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Agusan del Norte Agusan del Norte Philippines Travel

Agusan del Norte: A Day in Butuan, the City of Bridges and Balangays

 

The Agusan River and Old Magsaysay Bridge in Butuan
The Agusan River and Old Magsaysay Bridge in Butuan

It was interesting to know that during my research for our Butuan-Bislig-Davao exploration trip, I found a connection to the Champa Kingdom of Vietnam in Butuan. I was able to visit the My Son Champa Ruins in Vietnam before and it made me wonder if Butuan had any relics recovered pertaining to their trade in the 10th Century. I only know of the Balangays here in Butuan so I was looking forward to discover what else I can find here even for a day.

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Philippines South Cotabato South Cotabato Stay Travel

South Cotabato Stay | Tierra Montana Hotel General Santos

Twin Room at Tierra Montana
Twin Room at Tierra Montana

General Santos is the gateway to South-Central Mindanao. We passed through the city going to Lake Sebu and also Sarangani. Our companions from Backpack Photography took off a day earlier than us so we had to find a place to stay for the night. Tierra Verde, was my choice from Jen’s Peter’s Philippines Travel Guide. Bidding farewell to our friends at KCC Mall, we took a cab going to National Highway and was pleasantly to find the said mentioned hotel is under a new management and no goes by the name, Tierra Montana Hotel.

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Tawi-Tawi Travel

Tawi-tawi: Weaving and smiles at the Bajau Village

Tawi-Tawi Bajau Village Mosque

Bajau Village Mosque

Making the most of our last morning in Tawi-Tawi, we decided to visit one of the more popular Bajau Villages in Bongao, but not having a Bongao breakfast at the Chinese Pier first after visiting Pagasinan. We told Kit and Sheva, that we’d like to see and possibly take home some native crafts from Tawi-tawi. It has been my practice when I go to different places to take but items unique or crafted from the place of origin.

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Tawi-Tawi Travel

Tawi-tawi: The Shipbuilding town of Pagasinan

Pagasinan Ships on Shore

Pagasinan Ships on Shore with Bud Bongao behind

The sun has already shone high as we wrapped our morning shoot at Sanga-sanga. We then decided to venture into one of the villages situated by the the river we were taking photos off. Veering right from the bridge into an inner road, we passed by a village slowly waking up. We passed by rows of stilt houses first then we entered a road where lines of ships on varying conditions were docked on shore. We are now at the ship building town of Pagasinan.

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Tawi-Tawi Travel

Tawi-tawi: Catching the sunset and sunrise at Sanga-sanga

sanga-sanga tranquil morning

Sanga-sanga tranquil morning

It was already late in the afternoon when we started our way back from Balobok Cave. Our 4×4 vehicle roared through the uneven terrain of Barangay Lakit-lakit. On our right the sun was also racing down far by the sea horizon. We passed by a nice stretch of beach they called Pasiagan. This is where Christian Bautista shot the music video of “Tawi-tawi Beach”. When we reached Sanga-sanga, we stopped by a small quaint village by the sea.

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Tawi-Tawi Travel

Tawi-tawi: Glimpse of pre-historic life at Balobok Rock Shelter

Balobok Natural Arc Entrance

Balobok Natural Arc Entrance

Another day started when we found ourselves on the top of Bongao Capitol enjoying the breath taking views. After, we sampled local delicacies at one of their coffeeshops at the town center for breakfast. Fast forward, we checked out Hotel Juanita and made another attempt as Simunul but Kit wasn’t really comfortable of letting us go along with strangers so we just accepted an invite to witness a Muslim pre-wedding ceremony of Pamutong. After which we were told, the tourism people would take us to one important site not only in Tawi-tawi but in the whole South East Asia, the Balobok Rock Shelter.

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Tawi-Tawi Travel

Tawi-tawi: The Old Chinese Pier

Chinese Pier Boy and Boat

Tawi-tawi Chinese Pier Boy and Boat

We were supposed to go to Simunul Island that afternoon, but around noon we were still making our way down Bud Bongao. We didn’t expect that the muddy and sticky trail would slow us down. They already texted us that our host for Simunul was already waiting at the Chinese Pier. After having lunch and checking out Beachside Inn, we sped through town and headed for the old pier where we met Kit. But we didn’t manage to catch our host.