In the beginning, there was no Philippines but there was BUTUAN
Basic Information About Butuan City
Dubbed as the “Timber Capital of the Philippines”, Butuan is a highly Urbanized City located in Agusan Del Norte, in Northern Mindanao. It is the former provincial capital of Agusan Del Norte. Butuan City is also the home of the balanghais that were excavated in mid 70’s and are believed to have been used as early 320AD. A balanghai is a large boat used during the pre-hispanic period. It measures about 18 meters in length and could carry a clan.
How To Get To Butuan City
By air from Manila, both Cebu Pacific and PAL Express operate several daily flights to Bancasi Airport, Butuan. Travel time is approximately 2 hours. By land and sea from Manila, Philtranco operates daily trip via the Pan-Pacific Highway. Travel time is approximately 45 hours.
From Cebu City, Cebu Pacific flies daily to Bancasi Airport. Travel time is approximately 30 minutes. By sea, Sulpicio Lines and Trans-Asia Shipping have trips to Butuan and travel time is approximately 12 hours.
From Cagayan De Oro City, Butuan City is 3 hours and 30 minutes away by public bus. From Davao City, Butuan City is 6 hours away via public bus. From Surigao City, Butuan City is 2 hours away by public bus. The Butuan Integrated Bus Terminal is located in Langihan. Public buses, particularly Ceres Transport and Bachelor Express are generally safe and comfortable.
10 Places To See and Things To Do in Butuan City
Laksoy – Laksoy is a nipa palm wine that is distilled in a crudely-made tanks. To get an authentic taste of this local wine, head over to Barangay Babag.
Rizal Park – Rizal Park in Butuan City is the site of the National Shrine of the Philippine Flag in Mindanao which commemorates the first formal hoisting of the flag in Mindanao on January 17, 1899. The Rizal Park is located in front of the cathedral.
Banza Church Ruins – Banza Church Ruins are the oldest church ruins in Mindanao. It is now engulfed by Balete Tree.
St. Joseph Cathedral – St Joseph Cathedral is the seat of the Diocese of Butuan
Butuan Diocesan Liturgical Museum – The Butuan Diocesan Liturgical Museum houses several collections of the Roman catholic Church in Mindanao. It is located at St. Joseph Cathedral. Note that the Museum is not always open. Prior notice must be made before visiting.
Balanghai Shrine Museum – The Balanghai Shrine Museum houses the more 1,650-year old balanghai – the oldest of the 9 balanghais that have been excavated. The balanghais are declared as National Cultural Treasure. Head over to Barangay Libertad to see this museum.
National Museum in Butuan – The National Museum Butuan Branch houses the rich cultural, historic and artistry of Butuan. It was established after the discovery of the balanghais. The Museum is few steps avail from the City Hall.
City Hall – the seat of government of Butuan City
Provincial Capitol of Agusan Del Norte – The seat of government of Agusan Del Norte is still in Butuan City though its official provincial capital since 2000 is Cabadbaran City.
Magellan’s Anchorage – located in Barangay Masao, this place is believed to be the site where Magellan had blood compact with Raja Siaiu.
Delta Discovery Park – though I have not seen it myself, I still included in the list. People say it’s a nice place to see and enjoy. You may want to give it a try.
