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DIY Travel Guide: Our 5-Day Mindanao Adventure

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Our Mindanao Adventure this June 2017 was one of the most exciting and memorable trips that I’ve had. For just 5 days, my two friends and I were able to visit Butuan City, Surigao City, Siargao Island, Socorro, Hinatuan, Bislig, and Davao.

A month before our trip to Mindanao, there was a siege in Marawi City which has led to the declaration of Martial Law across Mindanao. Hearing about the Marawi Crisis made us a bit hesitant to push through our adventure (70% sure and 30% unsure). Our family also advised us just to rebook our travel to some other time until the siege was over. As lakwatseras / travelers, we really didn’t want to cancel our trip. So to make sure that it’s safe to go to Mindanao, we researched the distance of Marawi City from Butuan City on Google Maps. Then, we found out that the travel time from Marawi to Butuan is about 6 to 7hours. (It’s really far). We also asked some members of DIY Travel Group about the situation in Surigao and Davao. Most of them said that it’s still safe to go there but just expect more military checkpoints in different parts of Mindanao. With these good reasons, we decided to push through our trip. 🙂

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Our Experience Visiting Mindanao Under Martial Law

During our stay in Mindanao particularly in Surigao and Davao, I had observed that it’s just like a regular day (business as usual) and locals are not afraid of Martial Law. Actually, when I asked one of our tour guides in Surigao, he told me that they are in favor of the implementation of Martial Law. For them, they feel safer and more protected with Martial Law since there are military conducting checkpoints, which they believed was the key in preventing Marawi crisis from spilling to other nearby areas like Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

What to Do During Checkpoints: Be sure to prepare your valid IDs and inform the military about the purpose of your stay in Mindanao. Some checkpoints in Davao require bag inspection which I think is good for the safety and security of everyone. Don’t be afraid of the military. They are good. I can say that it’s different from the Martial Law implemented before.

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Travel Date: June 16 – 20, 2017


DIY Budget Travel Guide to Mindanao: Detailed Itinerary + Travel Expenses:

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Day 1:  Butuan> Surigao City > Siargao Island

  • 6:45am – Arrived at Butuan City (Bancasi Airport)
  • 7:00am – Rode a van going to Surigao Bus & Jeepney Terminal (Php 200 per head)
  • 9:50am – Arrived at Surigao Bus & Jeepney Terminal
  • 10:15am – Rode a multi-cab going to Surigao City Port & Ferry Terminal (Php 10 per head)
  • 10:30am – Took our Lunch. There are carinderias in front of Surigao City Port
  • 11:30am – Rode a FastCraft going to Dapa Ferry Terminal in Siargao (Php 220 per head plus Php10 for Environmental Fee)
  • 1:30pm – Arrived at Dapa Ferry Terminal
  • 2:00pm – Rode a tricycle going to Cloud 9 Siargao Resort (Php 300 / good for 3 persons)
  • 2:30pm – Checked-in at Kesa Cloud 9 Resort (Php 1500 per night / good for 3 persons)
  • 4:00pm – Merienda at CafeLoka
  • 5:00pm – Sunset watching at The Boardwalk, Cloud 9 Siargao
  • 6:00pm – Dinner at Point 303 Restaurant

Read our Detailed Guide on How to Go to Siargao Island on a Budget

Day 2: Sohoton Cove + Bucas Grande Island + Jelly Fish Sanctuary + Siargao Islands

  • 7:15am – Rode Habal-Habal going to General Luna Local Market (Php 90 / good for 3 persons)
  • 7:35am – ETA General Luna Local Market / Bought food for breakfast and lunch
  • 7:50am – ETD General Luna Local Market / Start of Island Hopping (Php 4000 for whole day island hopping tour / good for 5 persons – Php 800 each)
  • 9:50am – ETA Sohoton Cove
  • 10:00am – Registration  (Php 400 per head for the entrance and tour)
  • 10:30am – Lunch at Sohoton Cove
  • 11:00am – Start of Sohoton Cove Tour (Sohoton Cove National Park, The Horse Shoe Rock, Hagukan Cave, Magkukuob Cave, Jelly Fish Sanctuary)
  • 1:00pm  – End of Sohoton Cove Tour, Went back to our boat to start our Siargao Island Hopping
  • 3:00pm – ETA Naked Island, Siargao
  • 3:30pm – ETA Daku Island, Siargao / Took our merienda
  • 5:30pm – ETA Guyam Island, Siargao
  • 6:30pm – ETA General Luna Local Market / Rode habal-habal going back to resort (Php 90 / good for 3 persons)
  • 7:00pm – Arrived at Kesa Cloud 9 Resort
  • 8:30pm – Dinner at Ocean 101 Beach Resort

Note: For our Sohoton Cove + Bucas Grande Island + Jelly Fish Sanctuary + Siargao Islands tour, we paid Php 4000 / good for 5 persons. Thanks to Kuya Nano, one of the surfing instructors in Cloud 9 Siargao, who helped us find additional joiners in our Sohoton Cove Tour and Siargao Island Hopping Tour. That’s how we met our new travel friends, Bonnie and Rai, who came from Cebu City.  So we only paid Php 800 per head for the whole-day island hopping.

