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Trek and dive in Butuan-Surigao cities in mid-2000s


Way back my university days, a roommate took summer scuba-diving class and he told me how awesome the undersea was but I could not comprehend but convinced it must be tiresome because he snored heavily. I told myself I’d rather hit the beach and read under the coconut trees.

When I joined a second group of outdoor hobbyists we call ourselves “Balanghai Trek and Dive.” Our weekend routine comprised climbing and hiking the foothills of Mt. Mayapay. We slept overnights atop a wooden watchtower near a cliff overlooking the city. We took long walks and even did canyoning. (Now I am told, the waterfalls gone, leveled out,no thanks to subdivision developers.)

Mt. Mayapay straddles parts of Butuan City and Buenavista town in Agusan del Norte is one of the favorite hiking trails in Caraga.

Then it was time to venture the seas and underneath. I encountered an uninhabited islet in Surigao City called Sagisi that was perfect for outdoor reading, swimming and snorkeling. It lured me weekends for a year, built a cottage and brought friends who like me got hooked on snorkeling and escaping away from it all.

Living corals abound just steps away from where we stayed but it was the school of colorful fish that stole our attention circling us. How can one forget such moments like those?

Scuba-diving came next as initiated by Francis Uy, now a professional master diver based in the Middle East and lawyer Gluce Jayma. Admittedly, I was not much into it as I was content on surface diving, snorkeling, which was enough for me.

Then an opportunity came when the group was asked to explore the scuba-diving potentials of Surigao City by the city tourism office. Exploration came and the weather was bad but we pursued.

The lead diver, Atty. Gluce told me he discovered and explored an entrance of a huge underwater cave. I was fascinating and he officially reported it.

Another wonderful event given to us was visiting all the island barangays as judges of ‘Clean and green’ program, an environment-related competition. The visit was like encountering the jewels of Pacific with its varied sights and terrains like white-sand beaches and villages, rock-hill formations and even a mystical cave. Coming back to the city we were billeted at a beach resort-hotel facing Surigao Straight.

Today, Surigao City’s tour is incomplete without sailing to the islands. With the already grown scuba diving populace and hard-to-resist offering to the islands, the city is a magnet for adventurers and travelers.

Photos courtesy of Google and



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