This is a post by THH Louie and THH Jon.
Jon and I have always wanted to visit Davao and Surigao in the past but weren’t able to because of the costly plane airfare. Luckily for the both of us, I randomly found a special deal online. There wasn’t a hint of hesitation when I booked our tickets as it was such a steal. We only paid ₱1600 for a round trip ticket from Manila to Davao for two!
Fast forward, we landed at Davao International airport at about 11PM. I was so stoked to finally arrive in one of the safest cities in the world and to experience the kamay na bakal government system ruled by the Iron Man Rodrigo Duterte.
Upon exiting the airport, there was a multicab heading to Ecoland Terminal. Being the frugal travelers that we are, we agreed to pay ₱50 each for the fare. A cab would’ve costed us a hefty ₱250! Chaching! That’s ₱200 more for food and other activities :).
The smell of the infamous Durian fruit was prevalent in the open air but once you’ve been exposed to it for a while, you wouldn’t mind it that much. We arrived at the bus terminal after 20-30 minutes. There were soldiers stationed at the entrance to check the bags of anyone who enters the premises. One of the soldiers was a lady and how pretty that soldier was! Military presence made the bus terminal feel safe.
As we entered the bus terminal, we saw plenty of passengers sleeping on folding beds in almost every corner of the terminal. At first, I thought that these people brought the folding beds with them then this manong came up to us and asked if we wanted to rent one of the beds. Since we still have about 2 hours before the bus arrives, we decided to rent one and have a lie down. For only ₱25 you can have your own place to nap on. So much cheaper than a hostel! 😀
The earliest bus (going to Mangagoy) that will pass by Hinatuan arrives at 2 a.m. and the journey will take more or less 5 hours.
As we were resting on our super comfy folding bed, a UV express barker came round where we were and offered us a ride to Mangagoy for only ₱250. We agreed to his offer and since we wanted to save time. The greatest thing about our van was it didn’t stop very often and it was very quick. We arrived at Mangagoy just after 3 hours which was a surprise since most travel blogs that we’ve read stated that it’ll take around 5 hours to get to Surigao from Davao.
We told our van driver to drop us off at Hinatuan since our boatman/habal-habal driver was already waiting for us there. To our surprise, the driver dropped us off at Mangagoy instead of Hinatuan. As soon as we got off the van, habal-habal drivers immediately crowded us and persuaded us to hire them instead of Romnick our original contact. They even told us that they knew Romnick and that he wouldn’t mind it since they were friends with him. Long story short, we gave in to their lies and agreed to pay ₱1700 for the 3 destinations (Tinuy-an falls, Enchanted River and Britania Islands).
We reached Tinuyan falls at around 7AM. The Entrance fee is ₱100 each and rafting cost ₱150. Unlike at Kawasan falls in Cebu, you don’t have to pay a huge amount for the guide fee but of course, tipping is highly encouraged ;).
Tinuy-an is a white water curtain that flows in three levels (with a fourth tier hidden from view) and is said to be the widest waterfall in the Philippines. I have to say, Tinuy-an falls is one of the most beautiful waterfall that I’ve seen. ☺
You can climb up some steps to get to the top level but be sure to hold on to the railings as it can get very slippery.
The water was very refreshing and invigorating. It was well worth the long journey.
We were about to leave and go to the Enchant River when we found out that Romnick our contact has also gone to fetch us. That’s when we found out the Romnick did not know the driver who brought us to the falls. Hence, to stop the chaos between groups of habal habal drivers we just agreed to pay our habal-habal driver Kuya Jojo for bringing us to Tinuy-an which costed us a whopping ₱700! And here’s the catch, in Tinuyan you still have to hire another habal habal driver whom they called tribal to bring you back to the main road. It costs ₱200 and it is the only way to get back. That is the policy there so you can’t really do much about that.
We were not planning to spend this much on Tinuy-an falls but sometimes unexpected things happen. So to be safe just contact our boatman Romnick [0929 958 2345 ] for a good deal and trust worthy service.
Our trip to Tinuy-an falls was amazing apart from the fiasco that happened but still, it was a wonderful experience to see one of the most beautiful waterfall in the Philippines and meet a new friend along the way. Next stop, Enchanted River!
Click the video above to watch our Surigao/Davao adventure vlog!
►Hinatuan goes before Mangagoy so be sure to remind the driver to drop you off at Hinatuan if you plan to visit the Enchanted river on the first day.
►Keep in mind that you have to pay an additional ₱200 for the tribal habal-habal driver to get you out of Tinuy-an.