Travel Guide: Bislig and Hinatuan

The province of Surigao del Sur, in Mindanao’s CARAGA Region, has been out of the tourism map for quite some time but its natural attractions are paving the way for the province to be visited and seen.

Who wouldn’t be amazed of the majestic Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig and the Enchanted River in Hinatuan? As such, more and more tourists are braving the long road to these two most visited spots in the province.

Bislig

Both situated in the eastern seaboard of Mindanao, fronting the Pacific Ocean, Bislig and Hinatuan are driving the growth of the province in terms of tourism generated income.

Bislig, considered as the easternmost city of the Philippines in terms of geographical location, is the gateway to the Tinuy-an Falls which is dubbed as “Niagara of the Philippines”, the widest waterfalls in the country at 95 meters. But aside from it, Bislig is also home to other interesting scenic spots – cold spring, caves, underground river, lakes and other waterfalls.

Meanwhile, north of Bislig is the town of Hinatuan, another coastal town. It is a laid back and typically rural town famous for Enchanted River and Maomawan Islet.

The road going to Bislig and Hinatuan maybe long but what’s in there are worth the long travel. They are paradise on their own rights and are truly fascinating wonders of nature.

Bislig

The upper tier of Tinuy-an Falls

How to Get There

Surigao del Sur has airports in Bislig and in the provincial capitol of Tandag, but unfortunately there is no commercial airline serving these points. The nearest commercial airports and also serving as gateways to Bislig and Hinatuan are Butuan City, Surigao City (Surigao del Norte) and Davao.

From Butuan

There are buses and vans from Butuan City Integrated Bus Terminal going to Mangagoy, the commercial hub of Bislig City. Direct deluxe (non-aircon) bus travel time takes five (5) hours to Mangagoy for a fare of P243 (as of August 2012) and four (4) hours to Hinatuan for a fare of P190 (as of August 2012). Vans travel faster, approximately three-and-a-half (3.5) hours to Hinatuan and four (4) hours to Mangagoy.

Alternatively, you may catch an aircon bus going to Davao, get off at San Francisco (San Franz) in Agusan Del Sur (2 hours) and transfer to another bus or van going to Mangagoy (3 hours) passing through Hinatuan (2 hours).

From Surigao City

Getting to Bislig and Hinatuan from Surigao City is quite strenuous since there is no direct link between these places and it really requires transfer. From Surigao City, you may either go to Butuan which is around two hours or Tandag which is four to five hours. The latter is ideal if you are coming from Sohoton/Bucas Grande Islands.

From Butuan, there are direct deluxe (non-aircon) buses going to Hinatuan and Mangagoy (Bislig), while in Tandag, there are jeepneys and vans.

From Davao City

There are deluxe (non-aircon) buses from Davao City’s Ecoland Bus Terminal going directly to Mangagoy (Bislig). Travel time takes around six hours. Alternatively, you may catch an aircon bus going to Butuan City, get off at the town of Trento and transfer to another bus or jeepney going to Mangagoy (Bislig).

Hinatuan

A crowded Enchanted River

Getting Around and Away

Tricycle and motorbikes locally known as habal-habal are the common mode of transport around Bislig and Hinatuan. In Mangagoy (Bislig), there are local jeepneys going to Hinatuan, Tagbina, Barobo, Trento, Lingig, Boston and Cateel.

Going to Hinatuan from Mangagoy, you may ride the bus going to Butuan City (1 hour, fare P50 as of August 2012), get off at Dugmanon Junction and transfer to a habal-habal going to Enchanted River at P50.00, one-way, per person. Another option is to ride the local jeepney from Mangagoy Jeepney Terminal to Hinatuan Jeepney Terminal (1 hour and 15 minutes, P35 as of August 2012).  From Hinatuan Terminal, transfer to a habal-habal going to Enchanted River at P50.00, one-way, per person.

Take note that habal-habal do not leave until they are full so if you are in a hurry, you may need to pay for the full rate of going there and back. The average rate is P200 but I got mine at P150 for round trip habal-habal transfer.

Hinatuan

The Enchanted River of Hinatuan

Activities

What to do in Bislig?

  • Visit the Tinuy-an Falls located in Sitio Sote, Barangay Burboanan. It can be reached by traversing a rough road from city proper. Private vehicles can drive directly to it and park at the designated parking area outside the fall’s compound. Meanwhile, public commuters can hire a tricycle or habal-habal that will take you to the waterfalls in half-an-hour from the city proper. The best time to visit the place is in the morning. Entrance fee at Tinuy-an Falls is P50.
  • Check-out the other waterfalls: Sibaroy, Sian, Mendezona, Kambawi, Canlumawag and Secret Falls
  • Ride a boat to Hagonoy Island
  • Drop by Togonan Cold Spring, Delot and Hinayagan Cave, Forester’s Park, Hercules Wall, Barcelona Beach, Lawigan Beach, the man-made Lake 77, Caguyao River, Mone River and Suhoton Underground River.

What to do in Hinatuan?

  • Visit the Enchanted River of Hinatuan and swim on its deep blue water. The best time is in the morning. See also the feeding at noon and occasionally at 3PM daily. Entrance fee at Enchanted River is P30. Picnic huts are available for rent inside. You may bring your own food  or let the restaurants outside cook for you.
  • Discover/Intro to Scuba Diving in the Enchanted River. As low as P550 for no fins/no swim intro dive on a maximum depth of 10 feet with souvenir photos and video. P950 with complete scuba gear, with orientation and on maximum depth of 20 feet. Leisure diving for professional is not allowed as of August 2012.
  • Go island hopping in Hinatuan Bay and see Maomawan Islet
  • Explore Cagwait Beach the nearby islands off Tandag
  • Go Island Hopping in Britania Islands in San Agustin
  • Go surfing in the northern town of Lanuza
Hinatuan

A wooden bridge going to Enchanted RIver of Hinatuan

Where to Stay

There is no fancy hotel and resort in Bislig and Hinatuan, only local and small time resorts and lodges that are mostly budget friendly. In Bislig, most of the accommodations are in business district of Mangagoy, where I stayed overnight.

I got my room at St. Francis Pension House along Espiritu Street, Mangagoy. It is a very basic and small fan room, approximately 12 square meters and without its own toilet and bath. Only P150.00 overnight. St. Francis Pension House has air-con rooms too with own toilet and bath and TV, rate ranges from P500 – P1,000.

Florland Resort, located in San Vicente is perhaps one of the decent accommodations in the area. They have air-conditioned apartelle rooms with toilet and bath, living room and kitchen  for as low as P1,000. The resort has swimming pool too. Contact No: (086)6160-056/09284338879.

Other accommodations in Bislig:

  • Casa de Babano, Caramcam, Mangagoy – non-aircon single room for as low as P150, aircon rooms for as low as P700. Contact No: (086) 853-1297
  • Paper and Country Inn, Osmena St., Tabon – aircon rooms with toilet and bath and TV for as low as P500. Contact No: (086)853-3079/(086)853-4144
  • Hotel One-Eleven, Abarca St., Mangagoy -  non-aircon single room for as low as P150, aircon rooms for as low as P400. With restaurant and function hall.
  • Bislig Town House, Tabon – non-aircon  single room for as low as P100.
  • Jen-Jen Lodge, Castillo St., Mangagoy – non-aircon single rooms for as low as P100.
  • Salud Villa Resort, Kahayag – non-aircon triple room P600 and aircon triple room for P800.
  • Shielah’s Pension House, Espiritu St., Mangagoy – non-aircon single room as low as P125 and aircon room for as low as P350. With function rooms. Contact No: (086)853-1510.
  • Ma. Regina Inland Family Resort, Dao-Dao, San Fernando
  • Garay Inland Resort, San Vicente
  • Violy’s Pension House and Restaurant, aircon single room with own t&b for as low asP350. Contact No: (086) 628-2369
  • Sleep Inn, Mangagoy – non-aircon single rooms for as low as P150.
  • Yolanda Inn – non-aircon double room as low as P250 and aircon double room for as low as P550.
  • Pensionne La Salle

Accommodations in Hinatuan:

  • Marky’s Hostel – non-aircon room good for two for as low as P300, aircon family room for as low as P850, dorm fan room for as low as P75 per person and dorm aircon room for as low as P150 per person. Contact No: +639284397785
  • Maryland Lodging House – single fan room for as low as P200. Contact No: +639078689808

46 Comments on “Travel Guide: Bislig and Hinatuan

  1. hello po. we are planning to go to Enchanted River, Tinuy-an Falls and the Naked Island (is this the same as the BRitanina Island?) this May for two days. We are coming from Davao del Sur and we plan to leave early morning here. Ano po ang mas mabuting unang puntahan to maximize the trip at saan best mag-stay. We have children with us and we are also concerned about our safety. Ano rin ang best route. Thanks and God bless…

  2. Hi Lakwachero,

    I like your blog. It’s very informative!!! My husband and I are planning a trip to Davao sometime in May or June 2013. Were are planning a 5D4N. We want to explore beautiful places in Davao, Bislig & Hinatuan, etc. Can u please help me find a good itinerary. Our port of entry will be Davao via AirAsia. Thanks very much and more power!!!

  3. love your site so informative..
    sir just want to know kung san maganda mag overnight and of course yung best restaurant dun..

    iti:
    day 1: tinuy-an falls and enchanted river
    day 2: island hopping

    many many thanks,
    cristilei

  4. hi po…ask ko lng po..will be going to hinatuan enchanted river from butuan and also maomawan islet…which one po dapat unahin yung maomawan or enchanted? thankz

  5. Coming from Davao and with a very limited time, which will i visit first, Tinuyan Falls or the Enchanted River?

  6. Hey there.. we will be in surigao too by june..but were planning to go through siarhao.. 2 ddays in surigao is probably enough.. :) you cant stay over night in enchanted river.. but in tinuy.an u can.. :)

  7. hello po! me and friends are planning for a MINDANAO adventure! to start with,; we first like to travel surigao del sur 2D/1N so we came and flight from/to MLA-BUTUAN. the places we like to see and explore are the following: tinuy-an falls, enchanted river, britania grp of islands. hingi lang po kmi ng advice which is which to be first to visit and see once after we arrive in butuan airport. then where to stay for an overnight sleep then the nxt day late in the afternoon going to camiguin naman po. thank you! hope you could help us and hear a reply from u very soon.

    • visit first tinuy-an falls…4hours from butuan
      tinuya-an falls to enchanted river is 1hour trip
      then overnight at britania island 2hours from enchanted river..
      the cottage in britania island range 1000 to 2ooo.
      then the boat for island hopping range 1000to 1500.
      call me 09466964139 for inquiry

  8. Hi. I need help :( We will be in the Philippines around June and planning to go to Hinatuan, Tinuy-an and probably stay overnight at Fishcage and also planning to go to Brittania island. We are planning to do this for 2 days. We are coming from Cantillan, Surigao del Sur to visit relatives. What do you think about the 2 days and one night is enough?

    Joey

    • You must be exhausting yourselves before you could enjoy the places. Try to be a tourist in a very relaxing mode. After all you must be confident your relatives from Cantilan will there to guide you though.

  9. Hi Lakwatsero,
    I will be going to Butuan on May and want to explore the ff on my free day: tinuy-an falls, enchanted river, and siargao. How will i go about my itinerary? I will have this sched: Fri – arrival in Butuan, Sat – not free; i must be in Butuan for an affair, Sun – free, Mon – departure from butuan. Can i visit those places within this sched or shall i add 1 more day? Hope you can help. :)

  10. Water Falls in the Philippines are wonderful though some of them are out of the tourism map still their hidden nature beauty is people’s attraction.

  11. Hi! I am planning to travel alone to surigao sur. cdo will be my starting point. Do you have any idea on the schedule of buses from cdo to butuan and from butuan to hinatuan? Thank you!

    • Hi Bernah. CDO to Butuan sched is almost round-the-clock. While the last trip of bus from Butuan to Mangagoy via Hinatuan is around 4PM.

