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8 Days in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur May 15-23, 2013

8 Days in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur

GPS waypoint: N9 13.924 E126 03.585
Location: Municipality of Lanuza, Province of Surigao del Sur

Coastal Wonders
From Tandag, I was already set to go north to Surigao City, but I noticed on the map that the route passes through towns with attractive natural offerings - caves, waterfalls, marine sanctuaries, surfing, etc. One such was Lanuza. Further research informed me it's also the surfing mecca of Mindanao, next to Siargao. Since it was along the way, I stopped by for a few days to check it out.

Lanuza, like most coastal towns lined up along the north-eastern seafront of Mindanao, is rich in natural wonders. It has the Campamento Cave, Silop Spring, Magkawas Falls, Lanuza Marine Sanctuary, mangrove forest and beaches.

Lanuza is a sleepy town that comes alive mid November for the surfing competition. Surfers from near and far flock to Lanuza, and this is the only time of year Lanuza benefits from tourism revenues. To accommodate high traffic during peak times, homes are accredited by the local tourism office to serve as homestays. I stayed in a fulltime homestay (open 365/year) and perhaps the most popular among the Cebu surfers - Mami's Surf Haus.

Mami's Surf Haus
At P200/day for a dorm-type room, it's reasonable. Ms. fAvelina Rosil, the proprietress, is an amiable hostess hwo look after her guests with motherly demaeanor. No wonder she's popularly known to the surfers as Mami. You can watch tv, cook in the kitchen,and she can even have a laundry lady do your laundry at a fair rate. The downside? Dogs from the neighbors bark incessantly and the dog owners are oblivious to how annoying their dosgs are to the community - they do nothing about it. The 2nd floor rooms tend to be hot too during the day time.

Lanuza has its own laid-back charm. Like Dumaguete and Tandag, it has its concrete boardwalk by the sea, or The Boulevard, for short. The Boulevard is a reminder that like Tandag, Lanuza has seen better days. There are signs of wear that require maintenance and upkeep. It's the best place to walk along at night, but some areas are not lit.

The Sanctuary
I applaud the municipality for being an active participant in the conservation of Lanuza Bay. They have a protected marine sanctuary where fish can spawn. It's also open to the public for a nominal fee of P5/pax. It has a presentable cafe that offers a stunning view of the sea. The reef system is promising. I hope there will be a dive shop at the sanctuary to make it easy for divers to see what lies underneath its waters. A dive shop is also a way to make the sanctuary a viable undertaking because of the revenues that will help its upkeep. If it remains entirely on government budget, once the budget dries up, the sanctuary project falls into limbo. Perhaps the LGU can offer a tax holiday to any interested dive operator?

Environment vs. Mining
Surrounding Lanuza Bay are the municipalities of Tandag, Cortes, Lanuza, Carmen, Madrid, Cantilan and Carascal. These minicipalities are polarized around the issue of mining vs environment. Those who are pro-environment are active in their conservation efforts while those who are pro-mining either care less or conflicted. The politicians who campaigned in the recent election had to bare their leanings.

Better Days
From what I've seen, and from what I've heard, Lanuza seems to have seen better days. For years in a row, it consistently won the Clean and Green awards for the Caraga region. Until the highway widening program, Lanuza was a welcoming sight for motorists with its canopy of big trees lining up the highway.

Ending Thoughts
For tourism, Lanuza is dependent on the surfing season which only happens a few months of the year. The rest of the year, it goes back into hibernation. But that should not really be the case. Apart from tourism, Lanuza has so much more to offer - the Campamento Cave, the Silop Spring, Magkawas Falls, and its marine sanctuary. Unfortuantely, these wonders are known only to those within their limited geographic sphere. As a bundled package of sights and activities from Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig from the south to the beaches of Surigao City to the north, Lanuza is automatically bundled-in for good measure. I believe that with proper marketing and a good system in place, Lanuza can also benefit from tourists plying the eastern seaboard route of Mindanao.

--- 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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Travel Tip:

  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. fyi, internet is slow and only 3 commercial establishments have wifi - Priz Cafe, Surf Camp and 'Tagalog'

How to Get to Lanuza

  1. from Tandag - at the Balilahan Terminal in Tandag, board any jeep or bus bound for Surigao or Cantilan. Get off at Lanuza (market), P50 jeep, 1 hour 20 mins.
  2. from Surigao City - take any Bachelor Bus going to Tandag, vans can go straight to Lanuza
  3. from Butuan City - go to the bus terminal and board any bus bound for Tandag. From Butuan airport, there is a van going to Lanuza
  4. from Davao City - take a bus going to Tandag and from Tandag, take bus or jeep going to Cantilan (or Surigao) but get off at Lanuza

Attractions in Lanuza and nearby area

  1. surfing - beach break, reef breaks, great for hard core surfers, great for beginners too, surf competition mid-November
  2. Campamento Cave and Silop Spring (N9 13.033 E126 02.756)* - N9 12.978 E126 02.743, stalactites and interesting rock formation, P500/3pax tour package
  3. Magkawas Falls and Green Paradise* - N9 14.995 E126 06.936, great for taking a dip, photo op and just communing with nature, P450/pax, max of 5 pax for guided tour
  4. River Cruise and Firefly Watching* - P650/4 pax, includes boat, guide and dinner
  5. Lanuza Marine Park and Sanctuary - N 09 15.279 E 126 06.753, fish spawning area, view deck overlooking Lanuza Bay, coffee at the Sanctuary Cafe
  6. Mangrove Forest - protected habitat for fish breeding
  7. Lanuza Ancestral Home - built in 1898, the structure is well preserved and still functional
  8. Lanuza Boulevard - take a stroll at sundown and catch the breathtaking sunset
  9. Punta Beach - taller waves for more experienced surfers
  10. Hubason River - located in Carmen, but only 15 mins away from Lanuza

* contact Ms. Glenda Joy DC. Felix, the Tourism Operations Officer at 0939.916.9512 or email at

Homestay Sites in Lanuza
(in May 23, 2013, a request has been made to Ms. Glenda Joy DC. Felix, the Tourism Operations Officer, for the individual telephone numbers of these homestays)

  • Babac Bungalows - accommodation, surfing and yoga
  • Mami's Surf Haus - N9 13.932 E126 03.475, aka Avelina Rosil, P200/pax dormitory, 0919.923.9007
  • Ma. Karissa Julve - N9 14.004 E126 03.492
  • Offshore - fronting beach
  • Valspeak - fronting beach
  • Bamboo Homestay -
  • Twain Homestay - N9 14.009 E126 03.468
  • Elizalde Homestay -
  • Raymond Cubero -
  • Susa Orozco -
  • Fedila Ariate -
  • Poktoy Palm Haven -
  • Lanuza Pastoral Center -
  • Inday Dina - N9 13.954 E126 03.541, cell 0949.673.2121
  • 3E Lodge -
  • Priz Babak Beach Resort -
  • Surf Lanuza Training -
  • Surf Camp - N9 14.126 E126 03.674, fronting beach, P150/pax non a/c, P1200/room/2pax a/c

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

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May 15-23, 2013

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