have to worry wgen you are there as you can ask the habal-habal driver about other nice places.
    I just share this as I am planning also to go back again there sooner. My 5th times..

    But, the information above indeed very helpful. I don't need to ask at all about the accomodation and the time of boat delarture in Hayanggabon as I am planning to take that way from Butuan City.
    Thank you for posting this info from your travel experience. Enjoy with your next tours :)

    1. Hello Dark Black! Thank you for this additional information and thank you also knowing that my blog was helpful to you. :)


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