May 28, 2013
Surprising Twist in Surigao City
City Hall GPS waypoint: N9 47.447 E125 29.606
Location: Surigao City, Province of Surigao del Norte
Earlier than Scheduled
My trip to Surigao City came sooner than I planned. From Cantilan, I planned on going to Socoro Island to visit Suhoton, the much talked-about cave with islets. From there, I would have explored either Dinagat or Siargao before going to Surigao City to cap my Mindanao odyssey. Unfortunately, my laptop broke down. Without my laptop, my life is practically put on hold. I had to cancel everything to make it to the nearest city and purchase a brand new unit - thus my earlier-than-expected departure for Surigao City, the capital of Surigao del Norte.
Stranger in a Strange Place
Like most places I go to, I didn't know anyone in Surigao City, haven't been there before, and didn't even know where I'd sleep for the night. The first day of arrival to a place is usually the most challenging. I'd be lugging my heavy gear from lodge to lodge, negotiating the best deal I can get. I probably relish the unpredictability despite all my complaints.
I was shocked to find out how expensive lodging is in Surigao City. Imagine a coffin-sized fan room with hardly any ventilation going for P280/night? That was the cheapest I could find. From the 'cheap' lodging places I've canvassed, regular fan rooms were going for P350/night - insane! I noticed that here in the eastern region of Mindanao (Butuan, Britania, Surigao), hotel lodging is more expensive than the national average. I was rushing to get myself out of Surigao City as soon as I got a new laptop. I didn't want to stay another night.
Fortunately, I took the time to stop by the local tourism office to see if they might be receptive to what I can offer them. My hopes were not exactly high. I was able to meet Ms. Roselyn Armida B. Merlin who is the Supervising Tourism Operations Officer. After explaining to her what I've done for other destinations, which is essentailly what I can do for Surigao City, she explained that they badly need someone like me. I explained to her my predicament about lodging. She concedes and added that it's an issue they had been addressing - good to know they're doing something about it. Immediately, she assigned a driver and her assistant to transfer me to an air-conditioned room in one of their guest houses - Maharlika Annex. Whoa! I was treated to a sumptuous lunch as we talked about the various activities they could arrange for me to write about (making it clear that my blog is not an editorial advertisement of any kind - I call a spade, a spade) - fiestas, scuba diving, caving, etc. Arrangements were also set for me to make a presentation to establishment decision-makers (not rank and file employees). At the same time, she assigned her staff, the indefatiguable Ms. Ping, to arrange with the local resorts and hotels for my accommodation and board. Whoa!
Call to Action
This is a unique situation for me. I've met several tourism heads of many cities and municipalities - they all loved my work. Some stopped at saying, "good luck". Others made promises that were never fulfilled. Others took the next step but without sustained support. Others made half-measured assistance. Of course the program languished. Without the help of Tourism to open doors for me, very little can happen - I know this by experience. Like in Cortes, here in Surigao City, I found a tourism officer who's going beyond the polite nod. With a sense of urgency and a pro-active ownership of the tourism mandate, a lot of things already happened on the first day. Finally, I meet a rare someone in authority who gets it!
The Glass is Half Full
Suddenly, I wasn't in a hurry to leave anymore. The light at the end of the tunnel showed up. Now, I feel optimistic about the positive changes I can do for this place. This is still a strange place for me - I hardly know anything about this place and I still haven't met anyone who is not a client. But with the tourism office supporting my efforts, I see wonderful possibilities.
I've always wondered why most tourism officers seem oblivious to what I'm putting on the table. I don't see it as rocket science. How often does it happen that a web designer/traveler walks into their town, offers a highly effective integrated online marketing campaign to benefit their tourism efforts, on a well-oiled web machinery that's already in place, search-engine-optimized and all, and does it at no cost to the city? All they need to do is rally the support of the commercial establishments and take me to their tourist attractions so I can increase public awareness on what they offer. Why do they let an opportunity like that just slip through their fingers? When will another guy like me, walk into their town and make the same offer? If I were the tourism officer, I'd part the Red Sea in welcoming that stranger and give him all the reasons why he should stay longer. I'm somehow thinking that if I had made my offer with a 6-figure price tag (which my work can command), that I would get their attention. Fortunately for the Municipality of Cortes and Surigao City, they have the likes of Vincent Duenas and Roselyn Merlin who see the value in what I'm offering, and more importantly, taking decisive action to make it a reality.
Many many thanks to the Surigao City Tourism office.
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.
- from the Cantilan bus terminal, take a bus bound for Surigao City, P157/pax, non aircon, 3 hours, 30 mins
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 14, 2013) Thanks sir for posting our picture...thank you also for sharing your website. It helps a lot especially to the travelers...from: Octagon
May 28, 2013
»» next Traveling story: Boat Ride to the Floating Village of Day-asan, Surigao City
»» back to Traveling
»» back to Homepage
ALL YEARS |