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Exploring Iniyakan Island | A Cantilan Summer Escapade

It's been a month since the last time I escaped my usual lax weekend from my temporary abode in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. Maybe I got depressed during the time when my most precious and cheap camera got damaged  during the Kaamulan Festival in Bukidnon (sigh).

Finally, I got a little push from a local friend, Cathe, to crawl out of from my cage and  visit their hometown, Cantilan in Surigao del Sur. I'd been to this place before and I found the beaches of  Cantilan peaceful and relaxing.

My agenda was very simple, to finish reading a book that had been idle for weeks  while sitting on the black sand of the Baybay, period! This uncomplicated plan was so simple  and I have believed  that having  no interruption, my sought after relaxation was very much achievable!

But it seems plans are not always meant to be perfect. I have no idea that my simple escapade will be replaced by much better surprises as everything went so aggressive after Cathe tagged me on an island escapade together with some guests  from Manila.  Can I call this as my lucky day?

Iniyakan Island in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur.

It Differs on 'Y' and Nobody Cried!

The destination was Iniyakan , pronounced  as "INADYAKAN", where locals pronounce "Y"  as "J". It is an island sitio off coast the mainland Cantilan and very much visible from the coast of Sitio Kabito-onan, Brgy. Consuelo. 

Huyamao Island, that looked like Homer Simpson
The island was once inhabited but  for some unconfirmed reasons the settlers of the flourishing community left the paradise island that had been their home for decades.

A motorized boat picked us up at Banug wharf along the Cantilan River .

The river was a depiction of local's dependence on fishing as the houses stand on stilts with their fishing vessels parked along the riparian shore, waiting for the right time to sail the vast ocean off the coast of Cantilan.

On our way to Inayakan, the iconic Huyamao Island greeted us. Humacao resembles to the image of the popular animated cartoon Homer Simpson, lying down on the vast sea of Surigao del Sur. Just across Huyamao is the much praised Ayoke Island that is best known for its gigantic barrel type waves suited for extreme surfing.

Chillin' while grilling that fresh yellow fin tuna.
It took us almost an hour reaching the white sand beach of Iniyakan where the sole resort  Double B or Bag-ong Banwa (now defunct).

It was once a resort with cottages for visitors'  use but with the desertion of the people from the island, the amenities were  torn down to pieces naturally because of general neglect.

Upon landing from the boat, we excitedly  set our picnic mats on the white coral sand and hanged our hammocks under the Talisay tree  for everyone's relaxation.  

With growling stomachs, we opted to munch on our "baon" for lunch. We had a medium sized tuna and pre marinated pork belly roasted in an old grilling station of the beach. While waiting for our food, it gave us some time to reflect, laugh and talk about anything under the sun.

L-R Lovemindanao,Cathe,Tanya, Arnie,Iza and Liam
After a sumptuous lunch we explore the beach of Iniyakan located at the left side corner of the shore , where we were challenged wading desperately on the rocky shore with knee high water splashing against us. 

Finally a small beach with sugary white coral sand revealed at the end of the coast and it just so pleasantly accessorized with lush karst forest on the side. The crystal clear water was so irresistible that made me took off my shirt and hit the cool tropical water .

The breath taking beach in front of the old Iniyakan settlement.
The Memory of the Ruins

Brendo, our local guide, told us that we were just  few meters away from the ruins of the old community of Iniyakan so we decided to walk with him up to the hill . He pointed to us the  ruins of the Catholic church  or chapel that was erected near the shore that was once surrounded by hundreds of houses, majorly composed of families of fishermen. 

He then divulged to us that he grew up and spent his childhood days and even finished his primary education in the island where his family have dreamt of settling peacefully. But due to "conflicts" or "raids" in the '90's , the whole community have decided to flee from the area and have sailed back to the mainland Cantilan and other nearby islands.

