Surigao del Sur (Shangri-La by the Pacific)

Surigao del Sur is a province in the Philippines located in the Caraga region in Mindanao. Its capital is Tandag City. Surigao del Sur is situated at the eastern coast of Mindanao and faces the Philippine Sea to the east.

According to history, before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the aborigines of the province were the Mamanua and Manobo. Austronesian people from the Visayas came to settle with the natives. It was with the arrival of the immigrants that the province acquired its name from one of the natives, “Saliagao”, who are now known as “Surigaonon”, who lived near the mouth of the river. The name “Saliagao” was later pronounced “Surigao” by the inhabitants.

For more of Surigao del Sur, click here!

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WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO SEE:

DAY 1:

The Booming City by the Bay

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Bislig, officially called the City of Bislig and often referred to as Bislig City. Historically, Bislig derived its name from the word “bizlin”, a kind of gold, which is worth two pesos a tael. The weight of a tael is one and one-eight ounces” in the 16th century, which the natives used for trade and barter.

Must see:

The little “Niagara Falls” of the Philippines

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Bislig’s main tourist attraction is the Tinuy-an Falls, known as the little “Niagara Falls” of the Philippines. It is a white water curtain that flows in three levels about 55 meters high and 95 meters wide. Its critically acclaimed majestic and unique natural formation was once appeared in the International Travel Magazine. It is also known as the widest waterfalls in the Philippines.

Tip: Catch a rainbow that shows between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m

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Day 2: 

Hinatuan, home of the world-renowned Enchanted River

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Hinatuan is a municipality in the province of Surigao del Sur. The place is known for its “Enchanted River” which is considered one of the gems of Surigao del Sur.

Must see:

THE ENCHANTED RIVER

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The Hinatuan Enchanted River is a deep spring river in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, Philippines that flows into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is found between the boundaries of Barangays of Talisay and Cambatong. It earned the moniker “enchanted river” from the diplomat Modesto Farolan who described the river in his poem entitled “Rio Encantado”.

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Tip: Catch the fish feeding time at noon.

WHERE TO STAY IN HINATUAN:

Enchanted River Rock View Resort

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The Enchanted River Rock Island Resort is a very short 5-10 minute boat ride from the famous tourist destination, the Enchanted River.

(first two photos (in circle) above by: David Rodney and Alex Federizo)

Get in touch with Enchanted River Rock Island Resort or contact them with these numbers: 0915-842-6464 (Call & Text); 0917-584-0794 (Text Only)

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Day 3

Surigao del Sur’s best-kept secret 

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San Agustin is a municipality in the province of Surigao del Sur. The town is famous for the Britania Group of Islands (or simply Britania Islets), a group of 24 islands with white sandbar beaches scattered across waters of the Lianga Bay, overlooking the Philippine Sea.

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Trivia: Britania, an ancient term for Roman Britain, is actually a Latin name derived from the Greek form “Prettanik” or “Brettaniai”, which means “a collection of islands with individual names.”

Must see Islands:

17201352_10154665747729915_644126523061181690_nHagonoy Island- named after the weed that used to grow in the island

16865010_10154637406414915_5256333308386040480_nNaked Island- The island is composed of only white sand and some rocks and lacks vegetation, hence the island started out its name.

16806977_10154637576044915_1064888454681304926_n(BOSLON ISLAND, with the view of its subsidiary islet, the Panlangagan)

Boslon is the largest among the group of Islands in Britania.

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Tip: Catch the breathtaking sunset of Britania .

WHERE TO STAY IN SAN AGUSTIN:

Mac Arthur’s Place

This resort has a perfect view of scenic Britania (23) Islands. Mac Arthur’s Place is number one in Tripadvisor’s list of accommodations for this location. In my personal opinion, this is one of the best resorts in Brgy. Britania as compared to other resorts that I have already tried out.

Get in touch with Mac Arthur’s Place or call 0999 991 0845.

WHAT TO EAT AND MUST TRY IN SURIGAO DEL SUR:

  1. PALAGSING: a brown, sticky “suman”, made of sago starch (Unaw), young coconut meat and sugar. It is one of the delicacies of Butuan City.
  2. SIKAD-SIKAD: a little bear conch.
  3. SWAKI: sea urchins, best eaten with coconut vinegar.

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For directions on how to get to Surigao del Sur Butuan City, complete itinerary and Budget, feel free to email me at drithexplorer@gmail.com.

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Bolinao: Pangasinan’s “Gateway to the World”

Bolinao is a province of Pangasinan, Philippines. Folk etymology attributes the name “Bolinao” or this remote fishing enclave from the fish piece “monamon” but commonly called “Bolinao” by the Tagalogs, Bicolanos and the Visayans. A theory also points out that once upon a time “Pamulinawen” trees grew luxuriantly along its shores. Thus, the Ilocano migrants who crossed the Lingayen Gulf named it phonetically similar to the name of the tree. Nowadays, however, such a tree does not exist anymore. 

For more of Bolinao, click here!

