Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"In the beginning, there was no Philippines, but there was Butuan"

This is the tagline of this ancient city located in the northeastern part of Agusan Valley sprawling across the Agusan River in Mindanao, Philippines. This line isn't just coined for nothing but to significantly support Butuan's claim of 1,683 years of recorded history. Read: Butuanons proudly proclaim that the historic first Easter mass in the Philippine soil happened in Masao, Butuan not in Limasawa, Leyte.

Wait. Before you scamper for your history books, let's  dig in some more about this place.


As early as the 10th century, according to the Chinese Song Shi (history), people from Butuan had already established trading relations with the kingdom of Champa in what is now South Vietnam.

By the 11th century, Butuan was the center of trade and commerce in the Philippines. The best evidence to prove this fact is the discovery of 9 balangays (the Butuan Boat) and other archaeological finds in the vicinities of Butuan City, particularly in Ambangan, Libertad near the old El Rio de Butuan and Masao River.

Butuan City Hall, Banza Ruins, Dottie's Place Restaurant
Photo Credits: Butuan City Today

Not only Butuan is the regional center of the region, it is also the commercial and entertainment capital of Caraga. Although it already has establishments of highly urbanized places, you can still enjoy the city life in a simpler way. The business is booming with a record of 8,600 registered establishments in the city with more than 30 commercial banks operating without noon breaks and with ATM machines available 24/7. If night life is your passion then you have come to right place because the city never sleeps until 3:00 A.M. the next day with fast food chains ready to serve you any time. As the gateway of Caraga, any minute you decide to embark on a journey going to the other parts of  the region, buses, jeepneys and vans can take you to your chosen destination.


Balangay Shrine Museum:

Just 5 kilometers from the City proper lies the graveyard of the Balangay 1 dated 320 A.D. or 1678 years old. This wooden plank-build and edge-pegged boats average 15 meters in length and 3 meters wide across the beam. To date, 9 Balangays have already been discovered in Ambangan, Libertad sites. Three have been excavated and others are still in Situ.

Butuan National Museum:

This museum is the repository of historical and cultural materials and artifacts that proves Butuan's prehistoric existence and rich cultural heritage. There are two exhibit galleries. The Archaeological Hall and Ethnological Hall Specimens of stone crafts, metal crafts, woodcrafts, poteries, goldsmithing, burial coffins, and other archaeological diggings are exhibited. At the Ethnological Hall are exhibits of contemporary cultural materials the Butuanon or every Filipino for matter used for a living.

Banza Church Ruins:

This site was one of the old poblacion of the city. The church built here in 1625 by the Recollect Friars was reduced into ashes in 1753 by Moro pirates. What remains of this church is its bell tower now enveloped by banyan (balete) trees. What was once the most beautiful church in the region before its destruction is today, the oldest ruin of a stone church in the entire island of Mindanao.


If your budget allows you the most luxurious accommodation, here's five of the many resorts/hotels that you can choose from located at the heart of the city.

Almont Inland Resort
J.C Aquino Ave.
(085) 342-7414

Dottie's Place and Convention Center
J.C Aquino Avenue
(085) 341-4579; 341-4575; 815-2649

Almont City Hotel
San Jose St.
(085) 341-5010

Butuan Royal Plaza Hotel
T. Calo St.
(085) 342-5824; 341-5125

Luxury Hotel
Villanueva Cor. R. Calo St.
(085) 225-2357

And for budget travelers, I also listed five from the long list of Motels, Inns and Lodging Houses where you can spend a day or two.

Luciana Inn and Restaurant
San Jose St., corner A.D. Curato St.
(085) 342-3293; 342-3294; 342-3295

Wendell's Place
Villa Kananga, Butuan City
(085) 815-4111

White House Eco-Inn
Luz Village
(085) 225-6880

Hensonly Plaza Lodge
San Francisco St.
(085) 342-5866; 225-2040

Caraga Ultimate
Capitol Drive
(085) 342-0200; 342-7349;342-5866

Yummy Treats at The Islands
When you are in Butuan, you will never go hungry. You have a variety of choices from the simplest "turo-turo", fast food chains, buffet restaurants, fine dining and more.  Here's a list of must-dine places when you are in the city.

Weegols Grill
Montilla Blvd.
(085) 342-5090, 225-3259

Lutong Bahay ni Aling Cora
070 R. Calo St. Brgy. Diego Silang, Butuan City
(085) 342-5831; 225-7770; 341-3559

Margie's Kitchen
J.C Aquino Ave.
(085) 342-1980

The Islands
J.C Aquino Ave.

Goat 2 Geder Hotel & Restaurant
Montalban St.
(085) 341-7871; 341-1657; 342-5779


Rainy season is definitely not the best time to come to this city because of its momentary street flooding. So as not to spoil your holiday trip, come when Butuan is at its best and the perfect time for that is during its city-wide festivities.

Balangay Festival

This festival is a month-long fiesta celebration of the city. This is highlighted with different activities such as Trade Fairs, Sports Fest, Mutya Hong Butuan Beauty Pageant, and Santa Cruzan.

Kahimunan Festival

This is Butuan's local version of Cebu's Sinulog Festival celebrated in honor of The Child Jesus (Sto. Nino) every 3rd Sunday of January. Street dancing competition is the highlight of this event.


I am not a Butuanon myself but I have made this city my home for six years so I feel like one. Somehow, this place has made a home for me while giving me countless experiences to learn from and good memories to reminisce. Butuan will always be a part of me.

So, if you haven't been here, maybe you need to include this in your bucket list. Its always best to have first-hand experience of the sights, scenes and sounds of the place that I'm talking about.

Come and visit the city where the present nurtures the past, and the past nurtures the present while the future awaits promisingly in the wings.

Come and visit, Butuan.

Source: The Official Site of Butuan City Government


Edmaration etc said...

You have just shared the essentials Enzo and I commend you for that. It's amazing ha, thousand years old na pala si Lolo Butuan hehe.

ROMELO said...

a very informative post about butuan... now people can use it as a guide when they visit

Julie Ann said...

I remember a friend in college who was from Butuan and he kept on asking everybody to visit his place. Wish we had time to travel before but we were so caught up with thesis and all that we weren't able to find time for leisure.

Paliiits said...

wooooo, a thousand years old? pheew, ngayon ko lang nalaman yan. salamat sa posst na to ser, napaka informative. Salutes! :)

Leah. said...

Meron pala silang festival din.. sabay ata sa Sinulog ng Cebu or Dinagyang ng Iloilo..

Bookmarked your post.. Merong plans of coming to Butuan next year. Pero sana nga lang, the plans will push through since baka magkasabay nga ng Dinagyang.. Still, salamat po dito. :)

Sionee said...

Thanks for sharing I'll bookmark this post and refer this a friend for our next place to visit. :)

lakwatsero said...

Butuan was never in my bucket list, but after reading your post I know now that I have to "come, visit Butuan."

YANI said...

Sana merong vouchers for Butuan this coming summer. I'm in if that's the case. Wow 6 years! You must really know the place well.

yuuki said...

never been to Mindanao region but i'll take a note of Butuan...

u might want to remove the captcha and just moderate the comments...hirap ng words and on some browsers di nag loload...

dimaks said...

thanks for providing a list of those great places to stay and dine in Butuan.

Chilipina said...

Ang ganda ng City Hall nila ha. Well-kept. I'll take note of this place when I visit the region. :)

Tess Chancellor said...

Butuan ,another place worth visiting for.Very informative post ,complete with everything you needed in a place for a visit.

rc gweniful said...

i hope to one day travel the philippines extensively. everytime i plan to travel, i always plan to travel abroad. and if it's here, it's always boracay. i need to be more adventrurous.

Berylle Kaye Hong said...

this is a great post! especially for those who really plan to visit Butuan. Very informative and helpful !:)

Jenny O'Toole said...

I've been to Butuan I think 15 years ago. Hahaha tagal na noon! Ang laki na talaga ng pinagbago ng city nila. BTW your article is very useful and informative. Well done! Keep blogging!

Jhoveleen said...

Good thing to know that they are the center of trade and commerce those old times. I never been there but it seems a great place to consider visiting in the future.

gagay said...

of course i do..i always go there..

late visit here from Saturday ComEx in FBW.. :| pardon me :|

Ivan Stewart Saldajeno said...

Hope I can visit Butuan.

Nancy said...

Been to Butuan for quite a few times but haven't really had a chance to explore must-see attractions around this city. Hope I can some time.

cash said...

i had been there,but i never the knew the history of this place until now. but i most enjoyed the food here,at all times, it's all accessible...i had tasted most of the restaurants mentioned not excluding the night life during the "amomong time".. i once had lived very close to Balanghai hotel and the museum but it never happened to touch my foot into its gate, i should have done it,,well it's not too late, when i'll be back home i will never miss a thing here.

athena said...

haven't been to butuan yet but i'd love to someday since my cousin lives there

Pinoy Adventurista said...

very extensive post... sana na post mo na 'to before i went to butuan... hehehe! i super enjoyed my stay there...

Bong said...

Nice! I haven't been to Butuan! :)

Rachelle Nessia said...

Thanks for posting the hotels and their numbers. Very important info in case I get to visit Butuan one of these days. Bookmarked this page just in case. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Lovely work, although i have been lurking around for awhile i have not got around to commenting til now. cheers


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