Have you been to Dinagat Islands? If not yet, then make sure to add this in your travel bucket list!
We did a 1-day island hopping tour here and we loved it so much that we’re planning to visit again in the future. My impression is that Dinagat Islands is easily one of the most virginal destinations in the country. If you like untouched nature attractions or off-beat destinations, you’ll like it as well.
Here’s a travel guide to Dinagat Islands province plus island hopping tour!
Our island hopping experience
We were on a 5 day trip in Surigao del Sur/del Norte and we reserved a day to explore Dinagat Islands. At that time, there wasn’t much online info about this place so I based our itinerary from friends’ advice. Looking back, and island hopping tour deserves at least 2-3 days.
Our itinerary included seven islands and the tidal pool in Libo. However, we encountered bad weather so we had to keep the tour short as possible.
Our first stop was the tidal pool in Pangabangan Island in Libjo. It wasn’t originally included in the tour, but I told the boat operator that we wanted to stop by here specifically. The boat ride was choppy and there was intermittent rain. We were already wet before we’d made it to the island.
As our boatmen were securing our ride on the shore, my companions went ahead to the pool and I heard one said, “Shet, ang ganda.” And truly, it was.
It’s simply one of the most beautiful tidal pools, and our photos simply don’t do justice. It was a dazzling blue-green and located just a few meters from the ocean. It looked like it jumped from a fairy tale book, a “magical lagoon”.
It’s possible to trek on the cliff-side to get a better photo of the lagoon. However, it was raining then and we were pressed for time. Our boatmen were a bit nervous to stay longer since they were unsure what the sea conditions would be. I was actually disappointed that we our photos for this day were mostly misty or gray, but ah, there’s always a next time.
We had lunch in Sundayo Beach in Hagakhak Island. There used to be a resort here, but the huts were torn down and only the foundations remain. We sat down somewhere to eat and enjoyed fresh coconuts.
We then stopped by Aga Island, a private property that belongs to a local politician. Aga Island has been abandoned for unknown reasons. Stairs lead to the vacation house that’s still standing on top of the island’s cliff. The view from above overlooks the vast green sea of Dinagat Islands and several islands in the distance.
There’s a small beach on one side of Aga Island, where we spotted small schools of fishes and an idle stone fish sitting on the sea floor.
Before we’d left, we made a lost stop to a twin beach (which I’d forgotten the name of). It’s located between huge rock structures. The water was a vibrant green and reminded me of the Green Lagoon in Coron, Palawan.
That concluded our 1-day island hopping tour at Dinagat Islands.
Here’s a little reflection about our island hopping experience.
I find that Dinagat Islands is one of the most virginal destinations in the Philippines. During our tour, we passed through numerous beach coves, lush islands and occasional sights of community with houses on stilts. Normally, I would’ve ignored these sights, but the months I’ve spent touring around the Philippines and seeing commercial attractions made me appreciate “untouched” provinces more.
Later on, I read about existing resorts in the area. I’ll update you guys when we get to visit here again.
Travel Guide to Dinagat Islands
Dinagat Islands is the newest province in the Philippines; it was declared as a separate province in 2006 by the Supreme Court.
How to get to Dinagat Islands
Manila to Surigao City
- Take a local flight to either Butuan or Surigao City.
- If you arrive in Butuan, board a van from the airport to Surigao (about P200).
Surigao City to Dinagat Islands
- From Pantalan Dos port in Surigao City, ride a passenger boat en route to San Jose (P100 per person, 1.5 hour).
The earliest schedule is 5AM and the latest boat going back to the city is at 3PM.
Island hopping tours in Dinagat Islands
If you’re doing this as a side trip only, you can spend 1 day island hopping in Dinagat Islands. Ideally though, you should stay at least 2 days. There are several inns and resorts you can stay at, depending on your itinerary.
The most recommended places to visit: Pangabangan tidal pool, Duyos Beach, Bitaog Beach and Jelmar’s Beach Resort.
1 Day itinerary
Here are the islands you can visit in a day:
- Pangabangan tidal pool in Libjo (optional)
- Hagakhak Island
- Aga Island
- Lake Bababu
- Cabacungan Island
- Duyos Beach
- Bitaog Beach
- Pagkawasan Beach
These destinations are located at Basilisi municipality. A trip to the tidal pool is optional because it’s located in Libjo, which is further away.
Also take note that Lake Bababu requires 30-45 minutes of trekking. You should spend your time well so you can visit all these.
2 Days Itinerary
Here’s a sample itinerary for 2 days island hopping.
- Pangabangan tidal Pool in Libjo
- Punta Villa Resort
- Punta Buena Suerte
- Pangabangan Beach
- Hagakhak Island (optional)
- Isla Aga
- Kissess Islet
- Jelmar’s Beach Resort
- Bababu Beach
- Lake Bababu
- Bitaog Beach
- Duyos Beach
- Pagkawasan Beach
- Cabacungan Island (optional)
For 2 days island hopping in Dinagat Islands, you may want to avail of a full package instead so accommodation and food will also be taken cared of.
There are other islands and places to visit in Dinagat Islands aside from those we’ve listed here.
Inland tour in Dinagat Islands
If you have spare time, you can also do a land tour in Dinagat Islands. If none, you can simply drop by the Island Castle since it’s the most intriguing landmark in the mainland.
- DM Shrine
- Wilson’s Dumping Peak
- New West Virginia View Deck
- Sta. Cruz Beach
- Lawis Beach
- Angat Dinagat Landmark
- Guitar Stage
- Lobster Farm
- 120 Steps
- Tagbirayan Beach
- Island Castle
Budget and expenses
Island hopping rates
Island hopping rate depends on the boat size.
We paid P3500 for a boat good for 4 people for a 1-day island hopping tour. We also had an option to hire a bigger boat for 10-15 people at P4500, although since there were only 4 of us it wasn’t necessary. We were also offered an option to charter the boat back to Surigao City for an additional P500 in total.
Here are the current rates (updated as of 2019) for a 1-day island hopping tour including 6-7 islands:
- Boat good for 4 people: P3500
- Boat good for 2 people: P2500
You might need to add a fee if you wish to visit the Tidal Pool in Libjo as well (P500 or more).
Here are the rates for 2-days island hopping tour:
- Boat good for 4 people: P6000
- Boat good for 2 people: P5000
Take note that resorts usually ask for an entrance fee (P20 or more per person).
Here’s the contact details of our tour guide. If you have other questions, you can contact the tourism office of Dinagat.
- Island hopping tour: Kuya Percing: 0946 587 7825 / Tatay Ric: 0930 139 3172
- Tourism office: Dinagat Tourism Council Facebook page
Have you been to Dinagat Islands? Can you add more places to this list of Dinagat Islands tourist spots?
P.S. You might also be interested in these:
Here’s our 5 Days trip to Surigao and Dinagat Islands. Here are other posts we’ve written: