Britania Group of Islands
San Agustin, Surigao del Sur
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Composed of powdery white sand and crystal clear waters, the Britania Group of Islands deserves to be described with all the superlatives of beauty.
Went for a day tour during a vacation in Bayugan City in Mindanao. Traveled for an hour to the coast of San Agustin in Surigao del Sur. We arrived early morning at the Marina, the entry point for island hopping. There are 24 islands and islets with 4 major islands feasible for dock-off.
The regulatory rate for boat ferry is Php1500 good for 10-15pax highlighting the trip to Hagonoy Island, Buslon Island, Naked Island, and Hiyor-hiyoran. There is an entrance fee and environmental contribution of Php30 per head.
Each island boasts a natural pristine beauty. Naked Island is like a preview of Camiguin but with a much lesser crowd. It was indeed love at first sight. The kind of love that you never want to leave. We are also lucky to be of good timing since we were the lone wanderers of the islands. Everything is more calm and peaceful.
The nearest airport is in Butuan with a 3-hour travel time to Britania. Traveling for 6 hours from Davao Airport can also be an option to encompass other Surigao destinations in this sample weekend itinerary:
8:00am Arrival at Davao Airport
8:00-12:00nn Land Trip to Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig
12:00-2:00 lunch and falls exploration
2:00-3:30 Travel to Enchanted River in Hinatuan
3:30-6:00pm Swiming at Enchanted River
You can either choose to spend the night in Hinatuan or travel for 1.5hours to Britania and Check-in at any of following resorts in the area: Mac Arthur's Place, La Entrada Resort, or Arena Blanca. Accomodation is within the price range of roughly around Php1500-3000 per night.
You can modify your itinerary and map around the provinces including Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, and Davao. I've never been to Iligan but it can take part in your Mindanao journey. All the routes are easily accessible by taking a bus going from one town to another.
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For this particular entry, I’m including a prologue which quickly narrates how I arrived at the Britania Group of Islands. Since the prologue is just a set-up, I will mark the start and end of the prologue so that if you want to focus on the review then you can simply skip the whole prologue.
*Start of Prologue*
In Q4 2015, I had a huge decision to make regarding a major next step in my life. Since I was under a lot of stress in the environment I was in, I knew that in order to make a sound decision, I had to take myself out of my current situation. I needed to decide logically without relying heavily on just emotion. So one Saturday night, I booked myself a flight to a random city. My random number generator produced a number corresponding to the beautiful city of Butuan. I had no idea what was in Butuan but I booked a flight there and decided that I’ll stay there for 5 days. I did a bit of research in the interwebs and the top 10 lists of Butuan tourist spots included mostly museums, parks, and monuments. #4 in one of the lists I encountered was Robinsons Place Butuan (in my adventure, this was actually the first place I visited).
Once I arrived at Butuan, with a very fuzzy plan in mind, I did the most logical thing to do: post a new Facebook status. I wrote, “Not three, Not two,… BUTUAN!” The post was later noticed by a grade school and high school batchmate who happened to work in the area. He contacted me and offered to take me around Surigao and Agusan. One of the places we decided to visit was the Britania Group of Islands. I am very thankful to this batchmate of mine, in one of our conversations during the trip, we traced back how we knew each other. We determined that we were both scouts in grade 2, and that was it. Haha Small world. Anyway, on to my review.
*End of Prologue*
After a bit of driving, we finally arrived at the jump off site. First thing you will be asked to do is to register and then be assigned to a boat operator. The boat operator/ tour guide will lead you to the boats area which is approximately a kilometer away. If you have your own vehicle with you, then I think it’s important that I tell you that the path to the boat docks is right beside a good number of coconut trees. It is possible (hopefully not probable) that a coconut is dislodged from its perch and drops on your roof or windshield. We were quite worried while driving through that area since the path was already littered with coconuts lying around (which only meant they were falling during that season). If you do not have a vehicle of your own, I believe the tour guides will let you ride on their motorcycles. Before getting on your boats, I suggest you buy water and snacks before going to the islands. Not all the islands have people selling refreshment and snacks. We actually just saw one island which had mini stalls for snacks and drinks. There’s a sari-sari store near the docks if you want to buy before going island hopping.
