Got another ticket and this time it was Cebu-Siargao-Cebu. What to do? But of course, traveling in northeastern Mindanao and tread the path of memory as well as discover new ones. It was almost ten years ago that I’ve been to Siargao, my first with my amour, back when the tourist trail hasn’t been developed much. Of course, there was already the three island tour.
My friend R came all the way from Iligan and joined me in this Siargao-Surigao-Bislig-Hinatuan tour in the span of four days. The fifth day was spent alone in Surigao City and rode a pumpboat back to Siargao for my flight to Cebu.
What to do in Siargao? Instead of surfing (we just visited Cloud 9 and gawked at the surfers), and go island hopping, we decided to do the land tour. From morning to afternoon, we rode a roofed habal-habal and traversed and crisscrossed Siargao, for a total of 197 kilometers.
The waterpools of Magpupungko Beach were stunning. The rock formations of Pacifico in San Isidro were eerie. The water pool of Taktak Falls cool and we had a blast staying at Isla Cabana.
Bislig, Surigao del Sur
The waters were thunderous and a spray of mist emanated from the three tiered Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig. Ten years ago, I arrived almost at dusk, the area still undeveloped as what it is today. Now, the forests leading to the beautiful waterfall has been logged as vans upon vans wind their way carrying tourists and visitors wanting to view and get wet at this big cascade.
But please, stop calling it as “the Niagara of the Philippines.” There is just no comparison. No contest.
Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
Of course, the river is just beautiful with its dark blue parts, big fish and beautiful scenery. But enchanted? The fairies have already left I think as this river has been invaded by tourists and visitors having a great time. It’s like Easter Sunday at the beach with lots and lots of people eating at huts dotting the area.
If you were enchanted at looking at images of a serene river at blogs or seen a footage via TV, prepare to be shocked when you actually see the place teeming with the masses.
Pangasinan Is., Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
Nothing beats an island stay with someone. What I do like at Hinatuan are the island accommodations near the river. For a miinimum of P300 for two for a basic accommodation (plus others like banca fare, food, etc.), we enjoyed the silence and the beach all to ourselves.
Caretakers at the Margaret Peak Island Resort will cook for you, for a fee. There are choices of fish and seafood as well as a basic room with fan.
It was more of a transit area between Siargao and Bislig but on the last day, I stayed at an inn after having dinner and coffee in one of the cafes. It’s still a sleepy town unlike more commercialized Butuan City. But likes it here. The last time I visited the place was when I stayed at Tavern Hotel.
I slept only for a few hours at a very basic room. At the pier, I waited for a motorized pumpboat to travel back to Siargao, but this time, via Del Carmen for my flight back to Cebu. The best scenery even before the break of dawn: this line of boats and houses across the pier.
Below are the routes we traveled in northeastern Mindanao.