Posted by: buntuan72 | September 7, 2009

Travel Stories

After much thought and a little research, I have decided to migrate to to blog about my own travel stories. Stories about the beautiful archipelago that I have called home for the past three and a half decades. Although I have not really traveled as much as I wanted to but I just want a place to put my two cents worth of the different destinations that tourists would want to go to whenever they come to this part of the world.

I have gone to the three major areas in the country and have seen and experienced some things that are not normally experienced by some toButuan Documenturists who come to visit the country. Some of these stories may be trivial for some, it may be informative to others, but for me these are experiences that I want to share to the world.

And the best place to start is the city of Butuan. According to, Butuan City is the regional center of the Caraga Region in Mindanao. Although there are a lot of stories that came out on the news regarding the second largest island in the Philippines, Butuan City itself is relatively safe since it is located far away from the trouble that affected a small part of the island. Butuan is actually a place with a very rich history. It was a thriving kingdom long before the coming of the Spaniards in the middle of the 16th century. It was the center for trade and commerce of the archipelago long before it became the country that we know of tRizal Parkoday. In fact, several large boats known as balangays, were found within the vicinity of the city in the late 1970’s. These boats were supposedly used by the people of the kingdom to trade with different kingdoms around Asia. Some people say the word “barangay” originated from the name of the boats, which is a Malay word that meant “sailboat”. Butuan is known as the Timber City of the South due to the logging industry that prospered in the 1950s all the way to the 1970s. In fact due to this industry, Butuan became a boomtown where people from all over Mindanao would migrate to in order for them to find jobs. It became a chartered city on August 2, 1950 and a highly urbanized city on February 7, 1995Agusan River.

Places to visit in Butuan include the Balangay Shrine Museum, the regional museum, the Augusan River (which extends from the mountains of Compostela Valley all the way up to the Caraga Region for a total of around 350 kilometers), and the St. Joseph Cathedral, which is probably one of the oldest churches in Mindanao.

Butuan is quite an important place for me simply because this is the place where I come from. Although I lived most of my life in a different place right now, goLogs on the Rivering home to Butuan is something that I look forward to even if I cannot go there as often as I want to. My memories of Butuan include the “troso” or huge logs along the side of the road – reminiscent of the logging industry of the city, trips to Masao – which is in itself controversial because some people say this is where the first mass in the Philippines was held, trips to my grandfather’s farm in Tumampi, and of course the early morning sounds of lechon being prepared on the day of the fiesta.

I remember that during our summer vacation, we would go home to Butuan passing through the Agusan River on board a stell hulled ship. I can still recall watching the trees as the ship meanders through the river trying to catch a glimpse of wild monkeys that would show themselves whenever the ship would pass by. We would stay at our grandfather’s house for a whole month either playing or helping out in some of the daily chores around the house. RunnSt. Joseph's Cathedraling around the house, playing hide and seek or climbing up the guava tree trying to find a ripe guava to pick were some of the things that kept us occupied during our month-long sojourn to this historic city. Helping out in spreading palay or copra on the driveway, dusting chairs to be used for the fiesta or simply going through the library of books that our grandfather used to have in the house. These are some of my fond memories of the place that became my second home during the summer.

Gaisano ButuanWhen I went back to Butuan two years ago, after a very long time, I was pleasantly surprised to see the development that had happened over the past few years. Gaisano Butuan finally opened its doors to the public. I remembered that the Gaisano family long wanted to open a mall in the city. But they found it hard to find someone who was willing to sell their property for them to build a mall on. Another new development was the second bridge that spans across the Agusan River. The bridge was on the drawing board for a long time as a secondary bridge to the one near the city center. This second bridge was a suspension bridge like the one found in Cebu. After I went out with my cousin at night, I found out that there other new places to hang out in the city. I cannot exactly remember the names of these places, but these were really welcome developments in the city. These were signs that Butuan is slowly trying to regain its status as the premier city in northern Mindanao. A decade ago, Butuan was New Bridgeovertaken by Cagayan de Oro in terms of development due to its much modern port facility (Cagayan de Oro is another place that I will talk about in later on as a part of my travels stories within the archipelago).

Butuan, the premier city of northern Mindanao, will always be one of my most unforgettable places simply because I am and will always be a Butuanon.



  1. We’ve been meaning to go to Butuan, principally to check the balangays and write something about the controversy about the First Mass. By the way, nice blog. It’s always great to know many are blogging about and promoting our Philippines.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂
    If ever you can get to go to Butuan, try looking for Fr. Joe Amalia, I think he made a research regarding this controversy about the first mass some years ago. I think he was last assigned in St. Joseph’s Cathedral.

  3. I’m loving this blog, great job buntuan 72. I’m from Butuan too, left the country at 16 and has not been home for 25 yrs. I’m feeling melancholy, a lot of changes since, good and bad memories about the place, the poverty mostly, breaks my heart when I think about it. Keep up the good work. Take care.

    Tita Lina

    • Thanks, my mom is actually from Butuan and I try to go back home if my schedule allows (pending the approval of my leave from work :)). I’ll try to update this blog as often as I can.

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