June 12, 2013
Free-Diving the Coral Reef of Birok Islet, Surigao City
GPS waypoint: N9 46.342 E125 33.726
Location: Sitio, Brgy., Surigao City, Province of Surigao del Norte
After cruising along the floating village of Day-asan and making a brief stop at Dapia's white sand beach with 2 lovely tourism staff, Mitch and Mae, Manong Boatman took us to a spot where we could get some edible seaweed locally called 'lato'. With Manong's own dive mask, I watched him make a dive and scoop up a bunch of lato. I immediately followed suit. Whoa! What a rush. It's the first time I made a seaweed harvest given all the years I'd been free-diving. I couldn't even wait to bring it up the boat. I started snacking while hanging on to the outrigger.
Coral Reef of Birok Islet
Unheard-of Coral Reef
As an after-thought, I asked the boatman if there was a coral reef nearby. To my surprise, he said there is a massive reef system that spans many square kilometers not too far away. Really? I was elated, but rather skeptic. How come I never heard of it given the research I've done about Surigao City?
Isolated Coral Colonies
When we reached the early beginnings of the reef, we stopped and I donned my snorkeling gear and made a free-dive. Wow...not bad. It was half sandy bottom and half isolated coral colonies. I explored some more, snorkeling on the surface and making a plunge on anything interesting. There weren't any sizeable fish but the small fish population was rather healthy. Manong Boatman asked that we go to a better spot.
As we continued cruising along the reef system, with good water visibility, the reef below us just got better and better. We stopped at one promising point and again I made a few dives. This was much better! There was an assortment of hard branching corals, some of them color themed by clusters. There were also a wide array of soft corals. I was at a depth between 15 to 20 feet where water was still. The water had a strong current where the drop-off was, but no fear this time...we had a boat! I just went for one plunge after another until I was exhausted!
Pulled by the Boat
Manong Boatman suggested we hang-on to the make-shift rope handle on the outrigger as the boat slowly cruised along. That's when I began to appreciate the vast undersea world that lay beneath us while the boat pulled us for the tour. It was such a treat. Instead of kicking with my fins to cover a small area, I get a free ride with all that visual feast on a much wider coverage!
I was still stoked as we left for the city. Usually, the popular coral reef that used to amaze me are now reduced to rubble or what I would call a coral graveyard. With an increasing population, there's a lot of that now. Fishermen resort to dynamite fishing, muro-ami (leveling an entire coral rock to get a hiding fish) or cyanide fishing. With the exception of protected and established coral reefs that already found its way to the travel guides (like the reefs of Coron, Dauin) I didn't think I'd still see an unheard of reef that remains intact. But this one is. I'm actually surprised...make that pleasantly surprised! This just gives me optimism that there's more to discover here in Surigao City - another reason I should stay longer.
ps - If you want me to objectively cover the features of your city or municipality or barangay for this website (fiesta, waterfall, mountain trail, lake, river, cave, food, islands, beach, etc.), email me.
To make arrangements for the Birok Islet Snorkeling and Day-asan Floating Village Tour, contact:
c/o Surigao Tourism Office
(086)826.8064 / (086)231.7228 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org
P500/boat/4 hours/5 persons
- you can bundle this dive with a trip to Day-asan Floating Village and Dapia Beach - same boat!
- don't forget to bring your snorkeling gear
- bring some vinegar with you and all the trimmings for a lato salad!