Day 3: Siargao Island >Surigao City > Britania Island

  • 4:00am – ETD Kesa Cloud 9 Resort / Rode a tricyce going to Dapa Port and Ferry Terminal (Php 300 / good for 3 persons)
  • 4:30am – Arrived at Dapa Port and Ferry Terminal / Breakfast
  • 5:30am – ETD Dapa Port and Ferry Terminal (Php 220 per head plus Php10 for Environmental Fee)
  • 7:30am – Arrived at Surigao City Port and Ferry Terminal / Rode a tricycle going to Surigao Terminal (Php 200 / good for 3 persons)
  • 8:00am – Start of Surigao City Tour (I Love Surigao Sign, Surigao City Hall, San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral, Luneta Park and Rizal Statue)
  • 9:30am – Arrived at Surigao Jeepney and Bus Terminal
  • 10:30am – Rode a van going to Tandag, Surigao del Sur. We’re lucky that time because the driver of the van (Kuya Manuel) was also on his way to Britania Island. He dropped us at Britania Junction in Salvacion, San Agustin. We only paid Php 320 per head.
  • 3:30pm – Arrived at Salvacion, San Agustin. Then rode a tricycle going to Mac Arthurs Place and met Kuya Richard, the driver of the tricycle. (Php 100 / good for 3 persons)
  • 4:00pm – Checked-in at Mac Arthurs Place. This resort was recommended by Kuya Manuel (Php 1500 per night / good for 3 persons)
  • 5:00pm – Sunset watching
  • 6:30pm – Dinner at Mac Arthurs Place Restaurant

Note: We recommend Kuya Richard (0946-165-2800) if you’re planning to visit Britania. He offered Britania Island Hopping tour for just Php 1200 (4 main islands included). We also contracted him to drive us from Mc Arthurs Place Britania to Barobo (via tricycle) and paid him Php 1000 / good for 3 persons. Then he transferred us to his friend, Kuya Gelbert who was our tour guide in Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls. We just rode a motorcycle or habal-habal and paid Kuya Gelbert Php 1000.

For Hinatuan and Bislig Tour in Surigao del Sur, we highly recommend Kuya Gelbert Embang (0948-126-9618). He was so kind, accommodating and friendly during our tour. He also accompanied us going to Bislig terminal after our tour ended. We really enjoyed having a short conversation with him.

Day 4: Britania Island + Hinatuan Enchanted River + Tinuy-an Falls, Bislig

  • 6:00am – Free Breakfast at Mac Arthurs Place
  • 7:30am – Start of Britania Island Hopping (Naked Island, Hagonoy Island, Buslon Island and Hiyor-Hiyoran Island) – Php 1200 (good for 3 persons)
  • 9:30am – End of Island Hopping Tour. Went back to Mac Arthurs Place to get our things.
  • 10:15am – Checked-out at Mac Arthurs Place / Rode a tricycle going to Hinatuan – Php 1000 / good for 3 persons
  • 11:30am – Arrived at Barobo / Ate Lunch in Carinderia with Kuya
  • 12:00pm – We transferred to Habal-Habal and met Kuya Gelbert – Php 1000 / good for 3 persons
  • 1:00pm – Arrived at Hinatuan Enchanted River / Picture Taking and Swimming
  • 2:00pm – ETD Enchanted River
  • 2:20pm – Stopped Over at Hinatuan Sign
  • 3:30pm – Arrived at Tinuy-an Falls, Bislig
  • 4:30pm – ETD Tinuy-an Falls
  • 5:00pm – Arrived at Bislig Sign
  • 5:30pm – ETD Bislig Sign / Rode a Van going to San Francisco Bus Terminal – Php 120 per head
  • 7:30pm – Arrived at San Francisco Bus Terminal
  • 7:40pm – Dinner in Carinderia in front of Bus Terminal
  • 8:30pm – Rode a bus going to Davao (Php 200 per head)
  • 2:00am – Arrived at Davao City Terminal
  • 2:15am – Rode a tricycle going to Midoro Inn – Php 60 / good for 3 persons
  • 2:30am – Checked-in at Midoro Inn – Php 1500 per night / good for 3 persons

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Day 5: Davao City + Eden Nature Park

  • 8:00am – Free Breakfast at Midoro Inn
  • 12:30pm – Checked-out at Midoro Inn / Left our things at the Inn / Rode a taxi going to Aldevinco Shopping Centre
  • 12:45pm – Arrived at Aldevinco Shopping Centre / Just bought ref magnets
  • 1:00pm – Rode a taxi going to SM Lanang Premier / Ate Lunch
  • 2:00pm – Rode a jeep going to Gaisano Mall
  • 3:15pm – Rode a taxi going to Eden Nature Park – Php 1000 (two-way) / good for 3 persons
  • 4:30pm – Arrived at Eden Nature Park
  • 5:15pm – ETD Eden Nature Park
  • 6:30pm – Arrived at Midoro Inn / Got our things
  • 6:45pm – Rode a taxi going to Davao Airport – Php 150 / good for 3 persons
  • 7:15pm – Arrived at Davao Airport / Bought T-Shirts and Pasalubongs
  • 9:00pm – ETD Davao Airport
  • 10:30pm – Arrived at NAIA3 International Airport (Manila)


5D4N Mindanao Adventure: Travel Expenses Summary

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Have you been to Mindanao? How was your experience? What’s your favorite spot to visit? Share your awesome photos and will feature them on our blog!

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