Saturday, January 4, 2014

Surigao del Sur's Britania Group of Islands

It was such a delight of having been able to finally make my Mindanao trip come true. After planning for some trips that did not push through due to work constraints, my 8-day trip to this region this December finally took place. We booked a trip going to Butuan as me and my companions wanted to see Enchanted River, and the easiest way in is via Bancasi Airport. Upon doing some research, I found out that Surigao del Sur has lots to offer other than the pristine river, so I made plans to make our first two days dedicated to Surigao del Sur, and our first stop was at Britania Group of Islands located in Barangay Britania, San Agustin.

Surigao del Sur
Britania, Surigao del Sur

I only knew of the "stressful" way of going to Britania, I said stressful as it would allow us at least three transfers. Upon checking with the Tourist Information staff at Butuan Bancasi Airport,  they directed us to a direct van transfer going to Tandag that will pass by San Agustin. And because we thought it will be more stressful to take tons of transfers with our bags, we decided to take the van, for 350 pesos for a 4-hour trip, I thought it was still worth the price. We settled in at Mac Arthur's Place and after leaving our bags and arranging boat transfers provided by the resort, we started our island hopping experience even though rain comes from time to time.

Surigao del Sur beach

Britania Group of Islands is composed of 24 islets scattered around Lianga Bay, locally famous for its pristine water and very fine, almost powdery sands. It's like combining Boracay Island of Aklan and Hundred Islands of Pangasinan in one province! One of Britania's "selling points" are its different hues and colors of sea water, I remember going to another island that has light green hues then to another with azure waters. It was such a feast to the eyes!

surigao islands
some of the islands around Britania

Hagonoy Island
Our boatmen's itinerary encompassed a tour of four of the islets in the area. First off was Hagonoy Island as this was the farthest. This pear-shape island  has its fair share of coconut trees enough to give shade from the sun, or in our case, light rain. I noticed there is also a kubo that was still not completely constructed. Hagonoy was the exact image in my head when the question "If you will be stuck in island with someone..." pops out.

Britania Group of Islands
Hagonoy Island
Britania Group of Islands surigao

scarce vegetation around the island

the kubo

surigao island blog

Naked Island (aka Vanishing Island)
Naked Island was probably one of the coolest places I have ever been to. Imagine being there and just having... nothing. It is just a long stretch of sand bar in the middle of the sea with only few rocks, without any vegetation available, thus the name. And nope, it's not required that you go in naked here :P Perfect for those who just want to sun bathe and play around.

naked island
Naked Island

naked island surigao
where the waves meet

naked island britania
rocks are what you can find in the island, makes a nice little touch to your landscape photos

naked island britania blog
it's actually raining on the other half of the Britania islands (dark part of the picture)

Buslon Island
My favorite out of the four we visited is Buslon Island. The entire island looks majestic and its sand, oh yes, its sand, was perfect. Some people compare it to Boracay's, but the distinction probably is that Buslon's is like milk powder while Boracay's is like sugar. There are also statues of the Virgin Mary which was put up there by the island's owner. According to our boatmen, during low tide, you can even reach the neighboring Panlangagan island by feet! The location where there are big boulders are not reached by waves so it is the best island for overnight camping. It is where we also stayed for a while when the drizzle turned into heavy rain! :(

buslon island
Buslon Island

Britania Group of Islands sand
the sand was just so fine!

buslon island surigao
rainy view of Britania

Britania Group of Islands travel

Hiyor Hiyoran Island
Last off the list is Hiyor Hiyoran island which is the most "rocky" out of the four due to the copious amounts of sea shells and rocks. We didn't get to stay long since the sun was setting already and we didn't want to be stuck there for the night since the sky is still warning us of rain. The atmosphere and the chunks of wood scattered around the area makes it perfect for a bonfire and overnight camping!

