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.
- Ride a bus from Davao to Bislig.
- Find a cheap inn to stay for the night.
- Find a transportation that would take us around.
- Visit the International Doll house.
- Visit the Tinuy-An Falls.
- Visit the Enchanted River.
- 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.
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.
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.
It is actually a multi-tiered waterfall. The first set of falls is found by the entrance.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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! 🙂