Discover Butuan: Your Guide to One of Mindandao’s Best Kept-Secrets

Know what's there to see in this amazing city in Agusan del Norte.

By Rhea J. Bernardino
September 20, 2018

Not many travelers are familiar with Butuan City. For some, it serves as the gateway to the province of Agusan del Norte because of Bancasi Airport. For others, it is where the famous balangay artifacts are unearthed.

One of Mindanao's most underrated locations, Butuan is one of those places that are not given justice by the photos so you'll have to see it for yourself. And if you're curious about what there is to see in this city, don't worry because we have some recommendations for you. Here are some attractions and experiences that you should not miss out on when you finally decide to go on a Butuan getaway.

1. See the exhibits at the Butuan branch of the National Museum.

Photo by Paolobon140 via Flickr Creative Commons

Butuan has a rich history that dates back to pre-colonial times. Considered as one of the oldest settlements in the country, it used to be a thriving Indian kingdom with strong trade relations with Asian countries like China, Indonesia, Thailand, and more. At the National Museum's Butuan branch, you can see proofs of the city's amazing past, which include relics and artifacts recovered from archaeological digs, the most popular of which is the balangay, an ancient Philippine boat.

2. Dwell in the peaceful nature sights at Bood Promontory Eco Park.

If you're a nature lover looking for a patch of green in Butuan, this is the place to go. Featuring a picturesque hanging bridge and various flora and fauna, this ecopark is one of the most relaxing spots in the city with beautiful views of the Masao river. The locals also believe that this is where the first Catholic mass in the Philippines was held. A life-size diorama in the ecopark depicts this historic event.

3. Get a dose of adrenaline at Delta Discovery Park.

Butuan also has its own share of thrills. Delta Discovery Park offers a wide array of exciting activities and attractions for adventure seekers, including a zipline as well as ATV and buggy rides. There's also a swimming pool if you prefer to take things slow with a swim.

4. Visit the Banza Church Ruins.

Photo by Jovy Pantalla-Banzuela

It's very interesting to note that this Spanish-era church would be known as the most beautiful of its kind in all of Mindanao if it wasn't destroyed by invading Moro pirates in 1753. All that remains of this spectacular creation is the bell tower as the ruins of the church are swallowed up by a balete tree.

5. Snack on nilambiran.

If you're a fan of suman, then you must not pass on Butuan's version—the nilambiran. This sticky delicacy has a striped pattern because it is made from glutinous rice of two different colors. With the added coconut milk, sugar, and salt, it does not need to be dipped in any sauce—it's already sweet as it is! You can indulge your sweet tooth with this tasty dessert at Langihan Market.

6. Go on a cruise along Agusan River.

Photo by Kutch Villasor via Flickr Creative Commons

Agusan River is the third largest river basin in the Philippines, following Cagayan River and Rio Grande de Mindanao. Going on a cruise is highly recommended if you've ever wanted to go on an adventure along its majestic waters. As you cruise along the extent of the river, you'll see thick marshes packed with numerous flora and fauna, and you'll pass by some of the city's attractions including the Banza Church Ruins. If you're lucky, you might even witness the locals' traditional fishing method called sapyaw in action.

7. Stay in Butuan Grand Palace Hotel.

Visiting a beautiful place calls for staying in an equally beautiful accommodation that offers more than just the basics and Butuan Grand Palace Hotel is bound to provide you with everything you need when you travel to Butuan. Located on the corner of Capitol Drive and Montalban Street is a chic and relatively new hotel with clean and classy rooms fit for any budget. For your stay, you'll enjoy modern amenities in your room, delicious meals served at the onsite restaurant, not to mention access to numerous facilities including an outdoor swimming pool, meeting rooms, and free WiFi. Plus, with the free airport shuttle service that they offer, your trip will surely be convenient and memorable.