Whenever people talk about the province of Surigao del Sur in Mindanao, it will always have to be about Hinatuan’s Enchanted River or Bislig’s Tinuy-an Falls. These tourists destinations has proved most worthy to visit when in the province. Enchanted River by the name alone excited every tourists to come and visit, myself included. If you’ve been to my website previously, you probably already know that DIY is my last name. So, in this Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls DIY Travel Guide, I will help you get to these places the cheapest way possible!
Just a heads up, I went to this province as part of my 5-Day Backpacking trip in Mindanao. My route was as follows: Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Camiguin island province. Check out the DIY travel guides I created for each province by clicking the links associated!
Table of Contents
Pre-Travel Guide to Surigao del Sur
About Surigao del Sur
The peaceful province of Surigao del Sur lies in the region of Caraga in Mindanao – Tandag City being its capital city. Moreover, Surigao del Sur is known as home to one of the famous tourist destinations in the Philippines. With the Enchanted River in Hinatuan and the majestic Tinuy-an waterfalls in Bislig, Surigao del Sur will surely leave a memorable tour in every visitor’s heart.
Aside from these famous destinations, Surigao is also best known for its local rice delicacies like the “Sayongsong“. It is a “kakanin” wrapped in banana leaves with the color and consistency of a “puto” or rice cake. You can find this kakanin anywhere in Surigao and is being sold in streets and local restaurants too.
How to get there
Manila to Bislig/Hinatuan
There are a lot of ways for you to get to Bislig or Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur. Firstly, the fastest way is to ride a plane going to Surigao del Sur in Manila. Take note that there are 2 airports available in the province as of writing (April 2020). These are the Tandag Airport serving its capital city and Bislig Airport. The closest airport will be the Bislig Airport. However, there are only a few airlines that offer routes going to Bislig Airport (BPH) and these flights are limited as well. You may check with SkyScanner below for flights going to Tandag Airport (TDG).
Butuan City to Hinatuan
The next closest airport is in Butuan City. If you’re coming from Butuan Airport, you can ride a van just outside the airport going to Bislig (Mangagoy). Just tell the driver that you are going to Hinatuan so that they will drop you off in Hinatuan Terminal. The estimated travel time is 5 hours and the fare is approximately PHP250.00.
Alternatively, you may ride a bus in the Butan Bus Terminal going to Hinatuan. The travel time may take 5-6 hours and the fare is PHP233.00 for an ordinary bus.
Davao City to Bislig/Hinatuan
For backpackers coming from Davao City, proceed to Ecoland Terminal and board a bus headed to Bislig and the travel time is about 4-5 hours. The fare is ranging from PP300.00 – PHP400.00 depending on the type of bus you will be riding. As for me I rode an air-conditioned bus which cost me PHP402.00 for the fare.
Where to stay
After arriving in Bislig, if you plan to spend more than 2 days in the province, there are several hostels you can choose from. The most famous and recommended by my habal-habal driver is the Marky’s Hostel in Hinatuan. Check out the other hostels below. Insider Tip: be sure to contact them at least a week before to reserve your slot.
Marky’s Hostel: 0928 439 7785
Room Rates: Double deck/2 pax/fan room – PHP300.00
Air-conditioned Family Room – PHP850.00
Air-conditiones/Double deck/good for 7 pax – PHP1225.00
Maryland Lodging House: 0907 868 9808
Room Rates: PHP300.00/night/pax with wifi
Hinatuan Homestay: 0949 1352 783
Enchanted River and Tinuy-An Falls DIY: Important Tips/Contacts
- Take note that there are no luxury hotels in Hinatuan or Bislig. But there are lots of hostels and pension house where you can stay. Make sure to contact your hostel a week before your trip and secure your slot.
- There are no phone reception in Enchanted River. And for Tinuy-an falls, only smart users has phone signal.
- The best time to visit Enchanted River is from February – April when the water is clearer for better view.
- Best time to visit Tinuy-an falls on the other hand is during rainy season.
- If you have limited time, you can go to Enchanted River, Sibadan and Tinuy-an falls in 1 day.
Contact Person: Kuya Edchie Robles (0926 552 9636)
I highly recommend Kuya Edchie for Enchanted River and Tinuy-An Falls DIY. He is a local and a habal-habal driver from Hinatuan. He can tour you to the Enchanted River and Tinuy-an falls if you will only be spending a day in Bislig and Hinatuan. The rate is PHP800.00 for a whole day tour since the 2 places are too far from each other. Enchanted River is 1.5 hours away from Tinuy-an falls so better prepare your backs because it’s going to be a long ride in the sun.
Enchanted River in Hinatuan
I went to the Enchanted River in Hinatuan last September 2019. As expected, my eyes sparkled as I have finally seen with my own eyes the enchanting river of Surigao. It was truly a very enchanting river and is a must visit place in the Philippines! This river gets a clearer version of itself in the afternoon when the sunlight hits the water.
As part of the local’s tradition, there is a fish feeding that happens every 12nn daily. So best time to be here is before 12nn to witness the fish feeding. Also, other things you can do here is swimming and snorkeling. Although swimming in the main river is no longer allowed due to safety precautions, you can still swim at the back of the river where it is allowed.
As shared with me by my habal-habal driver, he said that the depth of the river is 275 feet and it was unlocked by a diver who happens to be a foreigner doctor too. The foreign diver had 7 other divers with him. However, as he was able to swim its maximum depth, there’s been a dramatic turn of events as he died below due to heart attack.
|Enchanted River entrance fee||PHP30.00|
|Life jacket rental||PHP15.00/hour|
Other suggested things to do when in the Enchanted River is to try island hopping. The rate is PHP160.00 per person (maximum of 4 pax in a boat). And below are the destinations you can choose from:
- Sibadan fish cage
- Tinago Island
- Pangasinan White Sand
- Margarett Island
Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig
Located in Bislig Surigao del Sur is the majestic falls of Tinuy-an. Another mus visit destination when in Surigao del Sur which is 1.5 hours away from Enchanted River. Tinuy-an falls boasts off a wide waterfalls which is about 55 meters tall. The best time to come here is during rainy season.
Activities includes swimming, river rafting, hiking the top of the falls and overnight camping too.
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