BRITANIA ISLANDS – The hidden paradise of Surigao del Sur. The place where uninhabited islands levitate just between clear salt waters and sea strands. Britania is famous for its group of islands with an assemblage of islets. With their sand, texture similar to that of dusts and color almost as white as snow, and their ocean as clear as the horizon above, it is surely a place worth visiting.
When I heard that we were going to Britania Islands, my insides are surging with nothing but excitement. To be able to witness this breathtaking place that is one of the best kept secret destination in the islands of Mindanao is totally soul fulfilling.
It is a perfect place for individuals who seek water related adventures and who has the leisure to travel long hours, but no need to worry because in between those long hours of travel is the opportunity to see and observe the prettiest of views, with mountains and rivers, in the island of Mindanao.
We started our island hopping in the morning. At 9:00, our boats are already waiting for us, and after we applied sunscreens and readied the other necessary things, we headed for the islets. Out of those 24 islands that scattered over Lianga Bay, our guide said that we will just be visiting 4 islets but with different characteristics from each other.
The first islet that we visited is named “Hiyo-hiyoran” Island. It’s one of the closest islets from our docking point. It has more palm trees compared to other islets. We weren’t able to swim here since the islet has more shells and corals, and we’re careful not to destroy any of them. But if you have the proper equipment, them snorkeling is perfectly possible here! And of course, we didn’t let the chance to take pictures slip off.
The second islet that we visited is the “Naked” Island, which perfectly fits to it’s characteristic. In this islet, you can literally see no palm trees or rock formations that any other island usually has. It’s just flawlessly naked with nothing but sand that’s comparable to that of Boracay’s.
The third islet is called “Hagonoy” Island which is only 10 minutes away from Naked Island. Compared to the first two, this island has a bigger area and at the same time has enough palm and talisay trees for the visitors to temporarily hide from the heat of the sun. Hagonoy has a long stretch of white powder-like sand with a number of rocks at the other side of the island. The view in this island is really a unique one. From the long stretch of sand that you could see in the front, the non-stop waves and crystal clear water, to the pile of sea rocks that you can also see at the other side.
With the cluster of trees and enough shade from the sun, it’s appropriate to take a breather here. We also had our lunch in this island since it has more spacious area.
Our next and last stop is called the “Boslon” Island. This islet has more rock formations compared to the first ones. Sometimes, visitors take their lunch or break here because there’s a lot more shade and space to rest and just enjoy the view. Some local fishermen sell their fresh catches here and there are also local women who sell souvenirs and other refreshments here to accommodate the visitors. Most souvenirs are key chains, bracelets, and magnets with “BRITANIA ISLANDS” at the center or at the side.
There are also locals who offer adventurous rides in Boslon Island to entertain the visitors more. We tried their Banana Boat. It costs 100 per head. It was a really memorable experience, especially for first-timers like me. And of course, it would be best to experience this with your treasured friends.
Even though our guide said that we would only be visiting 4 islands in this activity, still it felt like we visited one more island. The “Panlangagan” Island, also known as the “Twin Islands”. These islets are just meters away from Boslon that you can just literally travel from Boslon to Panlangagan Island with your bare feet. But of course, you still need to be careful with the surging winds and waves and also don’t forget the sea urchins!
GETTING TO THE SITE
Located at San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, Britania Islands is composed of 24 islands and islets with semi translucent waters of Lianga bay at eastern part of Mindanao.
Surigao del sur is found in the eastern part of Mindanao, the third major island of the Philippines. One could reach there by using any kind of transportation. With wide range of air and sea ports, one could just get there thru airplane or ship. From any air and sea ports that is situated in Mindanao, you can just rent a transport van or bus to take you to San Agustin. But if you want to experience what it feels like to be a Filipino, you should try riding the local transport vehicle called “traysikol”, a motorcycle with sidecars or the famous “jeep”. Fares may vary, from Php 85.00 – 600.00 pesos, depending on which city or place you came from and may change depending on approved rates.
From Jagna port in Bohol, we entered Mindanao via Nasipit Port in Butuan City. From Butuan, we arrived at San Agustin, Surigao del Sur after 4 hours of travel using van.
Varieties of room accommodation are available in barangay San Agustin and other nearby barangays. There are popular beach resorts that offer high quality accommodation for tourists, locals and foreigns alike. Most of them are just a walk away from the from the boats that would be used in island hopping activity.
While we were there, we chose Mac Arthur’s Place to accommodate us. Sadly, we weren’t able to stay there overnight since we were just staying at a relative’s house, but rest assured, we were able to experience their service and hospitality. Mac Arthur’s Place is located at San Agustin and is one of the most popular choice for tourists who wish to experience Britania. They are not just offering room accommodation, but also serves as a gateway to the scenic and charming islets of Britania. At Php 1,500.00, a group of 10 can rent a boat to use for island hopping, and at Php 200.00, one can already access their cottages that are placed beside the just beside the resort. If you want to stay overnight, their resort is also offering rooms with prices ranging from Php 1,000.00 to 2,500.00 for air-conditioned rooms with double occupancy and Php 3,200.00 for dormitory-type room if you are travelling in big groups.
Mac Arthur’s Place is not just a plain resort for they also have a restaurant where various Filipino dishes are served.
All in all – It was a really fun and great experience. With Britania’s unique beauty, another day of our lives were well spent. After the island hopping, me and my friends felt really triumphant with what we have seen, encountered and experienced. Nature really is a mysterious yet beautiful thing, and luckily, Philippines is one of the countries that received a lot more natural and environmental blessings. This is one of the tourist spots in the Philippines that you shouldn’t really miss.