Our boat was huge given the quantity of people it was going to carry: 4. Two dudes and two guides, one is to one. Haha So we set off after a bit of towing by one of our guides to deeper waters. The water was mesmerizing to look at while we were making our way to our first stop which was Hagonoy Island. It would take a bit of time to get there but I didn’t mind at all because the sea was just lovely to look at. I usually spend 12-15 hours a day seated at my cubicle and so these moments are really breathtaking and memorable. I just couldn’t stop staring at the water, the islands, and all the other elements which were in front of me. I just whispered to myself, “Napakaganda talaga ng Pilipinas.” We finally got to our destination but didn’t immediately get off the boat because it was quite sunny. We applied a bit of sunblock and then went on our way. The island had almost no areas to run to for shade except for a patch of trees at one end of the island (but it was so far away from where we docked our boat…) They have a tarp which states the name of the island near the trees so it seems like tourism is up and running in this place. Resting beneath the trees were several people who had sea urchins with them which they were selling to us. I think our timing was on point, since aside from the four people selling us the sea urchins, we were the only ones on the island. We took a lot of pictures and sat down for a while to reflect about life. After a healthy amount of sun exposure, a good number of pictures, and ample time to explore and walk around the island, my companion and I decided to move on to our next island.
In the middle of our trip, I noticed several other islands which were as beautiful as Hagonoy Island but were simply being bypassed by our boat. I asked our guide if we could get off on any island we pointed out but apparently there are islands there which were already owned. A significant number of the islands were already bought by foreigners, who now technically own these islands in the Philippines. Not sure if it’s a funny thought, but I was a bit disturbed by the fact that we’re making a lot of noise about Spratly Islands sovereignty, while right in our backyard, we were losing ownership of our islands to foreigners. I don’t think we can blame the foreigners in this case though; it’s not as if they finagled the islands (unless they did, oooh might need to research on that). Anyway, this is not my area of expertise, just wanted to share the thought which crossed my mind during that quick conversation.
Our last stop was Buslon island. Yes, we visited just two islands since we needed to get back to Butuan City before it got dark. We skipped one island which we thought was quite similar to Hagonoy Island. Buslon Island had more vendors on it and was visibly more active than Hagonoy. My buddy and I simply found our spot and each opened our can of beer to drink while snacking on our junk food (not the healthiest option but that was what we had at that time). We spent approximately 45 minutes there just staring at the horizon and sharing a lot of stories, opinions, and dreams with each other. We didn’t go in the water since we didn’t feel like it, but I reckon it’s a nice thing to do there since it’s a beach! Haha My companion didn’t know how to swim and so he simply sat on the sand while I kept him company. The sand was very fine and it really reminded me of Boracay (although my last and only visit to Boracay was 4 years ago so my comparison might not be the best, but I think it’s a good approximation). It was very soft and perfect to lie down on. While speaking to each other, I just kept playing with the sand using my feet and hands. The kid in me really enjoyed the sand. I really wish we had more time to enjoy the island but we had to rush back. My batch mate needed to be on time for his flight back to Manila.
So we got on our boat and asked our guides to bring us back. Once we got back to the docks we immediately left to rush back to Butuan City before it gets dark. But if you prefer to have a longer stay, there are several establishments near the registration area and these establishments are open for accommodations. No idea about their rates, my apologies for that. By the way, I didn’t choose a picture of the islands, since they were all equally majestic in their own way. I really wish I could post multiple pictures. I’d even include my pictures of the water. Given the one picture limit, I chose to post a picture of the dock we walked to our boat which is as attractive as the islands but on top of that fact, it also represents as the gateway to all the beautiful islands that can be visited.
I felt very blessed in my trip with all the wonders I was able to visit and I was also truly very lucky to bump into one of my batch mates. He made my trip significantly more exciting and educational (we talked a lot about the history of logging, stories of Mindanao, grade school / high school memories, math, and many more.)
That’s it for now. Take care! Stay mahusay!
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akala mo nag abroad ka sa ganda at linis ng dagat ️️️
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If you're into island hopping, "Britania Group of Islands" is one of the emerging destinations in Northern Mindanao. It is located in the Municipality of San Agustin, Surigao del Sur.
Island hopping costs you around Php 1,000 to Php 1,500 which include visiting to four of the 24 islets scattered along Lianga Bay. There are resorts available in the vicinity if you want to stay a little longer. Among them are La Entrada Resort, Mac Arthur's Place, Oasis Rest House and others.
I suggest that it is better to book to other local boats rather than the one from the resorts so you haggle for a better price. We got a good package deal of Php 1,200. The more you are in a group, the better. Travel tip: Be early to avoid crowds and the scorching heat of the sun.
Included in the package is Hagonoy Island. The first island desination has a long stretch of powdery sand and some coconut and talisay trees on mid part. You can also swim around its clear turquoise waters.
