Jan 12, 2011

Surigao City: It's Restday, and the Rest is History.

Northern Mindanao Solo Roadtrip: Part 2 of 3
November 28, 2010 

Part 1 of 3 - Gingoog City: Climb-turned-roadtrip

Back in Manila, Sunday  is considered as everybody's restday but it doesn't mean that people do actually rest. The streets near the malls and most establishments are bustling with people who wants to spend restday....not resting.

So I wokeup before my alarm went off. I sat there in the bed droned in the white noise of the telly, and contemplating on my plans for the day. I was already dressed, ready to go mountain climbing, but was having a heavy heart on the matter. There are few things to consider like my remaining resources a.k.a. CASH, and I was a bit torn between spending another day in Gingoog City or setting out to explore another land. I made my decision as I went back to sleep. Lol.

Gingoog bus terminal

I forgot to have some breakfast because I deemed that I am running late already. So I just sat there, and waited for the bus bound to Butuan. The travel took about 2 hours, and by that time I was already famished. When we arrived at Butuan bus terminal, I quickly boarded a bus to Surigao City while munching on the chocolate dip doughnut I bought from Mister Donut. 

while in Butuan terminal

There were no buses plying straight to Surigao City in either Agora nor Gingoog Terminal. As we departed from the Butuan terminal, I caught sight of the famed Mt. Hilong-hilong. It is located in the town of Cabadbaran, but also sits prominent in the Butuan City landscape. 

giddy there's Mang Inasal!

shy Mt. Hilong-hilong range
The road travel has been a smooth one. We keep on stopping to pick up passengers on the road. Next stop is the town of Cabadbaran, the home of Mt. Hilong-hilong. 

the roof's on fire!

never-ending niyugan

From Cabadbaran northward, there is an unending horizon of coconut trees. I think such sight made me dizzy for some unknown reason. I could not recall the series of towns that we passed by to get to Surigao City. We arrived at the terminal around past lunchtime, I was hungry but I could still manage to travel to the city proper. There is a traveler's lodge one story up from the where the bus dropped us off. 

The terminal is a bit far from civilization (lols), but there are motorella and multicab transport that will get you to the city proper. Fare is around php10.00.

Surigao City terminal

I don't know if it's just me and my disappointment, but I could feel melancholia in the air. It's... oh so quiet. The place looks purtty dead to me. So I rode a rella to the town proper and instructed the driver to bring me to Navarro St. I hopped on at the back, there's a lot of free space there. I alighted in front of E.Y. Pension House just in front of my destination, Metro Pension Plaza. I tried to inquire first at the E.Y., and was wowed by the classy atmosphere at the reception. The room rates are a bit steep, with the single standard going for as high as php780.00 a night. I didn't bother to inspect it as I was thinking there would be other choices so I half-heartedly went down and proceeded to the nearby Metro Pension.

signboard pa lang winner na!

reception area: nice touch

the hallway

very purple smoking area and not so nice backdrop

I arrived at the Metro Pension and I began to wonder how it would be here. The place seemed unkempt and very open. It looked like an old hospital. The mid-aged attendant doesn't look so friendly. There's a guy that is on the phone which I overheard that he transferred from another lodge to this place. A thought passed... how could he? I requested for an ocular of the room single standard room they priced at php500.00 per night. 

so clean yet so... creepy?

The room was not the spacious, and it looked dusty inside. Plus the toilet is not that inviting. Had they priced it at php350.00, I might take it but I don't think it is worth my php500. I didn't lose hope though, of finding a nice place to stay. I rode a rella again bound to San Nicolas where I spotted an inn earlier. I went there, and the attendants seemed cunning. They wouldn't offer me the single room, instead they want me in the double room, paying almost double the price. But I have been a solo traveler for the longest time so I could see the tricks they are playing. So off I went out as fast as I could and they are trying to win me back by offering another alternative but I didn't want to hear about it so I went on. After a few more lodges I have oculared, I decided that I better part with my php780.00 and I will be comfortable than stay in a not-so-cheap accommodation that is not worth the money they are asking for. I checked-in at E.Y. Tourist Pension and ordered Tempura meal for php120.00, I was really famished I wouldn't be bothered to go to the town proper to eat a decent meal. 

hard but comfy bed

curtain but no window

basketball huh? not me!

nifty toilet but crammed shower

I don't see why people think banana ketchup is acceptable as dip in every occasion

After lunch, I took a shower and went out to stroll around and see what there is to see. I went to the internet shop first to do some research, turns out there isn't much in the city proper. Tourist gems lies in the coast and beaches and islands of Surigao. This made me sad, I have very little money left, just enough to get me through the end of this trip.

