Teeming with natural attractions, the region of Caraga is one of the most alluring treasures of Mindanao. Despite its rugged beauty and plethora of enticing landmarks, this northeastern corner of Mindanao has been largely overlooked by tourists. This makes it even more intriguing, especially for those tourists not afraid to find themselves ‘outside the norm’. From the Argusan Marshes to the azure waters of Siargao Island, Caraga shouldn’t be missed. Travel Authentic Philippines offers a variety of Caraga tours.

This Mindanoan region stretches from mountains to coast, with plenty of tourist gems dotting the landscape. It is abound in natural splendor. The tear-drop-shaped island of Siargao offers unmatched surfing and nature tours. An array of wildlife, including dozens of bird species, awaits visitors in the landlocked marshy region of Argusan. Of course, the bustling metropolis of Butuan, and its surrounding hills, makes for an excellent holiday spot too.

Getting into Caraga can be done by air from Cebu or Manila. A nearby airport serves Butuan. Transportation is in abundance and inexpensive, with vans and jeepneys easy to find. However, public transportation is not always reliable. Getting between the islands of Caraga’s northern coastline is not difficult thanks to ferries and banca services too.

Unfortunately, being part of Mindanao, Caraga has not been spared of the region’s social conflicts. Although it isn’t as involved as other parts of the island, Caraga still experiences attacks, which have led to the issuing of travel warnings by some countries in recent years. Nevertheless, the Philippine government is working tirelessly to help bring an end to the Mindanao violence. Tours typically avoid any danger. It is time to go on Caraga Tours!

Caraga does not have a pronounced wet or dry season. It experiences rain throughout the year, although the heaviest rainfall period does occur between November and February. Caraga sits on the eastern side of the Philippines, so hurricanes are not uncommon here. Most will hit land to the north of Mindanao, but the region is still heavily affected by storm surges, strong winds and dangerous precipitation levels when hurricanes arrive.

What to see and do
Butuan is the largest of the municipalities in the region, and therefore has the greatest range of accommodation. However, Surigao is another popular spot from which tourists can base themselves for a few nights. Nature certainly steals the spotlight in Caraga. Waterfalls, including the magnificent Tinuy-an Falls, are abound, not to mention nature trekking, sparkling surf islands and wildlife-filled lakes. Tourists have plenty of highlights to explore.

Known as the Philippines’ most alluring surf spot, Siargao Island is a stunning, white-sanded cay that is fringed by beautiful reef breaks and coral gardens. Despite its excellent wave-riding opportunities and snorkeling spots, the nature trails on the island are also second-to-none. From here, it is easy to go island hopping. Visit small yet magnificent islands like Naked and Guyam Island, and get lost in their peaceful and rejuvenating charm.

Lake Mainit is one of the region’s most talked-about natural attractions. This massive lake is where tourists can enjoy picnicking, swimming, boating and fishing. In addition, there are several unique caves located around the lake, in the nearby highlands.

If tourists are interested in spelunking, then a trip to the awe-inspiring Hinayagan Cave in Bislig should be at the top of their agenda. Explore the colossal caverns and marvel at the breath-taking formations throughout the cave. While here, uncovering Banbow and Tatol Caves should also be experienced.

Canoeing is a great way to see the stunning natural surroundings of the Agusan Marshland. The tranquil waters and awesome bird-watching possibilities make this an ideal spot for nature-lovers. Near Surigao, magnificent swamp mangroves can be found, which offer the perfect spot for kayakers to ply their trade.

Arguably the Philippines’ most beautiful and famous river, the Enchanted River, welcomes visitors with its alluring emerald water and colorful aquatic life. Take a dip in the cool waters, or take-in the beauty of the encompassing environment by cruising the river by boat.

The region of Caraga is renowned for its low-lying beaches and gorgeous cays. However, it is also home to the highest summit in Mindanao’s northeast. Climbing Mount Hilong-Hilong is highly recommended for hiking enthusiasts. Lakes, waterfalls and a dense forested landscape are all part of the scenery. It is one of the best Caraga Tours.

Much of the region hugs a beautiful coastline, and as such, is home to great seafood. Crabs, lobsters, huge prawns and mussels are all part and parcel of a seafood menu in Caraga…and the taste is simply divine.

Waterfalls also play a huge role in Caraga’s tourism industry. There are many eye-catching cascades found throughout the region, although a few standouts can be found. The Tinuy-an Falls span almost 100-meters, and boasts an incredible pool on its second-tier. Also well-worth checking out are the Ugwad Falls and Kapuka Falls at Lamiawan. The latter has a particularly stunning pool, which is fantastic for swimming beneath the falls.

Local culture
Nature is highly treasured within Caraga. However, local culture also plays an important role in the uniqueness of this majestic destination. Language is predominantly Cebuano, although there are many other dialects used throughout Caraga, including a host of indigenous languages. The region is not short on celebrations either, so visitors on Caraga tours have ample opportunities to experience true Caragan culture through colorful festivities.

The rich heritage of this region is characterized by many events, which are sprinkled throughout Caraga, across the calendar. Every June, the region of Agusan del Sur turns it on for the Naliyagan Festival. This vibrant street celebration includes parades, music, dancing and a plethora of other alluring spectacles.

