The Travel Guide: Tourist Destinations in Butuan City

Long before Philippines were discovered, Butuan already existed 

Butuan City to me is just another city in the island of Mindanao. I never knew how wonderful it is not when I came there and see for myself the alluring scope of the City.

Butuan City is the commerce capital of the Caraga region. Though it’s highly industrialized and urbanized, the city itself remained dominantly historical. Making the whole City a must visit City in this side of the country. Its historical background seduces many tourists to come by and see for themselves that Philippines started here. Woooo… That’s a history unleashed! But really, long before Philippines were discovered, Butuan already existed!
You might be wondering what I’m talking about, you’ll surely never know unless you come and visit Butuan City!
Getting There:
Your travel to Butuan city will never be nerve cracking one. The City provides a convenient way for travellers to get there. You can reach Butuan City by any of the three means: By air, by sea or by land.
Finding a scheduled flight to Butuan City won’t be that hard since various airline carriers offer a lot of options to get there. Butuan has a domestic airport at Bancasi, which makes air travel quite convenient. Traveling by air to Butuan City may be you’re most convenient transportation option especially if you do not have the luxury of time. Ticket fares will usually vary from one Airline Company to another, which means you are better off asking for quotations from different travel options. The cheapest one way ticket into Butuan from Manila would be around P3,000 while the most expensive ones will average around P5,000. Please take note that competing airline companies will have promotional offers to get more passengers. You may ask for any promotions while you’re hunting for a good ticket deal.
Check on Cebu Pacific Airlines, Zest Air, Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines for flight schedules and booking inquiries.
If you have more time in your hands then you may want to try this transportation option. You’ll surely enjoy the scenery as you pass by several islands along the way. Your sea voyage will last for about a day and a half on average. If you are able to find faster ships, then you can cut your travel time down to 26 hours. The rates of the ferry from Manila will start around P2, 000 up to P2, 500. Ferrying from Cebu will cost less than P1,000, which will ferry you for 18 hours. Sometimes the ferry will even cost half the original price if you can find promotional offers, which are offered frequently.
There are many bus companies that offers ride to Butuan City 24 hours. The hour of travel and fare may vary from your origin.
Beautiful Spots in Butuan City:

Bonbon Eco-Park, Butuan City
(Photo courtesy from Freida Milan of
Balanghai Museum
The Balangay Site Museum, known widely as the Balanghai Shrine or Balangay Shrine Museum, is a must see tourist attraction in the Philippines. It is where one can see uncommon artifacts. All who visit the place will have a glimpse of not only Butuan’s history, but the whole country. Different students, excursionists, and archaeologist regularly visit the place to see the remains of the Balanghais.
Butuan Regional Museum
It is only fitting that a city that has seen so much history have a sanctuary to hold its precious heritage, and the Butuan Regional Museum is just that. The structure is officially classified into two parts: the Archaeological Hall features an extensive collection of crafts, metals, carvings, burial paraphernalia and other items dating from the city’s ancient past.
As more and more of its history is unearthed, more are added to the collection. The Ethnological Hall on the other hand, places more emphasis on the contemporary life, culture and works of the local inhabitants of Butuan.
Santo Nino Diocesan Shrine
Before the Santo Nino was taken to Cebu, Magellan had taken the statue to Butuan City, where it made a strong impression on the local populace. This would eventually lead to the creation of the Sto. Nino Shrine.
Located in Libertad, the shrine is noted for the number of images and relics that are housed there, which have been drawing in large numbers of people. Aside from the shrine itself, Mount Mayapay is nearby as well, providing an attractive contrast to the altar.
Mount Mayapay
Mount Mayapay is one of the most impressive monuments in stone that nature has carved in the entire Caraga region. Mount Maypay is very near Agusan Valley, and it one of the favorite destinations of climbers and adventurers. However, the mountain and the area around it are also rich in history, evidenced by the fact that the name Mayapay was derived from the Madjapahit Empire.
Butuan Boats

Balangay Launching
photo courtesy Jocelyn E. Morano
No visit to the city would be complete without a look at the Balangays, the most ancient sea vessels ever found in the Philippines.
The wood boats, of which nine have been unearthed, date back to the fourth century AD, centuries before the Spaniards came. Another intriguing aspect of the Balangay is that their shape and design are unique; there is nothing like them elsewhere in the Philippines, or anywhere else for that matter.
Where to Stay:
The Red Palm Suites

Red Palm Suites and Restaurant
With it’s close proximity to the city center, The Red Palm Suites and Restaurants is very ideal for travelers and tourists. The Suite is equipped with elegant features that will surely make all their guests feel comfortable away from home. The Suite has it’s own restaurant and serves deliciously mouth watering foods that will soothe each hungry tummy and palates.  It is located at Villa Kananga Road, (behind Capitol Grounds), Butuan City. For reservation or inquiries, you may call at  (085) 341-2000 loc. 121,                 (085) 342-4242,   (085) 225-9265.
Almont Inland resort
Guests will enjoy unfettered access to a myriad of historic, cultural, and tourist attractions. The resort offers a comprehensive compilation of accommodation options, designed with a traditional Filipino architectural theme that is carried over to the room decoration and appointments. The Manay Malaing Restaurant serves a fine assortment of authentic local and international dishes in a chic atmosphere. The Almont Inland Resort is perfect for guests who want comfortable accommodation in a fashionable area for a reasonable price.
Where to Eat:
Cafe Caliente

Cafe Caliente
Cafe Caliente is a cozy place suitable for any kind of traveler. Fill your soaring tummies with their delectable dishes or you may just sit and relax while zipping your newly brewed coffee. The cafe has one of the neatest cafes in the metro. It will surely give you a warm and safe ambiance with its neatness and simplicity. It is located at South Montilla Blvd., (in front of Rainbow of Angels Learning Center) You may call at (085) 342-7496 for reservation.

Balangahi Festival (May 19)
The Balangai Festival is one of the most awaited festivals in Butuan. It commemorates the coming of the early migrants that settled the Philippines, on board the Balangay boats. Butuan’s location on the coast has made it a trading point in Mindanao. Boats, or balangahais, are known to dock on the bay of Butuan mainly for trading between local inhabitants and those from the neighboring empire. An excavation during the 1970’s exposed these balanghais to the modern world, and these balanghais were found to be almost a thousand years old through carbon-dating. The Balanghai Festival commemorates this historical event through a night of exotic performances, colorful costumes and the much-awaited floats. There are also contests, exhibits and other festivities during the said event. Balanghai Festival is celebrated during the third week of May, and also coincides with the feast of their patron saint, St Joseph. Guests and tourists must wait for this festival as Butuanons unleash the relic of their culture through a festivity.

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