Feeling sexy! The water in Iniyakan is just perfect to cool down a little this summer.
The beach fronting  the once flourishing community was a beauty that nobody can't refute it's natural charm. The vast stretch of the beach was littered with thousands of beautiful sea shells  indicating an excellent environmental condition and high biodiversity with  barrier reefs standing not so far from the shore. These reefs have created different shapes of barrel typed waves that was much recommendable for some risk takers on water sports specifically surfing.

After few minutes of resting on the sand, we decided to trace back our steps to the other side of the island. But since the tide was already chin high, we have let Brendo to get the boat  that was anchored  at the shore of Double B  to fetch us back. And while we were waiting for him, it gave us enough time to enjoy more the cooling effect of the beach.

The sanctuary in General island where Mameng and other giants marine species dwell.
Help! I Think I Just Lost My Jaw!

We left the island in the late afternoon but before we have set sailed back to Cantilan proper, we passed by a what seemed to be fish sanctuary that was currently in repair located along the General Island, where hundreds of beautiful marine fishes swim in a caged pond created along the shore. 

Mameng and other groupers in the pond
In one of the connecting  ponds, we were startled to see some giant Mameng fish that have made me immediately jumped into the water   to chase and get a  closer look. Too bad they swim faster than I do! 

Nepenthes alata
At the bottom of the pond were some rescued giant clams growing silently. I was cautioned by the caretaker not to step on it or else I may lose my foot for good.

We even spotted a species of sea turtle (Hawksbill)  swimming at the deep of the bluish green water.

I was even more amazed to discover carnivorous plant known as pitcher plant, growing in  excellent condition at the rocky side of the "resort". Looking at it closely, I was able to spot that it was a Nepenthes alata, a common endemic species of pitcher plant in the Philippines.

After getting tired of chasing these colorful and beautiful creatures , we concluded our trip back to Cantilan proper, where all were helpless and tired but very much satisfied with smiles left on our sticky haggard faces.

How to get to Iniyakan?

There are multiple route to Cantilan:

  • There are flights available daily to Butuan City and Surigao City
  • Coming from Butuan City Terminal, take a bus bound for Tandag City. Bus leaves every hour, fare is Php 300.00 for airconditioned bus (Bachelor) with travel time of 5 hours. In Tandag City, there are two options you can take to visit cantilan: (1) to take a bus bound for Surigao City or (2) take a van. Buses have a limited schedule until 2 pm. Fare is Php100.00 with travel time of 2 hours.
  • Coming from Surigao City, there are buses and vans in the city terminal bound for Tandag City. Alight in Cantilan, fare is Php 170, then follow the rest of the instructions above.
  • Coming from Davao City, there are two direct trips to Tandag City, 6 am and 12 mn. Fare is Php363.00  and travel time is 8 hours. From Tandag City, follow the instruction above.


There are also quite a number of resorts along  Baybay . From the town proper you can take a tricycle for Php 15.00/head going to the coastal community of Baybay.

With our experience we were accommodated in a 2-room resort in Cathe Pacific Cottage by the Beach .You may contact the owner Cathe Duero at +63919.991.4250 for reservation.

Cash Problem

There are ATMs available at Cantilan Bank located at the heart of the town.


For surfing and island hopping activity  you may call Brendo Torejos for assistance at  +63921.729.5255 or Cathe Duero at +63919.991.4250

(P.S. don't forget to leave your Cantilan experiences on the comment box below)


  1. This is nice! looks very much secluded and pristine!
    I think i'd dropped my jaw too.:)

  2. Never thought of Inayakan Island. In Bisaya Hinilakan. There must be a story behind island's name. Anyway clear water, rock formations, the sand..explains everything.

  3. gusto kung maiyak sa ganda! bat indi kami sinama ni Cathe dito huhuhu

  4. hahahaha.. punta na kc kayo dito.. ulit!... ;)

  5. ABS= A Big Stomach :D

  6. Na intriga ako sa name ng Place na "Iniyakan" pero iba naman pala kapag sinabi muna.:)
    Ganda ng Lugar!..:)

  7. endangered na yang mameng na yan .. and very seldom lang natin makita yan ... pero meron paring mga illegal poachers kaya need to protect them and their environment