The City of island adventures
DAJON kamo sa Surigao City! Gana dinhi karajaw. Come in to Surigao City. It’s beautiful here. This is a common warm welcome from the Surigaonons.
Surigao City is one destination that keeps tourists coming back either when busy days take a toll or when days need to speed up a bit. It’s the capital of Surigao del Norte. The nearby group of islands with few isolated attractions here and there make up for a series of adrenalin-inducing escapade or a pause-and-bask-inthe-ocean-scenery type of vacation. It comes as no surprise that it earned its title as the City of Island Adventures— the very same reason that gets more and more people book for tickets.
Thankfully, the 6.7 earthquake that hit Surigao City in February made no damage to its natural wonders.
However, the strong intensity left a hole in the number of tourist influx. Many bookings and reservations were canceled and trips were put on hold. So the City Government of Surigao, in its efforts to regain the confidence of domestic and international travelers, organized a familiarization trip around Surigao City and its nearby islands. The “Suroy Surigao” shed light that their beaches, islets, mangrove forest, cultural village, and the rest of the tourist sites remained unscathed.
Day-asan Water Village
Mangrove or Bakhawan is very much abundant in the coastal areas of Surigao, and as such, the province is blessed with diverse ecosystems of copious seagrass beds and healthy coral reefs that sustain the rich marine life. Some 20 minutes away from the city proper is Day-asan. On the road, looking through the window, one sees that scenery already has a feel of the countryside. You learn later that their festival dance Bonok-Bonok Maradjao-Karadjao translates to a deep gratitude for a heavy downpour of harvests and good health and, more often than not, visitors coming to the city. Step into a coaster and into the boat that sails through the narrow channels of water of “Little Venice” that was Day-asan. Pass by houses with wooden stilts erected on the underwater bedrock. Straight ahead, the vast stretch of mangrove trees create what seemed like an interminable mazelike forests rising above seawaters.
Tourists can enjoy paddling, kayaking, leisure fishing or boat tour. There’s a restaurant that serves fresh seafood dishes including massive lobsters. In fact, the place holds a lobster farm. This floating village wasn’t as popular in the early years as it is today. Now it’s an eco-tourism destination and the fourth largest mangrove plantation in the region. It has become a community-based tourism activity which means the guides are all from the barangay of Day-asan who underwent proper training conducted by the Tourism Office for the last five years.
Looc Pebble Beach and Mabua Stone Beach
Yes, you can pretty much surmise an image of a body of water surrounded by these small, hard, solid, non-metallic mineral matters of which rock is made of. Pebbles are stones made smooth and round by the action of water and both beaches are just about that. Looc can be accessed through the Lipata-Punta Bilar-Mabua road, or via an easy climb of the 380steps staircase at the adjacent hill from the Mabua beach. The hill has its own view deck.
Thirty minutes by land westward from the city is a seemingly endless stretch of round stones that help filter the clear and calm water. Mabua comes from the Visayan word “mabula” which means bubbles, a depiction of the frothing waves during the Habagat season, which help share the unique stones at the beach. Its northern end is a naturally carved rock formation that gives visitors a sweeping view of the beach and we arrived there just in time to witness the dramatic sunset.
Lapsay Lagoon in Tagana-an
Tagana-an is laid-back municipality in Surigao del Norte. The name is rooted from the word “tagana” which denotes a place intended or allocated for something — which then begs the question, what is the place best for? Tagana-an is a Pacific destination for marine sports and eco-education. The place is blessed with rolling hills, mountains, watersheds rice and coconut fields, rivers and mangroves which are perfect for kayaking, stand-up paddling, snorkeling, trekking, mangrove tour, boating, and simply swimming. Like a joke, it has been said: Surigao has two seasons: the wet season and the very wet season.
Lapsay Lagoon is a cove in Tinago Island that can only be accessed during high tide. Here at Hoyanjog Resort, rent for P2,500 a floating cottage that can accommodate 15 people. The floating cottage — tied to a boat — will stop at a fish sanctuary first where coral reefs of different shapes, colorful fish of different sizes, rich sea flora and fauna would surely leave you in awe.
Upon reaching Lapsay Lagoon, the water changes a bit to aquamarine as opposed to the blue seawaters. A lot of jellyfish are in the lagoon. And the best part is that you can swim with these Darwin jellyfish as they are the non-sting kind. Heading the exit of the cove, the floating cottage—still dragged by the boat—passes through a narrow gap between towering rock formations.
LAPSAY Lagoon MABUA Stone Beach
LAPSAY Lagoon, where jellyfish don’t sting