Wednesday, July 18, 2012

THE CARAGA ADVENTURES 4: Britannia Group of Islands

I love beaches. I think I was a mermaid in my past life. My love for the beach (adding to the itchy feet syndrome) urges me to discover the beautiful islands that Mindanao has to offer. 
The 'magkuno tree' and the islets visible from the highway. 
The products made from magkuno tree. 
Where we spent the night. 
Entering La Entrada. Full of mangorves at the side. 
the foot bridge

 And for this trip between islands, one of the best well-kept secrets of Surigao del Sur is the 24 coral islets that look like floating topiaries (or as my friend Maarten said, they look like broccolis!). These islets are scattered in Lianga Bay, in Brgy. Britannia, San Agustin. I asked why they call it Britannia but no one gave me any concrete answer.Is it synonymous to Britain? Did someone from Great Britain , an explorer perhaps on pre-colonial times came here? (Curious mind asking. :p)  

Happyness in between broccoli islands!


The group of islets varies from shapes and sizes. This is comparable to the Hundred Islands in Pangasinan with some islands looking like Chocolate Kisses! The largest islet in the group is the Boston Island surrounded by different rock formations and polvoron-like fine sands. You can camp here for the night.

Boston Island
Names of the other islands (not complete list. I forgot some of the names as I'm still so wuzzy that time.) are as follows:
  1. Kang Jose
  2. Kanlota
  3. Taguan
  4. Panas
  5. San Pablo
  6. Hiyor Hiyoran
  7. Hagonoy
  8. Minasingin
  9. Isla Verde
  10. Malingin
  11. Litik
  12. Bonbon
  13. Naked (The only island with no vegetation). :D

Ever wonder how many years it made these islets to be formed? It’s just amazing natural wonders. And people here just adapted to nature. You’ll be surprised there are people who lived even in very small islets. 
L-O-V-E is in the air! :)
As we're about to leave Boston Island, I made a wish using shells and stones. (originally made by Jorge then I finished it. A simple wish for....yeeeeeiii! ahaha! 
yehaaaa! :D

Watta wonderful experience! No one can stop me (yes, not even the emotional stress I had) from enjoying this beautiful God-given gift! :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012



Dubbed as the “Niagara Falls of the South”, Tinuy-an Falls is a three-layered falls situated at Sote, Brgy. Burboanan, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur.
The 3-layered falls! Photo by Jorge Golle

We were warned regarding the bridge that collapsed at Brgy. Burboanan. 
Two days before we arrived, a truck with illegal logs passed the bridge and it’s way beyond the capacity. The driver took the risk one night to transport the logs. Tsk! Now they (who ever owned that truck) must pay! They should repair the bridge! Hmpf! 

Now the people from the Baranagy has to take the makeshift raft. On one hand, this shows how Mindanaoans creatively face the problem at hand. The resiliency of communities.  Good thing, the municipal LGU also provided free ride.

Some interesting trivia about Tinuy-an falls:
·   It has a 3 tiered falls with a total height of 55 meters and a bathing width area of 95 meters
·   It has 3 islets at the swimming ground, cool atmosphere with presence of dipterocarp trees, ferns, orchids, and vine along bank of river.
·   multi layered riverbed of stones skillfully crafted by nature.
·   And formation of rainbow rays from 9 am to 11 am  (Sadly, we're not able to see the rainbow. :/) 

Since it’s a weekday, we had the falls for ourselves. 

Take the stairs and enjoy the rock formations of the falls at the upper cascades. It didn't rain the other night, so the rocks are very visible.
Because I am a yogi wannabe! ^_^
Time to meditate! 
There were no stocks of fish at the resto because of the collapsed bridge so we decided to eat our baon and leave the area by 1:00PM. 

PS. Just an observation, the municipal mayor’s face is at the huge tarpaulin. The Guests of the falls with the mayor’s smiling face everywhere! Oh wow! What a promotion. Haha! ( I no longer took a pic of that. He’s already over-exposed.hehe ).

Details of payment at the falls:

Entrance Fee                                     -             Php 50.00/head
Cottage                                             -             P     300.00


For reservations, packages and updated rates, you can check the Bislig CIty Tourism Office at 
City Hall Building, Poblacion, Bislig City
Surigao del Sur, 8311
Tel. Nos. (086) 853-6089; 628-2112
Fax No. 628-2132
email-address :

PS. I will post our complete itinerary also and you might want to follow our adventure. You can also email me if you have inquiries. Or if you want a stress-free trip, you can also contact my friend's  Vardo Friendly Tours for tour package.  

THE CARAGA ADVENTURES 2: Ocean View Park and International Doll House

Woke up at 6AM since our tour planner, Kuya Jorge is quite strict! Breakfast is at Ocean View Park. The elders from the group was complaining because one needs to climb the steep stairs going to the place. For us, it’s a good start to exercise!

Trekking and not finding the cook. Bad combination. 
Hungry already! Bfast at Gail's Cafe. 
The restaurant is overlooking Brgy. Mangagoy and you can see the tuna vessels. The resto manager said vessels as far as General Santos and Sarangani came here to catch tuna as tuna catch were already dwindling near GenSan. He also shared that a coal mining and proposed coal-fired power plant was already approved for Koreans. He seemed proud. Then our admin officer said, "You know we are from NGOs and is the coal mining approved with consultations? What kind of development does this City wants?" He stopped. Probably he regretted sharing the information to us. We laughed. No discussion of politics and work early in the morning please! 