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WHERE TO GO:

St James the Great Parish Church

bolinaochurchA Spanish colonial church located at Brgy. Germinal in Bolinao, Pangasinan, Philippines. The church was made out of black coral stones.

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse

capebolinaoThis is one of the famous lighthouses in the town of Bolinao, Pangasinan. The other is Port Bolinao Lighthouse in Guigui-wanen, Barangay Luciente I. It is the second tallest lighthouse in the Philippines after the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, which is in Ilocos Norte

Wonderful Cave

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Enchanted Cave

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Bolinao Waterfalls

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Ranked No.4 on TripAdvisor among 9 attractions in Bolinao,

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Bolinao Falls is located in Brgy. Samang Norte in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

 

WHERE TO STAY: 

         Rock View beach located in Patar Bolinao, Pangasinan. One of the best places for relaxation. You’ll find an amazing natural rock formation, white sand, and small cave.

How to get there and for more things to do in Bolinao, click here!

For directions on how to get to Bolinao and complete itinerary and Budget, feel free to email me at drithexplorer@gmail.com.

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Bone-chilling Banaue

Banaue or Banawe is a municipality in the province of Ifugao, Philippines. It has a population of 22,365 people. Here, you will find the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Batad Rice Terraces and Bangaan Rice Terraces.

For more of Banaue, click here!

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WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO DO:

Declared as “National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines”, and is considered to be the 8th Wonder of the World by many Filipinos, the Banaue Rice Terraces is the most known terraces in northern Luzon.  However, there are other notable ones that are worth visiting: the Batad Rice Terraces, Mayoyao Rice Terraces in Mayoyao, Hapao Rice Terraces and Kiangan Rice Terraces.

 

 

  • BATAD RICE TERRACES
  • -one of the clusters of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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  • TAPPIYAH WATERFFALLS

– A beautiful 70-meter waterfall- about a 30-minute walk from the village of Batad. It’s a great place to go for a swim.

Tappiyah Falls is truly a hidden treasure of Ifugao.

 

WHERE TO STAY:

Banaue Hotel has an 81-room facility with accommodations and entertainment for big and small groups. The hotel is perched atop one of the most prominent points overlooking the Rice Terraces, all in the middle of the rich culture and history of Ifugao province. During your stay, you will certainly enjoy the wondrous panorama from the balcony of your room. 

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For directions on how to get to Banaue and complete itinerary and Budget, feel free to email me at drithexplorer@gmail.com.

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Zesty Zamboanga City

Zamboanga City is a highly urbanized city located in Mindanao, Philippines. It has a population of 861,799 people as of the 2015 census census. Zamboanga City is the 6th most populous and 3rd largest city by land area in the Philippines. It is the commercial and industrial center of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region.It is an independent city, chartered and highly urbanized city, and not part of or was never part in any of the three provinces in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Zamboanga City used to be known as Jambangan in the Subanen language and was the center of the Subanen culture during the pre-Hispanic times. After independence from Spain in May 1899, Zamboanga became the Republic of Zamboanga with Zamboangueño Chavacano as its official language and Spanish as its co-official language. After American intervention, the republic was incorporated into the Philippines and became the capital of the Moro Province, now Mindanao, from 1903 to 1913.

On October 12, 1936, Zamboanga City became a chartered city under Commonwealth Act No. 39. It was inaugurated on February 26, 1937, which was declared a local holiday. Known for Hispanic influences in its culture, it bears the nickname “Asia’s Latin City”.

For more of Zamboanga City, click here!

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WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO DO:

FORT PILAR 

12119083_10153333036619915_7456832472757871220_n(The Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza)

is a 17th-century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial c                government in Zamboanga City

WHERE TO EAT:

MANO-MANO NA GREENFIELD RESTAURANT

12036776_10153320908659915_8531279111687530049_nMano-mano”, when translated to English, means “to eat with one’s hands” and this restaurant along Gov. Ramos Avenue is where eating without utensils is just a normal thing 🙂 A must-try, calamari and kinilaw in a very affordable price.

HACIENDA DE PALMERAS HOTEL AND RESTAURANT

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The Palmeras Restaurant serves a lot of delightful dishes, but its famous Knickerbocker– similar to our native halo-halo but instead of beans, sweet potatoes, and other traditional halo-halo ingredients with ice, they used an assortment of fruits instead like melon, banana, ripe mango, watermelon, (sometimes avocado, when in season), milk and topped with a scoop of strawberry ice cream is A MUST-TRY. Definitely go back to Zambo just for this? WHY NOT?

For directions on how to get to Zamboanga City and complete itinerary and Budget, feel free to email me at drithexplorer@gmail.com.

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Island Garden City of Samal (The Urban Center in a Garden Setting)

The Island Garden City of Samal or IGaCoS is a coastal paradise with a group of islands strategically situated at the heart of Davao Gulf. It is geographically separated from mainland Mindanao. It lies only 900 meters east of Davao City and 10 kilometers West of Comval Province. This is a city with resources potential of becoming an integral tourist destination and economic player in the country.

