Islands and Beaches
From Hinatuan River To Bucas Grande: Your Itinerary For Discovering Mindanao
Maui Sanvictores | Jan 16, 2017
Mindanao may be one of the most underrated group of islands in the Philippines. With mysteries yet unraveled, it is our mandate as Filipinos to explore, savor, and get the word out into the world.
In one of our recent exploits, Choose Philippines went on a quick 3-day trip across Surigao Del Norte to Surigao Del Sur. With but a mere 3 days luxury to let our eyes feast on what is before us, you might get a little bit doubtful if we did really set foot on these magical panoramas. But with an old adage safely tucked in our hearts so did we embark on hours on end of long drives across the two provinces.
“Where others see obstacles, others see opportunities.”
We took a flight bound for Cebu from Manila. From there, the team boarded a plane to Surigao City. Tired and sleep-deprived, we tucked in for a nap by the empty chairs at the boarding gates. We have been used to booking cheap flights so we had our paraphernalia packed with us to get by the hours of waiting - books, music albums on phones, journals, and snacks.
As we touched town Surigao City, we knew that the journey has just began as we embark on another 4-6 hours of drive down south to Surigao Del Sur. Long winding roads with our butts almost numb, we took one final right turn into one of the most enchanting places we’ll ever see in our entire lives.
Enchanted River, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
Rumors has it that spirits and enchanted beings like pixies and fairies surround and protect the place. With its clear turquoise water and maximum depth still unknown, we were mesmerized, captivated, and almost convinced that these folklores are somehow true.
The place oozed with so much mystery as we dove its waters. Going further as our ears and lungs could, there’s a certain eeriness to a black pitch bottom before us. There’s an itch to surrender oneself to the peace of silence and savor the limited visual stimulation at its depth.
Truly, a sight to behold, this river is surreal - an experience that’s definitely one for the books!
Bucas Grande, Soccoro, Surigao del Norte
It is with heavy hearts that we left Surigao del Sur. If time was on our side, we could’ve stayed for another day or two.
Still engrossed in the senses caught from the river, we embarked on another 4-5 hour drive back to the north of Surigao. We were planning to stay there for the night and hail a boat going to the town of Socorro the next morning. The hours went by without a trace as we were still entranced with what we saw back in the town of Hinatuan. We weren't prepared for so much glory presented before us, this little piece of land in the Philippines offers so much more than what we expected.
After a good night's sleep, the team prepared at the breaking of dawn. We were thrilled with the thought of swimming with hundreds of jellyfish in the sea with a panorama of limestones sculpted by years of weathering and erosion.
We've seen hundreds of photographs of this place, time and time again, we we're lured into packing our bags and finally crossing-off this island out of our Philippine map. Little did we know that those photographs do not even begin to describe how arresting the place was.
In our amazement, it actually took us a minute or two to pick up our cameras in feeble attempts to capture what seems to be to good to be true.
We didn't get to swim with a hundred of stingless jellyfish that day. We were notorious for travelling out-of-season, since rates are cheaper and we usually get to have an experience far more authentic than those summer days during which human beings swarm the place.
Nonetheless, our limited days in Surigao were filled with laughter and the occassional silence, for we were genuinely in awe of what we found. It's in these moments we realize that this country still has so much more to offer. There is still so much more to taste and see and we have barely scratched the surface of Philippine exploration.
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