Located in Surigao Del Sur, which is on the Eastern side of Mindanao, Bislig and Hinatuan are now becoming the top tourist destinations in the CARAGA Region and that is why I found myself there to find out the different tourist spots in Bislig and Hinatuan.
After my trip to CEBU, I flew early morning via AirAsia Zest to Cagayan De Oro. Thanks to the Piso Fare again!
When I landed in Cagayan De Oro, I took a van for Php 250.00 to the city where Agora Bus Terminal is found.
Agora Bus Terminal is basically the main bus station from CDO to any points in Mindanao. From CDO to Bislig is a 10 hour journey which for me was a bit long. So I decided to stay at Gloreto Suites in Butuan for 500.00 for a night and left early morning for another 5 hour trip by bus from Butuan to Bislig.
April 26, 2015 - 1st Day
7:00 am - 12:30 pm
I arrived at around 12:30pm from Butuan. None of the Bachelor Buses are air-conditioned and it stopped many times to drop passengers which I thought contributed to the total number of hours travelling to Bislig.
When I arrived in Mangagoy, Bislig , a habal-habal (Motorcycle) driver named Allan, approached me and asked me if I was planning to go on a tour. At first I was really hesitant, thinking I could do the traveling myself, but thank goodness I hired him to be my guide.
They are a group of Habal-Habal drivers at the bus station at Mangagoy, Bislig who offer tours around and to nearby areas. They are pretty much known by everyone and know everything about the place and terrain.
Traveling alone and with a group was so different as I shouldered all the expenses myself but I didn't mind since I enjoyed it and I had been preparing for this for 2 years.
WHERE I STAYED: Casa De Babano Pensione House
Phone Number: (086) 8531297
If you are looking for affordable accommodation that is quite central, this is the place is for you! You can enjoy a room that is air-conditioned room with toilet and bath for as little as Php700. They have a room for Php 500, but with only fan and a common toilet and bath. All include breakfast which is not bad. At night, they have Budong's Bar next to them for those who want to enjoy a nice evening with friends.
Lunch time passed and I didn't want to waste any time, I immediately phoned kuya Allan who picked me up at the hostel to start our afternoon tour. While I was in the bus, I was already researching the different places I wanted to visit. With the help of my Facebook friends, I came up with these places.
1:30 pm -2:30 pm
1. HINAYAGAN CAVE
A 30 minute ride to Brgy. Kapatagan will take you to Hinayagan Cave. Everyone who visits this cave will be captivated by the natural wonder carved by the nature. Everyone who sees it will be amazed with the beauty of this cave.
There is no entrance fee; however, giving a tip to the guide is required. Kuya Allan asked one of the locals to guide us all the way to the cave. The walk was not that far, it only took us 10 minutes to get to our destination and when I saw the mouth of the cave, I was like, wow - it's huge!
A huge sink hole can be found inside and it creates a dramatic atmosphere inside. Anyone could also swim in the stream found inside the cave.
3:30 pm - 4:00 pm
2. BISLIG CITY BAYWALK
On our way to Tinuy-An Falls, I saw this nice and clean baywalk which they said gets busy at night with different street foods offered along the baywalk. What made this beach also different is because instead of sand, you will find mud. But do not worry, because Mud Skim Boarding is now getting known in the area. I would like to try that soon! Everyone must have a picture taken here at this concrete sign of I LOVE BISLIG. A great remembrance from the city!
They are busy constructing the baywalk, and I am sure once it's fixed, it's going to be a busy beautiful place!
One of the many beautiful bridges can be seen on our way to Tinuy-An Falls. Taking the habal-habal was a great option because of the fresh air and it's scenery.
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
3. Tinuy-An Falls
This place is probably one of the most visited and one of the most beautiful falls I've ever seen in my life. Also considered as the Niagara Falls of the Philippines. Tourists flock to this place to see this wonder of nature. There is an entrance fee of Php 50.00 per person and another rate applies if you want to rent a cottage. There is also a guided tour if you want to go to the top where you will find two minor falls. Just don't forget to give a tip. The falls were really beautiful and swimming was fun. I wish I could go to the edge of the falls with a bamboo raft but since I was alone and didn't have much time. I decided to leave it for next time.
Closing in at the edge of the false. Scary! Ha ha
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
4. The International Doll House and Ocean View Park
Not far from city and the baywalk, an ideal place to end your tour around Bislig is at the International Doll house which is next to a restaurant that offers a great view of the Bislig city, and is called the Ocean View Park. With a doll collection of over 1000 different types from different countries, this museum will surely make everyone ask, how did she do it? There is an entrance fee of Php 20.00 which is not bad.
A few meters walk from the Doll House is the Ocean View Restaurant where you can enjoy some western and local dishes at a very affordable price. They also have a western chef who prepares the food straight from their kitchen. This for me is the best place in Bislig to spend the afternoon and watch the sunset.
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm - I went back to the hostel and invited Kuya Allan and his Habal-Habal friends for some drinks. I had a pretty good conversation with them because I got to know more about what life is like in Bislig. How some of them struggled after one big company closed and how things are picking up from the tourism side.
It was also funny how they shared some of their experiences with some of the tourist. All I can say was they are true people and don't have the intention to fool tourists just to make money. If you need help, they would really do their best to help you. It's a small community and everyone knows each other.
April 28 - Day 2
6:00 am - 12:30 am
5. ENCHANTED RIVER, at HINATUAN
Related article: Exploring ENCHANTED RIVER at Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur
After a beautiful day I had exploring around Bislig, I woke up pretty early, had breakfast and prepared myself for another adventure which is approximately 3 hours away from Bislig. My butt was so sore from the ride, but I knew that I would be wowed when I get to the Enchanted River.
This is probably the major reason why I was in the region, to see this beautiful river full of mysticism and packed with natural beauty.
With an entrance of Php 30.00, everyone could enjoy this enchanted place. If you are in a big group, you can rent cottages. But since I was traveling alone, I asked Kuya Allan to take care of my baggage on the side.
The moment I saw the river, I was speechless for quite a while! I couldn't believe how beautiful and pristine the water was! I enjoyed every moment I was at Enchanted river. I waited for this for so long and finally it became a reality!
12:30 pm - I went off to the bus station at Hinatuan and took another 5 hour bus ride to Butuan where I will be doing my next exploration.
Although short, my trip to Bislig and Hinatuan really was a great experience. Some may find it weird that I was traveling by myself, but that's where you sometimes find the real essence of your existence.
I would also like to thank Kuya Allan, my tour guide and the Habal-Habal driver who took me around to the different places. He a nice and well trusted person and everybody knew him there. You can contact him at 09477116129 or 09484715867