For a perfect holiday getaway, Dinagat is a fantastic choice.
Yes, the place has been greatly known for the infamous religious sect and the mansion of the Ecleos. But there’s actually more to Dinagat than being a home to this reigning political dynasty in the island province.
In fact, a local claimed that the province is so rich for its mineral deposits could pay the entire debt of the Philippines. Dinagat is a group of islands constituting a province located on the south side of Leyte Gulf. Leyte is to its west, across Surigao Strait, Mindanao to its south and Pacific Ocean to its east.
Why visit the place?
Draped by refreshing cerulean waters and towering mountains, Dinagat is worth exploring for those with sense of nature and adventure. Unfortunately, most of its mountains have turned “red” due to mining.
But, even a part of it has a tarnished image, there are still hidden marvels in the place, waiting to be explored by intrepid travelers.
How to get there?
Dinagat Islands is one of the newest provinces in the Philippines. Before it became an independent province in 2011, it used to be a part of the province of Surigao del Norte. Its capital town is San Jose.
From Manila or Cebu, you need to travel via air, land or sea to Surigao City because it is the closest jump-off point to the province. Then, from Surigao, take a ride in a ship bound for Dinagat. It will take you one and a half hour depending on the sea conditions.
There are different schedules for boats and ferries bound for San Jose. These vessels leave as early as 5:30 AM from the port in the boulevard of Surigao City. The next trip is around 9:00 AM and the last trip departs in the early afternoon at around 2:00 PM.
How can you enjoy your stay?
- Sightseeing – Around the streets of modest villages, you can see the remnants of the Spanish era. Take a walk at the emerald and golden rice farms by the road side, and witness the breathtaking view of the bay.
Drop by the San Jose town and check out the castle-like house of the Ecleo family. Picture-taking is allowed outside the house, near its gate only. Then, be mesmerized by the majestic view of the islands below.
Also see for yourself the controversial Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA) Shrine, which is marked by a giant crown.
- Trekking – For the environmentally conscious traveler, there are certain places here to visit for vacations that are just awesome. One of which is the Mt. Redondo, where you can find the Natural Bonsai Forest, one of the few natural bonsai jungles in the country.
- Swimming – Take a plunge into the placid water of Lake Bababu. Here you can see massive granite walls and verdant mountains. Then, de-stress undisturbed in the therapeutic Esperanza Spring. And have some time relaxing in the turquoise waters of Ouano Lagoon.
- Island hopping – Dinagat Islands have extensive possibilities for travelers loving the island hopping adventure. Hire an outrigger boat to experience this escapade and be mesmerized by the mountainside plummeting into emerald shores.
- Snorkeling – Another watersport for you to get excited about when you visit the province is the snorkeling adventure. Experience it in the Pangabangan Island and have a blast on your vacation.
Moreover, don’t miss other underwater wonders with magnificent rock formations such as the Sundayo Beach and the Basilisa Coast. Lastly, explore the Kisses Islet in Libjo and see its tiny charming limestone formations in the middle of the sea.
- Surfing – Once you’ve decided that you want to go on a surf vacation, visit the Campijagit Point. This place is known as the surfer’s paradise in the province.
These are just few of the exciting things you can experience at Dinagat Islands. Plan your next vacation ahead and consider visiting the place to discover more of the natural bounties it can offer.