Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Surigao Adventures: Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River, and More


What could be more fun when you go on a trip unplanned? Well actually, we planned this trip two weeks ago. Everything was almost set that we almost booked for a packaged trip: complete with an itinerary, a place to stay, and transportation. What we only have to do is enjoy the trip. Three days later, more than half of our company backed out. So from ten, we went down to four. Haha. Bummer.

The four of us pushed through though. Not sure how exactly we're going to make it since nobody has been to Surigao before. We were only equipped with what other blogs feed us about how to go the Enchanted River and that was it. But we went on as planned: go to Enchanted River and explore Britannia Islands.

Okay, just so you know, I am not a travel blogger. And if I were, I'm not a good one at that. But I will try to be detailed as much as I can (as far as I can remember). What you will read here will be more of our experiences and [mis]adventures during this getaway. I won't promise I'll be generous with words because what I will say will most likely be an understatement, it may or may not convey what we have actually seen, heard or felt. But I'll try my best anyway. And I'll be honest as honest can be. So here goes..

Day 1 - Come What May
We left at 2am from Davao City boarding a bus going to Mangagoy, Bislig City, Surigao, taking us there by 8am. The moment we stepped down the bus, habal-habal drivers approached us asking where are we headed. Took us quite some time to answer because we just realized we don't have an itinerary.

We scoured the map and located all the places we want to go to and discussed then and there what's the best to do to maximize the trip. What would we do without Jan's phone? Haha. We decided to go to Tinuy-an Falls, proceed to Enchanted river, and lastly, stay overnight at Britannia. So after befriending and having negotiations with the drivers, we hailed a habal-habal to take us to our destinations.

First destination: Tinuy-an Falls
Dubbed as little Niagara falls (or something like that), it was more majestic than what I saw on pictures. Stunning. Breath-taking, to say the least. We rented a life vest (optional at 30 pesos each), and enjoyed the cool and refreshing waterfalls.
Tinuy-an Falls

Tinuy-an Falls

Tinuy-an Falls

By 11am, we took off and proceeded to our next destination, the Enchanted River - in hopes of being able to get there on time for the fish feeding at 12noon. But it took an hour and a half of butt-numbing, dusty, windy ride from Tinuy-an to Enchanted. Kaya sayang, di namin naabutan.

Second destination: Enchanted River
A few meters from the spot were vendors selling fresh sea food. Surprisingly, it was cheap. We bought crabs, curacha, and some fishes that I can't identify. We have them cooked, then excitedly went down the river.
Enchanted River

The river was surprisingly ummm how do I say it? Not fascinating as I thought it was. I was speechless. Well, in a way that I was a little disappointed. What ran through my mind were the words: is this it? Yep, honestly. Maybe it's just me, or in this case, us. Or maybe because there were so many people that time. Or maybe we were just expecting too much. No. It was already too developed and it was the hordes of people that didn't make the enchanted river so enchanting. But the place is beautiful nonetheless. And yes, it would have been better if there are only few people in there. So if you want to go and enjoy its true beauty, I suggest you do it on weekdays.
Enchanted River
Enchanted River
Enchanted River

After a few minutes of jumping and diving and swimming, we had the much awaited feast. This.

Island hopping Enchanted River

By 2pm, since there are still a lot of people swimming in the river, we decided to go island hopping then. Renting a boat costs 160 per hour. Thinking that an hour is enough to tour just a few islands after the mouth of the river, we gave it a try. It's cheap anyway. But we were so wrong. We never ever thought the place is teeming with surprises. One stop led to a discovery of one beauty to another. Everything was just so unexpected.

First stop: Pacific View
The beach isn't as awesome as you'd think it is. But still, the place is beautiful and the view of the open sea is so calming. Not bad for a ten-peso entrance fee. :)
Island hopping Enchanted River
Pacific View Resort
Second stop: Sarasosa Cave
Now, this is something that we never expected. What I pictured out when the boat driver told as he'll take us to cave, was just a small cave, where you can just take a little stroll, take pictures here and there, and pronto! you're on the other side. But judging from the picture, do you think it is a small cave?
Island hopping Enchanted River

Definitely not. It took us about 30 minutes to maybe an hour of exploring the dark, challenging yet magnificent cave. I would've gotten a lot of bumps on the head if it wasn't for the hard hat. I'm careless at that. And yep, you could die in there if you aren't too careful. Not exaggerating. You could slip down the slippery rocks and fall down a few feet while sharp rocks wait below. Challenging, yes. And it's an extreme experience for first time spelunkers like us.

