A Day And A Half in Surigao



I am pretty sure most of you have already heard of that beautiful blue river in the Philippines. A lot of tourists had already dropped by for them to see it with their own eyes. I ,too, got curious about that “enchanting” river. So curious, that it’s included in my bucket list.

I got invited by my workmates to travel with them to the provinces of Surigao. Since seeing the Enchanted River is part of my bucket list, I’ve decided to go with them. We were on a tight budget, so we traveled DIY-style. And oh, we did it during our day off, so we are also time-pressured.

The Plan

  1. Ride a bus from Davao to Bislig.
  2. Find a cheap inn to stay for the night.
  3. Find a transportation that would take us around.
  4. Visit the International Doll house.
  5. Visit the Tinuy-An Falls.
  6. Visit the Enchanted River.
  7. Visit the Britania Islands.

However, like any other plans, there is a chance that it will be changed. Changes depend on unforeseen things that we can’t avoid, thus an immediate alternate should be devised.

This is what actually happened…

We arrived at the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal around 11am, thinking that we’d be able to get on a bus right away. However, the next bus for Mangagoy, Bislig will leave at 2pm. We don’t want to wait that long because the travel takes about 6 hrs and we don’t want to be traveling in the dark.

We Rode a Van to Mangagoy

From DCOTT, we went to the van terminal in Victoria Plaza. The fare per head is 240 PHP ($4.83 USD) and only a pit stop was made.


When we arrived in Bislig City, we rode a tricycle and asked the driver to take us to Casa de Babano Pension House. This is where we intended to stay for the night.


We walked around and went to the only mall that we can find.


The people there are nice. If they feel that you’re getting lost, they’d ask you where you’re heading. They will gladly tell you the directions. Although, I am kind of paranoid of letting strangers know about my activities.


When we reached the mall, we bought toiletries and went back to the inn to prepare for our next destination.

International Doll House

This house is located in Bislig’s Ocean View Park. It’s situated at the top of a hill, overlooking the Bislig Bay (thus the park’s name).


Since it’s located at the top of the hill, be prepared to climb a very long staircase.



International Doll House

Entrance fee is only 20 PHP ($0.40 USD). You will be asked to remove your footwear before entering. They are trying to preserve the dolls by preventing dirt from entering. When we got there, we were greeted by the owner’s brother. He served as a guide there.

If it’s dolls you’re after, then this place won’t disappoint you. It’s filled with dolls from all over the world! The dolls are Ruelaine Willimann’s personal collection. She owns the place, together with her Swiss husband, Werner Willimann. According to the guide, the room is fully air conditioned 24/7. They even have a generator in case brown outs happen. They really work hard to prevent the dolls from deteriorating.


The most expensive doll from the collection is the golden Matryoshka doll (3rd shelf)

Aside from dolls, they also have collections of porcelains, mini cars and other toys.


Outside the house, they also have a restaurant for visitors. I was amazed by how affordable the food is. Their specialty is the Schnitzel, a German dish.


I ordered 2 pcs. of Burger Steak and Halo-halo.


It may not look much on the picture, but it is so heavy that I almost didn’t finish it.

After having dinner, we went back to the inn and tried to catch some Z’s for the next day.

The Next Day

To be honest, we don’t have a transportation yet to get to our destinations. We just checked out and went outside the inn to look for a motorcycle that we can rent. Fortunately, we had found one, and the driver called his friend for a back up. The initial plan was only to take us to Tinuy-An Falls for 500 PHP/head. However, they offered to take us to 3 places for 1,500 PHP/head ($30.00 USD). We accepted the offer to save us the hassle of finding another transportation later on. So it’s the 4 of us and 2 motorcycles.

I am including a map to give you an idea of how far our destinations are from each other. Personally, I think the offer is really a steal, considering that the places are so far from each other.


© Google Maps

Tinuy-An Falls

It is actually a multi-tiered waterfall. The first set of falls is found by the entrance.


Entrance Sign

The 2nd falls is the tallest one. We rode a raft to get underneath the falling water. The falling water felt like a good massage.

Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset

In order for you to reach the 3rd falls, you need to climb the steep mountain beside the 2nd falls. Don’t worry, stairs are available!


Enchanted River

This is the stop that I was most excited about. Well, that’s before I saw that the river were teeming with not fishes, but people! I was really disappointed. Not to mention the color of the water wasn’t what I expected. But hey, that’s an item off my bucket list.


We had our lunch after having a short glimpse of the river. There are stores by the entrance where you could by food and have it cooked by the vendors.

Britania Group Islands

The Britania Islands are composed of 24 islets with narrow sandbank beaches found all over Lianga Bay.

The trip from the Enchanted River to Britania Islands is very long (1 hour and 30 mins).

We stopped by La Entrada Beach Resort’s view deck to take pictures of the Britania Islands from afar.


View Deck

In San Agustin, there are boats owned by the locals that would take you to the islands. Price range would be P1,000 PHP- P1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD).


Tourists can only visit 4 islands because those are the only ones that have beaches and docking spots. We were only able to visit 3 islands because it’s already late and we need to head back home.

The first stop was the Hagonoy Island. The island has a few trees that provide shade. Next to it is the Naked Island. It’s naked because it’s just an island, without plants.


Naked Island with the Hagonoy Island at the back.

The 3rd stop was the Boslon Island. I think it’s the biggest island of the four. It is also a good spot to have lunch and good swimming because the island has a lot of trees. It also has a cave.



After walking around the island and a short swim, we decided to head back to Davao. Visiting the Britania Islands is totally worth it. You must be able to see their breathtaking beauty. Despite my disappointment with the Enchanted River, I had a lot of fun with the trip. I also can’t believe that we were able to squeeze all those destinations in a day.

How about you? What are the things you crossed off your bucket list? Please let me know by commenting below! 🙂


52 thoughts on “A Day And A Half in Surigao

  1. When you mentioned the blue watered river in the beginning of your post, even I was very excited. But sad that the experience wasn’t as great as you had expected. Naked island and Boslon island really look interesting especially the cave..


  2. Thank you for this informative post. I have been longing to go to the Enchanted River. I even have that in my list of must-visit for this year. But the experience was quite disappointing. I just hope that if I get to visit this place, it won’t be that plenty of people. Maybe I’ll time it during the low season so that it won’t be crowded as seen in the photo. 🙂


  3. I am not so good with itineraries so I always let my friends or my partner do the planning and I just go with the flow. haha! You’re actually right that not everything will turned out as planned but as long as you enjoyed the trip then I guess that’s fine. 🙂 I love the international doll house, I can just imagine how the owners fell in love with her collection. I never know this existed in Surigao. 🙂


  4. Php 1,500 per head is not bad at all. Seeing all the photos, I think Php 1,500 is super sulit even if there were soooo many people at the river. I wonder if it’s always like that at Enchanted River.

    Tinuy-an Falls is beautiful and I would love to go there. I recently started to appreciate falls last year.


  5. I have heard a lot about the Enchanted River. But, I did not expect the number of people in the photo! Looks like you still had fun anyways. I love the information in this post – probably this is the only time I got the chance t-take note of the itineraries and tips for Surigao travel.


  6. Stunning!!! I love your photos. Andddd I’ve been wanting to go here for so longgg, especially going to swim in the Enchanted River. It’s on my bucket list. Currently on the hunt for cheap air fares 😛 😛


  7. I have heard about that place but never been there. Love all the photos that you took, definitely a great place to go. Adding to my bucket list..


