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A Look at Surigao City

The face of tourism has been changing over the years. Slowly and consistently gaining speed, local government units are understanding and appreciating the role of a well-managed tourism industry in the development of their areas.

Got the chance to be the resource person for a seminar in developing a tourism master plan for Surigao City, the capital of the province of Surigao del Norte just a few days ago. The good thing is I do not have to write any portion of the master plan. I just had to give them inputs and ideas that they can use in crafting the document. The city government has appointed a technical working group composed of a very good mix of both government and private personalities. I am now hoping that they will do a good job for their city and their people.

And in the middle of a busy event, I managed to sneak in into my schedule a few tourist attractions and had a (literally) great taste of culinary out-of-control escapades!

I actually missed a lot like the islands and beaches, some rivers and caves, plus the whirlpool that can easily be seen from one of the island villages. That should be a very interesting site to see. I have to keep that in my checklist the next time I visit the city.

Day-asan Floating Village
The Day-asan Floating Village is a great revelation! In fact, I had a hunch that there is something wrong with the name (which Ricky Amores, the local tour operator who brought me to the place, agreed). Its definitely more than a floating village. One can take a boat ride in the calm and clear waters that formed like lagoons flanked by mangroves. Jump into the water and snorkel, or have a picnic lunch in any of the pocket beaches. At dawn or dusk, the place is definitely a photographer's delight.

One of these houses is an ideal stop for lunch prepared by the homeowner.
This can make the experience of the tourists and visitors more memorable.
A bridge that makes Day-asan an interesting place to visit.
Come at dawn or dusk and your camera will never fail you.

My point and shoot camera, together with very low light could not capture an event I witnessed when the high tide was coming in. The waters appeared to be boiling and my wild imagination made me think of  thousands of jumping and frantically swimming fishes disturbing the calmness of the waters. Had a great moment there!

Mabua Pebble Beach
This is something else. I was actually not that excited to see a pebble beach since I knew that it won't be that attractive and swimming might be next to impossible (only people with thick, calloused feet can walk barefoot in pebbly beaches, believe me).

But I was in a big surprise. The whole place was not only scenic, But I was really, really tempted to jump into the water after seeing the kids having great fun in the waves.

Sheds line the beach area of Mabua

Choose your "panghilod" Other countries are just discovering
 the wonders of "pumice rock" for beauty and health purposes.
That's old news to the Pinoys :D

The tourism technical working group that will draft the tourism master plan, together with Mayor Ernesto Matugas (seated, 4th from left) and the city tourism officer and FB friend, Rosely Merlin (seated, in red)

Mineral Rock Museum
I was pleasantly surprised when we took a few minutes to visit a rock and Surigao heritage museum.  Seeing the private museum and talking with the people involved in this, you could easily conclude that this is a real labor of love.

Surigao's history is very rich and yet, relatively
unknown to many. On display are some of
the secondary burial jars discovered in the region.
A crab fossil!
Rock of all sizes, colors, and value
These "wooden pans" brought modest riches
to the local gold panners in the region

It was a pleasant surprise to meet facebook friends who take care of the museum - Jun Ramirez (2nd from right) and Jose Karlo Minglana (right)

Places to Stay
For a place like Surigao City, you might think that it could hardly offer rooms beyond the economy range?... Wrong. 

I'm glad that I was billeted in Almont Hotel. Its definitely a very good crib with spacious rooms and a great view of the sea.  The staff were always ready to greet me with a smile. Only, I could not understand their Visayan language which I later found out to be a bit unique.

Its a few minutes from the city proper which should attract those seeking quiet while on vacation.

I also got to take a peak of some accommodations facilities in the city proper:

Tavern Hotel is the high-end hotel in the city.

Fiesta Resort is quite interesting. It has a large pool
and designed like a Florida resort you see in
American movies. This is located in the Mabua beach area.


Obviously, this is where I really got crazy. Surigao City is where I tasted some of the freshest and really affordable meals one can wish for. Had kilawin and sashimi almost every night in places like Island Seafood Restaurant, Ocean Bounties, Tavern Hotel, and of course, my nest for a few days, Cafe Maharlika Restaurant in Almont.

My food adventure was capped by a hot cup of brewed coffee in a real coffee house (because it has a real espresso machine :D) called Bean, Green and Cream. That's for the coffee, tea, and the gelato/ice cream)

Angel in disguise.... the devil you know.... 

It takes a good barista to claim you're a real coffee house.

The chicken and the pig have been married (again!) in Surigao City's version of fried chicken and crispy pata. Had a good brunch on my way to the airport.

Uhhh........ scary.... a few bites won't hurt.....

As a last frame. Let me show you a fruit that I haven't seen in many years. A bunch of rattan fruits being peddled by this kid.



  1. thank you sir!, we hope to see you again here....

  2. the last frame shows "kayape" as we call it in Surigao.
    Thank you sir for this cool writeup.

  3. nice shots...taggutom ako...

  4. nice shots...taggutom ako...