A Short Stop in Butuan

Our Great Mindanao Adventure, as the Husband liked to call it, began in Butuan. If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know that we had been there last year. The weather, however, was so awful we didn’t just suffer a cancelled flight but also missed seeing it.

Last week, we finally got the chance. I know there are other great places in Butuan, but Bernard wanted to see only two of them: The Macapagal Bridge and the Balanghai Shrine Museum.

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As soon as the plane landed at around 6:30 a.m., we boarded a multicab bound toward the city proper (or Gaisano Butuan). This is the cheapest mode of transport, though be ready to be squeezed tight since other passengers will surely be carrying loads of luggage. The entire trip cost us around 50 pesos.

We disembarked in Gaisano Butuan, a shopping mall we’re quite familiar with, and waited for a tricycle we could hire to take us to the bridge. While traffic was temporarily at a standstill, we talked with one, who agreed for a 100-peso¬†pakyaw. Seriously, I think this was a bit too much; probably 70 pesos would already be good. But I didn’t have the time to think about that.

The trip from Gaisano Butuan toward the bridge was around 15 to 20 minutes. It helped that the roads were wide and it was early morning–not a lot of traffic.

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You can read about the Diosdado Macapagal Bridge here. The driver was kind enough to bring us right into the middle of the bridge even if he wasn’t sure it was allowed so the Husband can take photos. Interestingly, too, only huge trucks, buses, and motorcycles cross it; the rest still make use of the old Butuan bridge. Moreover, since it is a suspension bridge, you can feel the treble. Nevertheless, the bridge is one of the best places to really see the gorgeous Agusan River. Logging is evident with floating logs down by the river.

After a few minutes, we left and went back to Gaisano Butuan while waiting for 8:00 a.m., the supposed opening hours of the Balanghai Shrine Museum. We took a short meal at Jollibee, and by 7:30 a.m., we rode a multicab that took us to Libertad.

You definitely have to pay attention, if not tell the driver you’re dropping off the museum, since the signage is pretty small. The multicab fare was 8 pesos. After we got off, a tricycle driver offered us a ride for 12 pesos.

From the highway, the museum was around 5 minutes away or at least a kilometer. We could have walked, but the sun was just too much, and we’re actually tagging our filled luggage.

The Balanghai Shrine Museum is small compared to other museums in the country. The curator said there’s a brand-new one located quite near it, and most of the artifacts were already moved there. But what makes this site special is that it’s the exact location where the balangays were found.

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There are two balangay replicas. One is now found in the National Museum while the other is in another barangay. If you have the time, you can go there using the same tricycle.

I’m very happy to know that the museum has a dynamic and knowledgeable curator–plus, the tour is for free, and you can take pictures of the items.

Around 30 minutes after, we went back to the highway and rode Route 4 that took us to Langihan Terminal, where we boarded an air-conditioned bus to Cagayan de Oro. Multicab fare was around 20 pesos.