To pass some time I decided to walk around aimlessly. I walk streets, alleys, took pictures, walk some more, pretend to be a local. I noticed that almost all the shops are closed except for those located at the heart of the city/town. 

foreboding weather

city rotunda

i realized i was heading towards the bus terminal

wonder if this is same as the community college

By that time I realized that it is already getting late so I hopped on a rella to save time in going back to downtown. I again alighted to I don't know where.... and walked on and on and inspected several lodgings that I passed by.

I forgot the name. lols

feeling primadonna ako kaya rejected tong CR na toh

The above pictures show an inn/lodge for php500.00 a night. It doesn't look bad from the pictures, but I tell you the room is really dusty because of its proximity to the street and the whole area is moldy. This is where the backpacker in me fades and the turista self took charge. BTW this is located at the back of San Nicolas street.

San Nicolas Church after mass

php 5.00 mangga

My hunger is hard to ignore at this time. After eating the mangga, I noticed that there is a cluster of pips hovering on a small stall. I got curious but walked on. Curiosity got better of me and I retraced back my steps, and ended up in the adjacent stall that peddles the same food but there were no customer but me. 

mabentang ngoyong stall

I saw a piece of lumpia-like apparition in front of me. Clueless, I searched the stall for an answer. The alien thing is called "ngoyong". Ngoyong is chopped dabong, thickly breaded with flavorful flour and has varieties like "over-peppered" breading, and dabong with carrots. I like the idea of eating it with sweet fishball sauce. It cost php5.00 each if with carrots and php3.00 for the plain ones.

Ngoyong varieties

Ngoyong #1: Nicely breaded, parang fried chicken

Ngoyong #2: Peppered na kulang sa salt

This light snack only provided temporary relief from my hunger. I walked about looking for a nice hole-in-a-wall foodie place, to no avail so I kept my choices to Jollibee, Chowking, and Greenwich along the town plaza.

dinnur is served!

After a hearty dinner of 1 double sized pizza and cobra, I just watched TV to pass time. I only have php1,500.00 in my pocket, and I still have one day stay at Butuan before I go back to Manila via Lumbia Airport. This made me uneasy and a bit nervous, but still confident that I will get through this botched roadtrip.


paranoid much?

I woke up bit late this time, enjoying the comfort while it lasts, hehe. The room was really homey. I packed my things, and hurriedly checked out. I don't have change and I worried about the fare to terminal. I then decided to have breakfast in Chowking with their congee. Blech! It's like rice with water only! Walang kalasa-lasa, antigas pa ng century egg. Parang one century old talaga! My only purpose is magpapalit ng php500.00, so I settled and did not complain.

After that yuch moment breakfast, I craved for ngoyongs. I headed straight to the stalls, and found that only one stall is open. Good thing it is my favorite ngoyong variety, with carrots of course. I bought two and ate one as I strolled in the plaza before I rode a multicab to the bus terminal. Oh but before that, I passed by the church and saw that they actually have an enforced dress code. Wow!


Lol. The sign said "Mga damit na hindi pwedeng papasukin sa loob ng simbahan kapag may misa". Before finally departing the city that literally slept through that Sunday... I took some pictures of the town center in San Nicolas

Ngoyong stalls

Surigao City Chess Club

jose rizal?

century tree. i think.

bean green and creme coffee shop

city hall

merry christmas surigao city! :)

it's gaisano, i think

I am now ready and excited for my next destination: Butuan City. I am still hopeful that I can bag at least one peak on this trip, Mt. Mayapay being my last hope... and with only php1,500 in my pocket. Whew.... 


  1. Wow, P800 for a room in Surigao? I think I'm more of a backpacker than you. I never get a room over P300. hehe. I've been there once centuries ago and I found it too quiet din. Some things really don't change!

  2. Hay, that was a botched trip from the start. I became too obsessed with the comfort of accommodation when I should be concentrating on the climb. It made me regret booking a room in day 1 (Gingoog), when I should headed directly to Brgy. Civoleg and stayed with the locals there. In the end I ran out of money, lols.

    There were cheaper room rates there, but I think the cheapest I found during ocular was 400 on an aircon room. I just couldn't take the room not worth the price so I settled with the php780.

    Plan A was to do a climb on Gingoog and Butuan. You can read what happened in Gingoog, where I was jinxed with local tourism. It made me "prima donna" and focused on comfort more than seeing and bonding with the place.