Surigao del Norte Travel Guide: Where to go and What to do

Surigao del Norte, Philippines


Few days before my trip to this province, I was looking for something to read about Surigao del Norte tourist spots, Surigao del Norte itinerary and a dedicated Surigao del Norte travel blog but I found so little. Now that I am back in Manila it is time to give back by sharing to you my suggestions on what to see and where to go in Surigao del Norte. Not to be confused by the famous Siargao island (also part of this province by jurisdiction), Surigao del Norte deserves a recognition of its own.

Dubbed as the City of Island Adventures, Surigao del Norte can take you to an endless island-hopping adventures. You can get lost in the picturesque Basul Island, hunt away at the game fishing Island of Danawan; cruise through the floating village of Day-asan; paddle along the emerald waterways of San Isidro Marine Sanctuary; explore the underwater wonders of Punta Bilar, Nonoc Island and other dive sites along the Surigao Strait.  

If you're into spelunking, you're in the right place. The captivating caves of Silop, Mapawa and Buenavista are waiting for you anytime. You can also do skim boarding in the powdery sands of Sabang beaich or admire the alluring sunset of Mabua and Ipil pebble beaches.

Also, Surigao del Norte plays an important part during the Battle of Surigao Strait. More about this will be discussed below. For the meantime, let's go to what you want to know more - travel tips for Surigao del Norte.  [You can watch my short vlog below. If you have slow internet connection, please make sure you're on HD mode. Also, thank you for pointing out, I am aware that  the right caption of the last food I was eating as shown in the video is "salbarro"  not "salvador"].







TOURIST SPOTS TO EXPLORE IN SURIGAO DEL NORTE

Basul Island - the nearest island from Surigao City (20 minutes), this is always included in any Surigao del Norte tour packages. It's not the best one though but for those who have no luxury of time to go further, Basul Island is that perfect excuse. [the best for snorkeling]


basul island in surigao del norte


Hikdop Island - Approximately 45 minutes away from Surigao's town proper, this island is home to Pagkawasan Beach. Snorkeling is the best activity to do here other than of course, swimming. It's made of brownish to whitish fine sand paired with clear blue waters. [the best for snorkeling]


HIKDOP ISLAND SURIGAO DEL NORTE


Looc Peeble Beach - Imagine a beach that is blessed with a shore full of "stylish" stones that are shaped and looked like the ones you see in spas. I even bet you'll even be tempted to bring home one or two of those to scrub your body which I DO NOT AGREE. Rock formations also dot the area which are very ideal as backdrop to your Instagram photos. [the best for sunset watching]


LOOC BEACH SURIGAO DEL NORTE


Mabua-Ipil Rock & Stone Beach - The stones here are bigger than the ones you'll see I Looc. It looks like an endless stretch of round stones that help filter the clear and calm water.  [the best for sunset watching] 


MABUA beach - surigao del norte tourist spots



Buenavista Cave - Located in Hikdop Island as well, Buenavista cave is home to many stalactites and stalagmites. You have to ready your feet to get wet and get soaked in mud when you go inside. [the best for spelunking]


BUENAVISTA CAVE SURIGAO DEL NORTE ITINERARY


Surigao's Luneta Park -  Yes, you guessed it right. The smaller version of Manila's Luneta or Rizal park, this is the only public park where the locals hang out whenever they have time. What I admired here are the huge acacia trees that I believe already century old or more! A giant shoe can be found in this park as well to honor former First Lady Imelda Marcos who started this project. Without her, Rizal Park of Surigao del Norte would not have been built. [the top spot for holding public events such as concerts etc]


Luneta Rizal Park Surigao del Norte


Battle of Surigao Strait Museum -  Inside Surigao's Luneta or Rizal Park, you'll learn so much about a piece of Philippine history during the World War II (US vs Japan). Few things not to miss there, the skeletal remains of a bomb and two photos of good-looking soldiers. [the best for history buffs]


BATTLE OF SURIGAO STRAIT MUSEUM IN SURIGAO DEL NORTE


Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande Island - The Palawan of Surigao del Norte! Some of the things you can do there are cliff diving, eco-tour, paddle boating,swimming under a luminiscent cave and seeing stingless jelly fish sanctuary. The photo below doesn't do justice of how raw the beauty there is -sorry I have no waterproof camera so this one was one of the few snapshots from my Iphone. [the best that Surigao del Norte can offer]


BUCAS GRANDE SOHOTON ISLAND SURIGAO DEL NORTE


Note: These tourist sites of Surigao del Norte are the ones I have personally visited during my stay there. Below, are more options for you to add on your Surigao del Norte itinerary:

Sagisi Island - A great site for scuba diving. It's only an hour ride by boat from Surigao's city proper. 
Day-Asan Water Village - It's sometimes called as Little Venice of Surigao del Norte because of its narrow channels of water. Houses are built on the underwater bedrock with wooden stilts. There's a spot where mangrove trees are located as well.
Punta Bilar Dive Site - Sits at the heart of the Punta Bilar marine sanctuary, a two-kilometer stretch of pristine marine life. The confluence of the tidal waters feeds the macro and pelagic diving mecca with large tabletop corals, sea fans and exotic species of fish. It is the city's hidden underwater world.
Silop Cave System -  A unique cave system with various entrances leading to one big chamber with impressive stalagmites and stalactites. It is 15 minutes away from the city proper. It was the featured cave of the 2015 National Cave Summit.
Mapawa Cave -  More than five (5) wonderful caves are located in Barangay Mapawa which is 30 minutes from the city proper. Every chamber has magnificent stalactites and stalagmites that will thrill and excite both amateur and professional spelunkers.
Bitaugan Whirlpool -  One can witness the roaring power of the sea. During low tides and certain unusual weather conditions, a whirlpool happens that is so strong and dangerous as well. However, it is a scene of beauty - a spinning water created by nature. These whirlpools happen are scattered in Surigao del Norte's ocean.
San Isidro Marine Sanctuary - An untouched shallow water area with lots of corals and fishes, this marine sanctuary is only half an hour land travel from Surigao's city proper.
Cantiasay/San Pedro Wooden Foot Bridge - Surigao del Norte's very own version of San Juanico bridge, this is the country's longest (496 meters). Its purpose is not just to be the way between two barangays but a place where one enjoy the thrill of crossing two islands on foot.   
Danawan Island - An island barangay 45 minutes away from Surigao city proper. It is a fishing village where buying a fresh seafood catch on the beach is as easy as 1, 2, & 3.
Surigao del Norte River - This river in Surigao del Norte served as the economic highway where fruits and vegetables were transported from the barangays to the city proper. Today, it became a tourist attraction itself where you can go kayaking and bird watching along its unspoiled 2 kilometers of length.   

Special mention to Surigao del Norte for hosting its first ever international dragon boat race. It is also one of the best times to go to this province and witness this contest participated by water athletes from all over the world. You can click HERE to read more about. 
 2018 Surigao del norte international dragon boat contest



HOW TO GO TO SURIGAO DEL NORTE FROM MANILA
Via flight 
Currently, the Manila to Surigao del Norte direct flight is not operating. You should book your tickets like this in order: Manila to Cebu then Cebu to Surigao del Norte. Another alternative route is Cebu to Butuan but it will take you around 3 hours of land travel to reach Surigao del Norte.
Via boat
From Cebu, you can take Cokaliong (operates daily except Monday) and Medallion shipping lines (operates Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
Via bus, van or jeepney
 From Davao, Butuan, Cagayan and other parts in Mindanao on a daily basis. 
Around Surigao
From airport / port area to transport terminal / Lipata ferry terminal - multicab / tricycle
From airport / port area to island tour - motorized boat
From airport / port area to mainland tour - multicab / van

For more information, you can contact the following numbers:
Surigao City Airport: 086-826-1772/826-3898
Suigao City Port: 086-826-5233/826-2015
City Integrated Land Transport Terminal: 086-365-1252/231-6650
Surigao del Norte Tourism Office: 086-826-8064

Note: A big thanks for Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and City Tourism Office of Surigao del Norte for having me part of this media trip. 

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