10 Tourist Spots That Put The Wow In Surigao


It is every Filipino traveler’s goal to hop to as many islands as possible, checking out what each one has to offer. If you’re looking for this kind of back-to-back adventure, Surigao City, dubbed as “The City of Island Adventures”, is where you need to be heading to. Surigao boasts of 17 islands and islets along with 21 villages, which means there are a ton of beaches, coves, and caves to explore!

But first, a quick geography lesson. Surigao City is far from the iconic Enchanted River in Hinatuan and Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig, which are both of which are in Surigao del Sur province. Surigao City is also different from the famed surfing island of Siargao, although they belong to the same parent province–Surigao del Norte. Surigao City is the capital of Surigao del Norte and is the gateway to the many islands nearby.

1. Pebble and Rock Beaches

The city’s most accessible, most photographed and cheapest getaways, these beaches are situated in the coastal barangays of Looc and Mabua-Ipil, both peppered with smooth, multi-sized pebbles and rocks. They are dissected by a low cliff which you can climb for a sweeping view of the sea, the hills and the two beaches.

Mabua Pebble Beach

Mabua Pebble Beach by Mark Go of Nomadic Experiences

2. Day-Asan Floating Village

Surrounded by a 550-hectare mangrove forest, Day-Asan is a village on stilts. You can enjoy the sceneries it has to offer by going on a two-hour pump boat cruise which will let you discover concealed pockets of fine beaches, areas for kayaking and stand-up paddling, and aquaculture farms that raise premium lobster.

Day-Asan Mangrove Forest

Kayaking and stand-up paddling at Day-Asan Mangrove Forest

3. Buenavista Cave

Some 30 minutes away from Surigao City by boat is Hikdop Island where you’ll find Buenavista Cave. Living up to its name (which means “good view” in Spanish), it has impressive stalagmites, stalactites, and the gleaming “King’s Throne” (a formation that looks like a chair) for spelunkers to feast their eyes on.

Buenavista Cave

Inside Buenavista Cave

4. Pagkawasan Beach

Located in the adjacent cove, Pagkawasan Beach is where tourists from Buenavista Cave laze around, eat lunch and snorkel in the coral gardens just a few meters away. The shore is just about 75 meters long, but its powdery sand and secluded location will take you away to a different time and space.

Pagkawasan Beach in Hikdop Island

Pagkawasan Beach in Hikdop Island

5. Punta Bilar

Plunge into this scuba diving spot and be amazed by the lush marine sanctuary that lies beneath, teeming with dense coral reefs, nudibranchs, notably the “Spanish dancer”, juvenile bamboo sharks, moray eels, cuttlefishes, and octopuses. If you are not a certified diver yet, you can simply snorkel and be similarly amazed by the aquatic life.

Punta Bilar Dive Site

Punta Bilar Dive Site

6. Silop Caves

This cave system, 20 minutes away from the city proper, is a terrestrial wonder with 12 chambers and awesome limestone formations that are fit even for beginners. A few years back, Silop Caves was the host venue for the annual congress of the Philippine Speleological Society, the archipelago’s federation of cavers.

Silop Cave

Inside Silop Cave

7. Museo nan Surigao Heritage Center

Sitting at the far end of Surigao Boulevard, Museo nan Surigao gives you a glimpse of the city’s past. It also showcases the archaeological, geological and mineral treasures of the city, (it was “Asia’s nickel capital” at one point in time), as well as that of the Surigao provinces.

Surigao Heritage Center

Surigao Heritage Center

8. Battle of Surigao Strait Museum

Standing at the Luneta Park, Battle of Surigao Strait Museum chronicles World War II’s last major naval encounter where US forces routed the Japanese Navy in 1944 after Douglas MacArthur’s return. It has a collection of vintage photos, scale models of warships, and excavated war material which take you back to the historic battle.

Japanese torpedo at Battle of Surigao Strait Museum

Japanese torpedo at Battle of Surigao Strait Museum

9. Mamanwa Tribal Village

While this is not your usual scenic tourist spot, this settlement in Brgy. Mat-i will give you an understanding of the indigenous way of life of the Mamanwa tribe, the aboriginal settlers of the Surigao and Agusan provinces.

Mamanwa Tribe in Mat-i, Surigao City

Mamanwa Tribe in Mat-i, Surigao City

10. Bonok-Bonok Maradjaw Karadjaw Festival

Surigao’s rich culture is showcased in this cultural event, a ritual dance that originated from the Mamanwa tribe. Bonok-Bonok means heavy downpour, while Maradjaw Karadjaw means all the very best, based on folk belief that heavy rains bring a bountiful harvest. It is usually held on September 9, rain or shine, a day before the city’s patronal feast of San Nicolas Tolentino on September 10.

Where to Stay:

Budget travelers can settle in at Le Chard Place which is just a few steps away from the airport and the bus terminal. While those who want a more luxurious experience can stay at Philippine Gateway Hotel, The Grande Suites, or Hotel Tavern Surigao which has a live band. For a beach setting in the outskirts, Almont Beach Resort and Fiesta Resort Surigao are your best bets.

Le Chard Place

National Highway, Surigao City
Surigao del Norte, Philippines

+63 86 231 5107


Philippine Gateway Hotel

National Highway
Surigao City, Surigao del Norte

+63 86 826 1283



The Grande Suites

Ramon Kaimo St.
Surigao City, Surigao del Norte

+63 86 826 6396



Hotel Tavern Surigao

Borromeo St.
Surigao City, Surigao del Norte

+63 86 826 8566



Almont Beach Resort

Surigao City, Surigao del Norte

+63 86 826 7544



Fiesta Resort

Ipil, Surigao City
Surigao del Norte, Philippines

+63 920 415 3086


Where to Eat:

Indulge in the city’s array of dining outlets offering kinilaw (raw seafood dish) and grilled seafood. Ocean Bounties Seafood Market is the hands-down choice for fresh and succulent harvest from the sea. Other affordable options are Same Place, Islands Seafood Restaurant, Bugsay Seafood Restaurant, and Bastie Coffeeshop.

Getting There:

Surigao can be reached by air from Cebu via Cebu Pacific or Pal Express, or by sea via Cokaliong Shipping Lines. You can also fly to Butuan City and then take a 3-hour van ride from the airport to Surigao.

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About Author

Bernard Supetran

BLS is like MacGyver's Swiss Army knife--a mapmaker, editor, travel writer, tourism consultant and lecturer, photojournalist, PADI-certified scuba diver and advocate for the marine ecosystem. His main preoccupation though is editor of EZ Maps, the country's leading tourist map brand, which takes him to the entire breadth of the archipelago.