Travel and tourism took on a social dimension as Surigao City’s “Suroy Surigao” embarked on its “voluntourism program” aimed at helping the communities they visit, while touring “The City of Island Adventures”.
The event, launched last summer, is a domestic tourism program of Mayor Ernesto Matugas involving the Women of Worth (WOW) Surigao to rediscover the city’s charming natural wonders which are largely unexplored by locals.
WOW Surigao is a newly-formed association of businesswomen, civic leaders and professionals organized by City First Lady Filomena Matugas to be a partner of the local government in promoting domestic tourism and community service.
He said that Suroy Surigao is a unique undertaking because participants will also donate school bags and supplies to needy children of the city’s 54 barangays. “Suroy” means travel in the Visayan language.
“Surigao takes pride in its merry mix of cultural, natural and island adventure destinations which can rival even the established tourist spots,” Matugas said.
He added that by incorporating the Voluntourism component, visitors can have a direct part in making the communities feel the immediate benefits of tourism.
Beach lovers can bask in the clear waters of Looc Beach and Mabua-Ipil Pebble Beach, a unique kilometer-long stretch which boasts of smooth, multi-sized pebbles instead of sand. Another hideaway is the Manjagao Mangrove Forest which is sanctuary to teeming species of fish and other marine life.
Day-Asan Floating Village, also called the “Little Venice of Surigao”, offers a quaint view of houses on wooden stilts amidst mangrove forests which can be accessed only by boat.
A unique attraction is the 391-meter long Cantiasay-San Pedro Wooden Foot Bridge, the longest in the country, which offers the thrill of crossing two islands on foot.
For spelunkers, there are Silop Cave and Buenavista Cave whose impressive limestone formations, stalagmites, stalactites and magnificent columns will surely capture their fancy.
Matugas said that Surigao also is also an emerging dive hotspot with its lush underwater marine life and ship wrecks at Punta Bilar.
The city is also host to historic spots such as the marker of Battle of Surigao Strait, a significant naval battle where Allied forces defeated the Japanese during World War II leading to the liberation of the archipelago.
Punta Baluarte, an observatory during the Spanish and Japanese periods, serves as the best vantage point to the city.
Visitors can get a glimpse of local culture at the Surigaonon Heritage Center which houses archeological artifacts found in the province, as well as a rich collection of rocks and minerals.
Considered as Mindanao’s northern gateway, the city is the commercial hub of provinces of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands, it is composed of various island villages and coastal areas making it a haven for water sports and beach activities.
It is also the jump-off point to the province of Dinagat Islands, as well as the islands of Siargao and Bucas Grande, which are known for their surfing sites, game fishing areas, mangrove forests and amazing coves.
“With Suroy Surigao and Voluntourism, we hope to set the trend in promoting a responsible and responsive domestic tourism industry,” Matugas concludes.
It will be a twin celebration as Surigao celebrates its 41st Cityhood Day on August 31 and the Maradjaw Karadjaw Bonok Bonok Festival on September 10, the city’s patronal fiesta in honor of St. Nicholas of Tolentino. The fest, one of the most sought-after events in Mindanao, is a ritual dance which originated from the Mamanwas, the early indigenous settlers of Surigao and was later fused as a tribute to St. Nicholas.
- Daily direct flights to Surigao City via Air Philippines Express or Cebu Pacific
- Fly to Cebu, then take a connecting flight to Surigao City via Cebu Pacific or take an overnight boat trip via Cokaliong Shipping
- Fly to Butuan City via Cebu Pacific and take a three-hour bus trip to Surigao City
- Take a 36-hour Philtranco bus trip bound for Davao which passes through the stretch of Maharlika Highway in Bicol, Samar and Leyte. Get off at Lipata Port in Surigao City and then a jeep going to the city proper