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Agusan River: A Cruise to the Past

On one lazy  afternoon, I made an unplanned escapade just to break the monotony of my stressful work assignment in Butuan City. So I took a break and head to the National Museum of Butuan to wonder on the historical artifacts of Great Mindanao. Looking at the picture of the old Agusan River made me wonder if it is possible to cruise the colossal water body. I have never heard of any travel or tour agency in the city that offers such activity.

The Agusan River which flows from Compostela Valley in the south towards Agusan del Norte in the North runs almost in the middle of the valley and empties at Butuan Bay. The river has twelve tributaries, namely: Wawa, Gibong and Simulao Rivers in the eastern side, and Ojot, Pusilao, Kasilayan, Libang, Maasam, Adgawan, Cawayan, Umayam and Ihaoan Rivers in the western side. 

These tributaries are fed by numerous streams and creeks. The southern half of the province from the municipality of Veruela is an area filled with many swamps and lakes, the biggest of which is Talacogon Lake.

With its massive size, It is only fitting that this river hosts some of the biggest crocodile on earth , one for example is Lolong which now holds the Guiness Record for the biggest crocodile in captivity.

Taking my chances, I went to the local port managed by Philippine Port Authority. I was lucky to know that there are several pump boats that carry passengers going to Magallanes, one of the oldest towns in Agusan del Norte.  The fee was Php25.00 for a 30 minute ride going to the town located near the mouth of the river.

It may not be as classy as the other river tours I had before, but to caress the soft whispering wind on my face and seeing the beautiful sunset is almost a perfect nostalgic experience I’ve ever had for long time now.

On one side of the river I even saw one old ship –“balangay” sitting on an evergreen environment, that I suspect being preserved by the community and the LGU as an added attraction in Butuan. 

There are even small communities thriving on the riparian area and still depends their lives on the goods provided by the enormous river. 

While traversing the calm water, I was imagining how was it like before living in a balangay and making barter with other Polynesian and Chinese traders in the past. But before I could even introduce myself to the Datus, my imagining was interrupted by the boat personnel, telling me that we arrived in the town of  Magallanes. Damn! I almost made a good deal on a gold vase that was similar to the one discovered   artifact in Prosperidad.

It was almost dark and I felt there is nothing much to do in the sleepy town. But an old man has noticed that I am not from the area and recommended to visit the Magellan Marker just 20 meters from the port. 

I went to the marker as suggested by the old man but the perimeter fence prevented me to read the scriptures on the old stone. 

That put this trip a little hanging so I decided to schedule another  future visit to discover more about the not so well known town of Magallanes.(Abangan!)

Schedules Ferry Boat Trips  
Butuan City to Magallanes

1st Trip
2nd Trip
3rd Trip
4th Trip
5th Trip
6th Trip
7th Trip
8th Trip
9th Trip
10th Trip
11th Trip
12th Trip
13th Trip
14th Trip
15th Trip
16th Trip
17th Trip
18th Trip
19th Trip

Special Trips:
  • 6:00PM
  • 6:30PM
  • 7:00PM
  • 8:30PM
  • 9:30PM
Fare Matrix
Regular Fare
Php 25.00
Php 21.25
Senior Citizen
Php 20.00
Children 3-11yrs old
Php 12.50


  1. OH MY! Such a breathtaking sunset!

  2. next time i will try the marshland, they say there are wild crocs in the area... that is really interesting :)

  3. Very informative. I'm a bit sea sick so its an effort for me to go on a cruise but I would love to try this out.

  4. I am going to visit this place next week. I really love to see this river.

  5. Well, abangan ang susunod na kabanata! I hope that on your trip back to Magallanes, they'll be able to allow you to read what was on the old stone. Sounds like a new discovery, Dennis! :)

  6. Wow, it would really be scenic cruising the Agusan River. I just hope I don't meet Lolong's friends along the way.

  7. Interesting yung Magallanes Marker. Sama tau Dennis pagpunta. this november bakante ang mga week ends ko:)

  8. it was a reliving the content of the history book we had back in elementary days.. can't believe na ma encounter ko dito sa Butuan... marami pa akong post about this ... just need extra time:)

  9. yes pwde kita samahan when you visit Butuan at kapag pareho sched natin ...puntahan din natin ung oldest tree in the Philippines...

  10. if you need tips , dont hesitate to ask me :) hope i can finish all the butuan entries within the week

  11. Your 1st photo is amazing. So the river traverses to many more rivers, you might require more than a day to explore this area...

  12. Gusto mo talaga makakita ng actual na crocs? Parang swamp people lang ang dating! hehehe

  13. Astig naman. :) Butuan should actually be in my travel list.. I must know and learn more about it. :)

  14. Just asking pang-olan ba ang Agusan sa longest river sa Pinas? My cousin who regularly traverse that tributaries said, na mag-eenjoy daw ako sa travel. yes, marami raw crocs. My kins are from Leyet so malapit lang sa amin.

  15. Good thing the local community in Butuan is still preserving 'Balangay' so younger generations can see the evidence of Filipino craftsmanship even before the old times.

  16. gorgeous photos! specially the first one! amazing also how you managed to get those schedules! xx

  17. Seems like you made another discovery in Butuan dapat tawag saĆ½o "Love Mindanao the Explorer". This really a nice post =)

  18. Very informative post, I am actually planning to travel up north of Mindanao by next year, this blog will really help.. I so love Mindanao.. From South Cotabato :)

  19. I was born in Davao and since I was 16 years old we relocated here in Manila. I heard lot's of beautiful places in Mindanao especially Butuan City. When we will visited Mindanao again I'll include this on my lists. Great write-up.. :-)