Reasons Why You Should Visit Mindanao

Mt. Kitanglad
 Our original plan is to hike Mt. Dulang-dulang and Mt. Kitanglad, but because of the question: “gusto nyo ba?” it was changed to backpacking in Northern Mindanao. It happened for a very very short time. So from Malaybalay, Bukidnon, we rode on a bus with Cagayan signboard and alighted at Agora Terminal. At the terminal, we rode in a bus with Butuan signboard and alighted at Butuan Terminal. Then, another bus ride to Mangahoy, Bislig, Surigao del Sur. Here are some of the Mindanao’s finest, from days 1 to 5.

Tinuy-an Falls
 Tinuy-an Falls is one of tourist spots, attractions, and destinations that Surigao del Sur can offer. Tinuy-an is a huge water fall with cool and crystal clear waters, and surrounded by relaxing greens, creating the area a gorgeous landscape. The ambiance is so cool, with the fresh air blowing. Feel the pressure of the water falling by riding on the raft to the base of the water falls. More photos of Tinuy-an Falls, Click Here >>>

Golden Doll
Golden Matryosh Ka Doll (photo above) at International Doll House was mentioned by John, our guide, and it’s our first time to hear such an inviting attraction. John told us that this doll house displays thousands of dolls and toys. There’s a doll with a gold on her head, a doll with a hair and eye lashes from the original Rose of Titanic, there’s a motorcycle toy with a value of 2.5 million pesos and many more. More photos from the International Doll House, Click Here >>>
 
Surigao Tourist Destinations
Still surprised by the value of each of the dolls inside the International Doll House, we rode in a tricycle back to our pension house. Packed our stuff and proceeded to the I Love Bislig sign along the highway. On this spot, we rode in a van with Tandag signboard (60 pesos fare) and alighted in Maglambing, Tagbina, Surigao del Sur – the jump off for Libuacan Cold Spring. Then, a motorcycle ride to the location of Libuacan Cold Spring,  20 pesos per head, one way. No entrance fees, just donations.

Surigao Tourist Spots

Libuacan Cold Spring (photo above) is part of our Must Visit tourist destinations in Surigao del Sur. We felt sad because the famous Enchanted River was closed due to its renovations but its fine, there will always be a perfect time for us; anyways, let’s go back to Libuacan Cold Spring. It is a river system with cold and crystalline water, free flowing, and surrounded by relaxing greens. Since the area is surrounded by trees, so the ambiance is really cool and relaxing; everything seemed to be fresh. More photos from Libuacan Cold Spring, Click Here>>>

At Maglambing, by the highway, we rode in a Van with Tandag signboard and alighted in San Agustin, Barobo Bus Terminal. At the terminal, there was a driver who offered his service for only 300 pesos to San Agustin. Since it's a huge savings than having another bus ride, so we accepted. The next day, it was a fun island hopping at Britania Group of Islets.

Britania Island Surigao
 Be transformed as you meditate at the garden of vines that heals every soul’s weary at Hagonoy, Naked, Boslon and Hiyor-hiyoran Islands – three gorgeous Britania Group of Islets. These islets are really small, but they have fine white sand beaches and surrounded by cool and crystal clear waters. They are like pearls in the ocean! More photos from Britania Group of Islets, Click Here >>>

The whole Britania Island hopping was three to four hours and went back to the resort to prepare for another tiring land travel. Tidy up. Repacked and proceeded to our next destination – Butuan City. By the highway, we rode on a bus with Butuan signboard and alighted at Butuan terminal. Travel time was three hours. We stayed at Shine’s family in the city to lessen our expenses. The next day was a city tour.


Balangay
Balangay Shrine is a branch of National Museum which is just a small structure but the artifacts inside are the ancient and historical remnants of Balangay and other things discovered in the area. Most part of this structure are surrounded by glass to protect each of the relics. If I am not mistaken, I was in the fifth grade when heard this word for the first time. The Filipino word Baranggay was derived from the word: Balangay which is a watercraft used by the ancient people in the Philippines for transportation and for barter and trade. More photos from Balangay Shrine, Click Here >>>

Butuan National Museum
 After Balangay Shrine, we rode in a tricycle again and proceeded to our next destination – Butuan National Museum. It is one of the historical structures in Butuan City that houses and protects the relics discovered in the region. It also holds several objects used by the locals for their daily life, such as jars, ceramics and earthenwares, hand woven clothe, and many more. More photos from Butuan National Museum, Click Here >>>

Golden Tara
 Just a walking form Butuan National Museum, we found the Golden Tara. It is a molded gold figurine of a Tara or a goddess from the Buddhist Pantheon which was found by a monobo native along Wawa River in Central Agusan. This image is casted in 21 karat gold and weights nearly four pounds and measures around eight inches in height. But, it was acquired in 1922 by the American and bought by the wife of Governor General Wood. It is now housed in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL, US. Our Butuan itinerary, Click Here >>>

After taking few photos, we rode in a tricycle to the market and bought something for our dinner. Had our final packing and a nap. Around 2AM, we were at the Butuan Terminal for our next destination – Camiguin. From Butuan Terminal, we rode in a bus and alighted in Balingoan and proceeded to the port, walking distance from the terminal. At the port, bought our ferry tickets and paid terminal fees. Travel time to Camiguin is an hour.

GoPro Underwater Shoot
 Every time I hear the word Camiguin, I usually think of the best lanzones in the Philippines and the underwater cemetery. But during our visit, we saw how wealthy Camiguin is in terms of natural beauty, making the province as one of the best tourist spots, tourist destinations and tourist attractions in the Philippines. Backpacking is not a big problem here because at the port of Camiguin, multi-cab, with a driver, can be chartered for the whole day tour (that’s what we did). Here are more photos from the top tourist destinations in Camiguin, Click Here >>>

What's funny with our backpacking in Northern Mindanao, it was after Camiguin (Wednesday). All of us were thinking that our flight would be on the next day (Thursday) in the evening. It was a blessing in disguise that we were unable to visit the White Island (still Wednesday) because of the bad weather. So, at the port we started planning about our Iligan escapade, but we were notified by Cebu Pacific that we can now Check In online. Afterwards, we found out that our flight would be in the evening, that same day (Wednesday). We were like in Amazing Race, always in a hurry, and we also computed the travel time from Balingoan Terminal to Agora and to the airport in Cagayan. But we made it!!!!

Our backpacking in Mindanao, turned to be a remarkable experience. We were stunned by the gorgeous islets, waterfalls, spring and history of this region. Also, we were able to know more about their culture and experienced how hospitable they are. Mindanao is not just about war and combat against rebels but let us also take note of the wealth that they can be proud of. Thanks to our guide John Kalog for your support.