Top Tourist Spots in Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, and Camiguin: Backpacking Guide

Britania Island, Surigao
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-Al Falls, Surigao del Sur

Tinuy-an Falls is one of the tourist spots, attractions, and destinations that Surigao del Sur can offer. Tinuy-an is a huge waterfall with cool and crystal clear waters, surrounded by relaxing greens, creating the area a gorgeous landscape. The ambience 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 waterfalls.

International Doll House, Surigao

International Doll House, Surigao de Sur

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 gold on her head, a doll with hair and eyelashes from the original Rose of Titanic, there’s a motorcycle toy with a value of 2.5 million pesos and many more.
Surigao del Sur Tourist Spots
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.

Libuacan Cold Spring, Surigao del Sur

Libuacan Cold Spring 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 it's 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, the ambience is really cool and relaxing; everything seems to be fresh.

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.

Beachers in 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 are surrounded by cool and crystal clear waters. They are like pearls in the ocean!

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 Shrine

Balangay Shrine, Butuan City

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 parts of its 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.

Butuan National Museum

Butuan National Museum, Agusan del Norte

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 earthenware, hand-woven clothing, and many more.

Agusan del Norte Tourist Spots
Just a walking distance from 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.

After taking a 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, alighted in Balingoan and proceeded to the port, a walking distance from the terminal. At the port, bought our ferry tickets and paid terminal fees. Travel time to Camiguin is an hour.

Camiguin Tourist Spots
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 the top tourist spots and destinations in Camiguin are in terms of natural beauty, making the province 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).

What's funny about our backpacking in Northern Mindanao was after Camiguin (Wednesday). All of us were thinking that our flight would be on the next day (Thursday) 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 our Iligan escapade, but we were notified by Cebu Pacific that we could 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 de Oro. We made it!

Our backpacking in Mindanao turned out to be a remarkable experience. We were stunned by the gorgeous islets, waterfalls, springs and history of this region. Also, we were able to learn more about their culture and experience 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. ALSO READ: SOLO-BACKPACKING in Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, and Davao City.