ALONE at Butuan and Surigao in One Day

Wait. What? Yes, I was alone and I did it!

To travel alone in a place I have NEVER been before is something I was hesitant to put in my bucket list. I was justifying I won’t do it anyway. I am afraid. Who would take my pictures? What if I get lost? Isn’t it dangerous for a girl?

But last Friday, May 12, I was asked if I could go to Surigao and perform a workaround procedure in the BIR. I said yes, but not too eager. It was only until I saw the ticket when I realized omgggggg what did I get myself into?

BTW this is a WORK-related trip and I was given an allowance which pretty much covered all my expenses so I will not sum up the total monetary damage. But for your reference, I will still state the amounts I incurred. Manila-Butuan ticket cost was P 6,748.84 while Butuan-Manila ticket was worth P 6,591.54. So total roundfare ticket was P 13,340.34. It was expensive because booking was made four days before the flight through a travel agency plus it is also the Festival month of Butuan for Balanghay (remember the boat we were taught in grade school? Yup, that’s it..balangay). Yey me so LUCKY!

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Yep. This is the Balanghay I am talking about. Photo grabbed and for more pictures check here.

3:15-3:30 AM Wake up Wake Up

I took a bath the night before so when I woke up I just had to change clothes and head to the airport.

3:30-4:00 AM Travel to NAIA 

I booked an UberPool and it only cost P 79. I love Uber. As I was heading out of our building, the truth that I will be going alone to Mindanao hit me. Mama, can I just go back to sleep? HUHU. Why did I even say yes in the first place? I can feel the fear and excitement rushing through my veins. CHAR HAHA.

4:00-5:05 AM Pre-departure + Boarding

I checked-in for the flight last night so I was not really in a hurry. And kudos to PAL, they were always on time based on my experience.

5:05-6:30 AM Fly to Bancasi Airport, Butuan City

The flight was approximately 1hour and 15minutes.

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Got a seat by the window!

6:30-9:30 AM Travel to BIR Surigao del Norte

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Syempre, work muna bago lakwatsa. Yun naman talaga pinunta ko dito e HAHA. Outside the airport are vans heading to Surigao. Just approach one of the locals outside the arrival area and they will lead you. Fare costs P200. Surigao is a 3-4 hour ride away from Bancasi Airport.  You may be wondering why I landed in Butuan while my destination was really Surigao. Surigao Airport is currently under repair. The ramp was damaged making it unusable last February when a magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit the area. In fact, many establishments were still not operating. The nearby Gaisano mall still closed and roads and bridges still under repair.

9:30-10:00 AM Work Around Procedure in BIR

I asked the van driver to drop me at BIR Surigao. The building is located just in front of the terminal. I spent like 15 minutes at the office. The work was that fast! I was so nervous I checked and rechecked the returns four times making sure I don’t miss out a page. All pages must be stamped received by the BIR. I was thinking thanks to this I am here so I must do it right!

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Outside BIR Surigao del Norte.

10:00-10:30 AM Walk Around Terminal

Since work got done, I was thinking what to do and where to go. Butuan seemed like a more tourist-friendly place than Surigao so I just decided to get back to Butuan and do the exploring there. But really, takot pa din kasi ako sa Surigao kasi baka lumindol. Besides, it was Butuan I did a massive researching with before flying. Mehe.

10:30-12:30 PM Travel to Butuan Terminal

Fare costs P140 but if up to Bancasi Airport, P200. I brought food and candies with me so I won’t be hungry on times like this. It’s already lunchtime and we’re still on the road. I ate the Chicken Teriyaki bun given by Philippine Air Lines during the flight earlier.

12:30-2:00 PM National Museum

From the terminal, the locals pointed where to take the trike ride that will bring me to the National Museum – Butuan Branch. Fare P8. Free entrance fee! Though it was a small museum compared to the ones here in Manila, it was worth looking for. The administrator was very friendly and nice. He guided me and told me the stories behind the artifacts and photographs posted. He taught us(the visitors) Baybayin. He said that Alibata is not the right term unlike what we were taught in school. It should be Baybayin.

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I can’t believe I am doing this…ALONE!!! So proud of you, self!

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This is kuya George, the administrator of the National Museum, as he was giving the visitors a lecture about Baybayin. That shirt is for sale btw, it costs P250 each.
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This is the Balanghay displayed inside the museum.

Just before I was out of the gate, a man in his early 30s(judging by his looks) called me out. He asked if I am from Manila, why I was alone, why I was there, what Company I am working for. I answered his questions out of courtesy because he seemed nice. He even asked for my number! Now, this is becoming scary. He said he will be in Makati next week because he has a training. I was thinking maybe I  should give him a wrong one kaso baka tawagan edi mapahiya pa ko diba. So I gave him my number. As of writing this entry, one day after, I am now in Makati. He texted me during lunch time. I did not reply because I didn’t see the need to. An unknown number called around 4:50 in the afternoon, I was hesitant to answer but I did because it might be important and guess what it was him! I answered politely and told him I was busy. I blocked his number right after that call! Was I mean? Sorry koya. HUHU

2:00-3:00 PM Gaisano

Fare P8. Ate at Jolibee and roamed around. Damage P85.

3:00-3:30 PM To Airport

Across Gaisano is the highway. I rode an R2 jeepney heading to Bancasi Airport. Fare P8.

3:30-5:00 PM City Again + Pasalubong + Souvenir

I was planning to check in for my CebuPac flight back to Manila but I was told 6PM pa daw check in. I headed again to the centro and settled at Robinson’s this time. Fare P8. Since I still have much money left, I bought pasalubong!!! Puto Flan and shirts. I spent P450 for souvenirs.

Other touristy spots na nadaanan ko were the Sto. Nino Church and the Magsaysay bridge. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stop by but still okay since I get to see them even just in passing. For your reference, you can look at this link and this other link. These were the blogs I read before flying to Butuan and it really helped me in planning where to go, what to see, and how to go to the known spots.

I still have an ample amount of time left. I wanted to go to the famous Banza Ruins and the Balanghay Museum but decided not to kasi baka mas konti tao dun kesa sa National Museum. Solo pa naman ako. Maybe next time.

5:30-8:30 PM Airport Pre-Departure

Fare P8 to airport. We were supposed to leave by 8:20 PM but the flight was delayed. At 8:25 PM, we just started boarding the aircraft. I was so excited this was my first time to fly at night!

9:00-10:15 PM Fly to Manila

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And I am back Manila! This photo is not even halfway close as to how beautiful the view up there was. This was my first time to fly at night and I love it na!

10:15-11:30 PM Go Home

It took me a long time before I was able to ride a cab. The Uber driver called me and said he was at the Departure area. He was angry and screaming as if it was my fault he was there and I at the arrival area. I cancelled the trip and will be charged P100 cancellation fee for my next Uber ride. I shifted to GrabTaxi instead. Again, the queu time was long because of the heavy traffic. I was charged P220 by Grab. HUHU. If I did not cancel my Uber ride, my taxi fare would only be P108.

And my Manila-Butuan-Surigao VV trip concluded just like that! It was a very memorable day. My mantra throughout the day: DO IT AFRAID. You will never know if you can unless you try, Ivy.  Besides, this is the perfect opportunity to do it: all-expense paid trip plus the chance to cross this out from your bucket list plus charging with OT!! How can I say no to this?

Till next time Surigao!

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