Two years ago, one of my friends told me that the best beaches in the Philippines could be found in the islets of Britania, which was in the municipality of San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. At that time, my friends and I had been exploring the province; it was the last stretch of our backpacking trip across Mindanao. At first, I thought he was probably just bragging about his hometown (he lived in northern Mindanao). He couldn’t have been more right.
We went to San Agustin in our rented van after visiting Bislig and Hinatuan. My friends booked a room at Mac Arthur’s Place, a resort facing Lianga Bay. During our stay, there was no power and the showers were hardly working, but we didn’t mind — we kind of expected that. Rotating power outages were common in Mindanao in 2014.
Where the Best Unspoiled Beaches Are
We started our day early so that we could visit the first island on our list before the tide rises. For P1300, we were able to rent a boat to take us on a tour of the islets. For more than half a day, we explored several of the larger islets in the area.
We asked the folks at the resort to prepare our lunch, which we brought with us on the boat.
Our first stop was the Naked Island, which was a ~300-meter bare strip of sand. (I still remember how the waves crashed on either side of the tiny islet. Breathtaking.)
Best Island-Hopping Experience, Bar None
It’s no exaggeration: the most beautiful, pristine beaches in our country can be found in Britania Islands. And there are no loud, littering crowds who will spoil the view for you. Many of the tourists that we encountered were locals, and they are very friendly, unlike in other beaches I’ve been to.
I loved every minute I spent there. I’ve never seen such crystal clear waters and powdery white sand before. If you’re not convinced yet, I’ll just let my pictures do the talking.
If I had all the time in the world, I’ll hop on a plane to Butuan and ride a habal-habal to San Agustin. I’d stay in Britania for a week and forget about all the drama in Manila. Indeed, one day was not enough for me to soak in the beauty of the place.
Photos by Grace Octavo and Lovely Carranza