Davao to Surigao Del Sur : DIY

We booked our Davao flight via Cebu Pacific December of last year. At first, our original plan was to just explore Davao City and Samal Island, but then one of our friend suggested to why not go and visit Surigao Del Sur too, so that we can see the famous Tinuy-An Falls and Enchanted River… and why not right? hitting two birds in one stone 🙂

So just this March 07 at around 09:00am, we arrived at Davao Airport.


We took a cab (paid P300 – should only be around P180-220 if the driver used his meter) to bring us to Davao’s Ecoland Terminal. This is basically the point of transportation here if you need to go to several provinces – from Davao City.

According to our research prior to taking this actual trip (which we followed), from Davao Ecoland Terminal we should take a bus going to Magangoy Terminal (via Bachelor Bus) >> then take another bus with a “San Franz” sign-board and ask the driver to drop us at Hinatuan Terminal; since there’s no direct route from Davao to Hinatuan.

But that route was actually NOT advisable as per the owner of Marky’s Hostel where we stayed at in Sirugao. We were told that from Ecoland Terminal, we should have taken a bus with a “Butuan” sign-board (via Bachelor Bus) then ask the driver to drop us at San Franz Terminal >> then we have to take another bus with a “Magangoy” sign-board and then ask the driver to drop us at Hinatuan Terminal.

So you see, both routes are actually correct, but we hope that we followed the advise from Marky’s Hostel, because our experience was really risky and a bit scary! but we just took it as a lesson learned… “always follow the locals advise :)”

Here’s why…

From DVO Airport, we arrived at the Ecoland Terminal at aroud 9am.

Once we entered the terminal, we actually saw the line of buses going to Butuan, but then we saw the line of buses going to Magangoy as well. Then this bus driver of Magangoy told us that it would be better if we took the Magangoy route as the Butuan ride would take 8 hours, compared to them which would only take 5 hours. So of course, we took the Magangoy route instead, because we’re really hoping to reach Hinatuan before it gets dark. But it was a mistake…

The Magangoy bus left Ecoland Terminal at around past 11:00am. Mind you, the Magangoy route only have ordinary buses so imagine our discomfort from 11am-3pm because the sun was too hot that time. But then we just told ourselves that at least we got to experience fresh air again 🙂

But as 5pm rolled down and we were still on the road and it’s dark outside already, we started to get worried. We then asked the driver if we’re close to Magangoy but then he told us that it’s still an hour away. I told him that I thought they said that it would only take us 5 hours to get there, but then he replied that it’s 7 hours. We didn’t argue as we don’t want to ruin our momentum, so we just sat there and continue our conversation and enjoy the moment.

Also, once we reached the boarder of Surigao, it felt like the time slows down. Everything feels laid back ♥

Here’s a photo I took that looks so beautiful. It looks like the great “Zhangjiajie National Forest Park” of China. It looks surreal! Sorry if I wasn’t able to really capture it :p


So finally, we arrived at Magangoy Terminal at around quarter to 7pm. And since we thought that we will reach the Magangoy Terminal at 5pm, we didn’t bother to have lunch so imagine how hungry we were when we arrived at the terminal.

So we decided to stopped by at one of the mall in the area and bought our take-out dinner. It was just a 3-5 minutes walk from the Magangoy Terminal, depends on how heavy your bag is ;p

And so here comes the scary part… After buying our dinner, we went back to the road to take another bus going to Hinatuan Terminal, only to found out that the buses going to San Franz that will pass Hinatuan is only until 5pm. So I called our contact at Marky’s Hostel and was told that we should probably just spend the night at Magangoy since there’s no alternative way.

But then we saw several tricycles at the Magangoy terminal and told us that they can take us to Hinatuan Terminal for only P350. The ride they said would take 1 hour. So my friend and I took it and we left Magangoy Terminal at 07:25pm.

The design of their tricycle is of course different from the ones we have here in manila. The inside of the tricycles are divided into two. So my friend and I decided to take seat separately as we have big bags with us. She took the front seat and I took the back seat. The back seat has this face-to-face kind of seat… so I took the left side and then put my other bags on the right side.

The first half of the ride was okay, because there are still houses on the road and lights on the street, but after reaching the other half, it was just BLACK. I was facing the front road so I really didn’t notice it at first as the tricycle have this front light attached on it… but none on the back.

So imagine my reaction when I turned around and saw nothing! As in it’s just totally black that I can’t even see the sky, the road, and  the trees on the side because it just sooo dark! I felt goosebumps all over! Geeez! So I told my friend about it and so we pulled-out our flashlight. My friend positioned her flashlight on her side and I pointed mine at the back without looking (I hope you know why…)

So that’s how we spend the half of the tricycle ride, me facing the front as I’m too scared to check my back because geez! I’m pretty sure that I will see “something”!!! Hahahaha! It was really a scary experience for me and my friend but we just add it as part of our so-called “adventure” 🙂

And finally! at 08:40pm we reached the Hinatuan Terminal. We were then picked up by another tricycle to bring us to our accommodation which is just 5minutes away from Hinatuan.

We reserved a fan room at Marky’s Hostel for two nights for only P250/person/night. Good deal isn’t it? Also, Marky’s is by far the most affordable and safest accommodation if you want to stay in Surigao. They have rooms that can accommodate up to 20 people. I will also recommend this place as the owners (elder couple) are very accommodating.


We were just so thankful that God guided us all throughout our ride during that 1hour, because half of it was just total darkness and there’s really not much of other vehicles on the area that we even felt that we’re the only ones on the road that time.

But GOD is good and He just probably prepared our adrenaline for what awaits us for the rest of our first ever Mindanao trip 🙂


Please, see my separate post about:

  • Tinuy-An Falls
  • International Doll House
  • Enchanted River
  • Samal Island
  • Bat Cave
  • Hagimit Falls






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