Surigao City Travel Guide
Surigao City Overview
Surigao City is a 1st class city found in the northern part of the island of Mindanao. This “City of Island Adventures” is one of the oldest port towns on the island and was founded during the Spanish colonization period. The city can be reached in about 2.5 hours by plane (from Manila), 1-3 hours by water through the nearest province (Dinagat Islands and Southern Leyte), and 4-5 hours by land from the nearest neighboring city (Cabadbaran City and Butuan City). Its vast and diverse topography is what makes this city the gateway to Mindanao and of the province of Surigao del Norte.
Dubbed as “The City of Island Adventures,” the City of Surigao is the gateway to Caraga Region and Northern Mindanao. Being the mother province of the famous Siargao Island and the now-province Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte as a whole is one bustling province in the region. Though I can tell that it is not much seen on the “tourist radar,” the province is slowly making a name for itself.
Best Time to go to Surigao City
Since the Philippines only has two seasons (wet and dry), some parts of Mindanao are wet in the second half of every year. The best time to visit Surigao City is from the months of March to May (the dry season in the Philippines). As it is also the nearest city to Siargao Island, the waves are calmer but the temperatures are quite warmer during these months. The average temperature in Surigao City (and Surigao del Norte) is at 24°C – 29°C.
How to get to Surigao
Since the city is dubbed as the gateway to Mindanao, Surigao can be reached by land through buses and vans that ply within Mindanao. The most notable bus line in the area is Bachelor Tours which services different towns and cities in the province and in neighboring provinces. From Butuan City, Bayugan City, or Cabadbaran City, travel time may take 4 to 5 hours, depending on the traffic. Bus fares as of this writing are at ₱ 284. It also has routes servicing to and from Ormoc City in Leyte. The main transport terminal (Surigao Integrated Bus and jeepney Terminal) is located just beside the Gaisano Capital Mall and is a few steps from the Surigao Airport.
Surigao del Norte has two airports which are located in Surigao City (SUG) and in Del Carmen, Siargao Island (IAO). From Manila, travel time may take around 2.5 hours and around 1 hour from Cebu. Cebu Pacific, and Philippines AirAsia service these airports. Usually, the smaller 2×2 config open-engine planes service the airport.
If you are coming from Southern Leyte, Dinagat Islands, or Siargao Island, the main mode of transportation going to Surigao City is by water. From Southern Leyte (San Ricardo or Maasin City), travel time may take around 4 to 5 hours; from Dinagat Islands (San Jose or Dinagat), it takes around 1 hour, and; around 3-4 hours from Siargao Island (General Luna, Socorro, or Dapa). There are also longer boat routes to and from Cebu, Zamboanga, and Davao. Fastcrafts and ROROs / barges usually ply the area. The ports are found near and along Surigao Boulevard.
Things to know about Surigao City
The City of Surigao has a land area of 245.3 km² or 1/12 of the total land area of the province of Surigao del Norte. The main languages and dialects spoken here are Filipino, English, and Bisaya. Some locals also speak Surigaonon. Cellular signal (Globe, Smart, Dito) in the City is fair to better, especially within the city center. Modes of payment in the city are cash and electronic cash such as credit/debit cards or GCash / Maya in some establishments. The main currency used in Surigao is the Philippine Peso (PH₱).
If you want to know more of Surigao del Norte in-depth, you can contact the Provincial Tourism of Surigao Del Norte at +63 86 826 8064.
Getting in and around the City and Surigao del Norte is quite easy. Minus the traffic congestion during rush hours, wide roads connect one establishment to the other and public transportation is also not a problem. The main modes of transportation within the city are multicabs, tuk-tuks (locally known as “bao-bao”), pedicabs, and tricycles. The minimum fare around Surigao City is about ₱ 10-35, depending on the destination.
If you want to explore Surigao City, read here and know more about the City of Island Adventures!
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