DIY Guide to Barobo: A Quiet Town in Surigao Del Sur
Barobo is a quiet town in the province of Surigao del Sur, which most people only pass by on their way to Hinatuan and Bislig. It’s named after a tree species which were abundant in the past.
If you decide to come here for a day, you can discover local swimming holes and islands perfect for spending a summer afternoon in. Barobo is not yet overly developed so you can expect less tourists, but also you have to know your way around here as there isn’t much tourist infrastructure yet.
I visited Barobo with Hali and friends on a backpacking trip in 2017. There are places that I didn’t particularly enjoy (Wakat Cave, which is much hyped in social media) but I liked our island hopping tour. So yes, I still recommend going to Barobo for a day tour.
Here’s our updated Travel Guide to Barobo in Surigao del Sur.
How to get here
It’s easy to get to the town of Barobo.
Butuan Airport is the closest airport to Barobo.
- From Butuan, ride a bus (around P70 per person) or van to Barobo. Travel time is 2 hours.
- Ride a bus (P50 per person) or a motorcycle (P100 per person) to Barobo. Travel time is 1 hour.
How to get around
The town attractions are close to each other. You can ride a tricycle to get to each one for minimum fare.
There is a fish port at the back of the old public market where you can look for boat operators to take you island hopping.
Here are some boat operators. I have not availed their services personally; these are gathered from friends/other blogs.
- Kuya Jojo: 09488573810
- Kuya Danny: 09488656460
Island hopping costs P1000-1500, depending on your haggling skills.
You can also go to Haga Port, but boat rental is more expensive. Rate starts at P2000.
Town attractions in Barobo
Beto Cold Spring
Beto Cold Spring is a picturesque small lagoon with blue-green water comparable to Hinatuan River.
Although beautiful, it isn’t developed yet and certainly not ideal for tourists. There are insects in the area and we spotted broken bottle shards in the spring so you have to be careful if you decide to take a swim. We only took pictures and then left.
Bogac Cold Spring
Bogac came from the word “bogwak”, which means flow.
Bogac Cold Spring (sometimes Bugac Cold Spring) is a local swimming area with refreshing cool water. It’s close to schools and residential areas, so a lot of residents go here. It also serves as training ground for locals competing in Olympics and students practicing a swim.
Wakat Cave is a small cave pool, located literally behind the main road. Locals go here to get water for household here.
We were a bit disappointed since it is apparently smaller than online and it’s also akward trying to swim when a resident would come with a pail to fill water.
Island hopping in Barobo
From the old public market in Barobo, you can take a boat to visit the islands dotting Lianga Bay. The islands are close by, with Cabgan Island about 20-30 minutes away, so the island hopping tour can be done in half a day.
Our experience here was really quite fun. We ate lunch at the market and then asked the carinderia owner to point us to a boat operator and so we meet a middle-aged fisher who didn’t speak Tagalog or English. We got on his boat at the port, which by the way is the cleanest docking area I have seen in my life with water so clear you can see the bottom.
Before reaching Cabgan Island, our guy spoke to us in the local dialect which none of us understood. He dropped us off in Cabgan Island and then left, leaving us open-mouthed. We spent the next 2-3 hours in the island where a sudden afternoon rain left us all soaking wet and with sand flies biting every part of our exposed skin.
Our boatman came back and we were so relieved that we weren’t stranded there after all. From there, we resumed our island hopping tour.
Anyway, here are the islands you can visit in Barobo.
Cabgan Island is a beautiful island about 20-30 minutes away from the fish port. During our visit, there wasn’t any commercial establishments here but today there are now cottages in the beachfront.
Cabgan Island has an elongated beach with white, fine sand. It’s actually similar to Calaguas Island back in its pre-fame days. It’s ideal for swimming, but you have to be careful because the waves can get rough and there are sand flies around the forest area. At the back of the island is the Westlife Cliff, which is a nice spot to take pictures.
For me, it’s one of the best beaches in the Philippines.
Turtle Island is a turtle-shaped island, like other “Turtle Island”s in the country. You can also swim here and visit a small cave.
Snake Island/Vanishing Island
Snake Island is also called Vanishing Island since it’s only visible during high tide. The waves around this small patch of sand are strong, so again if you decide to swim you have to be careful.
It’s a good place for picture taking especially on good weather.
It’s said that during high tide, you can walk from Snake Island to Turtle Island.
Where to Stay
There are a handful of lodgings and resorts in Barobo. A standard room costs about P800-1000, good for 2 people.
Lodgings and inns:
- Terazza Viktoria
- Traveler’s Inn
- Villa Rose Beach Resort
- Cabgan Island Beach Resort
- Turtle Island Tourist Inn and Resort – Facebook
Reminders and tips
Here are some tips before your trip to Barobo.
- You can do a day trip in Barobo before proceeding to Hinatuan and Bislig. If you want to stay longer, you can explore nearby barangays. Other notable places you can visit include the Panaraga White Beach in Barangay Gamut.
- Bring your own food for island hopping. There are no stores in the islands.
- Bring insect repellent as there are sand flies in Cabgan Island.
Has this Travel Guide to Barobo, Surigao del Sur, been helpful to you? If you have other questions, let us know in the comment section below.
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).