  8. I’ve always wanted to visit Surigao – it’s on my bucket list, too! Unfortunately, yes, the Enchanted River always has an influx of people around. My friend said they visited once and the water was a bit dirty already 😦 I love it there, though, and the story that goes that no one actually knows how deep the water is. Britania Islands is also one that I will visit soon! I must say it’s worth a visit, even when you have to drive for long hours on the rode. Haha


  9. I’ve never been to Surigao, and I didn’t know much about it until this post so thank you! The waterfalls look amazing so that’s definitely in my list if I do get to visit. I find it fascinating that they have a doll museum too- it’s definitely worth checking out in my book. I’m also a little turned off by the number of people visiting the enchanted river though, so might skip that. Hahaha. Really informative post – I love how you included everything from travel schedules to your insights about every place you visited, really appreciate it. 🙂


  10. We have the same feeling with the enchanted river and I last visited the place 6 years ago! It is so popular that it is teeming with tourists. I guess I have to visit the place on a weekday. Britania is beautiful. -katrina centeno


  11. So the water was not that blue? I had a similar experience when i visited great wall of China. I thought it will be HUGE, Humongous and very impactful but I was kind of disappointed. It is huge without a doubt but not what I had expected it to be… But your trip looks like fun nonetheless!


  12. i wanna visit that place.. i haven;t been far away from my area so i do wish i get the chance to travel this year.. i’ll be putting this on my bucket list for places so visit.. thanks for sharing


  13. Tinuyan Falls looks so beautiful. I wish I can make my way into that neck of the woods. I am apprehensive about asking directions and riding motorcycles as well, so I do not know how I can visit these places. What a big crowd at Enchanted River, that is really disappointing.


  14. Jill, I’m sorry I haven’t heard of this beautiful river in Philippines so far, so thanks for introducing it to me! But I guess I love Boslon island the most from this post of yours… Philippines is so so high in my wish list!


  15. When I was studying tourism in the university, I did a class work about tourism in the Philippines where I talked about this place, and the truth is that while I was doing it I fell in love. It’s a little paradise I want to go to.


  16. This is yet another interesting place to visit in our archipelago. It is always a rewarding experience to visit places like this as there are way too many things to see and do. This post made me miss the beach even more, I wish we can visit one soon and hopefully, more that once or twice a year. I sure hope I will get to see this beautiful place one day, too!


  17. I have heard so much of Surigao but I haven’t really had a chance to visit the place. And P1500 for the three places is definitely a steal! The place are so far from each other! 🙂

    The place looks awesome too~ You guys could probably have enjoyed it more over the holidays so you won’t be so time-pressured. Haha.


  18. That place was truly enchanting! Surigao is close to my heart. Ive have a few fun memories there during my chldhood because my mom is from there. We used to visit Surigao when i was young like 7-9 years old until my grandma died of sickness and then their property was old because nobody wants to stay in surigao we live in batangas since i was born. Ive never visited any other places there except the beach. And i always wanted to go back and check out tourists destinations like this and hopes to meet again some of our relatives there 🙂


  19. There are a lot of travel agencies offering cheap travel or a complete list of activities in a package. I hope someday I could try one and visit Surigao, and wishing to be a solo traveler too someday! Well, someday… haha!


  20. Looks like you had an amazing trip! The scenery is beautiful, as well as the quaint look of the place. I love the shop with the nesting dolls, I have several of myself. The waterfall photos are absolutely stunning. Hope you had a great time.


  21. The international doll house seems pretty interesting though it reminds me of Yexel’s toy museum. I also would love to take a dip at Tinuy-an falls. Enchanted river is also on my bucket list. Thank God that they already prohibited people from swimming there as of the time I commented this. I hope they collect fees as well to maintain the place.


  22. Looks beautiful! I’d love to visit there someday. Especially those waterfalls look gorgeous and beautiful. 🙂 I have always loved being around waterfalls and fountains, they are just so relaxing 🙂


  23. I actually heard about the Enchanted River, and the article I read about it was really a great one. I am sorry that your schedule didn’t work out as you planned. But the pictures you made are awesome and it can be seen you enjoyed your time. I would have the same route as you did, since it looks quite interesting to me.


  24. So I actually answered no to your very first sentence! I’ve never heard of Surigao but it looks lovely, and there seems to be so much to do pretty nearby. Those kinds of dolls have always creeped me out slightly so I think I’d give it a miss if I’m ever in the area 🙂


  25. Pingback: The Art of Female Solo Travel | Stargazer Writes

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