Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Tour at Britania Group of Islands in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur

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I never thought that the province of Surigao del Sur has a bunch to offer in terms of tourist destinations. Ranging from beautiful falls, rivers, caves, beaches, islands and islets, Surigao del Sur is a perfect place for people who adore nature tripping. And to add up another spot in Surigao del Sur that people should not miss when visiting the said province, let me tour you to a famous destination in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur - the Britania Group of Islands.

Honestly speaking, my visit in Britania Group of Islands was unexpected. It just happened that we already accomplished all the spots written in our itinerary and we still have another day to stay in Surigao before we fly back to Manila. For the past 2 days, we've been asking the locals for a must-see place in their town. The popular answers were Enchanted River, Siargao, Tinuy-an Falls and Britania Group of Islands. 2 out of 4 answers were already visited by us. But we decided to go to Britania Islands because that time it is nearest place from where we are (yet it is still 4 hours away lol).

Islands and islets are already visible from the beach shore of Brgy. Salvacion (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
Port where our Britania island hopping starts! (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
How to get there?
From Butuan City, commercial buses and vans are can be hired going to San Agustin. Travel time is 4-5 hours. Then from San Agustin proper, one can take a tricycle. Just inform the driver to drop you at Salvacion Tourism Office. As you hit at Salvacion, hire a habal-habal (motorcycle) to reach the Britania port in which adventure to Britania Group of Islands will start. But for us who started the trip in Bislig, we took a bus in a terminal in Bislig (near a gasoline station) going to Barobo Bus Terminal which cost 103 pesos. From Barobo, we rode again a bus with a signage of Tandag. We informed the bus conductor that we are going to Britania and to drop us  at Brgy. Salvacion. Bus ride from Barobo to Brgy. Salvacion is 40 pesos. Then from Salvacion, we rode a habal-habal going to the port of Britania Group of Islands. Fare is 20 pesos per head. From there, we paid an environmental fee which is 25 pesos.

Perfect weather! (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
From the entrance of Brgy. Salvacion, we have been commissioned by a local "bangkero" (boatman) to take his service and let him tour us in Britania Group of Islands. His initial offer were 1,500 pesos. This is actually the regular price of the island hopping in Britania. However, since we were only 2 two in this trip, we negotiate if we can get it in a much lower price. Thank God that he agreed on 1,000 pesos for the whole Britania Island hopping. He's very courteous to tourists like us. He let us change our clothes in their house and lend us dinnerware since we are going to take our lunch in one of the islands. Their family also sell fresh seafood so we bought from them our food for lunch. They even give us discount and free rice! Thanks a lot Kuya Andy (the name of our bangkero).

3 out of the 24 islands and islets of Britania Group of Islands (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
Lets GO! (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
Going back, Britania Group of Islands is composed of 24 stunning islands and islets. 6 of which are can be explore by visitors. So, let's start island hopping!

Hagonoy Island

Hagonoy Island (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
First off is Hagonoy Island. A pear-shaped island found in Bislig Bay that is characterized by white sand and clear blue water. I fell in love with Hagonoy because of its tropical atmosphere and simplicity. Simple that mostly seen on this island is its sand (yet not that white but fine and kind to the feet) and a portion of coconut trees that serves as a shade to visitors when the sun settles high.

Paradise here I come! (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
(Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
This island also serves as our picnic area as we ate our lunch here. We also use that time to get to know more our bangkeros, their stories and way of living. We learned a lot from them most specially with Kuya Andy's stories. With all those stories I heard from him, I know that he really care for nature and also to his ka-baryo. He knew the rules and abide to it. Clearly, a good citizen of Brgy. Salvacion. It was a good talk with the locals but we have to continue with our trip. So after lunch, we got back to our boat and head to our next destination.

Off to our next destination (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)

Naked Island

Naked Island (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
Don't be mislead by the name of this island. Naked Island got its name from its looks. No trees nor huge boulders. Its just a plain sand floating at Bislig Bay. If I find Hagonoy Island simple, then this island is bold. Though it doesn't have much in here, it still has a charm for those who sees Naked Island. Even though I am not fond of staying under the sun, I still enjoyed my visit in this island. Just simply look at the photos below on how crazy we are during our stay in Naked Island.

Our version of Look-up | Ryza Mae Shoooowwww! (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
Foreground, Naked Island. Background, Hagonoy Island. (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
(Photo From Byron Cantonjos)

Buslon Island

Buslon Island (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
Next in line is Buslon Island. Which is for me, the most beautiful island among the 24 islands in Britania. It has a striking look that I find it very heavenly. It is also characterized by powdery white sand that is comparable to Boracay. A perfect island to chill and stay for a while. 