There are two main Islands in IGacoS, Samal island and Talicud which is situated at the southern point. Other smaller islands namely Malipano , Big Ligid and Little Ligid are also part of the city. It is also 10-15 minutes ride from Davao City via motor boat or ferry boat.

For more of IGaCoS, click here!

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WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO DO:

ISLAND HOPPING

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Go for an Island hopping and take a closer look of the few commercial resorts and a number of private beaches spread its coastline of sugary-white sands.

Few of other activities to do while in IGaCoS:

  • Swimming with Giant Clams at Tridacna Sanctuary known as Taclobo Sanctuary at Barangay Adecor.
  • Scuba Diving/Snorkeling in Talicud Island.
  • Spelunking in Balete and Magongawong caves. 
  • Mountain Climbing and stay overnight at its summit known as Puting Bato

 

WHERE TO STAY AND DINE:

PARADISE ISLAND PARK AND BEACH RESORT

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Located just fifteen minutes away from Davao City, Paradise Island is very near, that visitors only need to pay P10.00. Yes, for as low as ten pesos, you will be able to enjoy paradise just a few minutes away from the city.  This is operated by the management of the resort from 5:00 AM up to 5:00 PM. After 5:00 PM, those who wish to go to Samal Island may ride the Ferry Boat which serves the public 24/7.

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WHAT TO EAT AND TRY:

SHRIMP GAMBAS

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Gambas is a Spanish dish made with prawns. Shrimp Gambas Recipe often uses medium to large sized shrimps, most Restaurants don’t use jumbo or colossal prawns because of price reasons, but the Shrimp Gambas of Paradise Island is one of the bests I’ve tasted.

KINILAW

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Kinilaw (which derived from the Visayan word “hilaw” which means “raw”) is a raw seafood dish native to the Philippines, similar to ceviche of Latin America and Caribbean.

MUST TRY:

DURIAN SHAKE

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Don’t leave the island without tasting its Durian Shake. If there’s one thing you must do when in Davao City, it’s trying out the famous durian, which the city is known for. There are lot of must-try durian-infused desserts in Davao, and Durian Shake is one of my favorite.

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Contact Paradise Island and Beach Resort at (+63)920-954-6780 or visit their website here!

For the directions on how to get to Island City of Samal, click here!

KADAYAWAN FESTIVAL (Ten Tribes. One Vibe.)

The Kadayawan Festival is an annual festival in the city of Davao in the Philippines. Its name derives from the friendly greeting “Madayaw”, from the Dabawenyo word “dayaw”, meaning good, valuable, superior or beautiful. The festival is a celebration of life, a thanksgiving for the gifts of nature, the wealth of culture, the bounties of harvest and serenity of living.

It was said that, long time ago, Davao’s ethnic tribes residing at the foot of Mount Apo would converge during a bountiful harvest. This ritual serves as their thanksgiving to the gods particularly to the “Manama” (the Supreme Being).

Today, Kadayawan has transformed into the festival of festivals, with a number of spin-off festivals in the region. The festival honors Davao’s artistic, cultural and historical heritage, its past personified by the ancestral Lumad people, its people as they celebrate on the streets, and its floral industry as its representatives parade in full regalia in thanksgiving for the blessings granted on the city.

For more of Kadayawan Festival, click here!

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Two of the festivals highlights that you shouldn’t miss:

INDAK – INDAK SA KADALANAN

  • A street dancing competition along Davao’s major thoroughfares will culminate in a grand showdown in the Rizal Park area.

PAMULAK SA KADAYAWAN

  • A grand parade of floral floats from competing and non-competing entries will be staged at the city’s major thoroughfares.

For more of Philippine Festivals, click here!

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Pagoda Sa Wawa (Bocaue River Festival)

The Pagoda sa Wawa is held every first Sunday of July in Bocaue, Bulacan in honor of the Holy Cross of Wawa (Mahal na Krus sa Wawa). The festival is also known as the Bocaue River Festival, Bocaue Pagoda Festival, and the Pista ng Mapagpalang Krus sa Wawa (Fiesta of the Blessed Cross of Wawa). The main attraction of the celebration is the fluvial parade of the pagoda or decorated barge and colorful small boats.

For more info about Pagoda Festival, click here!

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More of Pagoda 2014:

After 21 years, since the tragedy happened in 1993, that killed hundreds of devotees on board,  the town of Bocaue bring back the joyous celebration for the Holy Cross.  Pagoda sails the river of the town once again, promising a better platform to ensure safety, with a strict implementation that only registered devotees with life vest are allowed to board in the Pagoda.

 

How to get to Bocaue, Bulacan:
 
Commute to Bocaue, Bulacan is easiest from MRT North Avenue station where you can catch an FX and vans to Marilao (usually SM Marilao) at Trinoma Transport Terminal or SM Transport Terminal. Then transfer to a jeepney that will take you to Bocaue.
 
Driving directions to Bocaue, Bulacan:
 
From EDSA Makati, head towards Quezon City, take NLEX and exit at Bocaue exit to get to Bocaue town proper. You can also drive to Monumento to pass by Valenzuela and Marilao via MacArthur Highway all the way to Bocaue.

 
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