In my opinion, the most virgin places in the Philippines can be found in Mindanao. Not only that, there is rich culture and history everywhere in this region.. Here’s our guide to 7 days backpacking Barobo (Surigao del Sur), Dinagat Island and Siargao.
The route covers the following:
- Barobo (Surigao del Sur): A quiet town in Surigao del Sur where you can discover cold springs and island hop.
- Dinagat Island (Dinagat Islands): Dinagat Island is actually the main island in Dinagat Islands province. Again, here you can island hop to see beaches, a lagoon and a lake. There are also private resorts in the province which is worth checking out if you’re staying for 2 days or more. I personally love Dinagat Island and feel that it has a lot of potential to be the next Palawan.
- Siargao (Surigao del Norte): Siargao is definitely one of the best places to visit in the Philippines. It has a feel-good tropical vibes. It offers surfing, island hopping, caving and other activities.
We took this trip back in 2017. I have updated this guide including rates for the current year.
7 Days Itinerary to Barobo, Dinagat Island and Siargao
Here’s our itinerary to Barobo (Surigao del Sur), Dinagat Island (Dinagat Islands) and Siargao (Surigao del Note).
Day 1 – Barobo (Surigao del Sur)
– Early-morning flight from Manila to Butuan City
– Travel via van/bus to Barobo
– Town tour (Beto Cold Spring, Bugac Cold Spring, Wakat Cave)
– Island hopping (Cabgan Island, Turtle Island, Snake or Vanishing Island)
– Travel via bus/ van to Surigao City, check in
Day 2 – Dinagat Island (Dinagat Islands)
– Catch 5AM ferry in Pantalan Dos port to San Jose (2 hours boat ride)
– Island hopping in Dinagat Island
– Continue island hopping
– Travel back to Surigao City
Day 4 – Siargao (Surigao del Norte)
– Catch 5AM boat in the same port to Siargao
– Ride tricycle to selected accommodation, check in
– Surfing in General Luna and/or Siargao land tour
– Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande Island
– Island hopping (Naked Island, Daku Island, Guyam Island)
– Sugba Lagoon, Kawhagan Island and Pamomoan Island
– Check out / flight back home
Entrance point is Butuan Airport, exit is Siargao Airport.
Our original trip was shorter (5 days), and I revised this itinerary based on what I think is the ideal amount of stay in each place. You can consider this as an “alternative” route instead of the more common Surigao del Sur (Hinatuan, Bislig, San Agustin) and Siargao itinerary.
BAROBO (Surigao del Sur)
Barobo is a quiet town in between Butuan and San Agustin.
This day tour was a side trip before we went to Dinagat Island and Siargao. To be honest, it’s a little bit out of the way. I would suggest including it in your itinerary if you plan on staying Surigao del Sur for a few days. The reason we didn’t stay longer in Surigao del Sur is time constraint and also because my boyfriend Hali had already been there.
Barobo isn’t overly developed yet so we thought we’d check it out before it gets mainstream.
P.S. Here’s our complete Travel Guide to Barobo in Surigao del Sur.
- From Butuan, ride a bus (around P70 per person) or van to Barobo. Travel time is 2 hours.
Itinerary / Things to Do
- Town tour. You can explore Beto Cold Spring, Bugac Cold Spring and Wakat Cave. Beto Cold Spring is the best among these. These places are close so you can just take a tricycle to get around for a minimum fare.
- Island hopping. You can island hop to 3 islands: Cabgan Island, Turtle Island and Vanishing/Snake Island. I really enjoyed this activity and I find Cabgan Island particularly beautiful. The usual jump-off point for island hopping is at the fish port at the back of the old public market. The whole boat tour costs P1000-1500.
Where to Stay
There are lodgings and resorts in Barobo. However, for this itinerary you should stay at Surigao City instead because it’s near the next destination.
Here are some recommended stays in Surigao City:
You can also search hotels in Surigao City here.
DINAGAT ISLAND (Dinagat Islands)
Dinagat Island boasts countless virginal islands to explore. This is a great place for backpackers, especially those who like visiting places that aren’t overly developed yet. The ideal duration for island hopping is 2 days, but it’s also possible to do a day trip.
