As part of our Mindanao trip, we visit the Magellan’s anchorage, National Museum and Balangay site, probably because it’s on our way to Britania Island or our tour driver just wants us to experience these must-see Surigao landmarks.
First stop is the Butuan National Museum which is very suited to kick-off our Surigao adventures. A little background on the beauty that is about to unfold before us.
An introduction of the province that was very well explained by the most dedicated curator I have ever met. (Never got the chance to get the lady’s name or maybe I forgot :p , but one thing I would always remember is her commitment to her chosen profession.)
The scenic view outside the gallery (inside the compound) provides great background for photo souvenir 🙂
We also stopped by a small monument depicting few people on a boat ready to anchor in Barangay Masao/Masawa.
This place supposedly served as a short stop for Magellan’s expedition before heading out to Cebu, hence the name Magellan’s anchorage. Though other historians argue that the Masawa is actually the present day Limasawa – and not this tiny portion of Butuan.
We head next to the Balangay Boat Building site located in Luna Compound, Brgy. Bading, Butuan City. The site displays a huge balangay replica held above a pedestal emphasizing its size.
It is surrounded by tall acacia trees and the gigantic replica rest alongside the Agusan river.
The mention of Agusan river brings to mind Lolong (yes, the crocodile). That largest saltwater crocodile in the world (ever caught and measured) was captured in Agusan Marsh, a protected area found at the heart of this river.
We spent quite sometime spying on the vastness that is in front of us. Being the third largest river basin on the country, who knows what creature might lurking just around the corner 🙂
All smiles at the Butuan airport as we wait for kuya Bong – we hired a driver (and his van :p) that will tour us around for five days as per our itinerary. This spared us all the hassles and uncertainty of public transportation.
If you’re the kind that would enjoy submerging yourself into the local life, then you might want to do a DIY and experience their local rides like habal-habal. I bet this would work for a small group. In our case, we’re like a dozen peeps and it’s hard to do public transportation in large group – that is if you want to reach the place altogether at the same time.
Our driver also serves as a tour guide, father figure and a friend at the same time, so it was a good bargain after all.
The road flows in a sweeping meander as we head to La Entrada where we would spend our first two nights. Our driver’s love for speed adds thrill (and serious threat) to our road trip. (I never took to heart the ‘hold on to your seat’ thing until this ride) We avail the resort’s Britania island hopping tour for 1,500php. The tour lasts 3 -4 hours.
La Entrada Resort is located in San Agustin, Surigao del sur.
Walking the pathway that leads to our boat is in itself a wonderful sight.
Conveniently located close to each other, the group of islands collectively known as Britania offers view comparable to that of Calaguas and the feel of fine white sands of Boracay.
We hopped through Naked, Boslon, Hagonoy and Hiyor-hiyoran islands.
Naked Island – Do not overthink too much as to where the name came from. On the boat, more than 100 meters away from the island, you’ll see why. It’s just a narrow line of (almost) white sand. Nothing else. As if an island had been stripped of trees, plants and rocks up to its barest form. Hence, Naked.
Hagonoy and Hiyor-Hiyoran – I can’t even distinguish which is which for both the islands were characterized with lined palm trees, arranged tables and small stalls selling refreshments. Hagonoy’s water was clear blue and the sand’s very fine. While Hiyor-hiyoran’s a little bit dark due to seaweeds underneath (which makes it not really comfortable to swim). That’s the only distinction that comes to mind.
Boslon Island – We spend most of our time here. It has a striking boulder with a statue of Virgin Mary and a white cross. It has a small tunnel where you can cross and circumnavigate the island – which we did.
The water’s clear and the sand’s white and fine. The kind that is very friendly to our feet. Our leisure comes to halt when we are called by the boatmen telling us that we need to go since the weather’s approaching a not so fair state.
Back to our resting place (La Entrada resort), we freshen up and tried their cuisine. Waiting time is too long that is it advisable to order before you go on the tour and tell them when you’re having dinner so they can prepare when you arrive. Anyway, the wait proves to be worth it as we enjoyed every dish we order.
We ended the day playing cards (exploding kittens) until our eyes voluntarily close. A perfect (and unconventional) wrap to our day 1 escapade.