Look at that fine Background! (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
It has a huge boulder which gives preferable shade to visitors but it still leaves enough portion of the island for the sun can share its heat (This is my kind of island!). Aside from the big boulder, no structures can be found in Buslon island except for the statue of the Virgin Mary.

Images of Mary (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
One can walk around the island to see a 360 degree view of Britania islands. During low tide, one can do island hopping with bare feet. Yup that's right! Walking from Buslon Island to another island - Panlangagan Island. Indeed a new experience!

Baron - Author of Baron the Explorer (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)

Panlangagan Islands (twin islands)

Panlangagan Island (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
During high tide, no coastline nor sand bar are visible to connect Buslon Island and Panlangagan Islands. So I recommend visitors to talk to your boatmen to bring you here during low tide so you can experience walking from one island to another island. 

This sand bar only appears when low tide (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
Island hopping using your "feet" From Buslon to Panlangagan Island
I don't have much to say in this island since we only stay here in a few minutes because we don't want to get stuck in here when the water sets high again. Haha. But one should visit this to complete your Britania Group of Islands experience!


Hiyor Hiyoran Island

Hiyor Hiyoran Island (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
I thought that our island hopping at Britania Group of Islands end in Panlangagan but Kuya Andy still brought us to another island - Hiyor Hiyoran Island. Hiyor Hiyoran Island is what I can say, a perfect spot for photoshoot. Yeah! It has sand, trees, big rocks and chops of tree trunks. All elements that can be use as props and background for a shoot. Too bad that we didn't stay long here because we're running out of time already. But good thing that we got to see and capture some shots of this island. It's time to bid farewell to Britania Group of Islands. 

(Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
Yup, my site header was shot at Hiyor Hiyoran Island (Photo From Byron Cantonjos)
Before the sun sets down, we already reach Brgy. Salvacion. Kuya Andy directed us to a house where we can bath and change our clothes. The owner of the house also sells "iron wood chopping boards" which is very popular in their town. It is a chopping board made of Magkono tree.  A tree that is only found in Surigao and considered as the Philippines hardest tree. We got our iron wood for only 100 pesos. I bought 2 pieces of it. One for my family and the other is for my girlfriend's family. It weighs at almost 3 kilos which cost me excess baggage (by airplane) but it's fine, this thing is not common in Manila so this will now serve as my memorabilia of my Surigao trip. Lol!

And so our adventure in Britania ends as we travel back to Butuan City. My island hopping experience in Britania Group of Islands has been a great one. This place is really a must-see spot not only in Surigao del Sur but in the Philippines.

Kuyan Andy's contact number: 09305353703
Update: September 29,2013 - I received a personal message on my FB Page from one of my reader whose been to Britannia and rented Kuya Andy's service also. The message was:
Your blog about your Sirigao trip was very helpful to us. With your blog kuya andy has customes texting him for the boat ride however kuya andy has a concern. All of those who saw your blog wanted to get 1k for the ride even if they are 10 in a group. Kuya andy texted me last night to ask help to contact you guys. Please contact kuya andy as soon as you read this. Thank you.
This alarms me so much because even if my blog helps Kuya Andy gain more clients however he is being paid at "lowball" price. The regular price for this island hopping tour costs 1,500 pesos. And the only reason why he gave us a tour at 1,000 pesos was simply because we were only 2 on this trip who will shoulder the said expense. And having read the message above makes me feel bad because I don't think I am helping him back with the kindness he showed to us. So please please please... I hope you pay these guys on a regular price (Iam not just pertaining to Kuya Andy but to every boatmen there), most specially those who are going there in large group. He's a great/cool boatman and I guarantee you an amazing experience when you get him as your guide. They have families they needed to support. So please let's not kill their business instead we should help them.

Breakdown of Expenses:
Bus (Non AC, Bislig to Barobo) - 103.00 PhP
Bus (Non AC, Barobo to Brgy. Salvacion) - 40.00 PhP
Habal Habal (two way) - 40.00 PhP 
Environmental Fee - 25.00 PhP
Raw Squid - 280.00 Php / 2 pax = 140.00 PhP
(1) liter Soft drinks- 50.00 PhP / 2 pax = 25.00 PhP
Bathroom - 5.00 PhP
Ironwood - 100.00 PhP
Boat rental - 1000.00 PhP + 100.00 PhP (tip) / 2 pax = 550.00 PhP (This was just a special offer for us, the regular price for this tour actually costs 1,500 pesos - PLEASE READ MY UPDATE ON TOP OF THIS BREAKDOWN)

37 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I agree... well every island of Britania has its charm

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  2. At this time of the year, you are blessed to have a good weather on your Surigao trip.

