Butuan is a city in the Agusan del Norte in the Philippines. Located at the Northeastern part of Agusan Valley sprawling across the Agusan River is Butuan City, known for its colorful history and culture.
What's the meaning of Butuan?
Butuan is believed to be derived from the sour fruit "Batuan". Others says it came from the chieftain's name who once ruled Butuan "Datu Buntuan". Other insist it was derived from the word "But-an" which literally means a person who has sound and discerning disposition.
Butuan’s history, culture, arts and people date back to the 4th century as showcased in museums which makes Butuan an exciting source of cultural artifacts in Mindanao. 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 (called the Butuan boat) and other archeological finds in the vicinities of Butuan City, particularly in Ambangan, Libertad near the old El Rio de Butuan and Masao River.
It is usually dry from March to September while the wet season stretches from October to February. 66 F the minimum while maximum is 95 F. With the humidity it will feel more like 100 to 105 F
Cebuano/Bisaya is the main language used in Butuan. Some of the old native-born inhabitants still speak a language called Butuanon. Most of the people understand Tagalog (Filipino) and English.
A domestic airport in Bancasi can get you to Butuan from Manila (one hour) or Cebu (45 minutes) either by Cebu Pacific or Philippine airlines.
You can reach the city from the port in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte for about 26 minutes, aside from other ports in Cebu and Bohol. There also bus routes to Davao or Surigao from Manila which can get you to the city -- this would perhaps be the cheapest way to travel but it will take you three excruciating days sitting on the bus seat and being loading and unloaded to about three of four RoRo of Roll On Roll Off ports.
If coming from Mindanao neighboring cities, Butuan City is accessible by bus, hired van, or private vehicle. Butuan City is accessible via Davao City from the south, Cagayan de Oro City from the west, and Surigao City from the north. The bus company that caters trip in and out of Butuan is Bachelor Express, Surigao Liner, and etc. A van can be also hired towards Butuan City.
There are taxis in the city,and also there are multicabs and motorized tricycles that can take you to short distances. There is a bus terminal at Langihan which can take you as well to other nearby towns and cities such as Surigao, Davao and Cagayan de oro. Cars for rent are available upon request in most hotels and at the airport, but all are not metered, so remember to agree on the fee before boarding.
There are historical and famous places in Butuan City you must see.
- Balangay Shrine Museum Five kilometers east of the city proper lays the graveyard of the Balangay 1 dated 320 A.D. or 1688 years old. This wooden plank-build and edge-pegged boats measured an average of 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 Regional 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, potteries, goldsmith, 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.
- Mount Mayapay Looming southwest of the Agusan Valley is this majestic mountain plateau. It rises to 2,214 feet (675 m) above sea level. Mount Mayapay got its name from the ancient Madjapahit Empire. The history behind the Sri-Vishaya period bears much meaning and influence of Butuan's pre-historic and archaeological discoveries.
- Agusan River Butuan River is the widest, deepest and longest navigable river in Mindanao. A cruise along the river barangays reveals much about Butuan's history, culture, arts, and people, and as a tribute to the Patroness of the Agusan River Senora Sta. Ana, the Abayan Festival was born – a day-long celebration of baroto races and fluvial procession at the Agusan River.
- Bood Promontory 1st Easter Mass Eco Park This historic site is where Magellan and his men erected a cross and celebrated the 1st Mass on Philippine Soil on March 31, 1521. It is the highest elevation and promontory overlooking the whole of Butuan bay then. Today, the indigenous “Hadlayati Tree” still abound lording over a Clonal nursery and tree park, and the serpentine Masao River (ElRio de Butuan) amidst fishponds and archaeological treasures.
- 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 banyan (balete) tress. Now enveloped by as the most beautiful church in the region before its destruction. Today, it is the oldest ruin of a stone church in the entire island of Mindanao.
- Magellan's Landing Site Every year on March 31, the city celebrates MAZAUA DISCOVERY DAY” to commemorate a historic milestone, the 1st Easter Mass on Philippines Soil celebrated by Ferdinand Magellan on March 31,1521. No matter what, Butuanon’s proclaim with pride that such historic event took place in butuan not in Limasawa
- Nipa Wine Distillery “LAKSOY” is local wine made out of indigenous Nipa Palm that abound in Butuan. It goes through the process of fermentation from a crudely made vat only a native Butuanon can ingenuously produce. Laksoy is definitely one of the best tasting local wines in the Island.
- Mountain hiking in Mount Mayapay. Make sure, though, that you are accompanied by an experienced hiker and that you have the complete necessary gear.
- Go to numerous beaches in nearby towns of Carmen, Buenavista, Cabadbaran, etc.
- See the various historical sites and museums mentioned above
- Meet, mingle and make friends with nice and hospitable Butuanons
- Go to bar and clubs, particularly those near the Gaisano Mall.
- Listen to concert of local bands at Caraga Square
- Watch for cultural presentations on May 19 – City Fiesta (in honor of St. Joseph) , August 2 – Adlaw Hong Butuan (Charter Day Anniversary), or the Kahimunan Festival, