Bislig and Hinatuan: Travel Guide to the Surigao del Sur’s Tourism Gems

Bislig

Welcome to Surigao del Sur

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.

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.

Tinuy-An Falls
Tinuy-An Falls of Bislig

Bislig, considered as the easternmost city of the Philippines in terms of geographical location, is the gateway to the Tinuy-an Falls which is aptly 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.

Tinuy-An Falls
The third level of Tinuy-An Falls.

How to Get to Bislig and Hinatuan

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
The Enchanted River of Hinatuan

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.

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
Bislig
The majestic curtain of Bislig

Where to Stay in Bislig and Hinatuan

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
Hinatuan
Swimming ares in Enchanted River

Sample Itinerary

Day 1
0700H – 0830H Manila to Butuan
0830H – 0930H Proceed to Bus Terminal / Snacks / Catch bus to Mangagoy
0930H – 1400H Butuan to Mangagoy
1400H – 1500H Late Lunch / Check-in at Hotel 1500H – 1800H Rest / Free Time
1800H – 1900H Dinner

Day 2
0600H – 0700H Call Time / Breakfast
0700H – 1000H Tinuy-an Falls
1000H – 1200H Back to Hotel / Check-out / Lunch Proceed to Bus Terminal
1200H – 1400H Mangagoy to Hinatuan
1400H – 1430H Transfer to Enchanted River
1430H – 1630H Enchanted River
1630H – 1700H Proceed to Hotel
1700H – 1900H Free time / Rest / Dinner

Day 3
0600H – 0700H Call Time / Breakfast
0700H – 0730H Check-out / Proceed to terminal
0730H – 0930H Hinatuan to Britania
0930H – 1300H Britania Island Hopping
1300H – 1430H Wash-up / Late Lunch / Proceed to Terminal
1430H – 1900H Britania to Butuan
1900H – 1930H Check-in at Hotel
1930H – 2100H Dinner at Margie’s

Day 4
0600H – 0700H Call Time / Breakfast
0700H – 0730H Check-out / Proceed to Airport
0730H – 0900H Flight Check-in / Pre-Departure

Comments

  1. ruby ceniza

    pa advise po.. if galing kami sa sohoton/hayanggabon port.. what is the best way to get to bislig? thanks po..

  2. Lourden Baguin

    From Balingoan Going to enchanted River How many Hours and which Buss I need to ride?
    And How much the trasport..

  3. Marianne

    Hi Mr Lakwatsero,
    I know this is a bit early but I just started to plan ahead. ‘mI doing this trip alone on Jan 2 – Jan 5, is it safe for female to do this trip alone? I’m also want to do island hopping in Britannica, can you please make a recommendation. Thank you.

  4. lino

    hi,

    Hope everything’s well.

    We would like to do a land trip (private car) from davao to enchanted river, the falls and britania.
    Could you suggest an itinerary where to stay overnight and what activities/sight seeing we should do to maximize our travel? Thanks in advance.

  5. […] Travel Guide Bislig […]

  6. […] Approximately 18 kilometers from the city center of Bislig in Surigao del Sur is the grand and beautiful Tinuy-an Falls, a premier trousit destination of Mindanao. Cascading from a height of 55 meters and widely stretching at 95 meters, the postcard perfect Tinuy-an Falls is a three-tiered waterfalls that is considered as one of if not the widest in the Philippines. Despite the long journey to this spot, its imposing beauty continues to attract tourist to visit this amazing natural gem. A long journey indeed, but a truly worthy one! Personally, it is one of my favorite waterfalls in the Philippines. Here are some stills of Tinuy-an Falls which hopefully will bring you close to the feeling of seeing it in real life. For more information on how to go to Tinuy-an Falls, check out Lakwatsero’s Travel Guide to Bislig and Hinatuan. […]

  7. potpot

    hi mr lakwatsero. kelangan q po tulong nyo.. im planning to visit hinatuan river and tinuyan falls..
    manggagaling po aq sa manila.. can you give mw some advise kung panu at kung mgkanu magagastos.. thanks in advance

  8. ara

    Hi Sir, we included Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls in our Davao itinerary. Please can u check sir:
    April 16 – Arriving at Davao, 3:30 pm. We hope to catch a bus going to Hinatuan, then overnight.
    April 17 – 6am, Enchanted River + Tinuy-an Falls. Overnight in Bislig.
    April 18 – we hope to catch the earliest bus going back to Davao kasi Davao and Samal naman kami till Apr20.
    Can you advise on the bus schedules pls? Thanks!!

    1. Karlo Gem Sumpay

      April 16- There is no problem with the bus schedule from Davao.
      If:
      You will ride a Davao-Butuan Trip- 24 hours and operation nila. pero ang aircon until 12 midnight lang.
      You will ride a Davao-Tandag Trip- much better kasi straight straight na ang travel ninyo kaso uncertain ang schedule ng bus na davao-tandag.

