The Caraga Region is located in the northeastern part of Mindanao. It is also called Region XIII. The region is composed of five provinces including Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Sur, and Surigao del Norte. In addition, Butuan City is the regional administrative center of the region.
The Caraga Region used to be called “the region of spirited and fierce people” which comes from the name itself “CARAGA”. Originated from the word “Kalag” (a Visayan word) which means “brave” or “fearless”. Meanwhile “An” means “land”.
About Surigao del Sur & Surigao del Norte
Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte are parts of the CARAGA region. There are so many tourist attractions that you can visit in every province. In fact, each province has been gaining more popularity among local and foreign tourists. The fact that Siargao is part of Surigao del Norte is becoming the main tourist attraction in the province.
Tandag is the capital city of Surigao del Sur, while Hinatuan is one of the municipalities and Bislig is one of the cities in the province. Hinatuan and Bislig are some of the most-visited places due to the enchanting natural wonders they offer; The Enchanted River, Britania Island, Hagonoy Island, and many more!
Meanwhile, Surigao is the capital city of the province of Surigao del Norte. As I mentioned earlier, Surigao del Norte is now becoming one of the main attractions in Mindanao. That is simply because of the rising popularity of Siargao island among travelers. Apart from Siargao, Bucas Grande is also part of Surigao del Norte, one of the province’s major islands. This is where you can visit Socorro Island known as the jellyfish sanctuary.
How to get there?
Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines offer direct flights daily from Manila/Clark to Butuan and Siargao. Of course, it is much cheaper to book a flight when it is on seat sale. Just always make sure to check the websites of these two airlines to catch a cheaper flight!
To be honest, my major plan was to only travel to Siargao Island alone. However, I was quite unfortunate to find a cheaper direct flight to Siargao. The good thing was my friends wanted to go with me at that time. In that case, I tried to find another option on how we could get to Siargao in a much cheaper way.
I found the cheapest one to fly from Manila directly to Butuan that only cost us around Php 2000 roundtrip. Although we still need to take a long trip to get to Siargao. But that was okay. From this route, we were able to get a chance to witness the beauty of Surigao del Sur in a short period of time. We got to visit the famous Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls.
DIY Travel Guide Sample Itinerary
We had a day tour trip in Surigao del Sur and stayed on Siargao island for 4 days and 3 nights.
|Fly to Butuan|
|From Butuan Airport to Hinatuan|
|From Hinatuan to Bislig|
|Bislig to Surigao City|
|Surigao City to Dapa Port, Siargao|
|Arrive on Siargao Island|
|Check-in at Yay Lodge|
|Lunch at Cashy’s Place|
|Sunset at Cloud 9|
|Dinner at Mama Coco|
|Coconut Viewing Deck|
|Dinner at Mama Coco|
|Nightlife at Rumbar|
|Check-in at Tropical Siargao|
|Sohoton Cave, Bucas Grande|
|Dinner at Kermit Restaurant|
|Nightlife at Baile Restobar|
|Check-in at Junsims Zenrooms|
|Back to Surigao City from Dapa Port, Siargao|
|Surigao City to Butuan|
How to get from Surigao del Sur to Siargao?
If you only plan to visit the Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls (like what we did), that’s good enough. The tour can be done for a whole day. If you are coming from Bislig or Hinatuan, you can take a bus going back to Butuan City. The trip would take around 3-4 hours. Then, take another bus ride from Butuan to Surigao City, taking you another 3-4 hours trip. After that, from the Surigao City terminal, take a tricycle to Surigao port. From Surigao Port, take a ferry heading to Dapa Port, Siargao Island.
Tips & Reminders
Surigao del Sur
There are vans offering trips from Bancasi Airport to Hinatuan. The driver will drop you off at the Hinatuan market.
You can take the habal-habal (motorcycle) from the market to the gateway entrance of the Enchanted River. Most of the drivers would offer you a package tour for Hinatuan & Bislig.
Hinatuan and Bislig tour can be done in one day. You can overnight either in Hinatuan or Bislig. One of the most recommended stays in Hinatuan; Marky’s hostel. You can spend overnight there.
On the other hand, if you want to save more, you can also follow what we did during our trip. After touring around Surigao del Sur, we didn’t opt to spend an overnight in Hinatuan or Bislig. We directly traveled to Butuan and Surigao City. We spent overnight on buses and saved the accommodation cost.
In addition, it is much better to travel at night since there isn’t so much traffic as in the daytime. We arrived at the port around 4 AM and stayed there for about an hour before the ferry departed to Siargao. In that case, we arrived on Siargao Island much earlier than we had thought. But please take note this is quite exhausting if you do this as well. It is still up to you.
You can take the Montenegro Ferry Lines if you want to save more. However, its travel time is much longer than the fast craft. It takes around 3 hours.
Surigao del Norte
If you can drive a motorcycle, you can rent it for days on Siargao island as long as you have a driver’s license. There is an entrance fee of Php 50 when you go to Cloud 9. The surfing spot in Siargao. But if you don’t feel like paying that fee, you can just roam around the beach shore without paying any fees. You can still see the beauty of Cloud 9!
As much as possible, get up early to get to see more of the tourist attractions in Siargao. If you don’t feel like going back to Butuan City, you can change your flight from Siargao to Manila. It still depends on you.
Sample Budget & Expenses 5D4N
Take note that this sample budget is just the same as the itinerary that I made for Siargao and Hinatuan. They are only different in terms of days of the visit.
|Van from Bancasi Airport to Hinatuan||Php 350|
|Enchanted River Entrance||Php 40|
|Tinuy-an Falls Entrance||Php 50|
|Environmental Fee||Php 75|
|Enchanted River + Bislig Tour||Php 650|
|Bus from Bislig to Butuan||Php 276|
|Bus from Butuan to Surigao City||Php 185|
|Tricycle to Surigao Port||Php 100/4|
|Environmental Fee||Php 75|
|Terminal Fee||Php 10|
|Montenegro Lines to Dapa Port Siargao||Php 100|
|Dapa Port to Yay Lodge via tricycle||Php 100/4|
|Motorcycle Rental||Php 350/day|
|Gas for Motorcycle||Php 60 /bottle|
|Cloud 9 Entrance Fee||Php 50|
|Parking Fee in Del Carmen||Php 60|
|Boat to Sugba Lagoon||Php 1600/4|
|Environmental Fee||Php 50|
|Table at Sugba Lagoon||Php 50|
|Maasin River Entrance||Php 40|
|Gas for Motorcycle||Php 120|
|Island Hopping (Sohoton Cave+Tri Island)||Php 1500|
|Tropical Siargao||Php400/night (dormitory type)|
|Tricycle to Dapa Port||Php 100/4|
|Montenegro Ferry||Php 100 (promo fare)|
|Van from Surigao City to Butuan||Php 170|
|Cab to Airport||Php 15|
- Book your room at Yay Lodge from Airbnb and Junsims from Zenrooms to get discounts.
Where to stay in Hinatuan?
Where to stay in Bislig?
Travelerbee Pension House
Where to stay on Siargao Island?
Kuya Edchie (Enchanted River+Tinuy-an Falls Guide)
Kuya Doods Almacen (Siargao)
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