Destinations Magazine

The Charm of Dinagat Islands

By Wanderingjoshua
I was intent on visiting this island off the shore of Surigao City, because I knew very little of it. There's nothing like going to a little known place in your own country; the thought of visiting this province tickled my adventurous side.
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
Dinagat Islands: Exploring Cab-ilan
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
I've only read a handful of blogs about Dinagat Islands so as soon as I arrived in San Jose Port, I made a beeline to the tourism office to check out things to do. I checked the itinerary and the price, P3,000! for a day tour. The price was too steep for me, because I was traveling solo. Fortunately the habal-habal driver I hired, Kuya Jojo, had a boat that I could rent for my intended trip. I bargained the amount to P1,500 for an island hopping tour.
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
I started early the next day and went to the first island on my itinerary, which was Cab-ilan Island. It took almost an hour to get to this island, but the trip was worth it. The fine sand and the bluish-emerald waters were a sight to behold.
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
I walked around an island and discovered that this island was actually a barangay. There was a bridge that connected the two islands together.
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
The residents of this island were primarily boatmen or fishermen. I've seen several fishermen on the way to this island. I can't believe how our government allows people to live in such conditions. The same story keeps rearing its ugly head whenever I visit certain provinces. Yes, our fellow countrymen survive, but is that all we want? Do we just want to survive and repeat the same mistakes and live through the same cycles over and over again? The boatman, Kuya Jojo's father, said that the public officials only chose certain areas for their projects while leaving others out.
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
The Charm of Dinagat Islands
After walking around the small barangay, we headed to an unpopulated island which is still part of Cab-ilan. The colors of the water were quite something if you ask me, they turn from emerald to blue to clear. The white sand is also soft to the touch. I took my sweet time wandering around the island and swimming in the beach. I practically had the beach to myself if not for the locals who were having a meal on the island.
The Charm of Dinagat Islands

The Charm of Dinagat Islands

Local children playing in the water


The Charm of Dinagat Islands

There were also interesting rock formations on this island. The rock formations reminded me of a much smaller version of Biri in Northern Samar.
The Charm of Dinagat Islands

The Charm of Dinagat Islands

I met nice locals while I was on this island. They were eating seafood and some sea urchins. What one lady told me typified life in some of the provinces in the Philippines, 'if you're hungry, you can always get food from the sea'. I admire the locals making a living off the sea and the little they have.
How to Get to Dinagat Islands
Ride a lantsa, local ferry, to Dinagat Islands from Surigao City. The cost for the ferry is P100 one way, and the trip takes an hour and a half. The last ferry leaves at 2PM to San Jose, Dinagat Islands. There are instances when the ferry leaves much later, at around 4PM, to reach the maximum capacity of the boat. I arrived at 1PM and waited till 4PM before the lantsa disembarked. Make sure to ride the ferry bound for San Jose because there is another ferry that goes to Dinagat, which is another town.
Contacts
Kuya Jojo - 09996686293 for boat and habal-habal rental
Pink Lodge - 09468286392

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