This is the second of my Surigao del Sur series.
After my Enchanted River adventure, I went directly to Tinuy-an Falls using the same habal-habal (single motorcycle). It’s about an hour and 40 minutes of mostly rough ride. Yet, upon hearing the sound of the cascades plus the mist on my face, the numbness and body aches from that long grueling ride were easily forgotten.
You cannot truly claim a wonderful Surigao del Sur experience without visiting the Tinuy-an falls. A massive 95 meters wide and plunging 55 meters from it’s three cascades, this mammoth falls is one of the biggest in the Philippines.
I arrived just two days after a storm hit this part of the country, so there’s only a handful of visitors. The volume of water was particularly high, which added to the awe factor. I actually just stared at this marvelous beauty for many minutes feeling how puny I am. The curtain of froth is so thick that it clouded my camera lens before I could take a good photo.
Top of the Falls
There’s a man-made stairs at the side of the falls which will take you to the upper part.
The trail is steep and there are some parts which will require upper body strength.
The upper part consists of cascades with short plunges which are equally amazing.
The deepest part in this area is about waist-deep, but you need to be extra careful since the current is strong and one slip can be disastrous (it’s obviously not fun to plunge 55 meters without assurance that you won’t hit a rock or a hard surface).
Feeling the Power
Another great thing to try is to get near the main falls. There’s a balsa (bamboo boat) that can take you there for a minimal fee plus an ample tip to the boatman.
As we approached, I could really feel the power of and the intensity of the falls. The sound was so deafening that it was hurting to the ears.
The wind with the thick froth was so strong that it felt like being battered by a strong typhoon. It can be very cold, so I recommend that you wear a rash guard.
I went overboard to further feel the current. The depth at the part near the falls is about 60-80 feet, according to the boatman. For safety purposes, I opted to use a life vest. On the other parts though, the water is just up to waist or neck deep, so you can lazily drift and relax.
Negative Ion Rejuvenation
According to some research, moving water releases a mass of negative ions which are said to be beneficial to physical and emotional well-being. This is in contrast to positive ions produced by gadgets and other modern items we regularly use.
High concentrations of negative ions are found in water falls and a stay at Tinuy-an Falls is beneficial not just to the sight, but also to the body and emotions.
- You may opt to explore the upper part of the water falls with or without a guide. To be safer, I recommend having a guide.
- If possible, don’t visit on a weekend or a holiday to avoid the huge number of tourists.
- Make sure you’ve arranged your ride back.
- Take care of the environment.
How to get there
From Butuan City:
- Take a bus from the Butuan City Integrated Bus Terminal going to Mangagoy (Bislig City). Travel time is about 5-6 hours and fare is 250 pesos. You can also opt to take a van which is faster, but more cramped. From Mangagoy (Bislig City) you can rent a habal-habal (single motorcycle) to take you to Tinuy-an and back for about Php 200-250 per person.
- You can also take a bus going to Davao City and alight at San Francisco in Agusan del Sur. From there, you can ride a van or bus going to Mangagoy (Bislig City).
From Davao City:
- Take a Bachelor bus from Ecoland Bus Terminal bound for Mangagoy (Bislig City), Surigao del Sur. Travel time is about 5-6 hours and fare is Php 250.
- From Mangagoy (Bislig City) you can rent a habal-habal (single motorcycle) to take you to Tinuy-an and back for about Php 200-250 per person.