    Good luck on your next travels and keep safe.

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    Replies
    1. Yes we really are. It was already rainy season when we came here but God gave us a nice weather to enjoy our whole Surigao del Sur Trip.

      Thank you Nortehanon.

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  3. I wanted to thank you for this fantastic read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it.
    I've got you bookmarked to look at new things you post…

    Here is my web blog; hair transplant clinic in hyderabad

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  4. I'm just wondering why its called Britania Group of Islands?

    I knew it, the banner was from Hiyor-Hiyoran Island. Nice share of adventure in Suigao del Sur province. Konti lang nag-blogblog about it.

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    Replies
    1. I tried to ask our boatmen pero di din nila alam eh.

      Thanks Ian for dropping by!

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  5. Wow! You have great pictures of Britannia Islands. The last time I was there, sabi nung resort owner, kaya daw Britania kasi me resemblance daw sa beach formation ng Great Britain. The original name is Alepanto.

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    Replies
    1. Really? Therefore this place is a world class in terms of beauty :) Thanks EinrevHeinrick

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  6. Hello just want to ask what time did you start and ends your island hopping at Brittania? Is it feasible to travel back to Butuan right after the tour or one needs to stay overnight in a nearby hostel. Thanks a lot. We will be travelling next week and intends to copy your itinerary.

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    Replies
    1. We started before lunch. Hmm at around 11am and had our lunch to one of the islands there. Then the tour ends at almost 5pm. Yup it is feasible to went back to Butuan after this tour. That's what we did. =] We reached Butuan by 10 or 11pm.

      Ow, I miss Surigao. Hey, Goodluck on your trip! Thanks for trusting/visiting my blog

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  7. Your Blog is very helpful!! We met kuya andy and he said he wanted to extend his regards to you and baron! Thank you so much!! We had such an amazing and unforgettable trip!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reaching me about Kuya Andy's greeting. I hope he and his business is doing great. Glad to know that because of my simple blog entry, I am able to help other people.

      Plan your next trip and continue exploring Philippines! :]

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  8. Yay! Going this coming december for our year end party! Yay!

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  9. nice....makes me wanna go dr :D

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  10. Plan to visit Britania soon, I missed it last time I traveled in Surigao del Sur. How long time will the boat trip take - is it a full day tour? Does it make sense to come there early in the morning from Butuan and after the boat ride go on to stay the night in Cagwait on the road to Tandag or is better to stay in San Augustin?

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    Replies
    1. Time of boat trip will depends on your negotiation with the boatmen. Just coordinate with them accordingly so you will have a hassle-free trip to Britania's islands. Also, coming in early at Britania does makes sense specially if you will travel to other place right after this island hopping.

      Our boat trip took almost 5 Hours... with that, I'll let you decide whether you'll travel or just stay in San Agustin after the boat ride. :) Hope that helps you sir.

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  11. i may visit these islands. though i'm not a fan of beaches, my wife is. thanks for the post. this is really helpful.

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  12. wow! this is so effin great! We'll definitely visit these islands. Your blog is very helpful. Keep posting =)

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  13. hi! how many persons would fit in one bangka?

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    Replies
    1. the number of persons per boat actually depends on the size of the boat you'll get. But the biggest boat I saw.. ahmmm... can carry 7-9 persons.

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  14. me with my friends will be going to Britania ... hope to meet kuya Andy and have some great experience there.. Thanks for the information.. :D

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    Replies
    1. No problem. I dont know if kuya Andy still remember me but please paki kamusta nalang ako sa kanya. Thanks!

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    2. saan po ba namin pwede makita si kuya Andy?

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    3. try nyo po tawagan ung number na nasa blog na to tapos kung di nyo po makontak, ipagtanong nyo nalang siya sa mismong port ng mga bangka. Magkakakilala naman halos mga bangkero dun.

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  15. Thanks for this, Geejay! Very helpful. My family and I will visit next week :)

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Have a safe trip ahead! Enjoy!

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  16. Thank you very much! Very helpful. :)

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  17. thanks for this info. really helps a lot!

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  18. Took note of the details regarding your trip. Looking forward to our Surigao trip:)

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  19. HOPEFULLY WE CAN GO THERE FOR A TRIP ON THIS ISLAND CALLED BRITANNIA THIS WEEK...thanks for the post

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  20. Ilang ang kasya sa bangka? at kailangan my reservation or okay lang hindi?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The biggest boat I saw can fit up to 9 persons. Nope, no need nman magpareserve kasi madaming bangkera dun. Well, wag lang kayang masasaktuhang dagsa ang tao kasi pwedeng magkaubusan

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