The Surigao City Bonok-Bonok Maradjao Karadjao Festival is a daylong event that shouldn’t be missed either. It is held in early September annually, as a thanksgiving festival, and boasts plenty of action across the city. Visitors will need to book accommodation early, as Surigao becomes a bustling hive during this time.

One of the more enticing and unique cultural highlights of Caraga is the Manobo tribal experience. The indigenous tribes of the Manobo reside mostly in the Agusan del Sur region. Tours and even tribal homestay opportunities are available, taking visitors well off the beaten track. Join us on our Caraga tours.

Overview

Siargao is a tear-drop shaped island in the Philippine Sea in the province of Surigao del Norte which is part of the Caraga region, Mindanao. Siargao is known as the surfing capital of the Philippines.

One of the best known surfing waves on Siargao and the Philippines is called “Cloud 9″. The island though has much more to offer than only surfing.

It has stunning beaches, a beautiful coastline, the largest mangrove forest reserves on Mindanao, a wonderful lagoon and pristine offshore island, ideal for island hopping. Above all the Siargao people are easy going and very friendly making Siargao a top destination in Caraga. We offer a number of Siargao tours.

Signature experiences

Island tour in local transport

A tour around the island in a local jeepney will give you a quick impression of what the island has to offer. Visit the thriving market of Pilar and sample some local products. Try the delicious buko pie, a cake made of coconut.

Magpupungko beach

Visit the lovely Magpupungko swimming hole at the beach of the same name. At low tide a wonderful clear water pool appears, ideal for a refreshing swim.

Explore the largest mangrove forest

Take a boat trip through the largest mangrove forest on Mindanao.

Island hopping

Go island hopping to three stunning offshore islands with crystal clear water and white sandy beaches.

Crocodile spotting

Go watching the Philippine crocodiles in the Paghungawan Marsh. These relatively small freshwater crocodiles are endemic to the Philippines.

…..Surfing!

Join us on our Siargao Tours.

Overview

The Dinagat Islands are a group of islands and islets centered around the island of the same name.

Dinagat is probably most well-known because it houses the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), a non-sectarian and non-profit organization founded in 1965 by ‘Divine Master’ Ruben Ecleo Sr. His tomb lies in the shrine, a site frequented by visitors.

What we are most interested in are the natural attractions of this relatively unknown group of islands and they are plentiful and unique.

A bat sanctuary can be found in the town of Tubajon while a bonsai forest serves as the main attraction in the town of Loreto. Countless beaches grace the coastline of Cagdianao and the town of Dinagat just south of San Jose, the capital of Dinagat. A number of waterfalls are also scattered within the interior of Dinagat Island.

Dinagat is really a paradise waiting to be discovered. Join us on our Dinagat Tours.

What to do and see

Arriving in San Jose it is definitely worth visiting the shrine of Ruben Ecleo and hear the remarkable story of the PBMA. Drive up to the ‘Palace in the Sky’, the residence of the Ecleo family and enjoy the view of the offshore islands.

Our Signature Experiences

Island hopping

Go island hopping to the many offshore islands with stunning limestone scenery, pristine beaches and great swimming and snorkeling.

A stunning lake

Hike to Bababu Lake, which has an underwater channel linked to the sea, feeding it with salt water from below. But the lack of wind action on the surface results to its striking stillness, allowing the freshwater layer above to maintain its low salinity despite the continuous input of seawater. Bababu Lake is on most Dinagat Tours.

Caving

Visit the Quano Cave, so big and eerie that it will easily dwarf anyone who enters it.

Again, join us on our Dinagat Tours and explore unseen Philippines!

Overview

Agusan Marsh is one of the most ecologically significant wetlands in the Philippines and is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites which means that the Philippine government intends to consider it for nomination in the future. The area acts as storage for rain water and reduces the immediate downstream flow of flood water into Butuan City.

Agusan Marsh is a paradise for nature lovers. During the rainy season, when the water rises to create large lakes, vast number of ducks come to Agusan Marsh to nest. In the dry months, thousands of birds come from as far away as Japan, China and Russia to escape the chilly winter winds of Northern Asia. Over 200 individual species have been known to spend at least part of the year in the marsh, making it one of Asia’s most important transit points for wild birds.

In the very heart of the marsh is a semi-permanent lake where many square kilometres of lily pads, hyacinths and other hydrophytic plants spread out like an enormous green quilt. In the dark tea-colored waters live untold numbers of catfish, carp, soft-shell fresh water turtles, and crocodiles.

It is also the refuge of the rare Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) and Purple Swamp Hen (Porphyrio porphyrio) and the threatened Philippine Hawk Eagle, Spotted Imperial Pigeon and Rufous-lored Kingfisher. We offer Agusan Marsh Tours.

What to do and see

Agusan Marsh is all about making boat trips, enjoy nature and immerse in the local lifestyle of the Manobo tribe who inhabit floating villages in the area. The origin of the Manobo can be traced back to the early Malay peoples who came from the surrounding islands of Southeast Asia. They have their own language. Join us on our Agusan Marsh Tours.

Photo Gallery