We spent Easter Sunday of 2017 by the beach with warm smiles and good food. It definitely was a very chill Sunday and we spent the rest of the day there. My family is well-known to travel spontaneously without a pre-determined itinerary and with that, by Monday morning, we were told that we needed to pack our bags because we’d be leaving for Surigao the next day. Before we knew it, we were on the road.
From our place in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental, we traveled to San Francisco, Agusan del Sur via Butuan. It took us about 7 hours to get there since we stopped to have lunch at Jollibee in Butuan and we eventually got lost because our convoy got separated at the rotonda because instead of following the San Francisco route, we took the Surigao City route which took us about 30 minutes to get back on track. When we arrived in San Francisco, we tried to find a good place to stay that could accommodate 23 people. After about 30 minutes of searching, we settled at the Escleto Microtel. Their rooms range from P700.00-P1,800.00 a night exclusive of breakfast. Their breakfast costs P150.00 per person which is a silog meal (your choice of viand depending on availability) with coffee, Milo, or juice.
The next morning, we were on the road again for a good 2 hours on an 80.4km journey to Britania, Surigao del Sur. There were a lot of resorts to choose from once we got there but we decided to stay in Arena Blanca. We rented a house which cost P8,000 per night. It was a gorgeous home with 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms (first and second floor), a terazza, a fully furnished kitchen, first and second floor living room and a dining area. You could make use of all the contents of the house including dishes, cutlery, shampoo, conditioner and body wash which didn’t come in tiny packets, they actually came in full-sized bottles in both bathrooms. Plus points for the bidet! (All photos from their Facebook page, hover over the photos for captions)
House exterior and first floor interior
Second floor interior
After settling-in, we then trotted along the scenic boardwalk right outside the house to alight the pump boat waiting to take us on our island-hopping tour. The tour of the 4 major islands costs P1,500.00 for a group of 10-15 people.
It took less than 20 minutes for our pump boat to get to the first island, Hagonoy. It’s a small island dotted with Coconut and Talisay trees. According to the guide, this is usually the first island on the itinerary since it’s the one farthest from the take-off point.
We spent only about 30 minutes on Hagonoy since we arrived at around 10:00 am and the sun was just blazing. The pump-boat operator suggested that we proceed with the tour to the next island, Naked Island.
Naked Island is no misnomer. It legitimately has no shade whatsoever. It’s a long strip of powdery fine white sand which basically makes it more of a sand bar rather than an island. The water around it is clear as crystal and as enticing as it was, the heat was just unbearable.
We probably spent 15 minutes on the island purely for taking photos because it was just too hot and we were told that there’d be seafood on the next island, Hiyor-hiyoran. Seafood is definitely one of those offers my family simply cannot refuse. It’s kryptonite to us.
Hiyor-Hiyoran Island is one of the larger islands where tourists get their fill of freshly caught seafood. They have stalls and tables where you can choose from a variety of seafood. Crabs the size of your hand, Sawaki as creamy as can be, shellfish cooked in coconut milk and varieties of fish the locals can prepare for you “SuTuKil” or Sugba/ grill, Tula/La-uya or fish and vegetable stew or Kilaw/ Ceviche. They also had choices of “puso” or hanging rice and rice platters in varying sizes. You could even ask for “dukot” or “crunchy rice” as some people like to call it. Plate after steaming plate of fresh seafood were brought to our table.
These photos aren’t even an eighth of all the food we had. There was so much food being served to us, all cooked differently but with no doubt delicious. After the plates of mouth-watering seafood were devoured and our tummies were round with satisfaction, we were off to our last island on the list, Buslon Island.
Buslon Island’s most prominent feature are the rock formations on the island. There’s also a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on one side of the island which unfortunately wasn’t the side our pump-boat anchored. Though you could cross the island through the crevices inside the rock formation on the center of the island, I wasn’t one to venture into tight spaces.
Right across Buslon Island are the Panlangagan Twin Islands. People can actually walk to the Twin Islands during low-tide all thanks to the strips of white sand connecting the islands. The water surrounding the Twin Islands are said to be great for snorkeling. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to check out the Twin Islands because of the time constraint.
We enjoyed lounging around in our floaties on the shoreline of Buslon while my cousins took a ride on the Banana Boat in the scorching heat of the sun. I enjoyed the scenery, the food and the company so much that time just flew by and before I knew it, we were on our final boat ride back to the resort… Or so I thought.. When suddenly our pump-boat operator stopped in the middle of the ocean and told us we could jump off the boat. Without hesitation, one by one we jumped off and within a few minutes, there we were paddling around in horrifyingly deep water with nothing but sand below us. Everyone was having such a good time, the sunshine was right above us and the ocean was just sparkling turquoise. That afternoon, there couldn’t have been a more accurate definition of care-free.
Special thanks to one of the best laboratory preceptors, Ma’am Lera for suggesting to blog about my travels. I really enjoyed writing and editing the photos for this post 🙂
ARENA BLANCA RESORT
Britania, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur
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