Surigao del Norte
Goodbye Surigao July 23, 2013
Island Hopping Adventures in Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte July 23-25, 2013
Exploring Siargao's Cloud 9 July 18-20, 2013
Judging Del Carmen's Beauty Pagent and Street Dancing July 15-16, 2013
Rite of Passage on Cantrasa Shoal Jul 12, 2013
Diving the Reef of Cagtinae, Surigao del Norte Jul 7, 2013
Karma Yoga in Surigao City July 5, 2013
The Wooden Footbridge and Waterfall of Cantiasay, Surigao City July 1, 2013
Outdoor Adventure Tour in Nonoc Island, Surigao City Jul 1-2, 2013
The Deadly Bitaugan Whirlpool of Surigao City Jun 26, 2013
Beaching it at Pebble Beach and Looc Beach, Surigao City Jun 22-24, 2013
Exploring Silop Cave of Surigao City Jun 22, 2013
Surigao City Flow Jun 22, 2013
Free-Diving the Coral Reef of Birok Islet, Surigao City June 12, 2013
Boat Ride through the Floating Village of Day-asan June 12, 2013
Surprising Twist in Surigao City May 28, 2013
(along the Surigao coastline from Surigao City to Surigao del Sur)
- Rite of Passage on Cantrasa Shoal Jul 12, 2013
- Karma Yoga in Surigao City July 5, 2013
- The Wooden Footbridge and Waterfall of Cantiasay, Surigao City July 1, 2013
- Outdoor Adventure Tour in Nonoc Island, Surigao City Jul 1-2, 2013
- The Deadly Bitaugan Whirlpool of Surigao City Jun 26, 2013
- Beaching it at Pebble Beach and Looc Beach, Surigao City Jun 22-24, 2013
- Exploring Silop Cave of Surigao City Jun 22, 2013
- Free-Diving the Coral Reef of Birok Islet, Surigao City June 12, 2013
- Boat Ride through the Floating Village of Day-asan June 12, 2013
- Island Hopping Adventures in Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte July 23-25, 2013
- Exploring Siargao's Cloud 9 July 18-20, 2013
- Judging Del Carmen's Beauty Pagent and Street Dancing July 15-16, 2013
- Diving the Reef of Cagtinae, Surigao del Norte Jul 7, 2013
- Ayoke Island May 27, 2013
- Casarica Island May 27, 2013
- General Island May 27, 2013
- Sua Cold Spring - in Brgy Esperanza. From main highway, get off at Madrid terminal and take motorcycle ride for the spring. If coming from Lanuza, get off at crossing of Cangcaban then take habal-habal for the spring
- Hubason River May 18, 2013
- Lanuza Marine Park and Sanctuary May 17, 2013 - coral reef, snorkeling, cafe. Also a short walk to Magkawas Falls.
- Magkawas Falls in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur May 16, 2013
- Silop Spring May 16, 2013
- Campamento Cave May 16, 2013
- Herrera Ancestral Home
- Lubcon Falls - from Tandag, take jeep for Cantilan or Cortes and ask the driver to drop you off at Lubcon Falls, P25, 30 mins, 15 kms
- Burgos Togonan Falls
- Laswitan - strong waves crashing against the rocks and spilling over to fill up a rock pool (while you're dipping in it)
- Campiri Rocks - going over huge boulders, dipping in a rock pool, standing on a rock summit as waves hits and splash against it, and to cap all, you rest on the base of the light house perched on top of the rocks in full view of the magnificent Pacific Ocean
- Bakwitan Cave - a refuge by the towns folk during the Japanese occupation and during the typhoon of 2004
- Buybuyan Beach - small beach, almost like a personal beach, fine white sand (there are no commercial establishments on the beach...its undeveloped)
- Sihagan Beach - fine white sand for long walks on a beach (there are no commercial establishments on the beach...its undeveloped)
- Uba Marine Sanctuaries - scuba dive with gear from the LGU. At P250 per dive, you can't beat it!
- Capandan Marine Sanctuaries - scuba dive with gear from the LGU. At P250 per dive, you can't beat it!
- Balibadon Marine Sanctuary
- Mabahin Marine Sanctuary
- Tigao Marine Sanctuary
- Poblacion Marine Sanctuary
- Exploring Dayao Cave of Tandag, Surigao del Sur May 12, 2013
- Brgy. Bongtud - Twin Linungao Island, Mancagangi Island & MPA (Marine Protected Area - fish sanctuary)
- white sand beaches
- Britania Islets May 6-8, 2013 - small islets dotting the bay. Island tour, beach, mangrove forest.
- Enchanted River May 6, 2013
- Sibadan Fish Cage May 5, 2013
- Tinuy-an Falls
(June 16, 2013) WOW dude you're living the life!
June 12, 2013
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