To experience the amazing gems that is Britania Islands, one has to travel a long way to San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. Consisting of an assemblage of of islets, sandbars and beautiful rock formations amid crytal-clear waters and lined by a carpet of sand of varying textures and colors, these group of nature’s gem dotting the shores of Barangay Britania, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur is gaining popularity and has now been a popular inclusion to the itinerary of tourists who want to have taste of the magnet of these nature’s wonder.
The fishing village to which these islets are located is said to be originally called Alepanto. Later, it was said to be renamed “Bretania” by San Agustin’s former mayor Eufemio Darunday because of the resemblance of this island and beach formation to that of Great Britain. Later, the spelling was changed to Britania.
Last August 17, 2013, together with a bunch of friends, went off from Davao City in order to experience the beauty of these islets. I have been bugging these friends for the longest time for this travel, but we somehow were unable to synchronize our schedules for the trip. But on that weekend, we somehow manage to sneak into our timetables this long-planned trip. It was a purposeful trip, other than the Britania experience because Elden, a friend of ours from Roxas City, Capiz, came to experience Kadayawan Festival in Davao City and we found it timely to schedule the trip for him to also explore other beautiful tourist destinations in Mindanao, and also because this trip also served as a road test for the newly-acquired vehicle of our friends Joel and Charito, whom we fondly called Mommy and Daddy.
Enjoying the picturesque “Naked Island”, which is technically a sandbar that stretches and shrinks in size depending on the tide. (Our resort manager told me that this sandbar actually vanished for a couple of days after Typhoon Pablo rummaged the area late in 2012)
So, after as taste of the merriment of the Indak-indak sa Kadalanan all eleven of us took off at around 2:00 p.m.. With the exception of Roy and myself, all are travelling for the first time in Britania. This trip was the second time for Roy and my sixth.
With a quick stopover at Barangay New Sibonga in Nabunturan to have a taste of the famous “bibingka” and other delicacies, we reached our resort, the Mc Arthur’s place at around 8:00 p.m. amid the pouring rain.
After settling in our room, we have a very delicious dinner consisting of Sweet and Spicy Lambay (blue crabs), Steamed Alimango (mud crabs) in Butter and Garlic, Kinilaw na Malasugue (Blue Marlin Ceviche) , Tinolang Imbao (mangrove clam) and a sampler of Steamed and Adobong Lambis (spider conch). It was truly a gastronomic delight that we feasted upon, and we capped the evening with our favorite rhum while trying out our singing prowess over a videoke machine.
from left to right: Roy, Elden, Dion, Ms. Annie, JB, myself, Mommy Cha, Stefan, Daddy Bong, Archie and EQ (seated) taking pose at a tattered structure at Hagonoy Islet
As it was still drizzling, we decided to retire early that night in preparation for a very early island tour we planned the next day. I woke up at around 4:00 o’clock in the morning and decided to explore the resort. Although it was my sixth time in Britania, it was my first time staying overnight at Mc Arthur’s place, as the other times, we stayed at another resort in Liangga, as most of the time, it was already late for travel, and instead we travel very early in the morning at Mc Arthur’s Place for the island tour.
I was greeted by the gush of a cold morning wind as I opened the door. It got me a little worried as the weather could be quite unpredictable and we might not be able to pursue with our planned island hopping if the wind would continue to be strong by sunrise.
I was quite surprise to see the resort staff already starting the day very early. Some are busy tidying up the bamboo cottages and some are about as busy in the kitchen. After a quick walk around the resort, I settled myself in one of the bamboo cottages and one of the resort staff came in with a pipping cup of coffee, which was a really refreshing start on such a cold morning.
Elden doing the “ballerina jump” at Hagonoy Islet
We thought that we had a good deal with the Barkada Room we got at Mc Arthur’s Place. The room consists of double-decked beds that can accommodate up to 14 persons and we are charged PhP 2,000.00 only. But I learned from the resort staff that the room accommodation also include breakfast for all of us consisting of fried rice, fried egg, crispy danggit and a cup of coffee. Really, it was the best deal!
Roy and Dion trying on their jumping skills as I took their pictures at the Naked Island
At around 6:00 a.m., we boarded our boat for the island hopping experience on Britania’s premier quartet islands: The Naked Island, Hagonoy Island, Boslon Island and Hiyor-Hiyoran Island, each having distinct character. Our boatman, Felix and his assistant expertly maneuvered our boat to these islands and have us awed and amazed by these beautiful creation of nature. We had most of these islands to ourselves as we were the first group out for that day, so we had much time to marvel on the beauty of these islets and enjoy dipping in its crystal clear waters and listening to the wonderful music played by the waves hitting the the glistening shore.
The island tour normally cost PhP 1,500.00, but the resort manager told me that we will be charged only PhP 1,300.00.
As we went back to our resort, our lunch already await us on which we feasted upon, after which, we boarded our vehicles for our next destination: The Enchanted River of Hinatuan, which I will be writing about soon.
I am glad to learn that the local government of San Agustin took effort to preserve the pristine environment of these islets and did not allow private entities to have a claim over any of these islet. Overnight stays in the islets is also discourage to maintain the serenity and to avoid littering.
As I’ve said, it was already my sixth time in Britania, but the panoramic view of these almost-submerged beauties never fail to amaze me! More than the bragging rights and capturing photos for Facebook profiles, it was the serenity and raw beauty of the islets that captured me. It was as if I am captivated by a magical spell, that I am always drawn to go back over and over again. I promise to be back and again be enamored by amazing these beauties.
…joyously jumping along the coast Hiyor-hiyoral Islet. A perfect way to cap the islet-hopping experience in these captivating beauties of the Amazing Britania Group!