Travel Guide to Dinagat Islands + Island Hopping Tour

Sundayo Beach in Hagakhak Island, Dinagat Island
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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.

Islet in Dinagat Islands
Islet in Dinagat Islands. (Photo by Hali)

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.

Tidal pool in Pangabangan Island, Libjo
Off to see the tidal pool. (Photo by Hali)
Tidal pool in Pangabangan Island, Libjo
Tadaa… featuring the tidal pool in Pangabangan Island, Libjo. (Photo by Hali)
Tidal pool in Pangabangan Island, Libjo
With travel buddies at Pangabangan Island. (Photo by Hali)

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.

Sundayo Beach in Hagakhak Island, Dinagat Islands
Sundayo Beach in Hagakhak Island. (Photo by Hali)

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.

Aga Island in Dinagat Islands
Down to the beach, at Aga Island. (Photo by Hali)

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.

Day 1:

  • Pangabangan tidal Pool in Libjo
  • Punta Villa Resort
  • Punta Buena Suerte
  • Pangabangan Beach
  • Hagakhak Island (optional)
  • Isla Aga
  • Kissess Islet

Day 2:

  • 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

Others

Take note that resorts usually ask for an entrance fee (P20 or more per person).

Contact information

Here’s the contact details of our tour guide. If you have other questions, you can contact the tourism office of Dinagat.

 

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:

Hi there! Please help us keep this article up-to-date. If you have new info about rates, contact details, etc, let us know in the comments section.

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12 Comments

  1. We would like to visit Dinagat island in 1day. Where can we stay overnite in Dinagat, following day back to Surigao city.,likes yo see beaches in your area..
    We are maybe 12in a groupof medical technologist from Adela Serra Ty Meducal Center, Tandag city
    Bebot Cabrera 0912 3289 795

  2. hello,
    thanks for sharing your dinagat trip.

    just wondering from where you got the one day tour? from dinagat or from surigao? as i understand, you travel to san jose.

  3. hi! I will be visiting Dinagat next week April 22-30. Hindi po ba mahirap ang phone signal and and what is the fastest internet provider din po base on your experience? Thank you.

    1. Hi, we just been to Dinagat Island. Phone signal will depend on where you are. But while we’re in San Jose, signal was fine. Regarding internet provider, I wasn’t sure because the place we stayed had strong wi fi connection.

    1. Hi Mrs Retchie, sorry we weren’t able to ask the names of accommodations in Dinagat, but definitely there are existing ones in the mainland. There’s no ferry from Dinagat to Siargao, you have to go back to Surigao City. Hope that helps.

      1. Hindi kaya ng isang araw Lang. We were there for 4 days at kulang pero depende din siguro sa akong gusto nyong gawin. Contact Jmalls tourist inn dahil may promo sila. You can search them sa Facebook.

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