      April 18- Bus schedule from Tandag is not 24 hours. and i really have no idea of their schdule there

    2. UUUU

      April 16 you must ride Davao-tandag o Davao-Butuan trip but drop by in san france terminal marami jan bus o kaya van papuntang Mangagoy . morning ng April 17 nasa Mangagoy na kau. Kaya naman wholeday puntahan ang Hinatuan at Tinuy an falls. Pwd sa gabi Byahe na ulet galing ng Mangagoy pa dAVAO..

      1. Pot

        Good day po! Pa-advise naman po kung meron kayo bus schedule from Cateel to Davao City ng hapon hanggang gabi? Thanks po in advance!

  9. Karlo Gem Sumpay

    FROM DAVAO
    yung naka lagay kasi is drop off from the town of trento. That is possible pero it would even be better if sa San Francisco mag drop off. Kasi it is like a gate-way town to surigao del sur. Mas marami na kasing bus din pagka sa San Francisco.

  10. […] For more information on how to go to Tinuy-an Falls, check out Lakwatsero’s Travel Guide to Bislig and Hinatuan. […]

  11. poignant

    Hi I just want to ask to ask how to go from enchanted river to socorro port (bucas grande) and how many hours is the travel? how about from bucas grande to butuan? thanks!!

  12. chris

    Update, cheapest room at Paper Country Inn is now 900p. Just arrived.

    1. Edo

      hi..i think the cheapest rate still the same when i’ve been there 3 nights at oct 2nd to 5th this year..I am indonesian and my comment about the PCI is amazing, especially the hospitality of the staff. I like the menu in the restaurant (grill fish with chili sauce is so delicious)..next time i will be back again to see the beautiful place there..tinuy ann is just amazing..great..

  13. tina

    hi tanong ko lang kung may schedule ba ung boat from hayanggapon to buacs grande or anytime meron boatman doon? please answer we’re planning to go there on dec 1st week. and can you give me a contact number of manong bankero kung may kakilala kayo:)

    1. cba

      hi tina,

      you can hire a boat from hayanggabon port to bucas grande, you can reach the tourist info number at 09399047019. enjoy!

  14. […] and grandest waterfalls in the country. More than Maria Cristina and Tinago of Iligan, Tinuy-an of Bislig, or Asik-Asik of Cotabato, there are more scattered on its vast forest land including Seven Falls […]

  15. Jaimie Lim

    im hoping you can help us with our itinerary, my family and I are visiting the enchanted river and the tinuy-an falls by van this December, afterwards we’ll travel by bus to Davao, is it possible to visit both the river and the falls in a day even with a 7:45-9:15AM flight to butuan? we’re planning an itinerary similar to amy’s (who posted last april 19) hope you can help, thanks a lot in advance 🙂

  16. Jaimie Lim

    do you remember how long it will take to travel from the butuan airport to the enchanted river by van? and to the enchanted river to the tinuy-an falls? we’re hoping we could visit the river and the falls in one day by van. (afterwards we’re taking a bus to Davao for a couple of days) is that possible even if we arrive at the airport around 10am? we’re actually planning an itinerary similar to amy’s (who posted her question last april 19) hope you can help, thank you so much!

  17. Edo

    Hi Mr. Lakwatsero,

    I have a plan to visit my friend in Bislig next month. I am Indonesian and i will catch the flight from my Country (Jakarta) to Davao via Manila. My plan to spend at least 4 days in Bislig, before going back to Jakarta from Davao.

    I am very interisting to visit some beautiful and amazing place there, i.e. Tinuy Ann Falls and Hinatuan river. Is there any car to be rent for daily basis there in Bislig? It sounds easier for foreigner like me to visit all excited places there if there is a car + driver to bring me and my friend to go everywhere.

    btw, thank you for your blog, its really help me to arrange my trip there soon.

    Regards & Salamat

    Edo

  18. […] When you reach Hinatuan, transfer to a habal-habal to take you to Enchanted River at P50.00, one-way, per person. For more information on Hinatuan, check out Travel Guide: Bislig and Hinatuan. […]

  19. madz

    i really really need your help Mr. Lakwatsero!!! my team and i are planning to go to enchanted river, tinuy-an falls, and britania islets next month. we are from cagayan de oro. suggested itinerary is 3d/2n road trip… is it possible na makapunta rin kami ng bucas grande to meet up the jellies.?? any suggestion sa route.? please reply to my email!!! nice_nelvz@yahoo.com thanks po!! KUDOS!! 🙂

  20. amy

    hello po! we’re heading to butuan dis may 6 planning to explore at tinuy_an and enchanted river spending the night at britannia island, while viewing and reading your blogs bucas grande and sohotan catch my attention that made me change our plans, is it possible for us to visit bucas grande and sohotan, then proceed to tinuy_an and enchanted river, for 2 days and move forward to samal island and enjoy the rest of davao til may 10. davao airport will be our exit point at 7 pm of may 10. my appreciation and million thanks to you if you could provide us the best itinerary for this trip. thanks agen!

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