Overlooking Brgy. Mangagoy.
I love this window painting! 
We’re excited to eat seafood early in the morning but sadly, their cook was not yet around. The manager offered to come along with us on another resto at the city center. But first, we have to see the grandeur of his sister’s expensive hobby!

A collection of dolls from different parts of the world ranging from Php1,500 to P80,000! He shared that his sister is married to a Swiss but childless. She works as supervisor in a chain of malls at Sweden and started to buy dolls especially during her travels. She sends the dolls in their ancestral home or brings it along with her when she goes home every year. 

The kids will surely love it here but my golly! If I will have a kid, esp. a daughter, I won’t bring her here, afraid she’ll say this, “Nanay! Nanay! I want one of these dolls!” I might faint. Just hearing the price of each doll and the cost of maintaining this doll house, No thank you darling. This is a collection for those who have money to spare. Hehe..

Don’t get me wrong. Anyone has the liberty where to put his/her money but….(I better keep mum here. hehe) 

Anyway, to see the rare collection, here’s the proof. 
Barbies representing different nationalities!
Oh, Barbie and Ken are cousins and not lovers as I thought way back. hhmmm..interesting! 

Teddy Bears (named after former US Pres. Theodore Roosevelt. And the different clowns and jokers section
Asian dolls section. I so love the wayang kulit (puppets) and the doll from Bombay. 

Japanese dolls cost aorund P40,000! me faints! 
Photos by Mr. Jorge Golle 

And the most amazing collection: 
The biggest stuff toy! haha! 

Collage made by Liesl Bugtay


The night before, from Hinatuan river we drove to Bislig City and spent the night at the Paper Country Inn.

Lodging at Paper Country Inn, Room Rates below:

suite                P1,750
deluxe             P1,100
Standard          P  900
Economy         P  600

Contact details:
(086) 628-2313 & (086) 853-3079/ Facsimile (086)- 853-4144


After a stressful and emotional week, what’s the best reward for the working girls?

For the free-spirited girls (that's me and Lizzy Whizzy!) with moles on their feet and the events planner Jorgie Porgie, an Amazing Race-like trip is a thing we’ve been looking for. Originally scheduled on May, this rest and recreation (a yearly office benefit for the staff), is long overdue.

Since we will be leaving by 4AM, we decided to camp out at the office and wait for dawn. Instead of sleeping, we talked and had our pedicure session. Colorful nails are a must for trips! J

By 11AM, we arrived at Brgy. Talisay, Municipality of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur  wherein the aptly named Enchanted River lies on its grandeur. Simply amazing nature wonder! Pictures didn’t lie about the dark blue brackish water and the depth of this river. 
At the entrance. The exact location of mystical river. 
Restricted area. 
These guys are also wondering how deep this river is. 

Note: Some people asked if the pictures of the river was photoshopped or enhanced. No darlings,  I don't know how to use photoshop). :D 
The winding road to mystery. 
AFRIM team invades Hinatuan! :D
Collage made by Liezl Bugtay 
I was so afraid to go to the center thinking there’s a black hole or very strong current that will just magically drew you in (vivid imagination can make you paranoid, you know! Hehe). It’s estimated 26 meters and it used to be the storage area for logs of PICOP (Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines, a huge logging and paper mill company during 80s) before sending the logs to the ocean. In one of the underwater exploration of Dr. RJ Villanueva (a diver and photographer) even found out logs underneath 80 feet.

Locals believed this place is enchanted and guarded by spirits and the big marine fishes are taken care by them. Swimming after dark is prohibited on this mystical river. Folklore said there are two women (diwatas?) and a man in green from the lagoon area that comes out here every night. This blue (ranging from indigo to aquamarine and with moss and light green colors in between)  basin surrounded by trees, is a mix of fresh and salt water. Terrifying at first but when you take a dip, you will not want to come out.
Swimming with fishes!
But you have to come out by 12:00NN to 1:00pm because it’s the daily fish feeding time. 

If your group came late, you can request for special feeding time at 3:00pm to witness these amazing fishes. Locals say that despite the various marine fishes one sees, no one can be ever caught by hand or even fishing equipment like net or spear. Or even by dynamite fishing (I don’t know if it’s true or an embellishment of the story but it’s nice to know that this folklore helps to keep this fishes from greed.J). This added to the mystery of the place.

Aside from swimming here, one can also take island hopping by renting a boat at the end of the lagoon and visit the surrounding islets. You can choose for different tour packages such as the following: 

You can also buy and let them cook these huge crabs and shells. We rested at Pangasinan Shore Pacific and tasted this bounty. To hell with cholesterol. :D
Crabs and shells! nomnom
Of course, the trip to this amazing place would not be complete without my jumpshot happiness! haha!
The following rates apply at Enchanted Hinatuan River: 
Entrance Fee        -        P30.00/ head
Cottage rental      -       P150.00
Life vest rental   -        P15.00/ hour
Island tour           -       P160.00/ hour with 4-5 persons per boat capacity
Toll Fee                 -      P20.00 for 2 barangays (applicable only to private vehicles)


For reservations, packages and updated rates, you can check the Enchanted River Management Office at Mobile number: +63920 - 259 - 5554 
For the Municipal tourism officer : +63919 - 460 – 0855

PS. I will post our complete itinerary also and you might want to follow our adventure. You can also email me if you have inquiries. Or if you want a stress-free trip, you can also contact my friend's  Vardo Friendly Tours for tour package.  J


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