A rise in the influx of tourists in Surigao del Sur has been noted the past few years. What was formerly called by a lot of people as remote place has eventually turned into one of the fast-rising must-visit provinces in the country.
The emergence of digital media has definitely helped boost the tourism landscape of the province. With different social media sites, the existence of Surigao del Sur slowly came into the people’s awareness around the country (and even the world!).
Topping everyone’s SurSur itinerary are Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River, and Britannia Falls but little did they know that there are still a lot of other spots in the province waiting to be explored. With this, I am listing down those places for your reference:
5. SIBADAN FISH CAGE, PORTLAMON, HINATUAN
If you have been following me on Instagram (@marlarreza) for a year already, you probably know that the first time I’ve been here was April 2015. I even posted a photo of the exact sting-less ray as above back when it was still little.
Sibadan Fish Cage is the second most-visited tourist spot in Hinatuan next to Enchanted River. There everyone can freely interact with Brenda the ray (see above photo), and other live fishes in the cage.
If Enchanted River is on your list, then it’s easy for you to get to Sibadan. From Echanted River, hike up to the other side of the place where the boats for rent are docked. The rental rate is at 150 PHP per hour for 5 persons. Other than Sibadan, the boat master will also take you to other resorts, and fish cages nearby. Sibadan Fish Cage charges the visitor 10 PHP per head for entrance fee. They also offer accommodation overnight at fair rates.
4. CAGWAIT WHITE BEACH, CAGWAIT
Cagwait White Beach is the little Boracay of the province. The municipality, Cagwait, is best known for its annual Kaliguan Festival celebrated every month of June.
There are a good number of different resorts in there but the visitors may also opt to stay at the public area like this one in the photo. Cottages in the area are priced depending on the size. Visitors are allowed to bring raw food and grill them there. From Tandag City, Cagwait is just 30-45 minutes away. For those who do not have private rides, they may go to Tandag Bus Terminal, and ride a bus or van.
3. TANDAG GROTTO, TANDAG CITY
Tandag City is the capital of Surigao del Sur yet it has nothing much to offer when it comes to tourist spots. Efforts are being made as of the moment to develop some within the city though. When you ask locals, they would probably direct you to Tandag Grotto located at Barangay Bungtod, fronting the Tandag Port.
Just like any other grotto, visitors have to hike through stairs. If I got my calculation right, the first level consists of 69 steps which would lead you to the Mama Mary statue, overlooking the fishing community of the barangay (left photo). The second level of the hike consists another more or less 100 steps, which would give you a rewarding view of the islets and clear water facing the peak (right photo).
Based on my experience, the best time to go there is either during early morning (5:30 am – 6:30 am) or late afternoon (4:30 pm – 5:30 pm).
2. MAGKAWAS FALLS, LANUZA
Tinuy-an Falls is probably the only (yes, the only) waterfalls that a lot of outsiders know in Surigao del Sur, but for someone like me who was born and raised in the province, I know there are still others waiting to be known.
Lanuza is best known as a surfing municipality. That is maybe one of the reasons why Magkawas Falls is often taken out of the focus.
Growing up, I only saw Magkawas Falls in local calendars and posters. I never really got a chance to personally see it in actual. It was just the other month that I finally got to visit it.
Lanuza is located on the other side of the province (Tandag City – Surigao City route). It is a two-hour ride from Tandag City. The management of Magkawas Falls charges visitors 20 PHP for vehicle parking, and entrance fee per head which should not exceed more than 50 PHP (I forgot the exact).
1. HUBASON RIVER, CARMEN
Honestly, I have never heard about Hubason River before until one of my Aunt’s friend told us to check out the spot the other month. Going there, I even imagined the river to be more or less like the Enchanted River, but it turned out to be totally different.
Carmen is a neighboring town of Lanuza. It is just few minutes away. It is located before central Carmen.
I have been to many places around the country but I would have to say that the trip going was really new to me. Before reaching the parking area near the the river, our ride had to cross a little river to get there.
Our journey going there didn’t end at the parking area. From there, we still had to cross a hanging bridge to get to opposite side of the area. From there, we then had to walk few meters to reach the Hubason River.
The site made me feel like I was in a setting of an indie film. It almost felt like we were already farrrrrrrrr from the civilization. The air was fresh. The plants around were really green. The water was super colddd as if it was just taken out of the fridge.
There is no entrance fee being charged there. There are comfort rooms wherein you could change clothes. There are cottages at the riverside which the visitors may occupy. There are locals and other tourists there so there’s nothing really to be worried about.
Hubason River is for me not an all-year-round tourist spot. I do not advise people to visit the river during rainy season as the water current might be dangerous. During heat season, expect also for drought in the area.
I do not encourage bringing small children there as the water might take them. It was late summer (last week of May 2016) when we went there and the sun was still scorching at that time yet the water current was still strong enough to carry lightweight people.
The water level on the lower part of the river (see photo above) is quite high so only good swimmers are encouraged to go down.
Overall, my Hubason River experience was great. I just wish that local government hire people to manage the area, and to secure the safety of the people who go there. Hopefully real soon.
So there you have my latest discoveries in Surigao del Sur. This entry is indeed living up to the page’s tagline, “Exploring things less talked about.”
I know there are still a lot of places I have yet to see around the country. If you happen to know one that is not yet known, please do hit the comment section below. And yes, let me also know what you guys think of the places I shared.