P.S. Here’s our complete Travel Guide to Dinagat Island.
- From Surigao City, head to Surigao Port (aka Pantalan Dos Port) and then ride a passenger boat en route to San Jose (P120 per person, 1.5-2 hours). The earliest schedule is 5AM and the latest boat going back to the city is at 3PM.
Itinerary / Things to Do
Here’s a sample itinerary for 2 days island hopping.
Day 1 – Libjo Tour
– Pangabangan Tidal Pool
– Punta Villa Resort
– Punta Buena Suerte
– Isla Aga
– Kisses Islet
– (Optional) Little Hagakhak Island/Hagakhak Rock Formation
Day 2 – Basilisa Tour
– Jelmar’s Beach Resort
– Bababu Beach and Bababu Lake
– Bitaog Beach
– Duyos Beach
– Pagkawasan Beach
– (Optional) Cabacungan Cove, Biray-Biray Island
The whole boat tour for 2 days costs P5000 (good up to 2 pax) / P6000 (good up to 4 pax). You can also look for joiner tour, which is around P2000 per person. Joiner tours to Dinagat Island aren’t that many yet, so you need to research about scheduled joiner trips in advance.
Where to Stay
There are lodgings in San Jose. You may also stay in a resort in Libjo or Basilisa depending on your itinerary. The most popular resorts are:
- Duyos Camping Resort: Facebook / 09090668104
- Jelmar’s Islet Resort
SIARGAO (Surigao del Norte)
Siargao! This is one of my favorite places in the Philippines. I’d been here twice already and I would still love to come back.
Siargao is of course known for its surfing, but besides this there are lots of things to do including island hopping, caving, and more.
P.S. Here’s our Ultimate Guide to Siargao Island.
- There is no direct route from Dinagat to Siargao. You will have to go back to Surigao Port in Surigao City.
- Head to Surigao Port (same as above) and then ride a ferry to Siargao. Travel time is 2-3 hours, fare is P210-350 per person. Earliest schedule is at 5:30AM and the last at 3:30PM.
Itinerary / Things to Do
Here are the activities you can do in Siargao.
- Surfing in General Luna. General Luna is ideal for beginner surfers. If you’re mid- or pro-level surfer, you can head to other reef breaks in Siargao. Surfing lesson is P500 including instructor and board rental. Surfboard rental is P500 for the whole day.
- Land tour in Siargao. The cheapest way to explore the land attractions in Siargao (including the famous Magpupungko Rock Pools) is by renting a motorbike. Rate is P350-500 per day. You can also get a motorcycle tour for P1300 per day (good up to 2 people) or tricycle tour for P2000 per day (good up to 3-5 people).
- Sugba Lagoon, Kawhagan Island and Pamomoan Island. These are fairly recent public attractions in Siargao. Sugba Lagoon is the main highlight of this tour — here you can swim, kayak or stand-up paddle and jump from the diving platforms. Head to Del Carmen Tourism Center and register. Rate is P2800 (good up to 6 pax) and you can wait for other joiners. You can also get a joiner tour offered by agencies for P1500-2000 per person.
- Sohoton Cove (Bucas Grande) and tri-islands in Siargao. This is a convenient day tour that takes you to Sohoton Cove and Jellyfish Sanctuary in Grande Island and then the 3 islands in Siargao: Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island. The whole boat tour costs P4000-5000 (good up to 10 people). You can also get a joiner tour for P1500-1600 per person.
Where to stay
General Luna is the tourist hub in Siargao, so most people stay here. We stayed at Point 303 Resort, which is an affordable resort with pool.
- Point 303 Resort / Book discounted rooms here
For other options, read our pick on the Best Resorts in Siargao.
Budget and expenses
Budget depends on how many you are in a group, where you’re staying, etc. In a group, a safe budget is P12,000-14,000 per person.
Here are some useful links for your trip.
Has this itinerary to Barobo (Surigao del Sur), Dinagat and Siargao been helpful to you? If you have questions or suggestions, let us know below!