Second destination is the Naked Island. This is just a sandbar. No trees. No nipa hut cottages. If you are brave enough, I dare you to try being naked too..
The third one is Boslon Island. This is my favorite among the four. It is predominantly compose of limestone rock. You can have a quick snack on one side of the island where there is a nice beach. A grotto is also constructed on that area. If your stomach is more on the adventurous side, try the sea urchins or other exotic seafoods. Lechon is also available during our visit. During lowtide, you can walk to the nearby Panlangagan Twin Islets (as shown in the picture) through a connecting sand bar. This is a BONUS for you.
The last and definitely not the least is the Hiyor Hiyoran Island. The only difference from Boslon is that there are plenty of submerged rocks in its waters. Just be careful though when walking around the island.
Truly worth the visit and a must add in your itinerary on your Mindanao travel adventure.
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Visited Surigao Del Norte a week ago and saw this Paradise. This island is called Hagonoy Island. One of the islands of Britania. ️
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Britania Islands are composed of 24 islands and islets scattered all over Lianga Bay. Compared with other island hopping spots in the Philippines, this tour is shorter due to the fact that the islands sit close to each other. In fact, you can just visit 4 or more nearby islands out of the 24 islands and islets. Regardless, you can take pictures of other islands.
Naked Island (picture above)
Don’t expect to see naked people swimming in this island okay, hahaha… I believe it is called naked because you don’t see anything on this island. No trees, no nipa huts, no vendors, nothing but fine white sand and some small rocks. It’s like an elevated sand bar where you can run and let go of all your stress and worries in life, which I did. I also enjoyed swimming here because there were fewer people on the island when I arrived.
Hagonoy is like a wider version of Naked Island where some coconut trees are growing on just one side of the island. There you can see some vendors selling souvenirs. This is my favorite island because of its glamour in simplicity. The sand here is comparable to some best beaches here in the country. I hope that the local government will keep this island pristine forever.
Once you arrive you will instantly compare this island with Boracay not only because it has a Grotto but also because of the quality of the sand. I will go so far as say that is comparable with the sand of Station 1 in Boracay. It is also, the most crowded out of the four islands that I visited. Everything is here; snacks, souvenirs, trees, big rocks, powdery white sand, and clear and crystal water. This is where most people stay longer probably because this is the best place to swim.
All good things must come to an end. The final stop of my island hopping is the Hiyor Hiyoran Island. It is, in my opinion the most picturesque among all the islands. The view of this island from afar alone will make your jaw drop. Although not ideal for swimming because of some rocks underneath the water, it is so beautiful, this is how paradise must look like.
Visit Mindanao! #itstimeforMindanao
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The final stretch of our Mindanao getaway!
Britania Group of Islands was the sole reason why the trip started. Just looking at the online pictures and the thought of frolicking in the virgin beaches kicked off my seat sale hunt for Butuan.
From Enchanted River we rode a van to Barobo to get a bus heading to Butuan. The driver dropped us at Barangay Salvacion. Then from there, we hired two habal-habals to get to La Entrada Beach Resort. We rented one of their boats for the island tour. Costs 1500 pesos and the tour lasted 3 hours.
The tour will take you to 3 amazing islets with clear and pristine water:
Boslon Island - 70% rock shelf and 30% sand. The sand is the finest among the islets that we visited. Reminds me of the sand from Boracay. You can go around the island, take pictures at the grotto or buy sea urchins from the vendors for a quick snack. If you're up for that.
Naked Island - There were no trees around hence the name naked. I believe this is more of a sandbar than an Island? We didn't get to see the whole stretch due to the sea level. Sad to see a few trash on the islet. I hope the local government takes steps in preserving this gem.
Hagonoy Island (as seen on the photo) - My fave! The sand quality is probably comparable to Bohol. Perfect for swimming and selfies! Lol
The price is way affordable compared to the island tours in Coron and El Nido but I felt the time was too short to fully enjoy the beauty of Britania.
If you're planning a visit, my suggestion is to take the tour at 6am. Less people and more fun! That or ask your tour guide not to visit the islets in this order - Hagonoy, Naked, Boslon.
Special thanks to Cai D for providing our itinerary. Detailed and very helpful!
I'd like to thank Lea A as well for inspiring me to travel to Britania Group of Islands. You can read her review about Britania on looloo too. Thanks Bex! Miss you naaaaa!
