BRITANIA GROUP OF ISLANDS
Britania Group of Islands is located in Brgy. Britania in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. It is comprised of 24 islands and islets in the crystal clear waters of Lianga bay at the eastern part of Mindanao. Most of these islands are uninhabited and only a few of them have a beach. It’s definitely Surigao del Sur’s best-kept secret.
via Cagayan de Oro
- Book a flight to Laguindingan Airport. This is the main city airport of CDO located between the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have direct flights to Laguindingan from Manila and Cebu.
- From the airport, take a shuttle to CDO City Proper. We took the LAX Shuttle which has stops at Centrio Ayala Mall and Agora Integrated Bus Terminal. Drop off at Agora Eastbound Integrated Bus Terminal. Travel time is 1 hr.
- From Agora Bus Terminal, ride a bus to Butuan City. Bachelor Express and Rural have hourly trips to Butuan. Drop off at Butuan City Integrated Bus terminal. Travel time is 5 hours.
- From Butuan, ride a Bachelor Express bus to Bislig. Ride a bus with signboard to Mangagoy. They use the signboard Mangagoy which is the commercial center of Bislig. Drop off at San Francisco or “San Franz” bus terminal or Barobo bus terminal. Travel time is 3 hours.
- From San Francisco or Barobo bus terminal ride a bus, jeep or van to Tandag. Drop off at Salvacion, San Agustin. Travel time 1-2 hours. From Barobo bus terminal, travel time is only 1 hr.
- Once at Salvacion, San Agustin, hire a habal-habal to bring you to your resort located in Brgy. Britania where you could hire a boat to tour the islets.
We entered Mindanao via CDO as part of our 9-day Mindanao adventure to Davao Oriental, Surigao del Sur, Butuan, CDO, Iligan and Camiguin. CDO is probably the farthest entry point. Other possible entry points are via Butuan City or via Tandag flights. You may fly in to Butuan instead of CDO to cut-off the 5-hour bus ride from CDO-Butuan. If you fly in from Tandag, ride a bus heading south to Barobo or San Francisco then drop off at Salvacion, San Agustin.
There are multiple hotels and inns for you to choose from in Brgy. Britania. Many of them are located along the beach facing Lianga Bay where the islets are. We stayed at Oasis Resthouse. They have air-conditioned rooms with private rest rooms for big groups for only P2,000/night.
It’s best to bring your own raw food and ask them to cook it for you. Majority of the low-end resorts lack in food offerings so it’s best to bring your own “paluto”.
Britania Group of Islands is one of our stops for our 9-day Mindanao adventure to explore Davao Oriental, Surigao del Sur, Butuan, CDO, Iligan and Camiguin. After exploring Aliwagwag falls of Davao Oriental (Read more: Aliwagwag Falls Davao Oriental: Most Beautiful Waterfall in the Philippines), Tinuy-an Falls (Read more: Tinuy-an Falls Surigao del Sur: Niagara Falls of the Philippines) in Bislig and Enchanted River in Hinatuan, this group of islands is our next stop.
Coming from Hinatuan, we hired a habal-habal to bring us to Barobo bus terminal. The ride took 45 minutes. Then from Barobo, we rode a van to Tandag and asked the driver to drop us off at Salvacion which is an hour away. From the waiting shed drop-off, we rode a habal-habal to bring us to Brgy. Britania where most of the resorts are. Before entering the barangay, you will be asked to pay an environmental fee.
Touring the islands is very easy. If you’re staying on a resort, ask them for their tour rates. The standard rate is P1,500 for the 4-island tour to Hagonoy Island, Naked Island, Boslon and Hiyor-hiyoran.
We started our tour at Hagonoy Island. A long stretch of island with a handful of coconut and talisay trees. Swimming here is ideal. The sand is fine and white and the waters are crystal clear. If you want to take a rest, you may take a breather at the shade provided by the cluster of trees on one side of the island. You may also eat here if you want as there are tables and chairs for you to use.
Our next stop was Naked Island, just beside Hagonoy. The island is basically a white sand bar with some rocks. Swimming here is also possible with its clear blue waters. You may swim on both sides of the island. It’s quite small and local tourists would only stop here to take photos. In our case though, we probably stayed here the longest and most of the time we were the only ones there. We didn’t mind the sun and heat. Waves come from both sides covering the island at every surge.
Boslon Island was next. Most tourists would stop here for lunch. There are stalls selling refreshments, food and souvenirs. There are also tables and chairs shaded by some trees and rocks. It’s also a great spot for swimming but definitely more crowded compared to the first two islands. Walk behind Boslon Island during low tide and you may walk to the nearby island via a sandbar.
The last stop was Hiyor-hiyoran island. It has a nice wide open beach lined with a handful of palm trees. We didn’t swim here since it’s full of seaweeds and corals. Snorkeling is possible if you have your gear.
Half-day is enough to visit and enjoy all four islands. Remember, that you can control your time on these islands. Hagonoy – Naked – Boslon – Hiyor-Hiyoran is the usual route of the tour. We recommend spending more time in Hagonoy and Naked islands since its beaches are excellent for swimming. Swimming in Boslon Island is also good but with the crowds of tourists eating behind you, it may not be as relaxing. Lastly, Hiyor-Hiyoran island is good for beach bumming but not swimming.
On your way back, just ask your habal-habal driver to bring you to the waiting shed along the highway. Buses and jeepneys pass by here if you’re either heading to Tandag or Butuan. Another option is to go to the Integrated Bus Terminal of San Antonio a few minutes away.
- Transportation: Van to Tandag drop off at Salvacion P100, Cheaper alternative is Bus to Tandag drop off at Salvacion around P50, Habal-habal to Brgy. Britania P20 one-way
- Accommodation: P1000/night at Oasis Rest House airconditioned with private bathroom
- Food: If you can, bring your own paluto.
- Tour: P1,500 4-island tour to Hagonoy, Naked, Boslon and Hiyor-hiyoran islands
- Avoid the typhoon season. You will not be able to enjoy the beaches. Make sure you check on the weather before visiting.
- Cellphone signal is very weak in Brgy. Britania but texting and calling is possible. 3G/LTE signals is also very weak to non-existent for major networks.
- Food might be a problem when visiting the low-end resorts. They usually don’t stock on food. You’ll probably end up eating what’s left on their fridge if you don’t bring your own.
- Dictate your time on the island. Our boatman gave us a time limit on how long we could spend at Hagonoy and Naked island. We just ignored him since it was cleared to us by the resort that the tour would depend on us.
- Aliwagwag Falls: Most Beautiful Waterfall in the Philippines
- Tinuy-an Falls: Niagara Falls of the Philippines
- Enchanted River Surigao del Sur: Hinatuan’s Swimming Haven