The Millennial Mermaid: Beautiful Baganga

The dead-looking mangroves and eye-catching driftwood along the shores of Baganga’s Sunrise Boulevard demanded us to step down from our vehicle and explore a little.
The dead-looking mangroves and eye-catching driftwood along the shores of Baganga’s Sunrise Boulevard demanded us to step down from our vehicle and explore a little.

My own version of Endless Summer – chasing waves along the east coast of Mindanao starting from Davao City to the nearest surf spot, Dahican in Mati City, Davao Oriental. After waiting for the low-pressure area (LPA) swell to move away from Mindanao, we packed our boards and bags up north for the rest of Davao Oriental and Surigao del Surf.

Lianga, a third class municipality in Surigao del Sur which is 301 kilometers or five hours away from Mati City was our next destination. Recently, an eco-surf camp just opened for the surfing public and tourists alike in Lianga. I have heard a lot about Gran Ola Eco Surf Camp and Lianga’s waves so I was really excited to see it for myself.

Before arriving in Lianga though, we had to pass through 9 municipalities. Six municipalities in Davao Oriental and 3 in Surigao del Sur. I’m in love with Davao Oriental. Especially passing through the coastal road is so breathtaking, you shouldn’t even think of stuffing your camera back in the bag.
The six municipalities in Davao Oriental: Tarragona, Manay, Caraga, Baganga, Boston and Cateel are visual feasts for sea lovers. With waves for days literally on almost every coast, my eyes were totally glued to the car window.

Back in 2012 Davao Oriental was devastated by Typhoon Pablo and when I was still working with AboitizPower, I was part of the first teams who immediately responded to calls for relief operations in the area.

Baganga’s Sunrise Boulevard was a long red strip of shoreline that featured whitewashed mangroves beautifully scattered along red strip. Perfect for photos and for just taking in all the beauty Mindanao had to offer. Photo by Sandy Santos.
Baganga’s Sunrise Boulevard was a long red strip of shoreline that featured whitewashed mangroves beautifully scattered along red strip. Perfect for photos and for just taking in all the beauty Mindanao had to offer. Photo by Sandy Santos.

I recall how desolate and painful it was to see everything in a broken mess in the aftermath of Typhoon Pablo. I’ve had the opportunities to again pass by the places that the typhoon hit hard. Though I’ve never ever been further than Mati City before from the photos I saw, I believed that just like Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental was able to rise up from that catastrophe.

Baganga Sunrise Boulevard particularly stood out amongst the scenic views along this coastal route. There was a certain beauty to the whitewashed mangroves that have stood their ground against the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo’s wrath. An eerie kind of beauty, almost worshipful could be felt looking at the mangroves.

We arrived around noontime so I couldn’t see clearly whether these mangroves were still alive (I couldn’t see any green leaves). This place felt surreal and perfect for photos. There is no entrance fee here and you could just park your vehicle along the highway.

Baganga is around 2-3 hours away from Mati City and like the other municipalities of Davao Oriental, white sand beaches are a common sight. You can just park the car at the side of the highway and go for a dip on the beach right next to it. Commuting to Baganga and other municipalities are also easy as there are commuter vans and buses plying this route.

Since we were literally just passing through, I’m sure we have missed other amazing attractions in Baganga. One day, we’ll go back and beyond searching uncrowded waves and secret spots, we’ll go look for islands where mermaids can play all day long.

Read the earlier part of this trip series on my blog at www.millennialmermaid.com and show some Instagram loving at @ferinasantos

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