Hiyor Hiyoran Island

a closer look of the island, love the green waters of Hiyor Hiyoran!

hiyor hiyoran island

hiyor hiyoran island surigao

I was really amazed with what I saw in Britania! This is probably one of Surigao del Sur's best kept secrets! I enjoyed the moment of serenity that I would probably only have in Mindanao. I am so glad how their community has been preserving the islands and I hope they would still continue to improve their services. Britania is not just meant for beach fans but also for nature lovers like me. Surigao kept on surprising me when I step on to a new location and Britania sure did set the bar high! Follow my next posts to find out more of not just Surigao but Mindanao's lovely hidden tourist spots you'll surely enjoy to visit!

surigao island
me, one of our boatmen, Z

even though it was raining, the twilight glow still looked lovely

How to go to Britania group of Islands, Surigao del Sur:
From Butuan Bancasi Airport
Option 1: Take direct van from airport that will take you directly to San Agustin. (350 pesos - 3-4 hour trip)
Option 2: Transfer to Butuan Bus Terminal, Take bus going to Barobo Terminal. From there, ride another bus going to Tandag and ask the kundoktor that you want to alight at San Agustin.

From Surigao del Norte
Take a bus bound for Butuan and either take Option 1 or 2.

From Bislig/Hinatuan
Ride bus going to Butuan and alight at Barobo Terminal, from there take a bus bound for Tandag and ask the driver to drop you off at San Agustin.

From Davao
Option 1: There are buses headed for Butuan that also pass by Mangagoy/Bislig. Get off from there then you may take bus going to San Agustin.
Option 2: Take buses bound for Tandag and ask to be dropped off at San Agustin.

From San Agustin drop-off point, take a tricycle or habal habal to the resort or Tourism Office.

Breakdown of Travel Expenses for Day 1, Surigao del Sur (Britania Islands)

surigao itinerary

Day 1
Britania Group of Islands (San Agustin)

Day 2
Enchanted River (Hinatuan)

Tinuy-an Falls (Bislig)

International Doll Museum/Ocean View Park Restaurant (Bislig)
Itinerary and Expenses
2-Day Itinerary, Guide and Travel Expenses for Surigao del Sur

More of Mindanao here


  1. We've been here @ Britania Group of Islands and all I can say is I left my heart there. I am missing the turquoise water as I'm writing this. :)

  2. Hi! Mariane, thank you very helpful yung blog mo just came back from Surigao worth it ang pag travel going to Britania Island although maulan when we came na enjoy pa din namin yung island hopping our boatman Romnick 09299582345 very nice guy pati yung family nya very accomodating

  3. Hi! Mariane very helpful yung blog mo just came from Surigao, we really enjoyed Britania Island although hassle ang travel worth it sya talaga to visit my favorite is the naked island our boatman Romnick 09299582345 very warm & accomodating pati yung family nya thank you Mariane more travel to come....

  4. the best si romnick un service nya sa island hopping,saka mabait buong family nya pati papa nya na nag offer din sila service for lunch sa island hopping.naging safe ang pagiging solo traveller ko nun june 28-30 2015 when romnick also offered me maging tour guide nya. Thanks to him!

  5. The sky seems gloomy. What month did you visit San Agustin? Plus how were you able to negotiate an island hopping trip to Britania? Thanks for this wonderful guide!

  6. It was December 2012 and it was raining when we were at the islands and also at Tinuy-an Falls. Please note that the rates might have changed by now, but I think because we went there during off peak season and of course, using my charm and pambobola skills. haha Our boatmen were really nice and from what I've heard, so are other boatmen/tour guides too, during the rainy season madalang ang isda so their income is not enough. If you are satisfied with their service, do not hesitate to give out some tips :)

  7. How many hours was the whole island hopping and how long did stay in an island?

  8. Planning to go there, excited already! hopefully maganda ang panahon. Salamat sa blog mo, very informative. More destinations to come!

  9. Hello Mariane. Nice post and love your blog. I am coming to butuan city to visit my family on september. I was considering on taking island trip to surigao. Do you have pictures of MacArthur's Place and how did you go about the tour, who was your tour guide?

  10. Do u have any package tour for this?


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