Where to Sleep in Butuan
There are several hotels and lodging houses in Butuan City where one can stay. During my trip, I stayed at Juliana’s Inn and Garage Bar – cheap and descent lodging house but a bit far from the city center. It is located in a subdivision. Here is a list of various accommodation facilities in Butuan City
|Almont City Hotel||San Jose St.||(085) 342-5263 and 815-4174|
|Almont Inland Hotel & Resort||JC Aquino Ave||(085) 342-7414 & 341-2103|
|Ariano’s Inn||KM 3 Baan,||(085) 342-7462|
|AVP Tourist Inn & Coffee Shop||J. Satorre St., Langihan||(085) 815-2233; 342-5797|
|Balanghai Hotel & Convention Center||Bacolod Street, Doongan||(085) 3423064, (085) 3423064, (085) 8151193|
|BeverlyInn||Montilla Blvd||(085) 342-8082|
|Butuan Luxury Hotel||R. Calo St., Cor. Villanueva St, Butuan||(085) 225-2357|
|Butuan Royal Plaza Hotel||T. Calo St.||(085) 342-5824; 341-5125|
|Caraga Ultimate||Capitol Drive||(085) 342-0200; 342-7349; 342-5866|
|Country View Inn||San Francisco St. corner Lopez Jaena St.||(085) 341-9820|
|Donia Lodge||Pili Drive||(085) 342-2027|
|Dottie’s Place & Convention Center||J.C Aquino Avenue||(085) 341-4579; 341-4575; 815-2649|
|Embassy (MBE) Hotel||Montilla Blvd. Cor. Pili Drive||(085) 342-5883; 341-4948|
|Emerald Villa Hotel||Villanueva St.||(085) 342-5376; 225-5377|
|Fortune Inn 1||E. Luna St.||(085) 342-5861; 225-3417; 225-3418|
|Fortune Inn 2||611 P. Burgos St.||(085) 342-5861|
|Goat 2 Geder Hotel & Restaurant||Montalban St.||(085) 341-7871; 341-1657; 342-5779|
|Hensonly Plaza Lodge||San Francisco St.||(085) 342-5866; 225-2040|
|Hotel Karaga||Montilla Blvd.||(085) 815-6105; 342-8387; 225-3888; 341-5405;342-5610;342-5857|
|Imperial Hotel||San Francisco St. corner Lopez Jaena St.||(085) 341-5319; 225-7099|
|Jet’s Inn||025 Villanueva St.||(085) 341- 5162|
|Julian’s Inn and Garage Bar||219 Nangka road||(085) 3413075 / 2257075|
|LucianaInn and Restaurant||San Jose St., corner A.D. Curato St.||(085) 342-3293; 342-3294; 342-3295|
|Lucky Inn||470 R. Calo St.||(085) 342-5383|
|Mavel’s Lodge||Montilla Blvd.||(085) 342-8433|
|Mitz Lodge 1||602 Pili Drive||(085) 342-3511|
|Mitz Lodge 2||T. Calo Ext.||(085) 225-7677|
|Orient Lodge||7th St. Guingona Sub.||(085)342-5098|
|Royal Plaza Hotel||308 T. Calo St.||(085) 342-5824; 341-5125|
|Wendell’s Place||Villa Kananga||(085) 815-4111|
|White House Eco-Inn||LuzVillage||(085) 225-6880|
Where to Eat in Butuan City
Being a highly urbanized city, Butuan has many options for good eats – be it a fine dining restaurant, fast food or carinderia.
Going Around Butuan City
Tricycle is the main transportation within the city. Jeepneys and mini buses are used for nearby towns.
Why Visit Butuan
1. Butuan came before Philippines. Surprise?
2. The balangais which are carbon-dated to be as old as 1650 years, are older than any European counterpart. Hence, our forefathers were great ship builders and explorers!
3. It is the only place in the country where you can see Hindu remnants. Our forefathers were not Pagans!
Best Time to Visit Butuan
Anytime of the year is great but you may want to visit Butuan on these special occasions:
- Kahimunan Festival – celebrated every 3rd Sunday of January
- Balangay Festival – celebrated during the month of May
- Butuan Charter Day – celebrated every August 1-2
How much it Cost to Visit Butuan
For overnight stay and sight-seeing tour around the city and nearby municipalities, 25USD is more than enough to spend for accommodation, transportation and meals. 50-60USD for 3D2N trip. Airfare cost approximately 100usd for a return ticket.
Travel Insider Tip
When visiting Butuan, its nice to include CDO and Surigao City. One can either start in CDO or Surigao City. To do the northwestern Mindanao trip, one needs about 10 days. Granting that you only have 3 days and 2 nights, a just stick to Butuan and nearby towns. Since Butuan is not a popular destination, save by that fact, expect a less touristy trip here. Almost everything is still at its finest!