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Trekking on the Campiri Rocks of Cortes, Surigao del Sur May 23, 2013

Trekking on the Campiri Rocks of Cortes, Surigao del Sur

GPS waypoint: Start: N9 18.367 E126 11.655 (at Buybuyan Beach Buybuyan Beach) | End: N9 18.369 E126 12.407 (at light house Cortes light house)
Location: Campiri, Municipality of Cortes, Province of Surigao del Sur

Rock Trekking
On my first night at Cortes, I met Marino Tabugon, chairman of Barangay Uba Fisherfolks Asso. (BUFA). He's very knowledgeable of the area and offered to take me rock trekking along the Campiri Rocks. At first, I didn't know what to expect, but I was curious. I've done trekking on mountain trails, but a rock trek?

Rocks, Boulders and Massive Rocky Outcroppings
We started early the following day - 5am. From where I was staying at Brgy. Uba, we just walked it to the jump-off at Buybuyan Beach. The trek started benignly headig south along the coast towards the light house, going over rocks as big as a backpack. But as we got further, rocks became boulders and boulders became massive rock outcroppings we had to climb up on. The adrenaline was pumping! Yeah, bring it on!

map location Cortes, Surigao del Sur
Laswitan Laswitan | Bakwitan Cave Bakwitan Cave | Buybuyan Beach Buybuyan Beach | Capandan Sanctuary Capandan Sanctuary | Light House Light House | Marine Sanctuary Uba Marine Sanctuary guard house | Sihagan Beach Sihagan Beach | Campiri Rocks Campiri Rocks

Rocky Plateau
An interesting section is flat area on top of the rocks - something resembling a plateau. It would be cool to go for a rest stop here, lay out the picnic mat, bring out whatever food you have, and enjoy the unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean, feeling the wind in your face.

Rock Pool
Mid-way into the trek is a rock pool with a narrow passage for the water. This keeps the turbulence outside to remain outside. The flooring is smooth round rocks and it goes as deep as 7-ft. in a small area. The rest is shallow, excellent for wading. This is another great swim stop.

Ending Thoughts
The big draw for me wasn't just the rock trekking per se, but the entire package - the rocky geographic landscape, the expansive view, sea wind blowing in my face, the adrenaline rush of spelunking the boulders, the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, the waves pounding on the rocks, lush mountain greenery, chillingout at the light house, etc. That whole experience was a wicked sensory overload. Whoa! In everything I've done in Cortes - scuba diving on 2 marine reserves, exploring Bakwitan Cave, going to Laswitan, walks on the beach, etc., I would have to say trekking on Campiri Rocks has been the most enjoyable and most memorable. Thank you Marino! you DA MAN!

--- TheLoneRider

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.

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To make arrangements for the Campiri Rock Tour, contact:

Marino TabugonMarino Tabugon
Barangay Uba Fisherfolks Asso. (BUFA)
cell: 0929.323.6720

Campiri Rock Travel Tips and FYI

  1. there is no bank. Bring cash.
  2. as of this writing, the only lodging in Cortes, Kamalig at P600/head. Contact the LGU or Marino Tabugon for reservation
  3. best time to see Laswitan is during Habagat (April to September) when the waves are not too strong, allowing you to trek on the rocks. During Amihan from October to mid-March, strong waves pound heavily on the rocks - best to get advise from Mar Tuburon, BUFA chairman: 0929.323.672
  4. there is no lodging at Campiri Rock but Mar Tuburon, BUFA chairman, may be able to make arrangements: - 0929.323.672
  5. you can do this yourself, but this is not a groomed trek site, no signs and difficult to enter through Buybuyan Beach if you don't know the area. For safety, best to have BUFA make the arrangements and guidance.
  6. Campiri Rock is close to Laswitan and can be bundled into one tour

Campiri Rock Fees

  1. there is no fee to trek Campiri Rocks on your own
  2. if you want BUFA to provide you a packaged tour, make the arrangements - Marino Tabugon 0929.323.6720. Fees have not yet been established as of this writing.

How to Get to Campiri Rock from Surigao City

  1. take a jeep or tricycle in Surigao City for the bus termial. The sign board should say "Terminal" or "Gaisano". 10 mins, P8
  2. Take a bus or van going to Tandag, but tell the conductor to drop you off Cortes junction
  3. at the highway junction, take a motorcycle (aka habal-habal) for Buybuyan Beach. Take a walk to the beachfront and start heading south along the big rocks.

Cortes Travel Tips and FYI:

  1. bring lotsa cash. There is no bank here. Others had to go to the next big city (no joking matter) just to replenish on cash
  2. there is no internet here

How to Get to Cortes

  1. from Tandag - take any northbound bus or jeep heading to Surigao City and ask to be dropped off at Cortes, 1 hour. If you take a jeep that specifically says "Cortes", take it. It will take you all the way to Cortes proper and to some of its barangays (and not just at the junction). If you take a bus, ask to be dropped off at Cortes, 1 hour. Then take a habal-habal for Cortes proper, 15 mins, P20.
  2. from Surigao City - take any southbound bus for Tandag and ask to be dropped off at the Cortes junction, 4 hours. Then take a habal-habal for Cortes proper, 15 mins, P20.

Attractions in Cortes and nearby area

  • Lubcon Falls - from Tandag, take jeep for Cantillan or Cortes and ask the driver to drop you off at Lubcon Falls, P25, 30 mins, 15 kms
  • 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)
  • Burgos Togonan Falls
  • 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

Lodging in Cortes

  • Kamalig - this is the only lodging in Cortes, P600/head. Best to make arrangements with Cortes LGU before coming over

Cortes LGU

  • for more information on anything and everything about Cortes, you can get in touch with Vincent Duenas of the Cortes LGU: 0907.444.6551 or email

(along the Surigao coastline from Surigao City to Surigao del Sur)

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May 23, 2013

»» next story: Diving Capandan and Uba Sanctuaries of Surigao del Sur
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