Third stop: Sibadan Fish Cage
Have you ever gone swimming with the stingray? We did! Well, we didn't only swim with the stingray, but with sharks, and fishes as big as 2 feet weighing 30 kgs, and a lot more as well. How cool is that? Unfortunately, we didn't have an uber-awesome underwater camera to take photos of that. But hey, we managed to snap our attempt to swim with the stingray. :)
Sibadan Fish Cage
Swimming with the stingray
I don't know whether you should call us bold or just stupid because we were told we are the only ones who attempted to go near the stingray. Well, he no longer has a barb, okay? But we're still careful not to be lashed by its tail. And, he's too cute, especially when he asks for food. Haha.
Sibadan Fish Cage
Feeding the stingray
By 5pm we decided to forego the last list on our itinerary: Explore Britannia Islands. Why? One, because it's already too late to go to Britannia; two, rain is about to fall; three, we think there are just too many beaches we've been to that is pretty much the same as Britannia; and lastly, Sibadan Fish Cage is cool and cheap and it's better than staying in some overrated posh resort. We decided to stay for the night there.

Our intuition not to go to Britannia Islands was right. At night, we had fun watching lightning bolts and thunderstorms. And for dinner, we had barracuda soup. It was so good. Perfect for a cold, rainy night.

Day 2 - Off to More Adventures
Day 2 greeted us with a cool breeze and the calming sound of the waves. It's actually our first time to eat and sleep ON the sea. Yep, Sibadan is a floating resto and lodge. By breakfast we had fresh lobsters and danggit. Okay, this is also one of the reasons why we preferred to stay in Sibadan. Their lobsters are way cheaper (900/kilo) compared to the ones offered in Britannia and yes, we've never tasted one before.
fresh from the sea!
Sibadan Fish Cage

Sibadan Fish Cage
Breakfast doesn't get any better than this. Yummeh!
After breakfast, we decided to go island hopping again. We think the place has a lot of spectacular, almost untouched places to offer, and I don't know why I haven't read any of those from other bloggers.

First stop: Vanishing Island
There's not really a lot to see here, but we had fun running around like we're little kids. Haha.
Hinatuan, Bislig, Surigao

Hinatuan, Bislig, Surigao
Kids at vanishing island
On our way to the next stop, our small boat ventured out into the open sea. And it's actually our first time to witness big and tunneling waves from behind. Hinatuan, Bislig, Surigao

Second stop: Margarita
We've been underground. We've been to the sea. Now, we're going on a high land. Nothing beats the feeling of being atop a hill or a mountain overlooking the beautiful view of the sea. If I were to have a beach property, I would want it this way.
Hinatuan, Bislig, Surigao

Hinatuan, Bislig, Surigao
Sun-kissed and lovin it!

Third stop: Tinago Islands
Well, this isn't really a stop. We were just touring one island after another, admiring the beauty of nature. It was a relaxing experience.

It was already late when we had our lunch back in Sibadan. We had crabs and maya-maya soup. And as usual, it tastes so great! By the afternoon, we decided to take a rest. I think we've done a lot and gone to too many places in a span of two days.
Sibadan Fish Cage

Sibadan Fish Cage

By dinner, we had kinilaw na danggit and adobong saang, and a sparkling red juice to cap off the night.

Day 3 - Going Back to Reality with a Blast
I woke up to the soothing sound of the waves. Waking up early morning has never been this refreshing and calming. A few minutes later, a few fishermen came in with their fresh catches: crabs, fishes, shells, and whatnot.

We took a little swim and had crabs (again! but a different variety) for breakfast. I don't think we'll ever get tired of eating crabs (even though my allergies started to come out), especially that they tasted so good. Haha. We stuffed ourselves with food to get ready for a long trip back home.
Sibadan Fish Cage

Sibadan Fish Cage

Well that's it. There's actually a lot of fun and funny things that happened. But I don't think I'd be able to send the message across the way it actually has to be delivered. So, we'll just keep it to ourselves.

Best. Trip. Ever.
What I really like about the trip is its spontaneity. Going out of our way to try new and interesting things is always a fantastic experience. Planned trips are good, but unplanned trips are way better.

So what are the perks of unplanned trips? You never know what surprises await you. You don't have to follow an itinerary which means you don't have to worry about time. You don't get stressed when your trip didn't go as planned. You always leave your options open. You take risks which add to the thrill and fun. And best of all, you live for the moment.

We've been living a life where we plan almost everything. Sometimes, a little spontaneity is all we need. Right?

A word of advice
If you're planning to go on an unplanned getaway, I'll tell you one stinging truth: money matters. You never know what's in store for you out there. So you better be prepared. But whatever amount you spent on a trip, I say it's definitely, definitely worth it. :)


  1. We were there last August, OMG nkakatakot yung swim with the stingray. well said Surigao del Sur was definitely worth it! Cheers!

    1. Yes, Surigao has indeed a lot of places to offer. Too bad, we don't have all the time and money to splurge on each. But it's really really worth it. Thanks for dropping by! :)


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