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Sibadan Fish Cage, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur May 5, 2013

Sibadan Fish Cage, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

GPS waypoint: N8 27.935 E126 22.022
Location: Brgy. Talisay, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

Surigao del Sur Itinerary
From Butuan City, after a conversation with Mel, the marketing manager for Almont Inland Resort, I headed south to Surigao del Sur for Enchanted River, Tinuy-an Falls and Britania Islets. I didn't have time to research how far it was or how long. I just boarded the bus asking the bus conductor to drop me off at the Enchanted River junction. At the junction, I negotiated with a habal-habal driver to take me to Enchanted River. The entire time, I wasn't even sure where I'll stay for the night. Fortunately, upon arrival at Enchanted River, there were big tarpaulin banners advertising lodging, one of the being the Sibadan Fish Cage.

map location Sibadan Fish Cage

Cluster of Huts
I thought it best to secure my lodging first and just spend quality time at Enchanted River the following day. Besides, it was packed - a Sunday in the summer break. I took the short boat ride to Sibadan Fish Cage. Upon getting closer, I realized it was a cluster of nipa houses on stilts in the middle of the water..whoa! At first, I didn't get it...why call a lodging place, a fish cage? Upon arrival, I saw why. The entire place is a big fish cage bordered by nets. The main cage rests at the center and the huts, eating area, rooms are lined along its rectangular perimeter.

Big Cage
The main fish cage had an interesting array of sea creatures - a school of 2k talakitok, a handful of 10k talakitoks, a big stingray (spike removed), a few baby sharks, a triggerfish and a few large-size one offs. The fish are captured in the neighboring fish pens. The interesting ones end up in the cage. The smaller catch are fed to the big fish in the cage.

Smaller Cages
There are a few smaller fish cages with its own citizenry - native and tiger lobsters (they taste the same but surprisingly, the price difference is almost double). There is a cage for smaller talakitoks (they'll be eaten if sent to the big cage), and crabs.

All the fishes are up for grabs if you want them on your dinner table. You can even do the fishing yourself. The fish are smart though. When being fed, they are quick to snap the smaller fish. But they won't touch that same small fish if tied to a line. The new arrivals might fall prey to that, but the big talakitoks are too seasoned to fall for it.

There are a few chillout huts that are just perfect for a lazy day to catch the sunset and have a beer. There is a slight sea breeze that adds up to the vibe. On one side is the sea and the other side is the fish cage. It rained heavy that night while I was under the hut. It just made for good ambience.

The rooms are spartan. Don't look for anything fancy. But as far as getting comfortable lodging so as not to feel rushed while at Enchanted River, this place is perfect.

Being Alone
In this part of Mindanao, I am asked this a lot, "why are you traveling alone?". It seems abstract to them. The boat guy asked me 3 times who was with me. Three times, I told him I was traveling alone. Finally, he asked, "why?". It's that same question from everyone I meet. Others follow-up the question with really personal questions. At one point, I asked one of them, "I don't know you...why do you keep asking me very personal questions?" She laughed. The questions don't end. They've asked me what I do for a living, how much I make, if I'm single, etc. Of course, I know it's part of the local culture. I'm happy to engage them if only for conversation.

Back to Enchanted River
The following day, after enjoying my coffee by the sea, I asked the staff to radio the boat guys for my transport. In a few minutes, I was already at Enchanted River, refreshed and ready for another day's action.

Ending Thoughts
I chose to make a specific blog about this place because it's more than just a place to sleep for the night. With its unique features, it is its own thing. But add the Enchanted River to the list of things and you get a complete package.

--- TheLoneRider

ps - If you want me to objectively cover your resort for this website (beach resort, mountain resort, island resort, etc.), email me.

How to Get to Sibadan Fish Cage from Butuan (same direction as Butuan to Enchanted River)

  1. for starters, to go to Sibadan Fish Cage, you have to go first to the Enchanted River
  2. at the Butuan Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Mangagoy (Bislig) but ask to be dropped off at Dugmanon Junction for Enchanted River. The Tagbina Terminal is your sign that you're close. If you reach the Hinatuan Terminal, you missed the junction. P189 non aircon bus, 4 hours.
  3. at the junction, take a habal-habal, P150 if you are alone or P50/pax with other passengers, 12 kms of graded dirt road until you reach Enchanted River.
  4. go inside Enchanted River, pay the P30 entrance fee and ask the staff where to go to take the boat ride to Sibadan Fish Cage. It's just a short walk.
  5. kids at Enchanted River will offer to 'guide you' to the boat area and even offer to do radio calls to Sibadan Fish Cage. If you're not carrying heavy gear, there is no need to take this service. At the boat area, the dispatcher can radio Sibadan Fish Cage if there is vacancy.
  6. take the boat for the 10 minute ride to Sibadan Fish Cage. P100/trip or P20/pax, one-way. If you are alone, chances are, you'll have to pay the P100 fee.
  7. you can make arrangements with the fish cage staff when to call the boat to pick you up for the mainland

Fees at Sibadan Fish Cage:

  • food price here is generally reasonable, almost comparable to market prices
  • food - talakitok P200/k (from the cooler), talakitok P300/k (live, if you fish it from the cage), native lobster P900/k, tiger lobster P1500(?). Price includes cooking. But there are other assortment of choices - crabs, other fish in the cage.
  • lodging - P300/single room, fan only, common washroom / P600/double room, fan only, common washroom


  • don't eat along the way. Best place to eat is at Sibadan Fish Cage itself where you can order from the seafood they have in the cooler, or even catch your own fish from their fish cage.
  • bring snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel and fins) if you want to see the big fish up close and personal
  • bring a partner if you come here

Other Lodging Places (with eating facilities) in the area:

  • C-Fishcage Sand Bars Resort - single bed P300, double bed P600, family room with comfort room P1500, big room with a/c P2500, 0910.430.3724 / 0915.418.4550
  • Margarett Island Peak Resort - 0906.348.0197 / 0929.626.4217
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p5050809 p5050832 p5050836 p5050840
p5050845 p5050847 p5050849 p5050850
p5050853 p5050857 p5050859 p5050863
p5050870 p5050872 p5050874 p5050877
p5050882 p5050883 p5060886 p5060887
p5060888 p5060890 p5060895 p5060896

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

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Reader Comments:

Meriam TaclindoMeriam Taclindo
(May 20, 2013) How are you? This is Love-Love, yung nakilala mo sa bus. Kumusta yung pag bisita mo dito sa lugar namin?

May 5, 2013

»» next Traveling story: Free-Diving the Enchanted River of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
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