  12. Hi Mr. Lakwatsero!

    I was wondering if it is possible to visit all these on a 3D2N IT:

    1. Tinuy-An Falls
    2. Enchanted river
    3. Hagonoy Island

    This is assuming we will be arriving in Butuan by 11am of mar 26, and leaving at mar 28 at 11 am

    thanks a lot! BTW, I initially thought that it was only a 2-hr travel from Butuan to Bislig ( ir ead it somwhere, i just couldn’t remember)

    • Hi Martina, that means you only have the whole of March 27 to do all of it. Well, I guess it is possible. Your itinerary will look like this.

      March 26: Manila to Butuan to Bislig
      March 27: Tinuy-an-Hagonoy in the morning and Enchanted River in the afternoon (start as early as 6AM); Take the last trip to Butuan
      March 28: Butuan to Manila

  13. Hi lakwatsero…iv been organizing travels for my officemates and your blog has always been the most informative and most detailed..kudos!!
    We have booked a flight to butuan on march2 but we will be arriving at 2pm..
    What would be the best itin? Priority would be enchanted river and tinuy-an falls..
    Our time is super limited since our flight back is on march4 at 2pm… we were really hoping to get to britannia islands as well but i think its impossible..
    Where should we go first?

    Thank u

    • Hi star, that is a quckie Surigao trip huh. Anyway, on your first day, you may catch the last trip of bus/van going to Mangagoy at 4PM or 5PM and stay overnight in Bislig or if you miss it, spend the night in Butuan and travel early morning of the next day. But I suggest the former due to your hectic sched. Assuming you arrive in Bislig at night of march 2, you have the whole day of March 3 to explore Tinuy-an and Hinatuan then go back to Butuan straight. You malso spend the night of March 3 in Bislig but be sure to catch the earliest transport to Butuan on March 4. Take note of the travel time (5 hours bus/3-4 hours van) and delays so I suggest you head back to Butuan on March 3. Quite hectic but it is doable.

      So I suggest this:

      March 2
      330PM: Arrival in Butuan
      400PM: van to Mangagoy
      800PM: Bislig

      March 3
      Tinuy-an in the morning.
      Enchanted River in the afternoon.
      Back to Butuan

      March 4:
      Morning: Check out museum/eat at Margie’s
      Noon: Go to the airport.

  14. Good day Sir Lakwatsero. Gusto ko lang magconsulta dahil we are planning to travel on January to visit these wonderful places Tinuyan Fall and Enchanted river. I ‘ll be driving from Davao to Bislig. This is my first time on this route and hoping that you can give me the direction going to Bislig City as Tagum City will be my entry point. Can you please guide me the for the best route…Thank you.

    • Hi Ding! How are you there after Typhoon Pablo? I hope you are all in good shape. Anyway, to answer your question, the best route to Bislig from Tagum is via Trento, Agusan del Sur. From tagum, take the main road going to Butuan and turn right at the junction of Trento, that road will lead you to Bislig.

    • You should take a flight to Butuan, Surigao or Davao. But I prefer Butuan, since there are direct buses to Mangagoy from there.

  15. Sir Lakwatsero ask lang ako ng konting advice kc punta kmi ng wifey ko butuan end of this month to dec 2, since limited days lang kmi kaya kailangan ko mamili kung san mas maganda Tinuy-an falls and Enchanted river or Siargao? Tnx in advance at maraming salamat sa mga tips na nakukuha ko sa Blog mo tuwing nagbabakasyon ako

    More power

    • Hi Magbabakasyon, ymedyo mahirap sagutin ang tanong mo :D
      It depends on your preference. If you love the beach, go to Siargao and drop by Sohoton too. If you’re into waterfalls, choose Tinuy-an and Hinatuan. But I guess, mas marami kang pwedeng magawa sa Siargao and Sohoton area so mas sulit iyon. How many days are we talking here and what is your point of entry?

      • Sir Butuan point of entry for 3days and 3 nights,,,
        Talagang maasahan Blog mo Sir, Tnx

  16. Hi Angel, Thanks so much for this very concise and informative travel blog about bislig and hinatuan! Your blog is awesome, BTW ill be travelling to Bislig & Hinatuan this Nov 18, 2012 via Davao City as my jumped off point. Im able to get alot of infos from your site!!! Very well done. Many Thanks – Leo

  17. PHILIPPINES is famous place for hot water lake and water falls. Most of people love water falls even though we unable to locate many waterfalls.

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