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No, you're not dreaming. And yes, you can definitely find this piece of paradise here in the Philippines. I was never a fan of island hopping simply because I dunno how to swim and the sea scares me. But man, I was so glad I went! We went to 4 islets and this is the 3rd one. Clear water, suuuper duper fine sand, cute little fishes swimming around. It was so beautiful that I didn't mind the nasty sunburn at all!
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I have never imagined white sands, peaceful beaches, and a relaxing swim under the sun when I said yes to this trip. Who would have thought Surigao del Sur has this piece of paradise, most people only think they'll find in Boracay or Palawan?
Britania Group of Islands in San Agustin boasts of 24 beautiful islets scattered all throughout the island complex as if some nature fairy landscaped it. And yes, these islands are surrounded by creamy white sands!
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One of the many naked islands (or sandbar islet) in the Philippines is this from Britania Group of Islands in Surigao del Sur. It was called such because nothing is there but pristine water and white fine beach.
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HANEP SA GANDA! That's how I would describe the Britania Group of Islands in Surigao del Sur. WOW TALAGA! I've been to several beaches in the Philippines & this is the BEST I've seen yet! I'm so excited to share this with you, I don't even know where and how to begin!
We went here straight from the airport (Davao), travel time was around 4.5 hours via private car. Meron daw bus (Bachelor Express) from Davao city going to Surigao del Sur, just not sure how long travel time will be & you still have to ride a "skylab" which is their habal-habal to go to the beach. Oh di ba free foundation pa! Lol! Astig din yung skylab! Single motorcycle with planks of wood on each side with makeshift bubong made of "lona". Parang spaceship na ewan. Hahaha! Di kami nakasakay kasi meron sasakyan. I would've loved to experience riding in one kahit isang kanto lang.
It was around lunch time when we got here. Majority of the roads are paved, but still bumpy. Pagoda na kami pag dating. Imagine 10 hours travel time from Manila! Ubusan ng freshnes ang labanan!
Pero naman once we saw the beach wala na, smile from ear to ear na lang kami. Oh di ba, that whole air asia mishap turned into something better pa! Should I thank them? Of course not! Na-stress pa rin kami noh! Okay naiiba na nman usapan. Teka na-e-excite nga kasi ako!
Going there it's evident that this place hasn't caught up that much attention yet. There were no huge billboards/ads for resorts and whatnots. There were only 2 sari-sari stores near the shore, some cottages where you can eat, not sleep ha & 1 public CR where you have to pay P5 to take a bath.
From the banca parking (parking talaga!?) it'll only take 10 mins. to go to the nearest island. Yan ang maganda, the islands are just a few mins away fr each other. Meron pang dalawa islands na pwede lakarin lang para makapunta sa kabila. Galing lang! Unlike in Palawan na layo-layo. They say there are 6 islands that people can go to if you have a whole day. Since half day na lang kami, 3 islands lang napuntahan namin. Pero solid na rin!
Hagonoy Island (pictured above) - This is my favorite! Its beauty is so unreal! Eto yung nakikita ko pag nag-google ng beautiful beaches. Ganun level! Crystal blue water, fine white sand & few coconut trees. Our Davao based friends had their pre-nup on this island. Ang swerte di ba!?
Boslon Island - This is were we had lunch. It has the most greenery & rock formations. Mas malilim din kaya perfect dun kumain. There were 2 other groups when we got there. Mga 20 lang kami total. Pwede maikot yun island & may mini cave chu2 din. Not really a cave as in cave basta effect lang! Punta na lang kayo para makita nyo. Dito daw pwede mag-camp in case you wanna stay overnight.
Naked Island - Dito pwede maghubad! Naked nga eh! Hindi joke lang. #pervAlert. Naked island kasi sandbar lang. As in walang kahit ano puno o halaman. Kung ang goal mo ay magpaka-nognog dito ka dapat magtagal. Hahaha!
Total damage was less than P2,000, including boat rent P1,400 and lunch of inihaw na isda, 1 kilo of rice and 2 bottles of 1.5 softdrinks. We bought these from the sari-sari store. Tindahan at talipapa in one, san ka pa! Sila na rin nagluto.
We left at 4:30pm coz we still had to travel around 1.5 hrs. to Bislig where we'll stay for the night.
Kung bet mo beach - swimming, snorkeling chill chill, tipong kalma lang. Dito perfect pumunta! Pero kung hanap mo activities like banana boat, fly fish mga ganyan wala pa nun dito.
I therefore conclude, the Philippines is a much more beautiful country than what we credit it for.
PS: Your techie self won't get bored coz 3G is available. Ano pa hahanapin mo davah!?
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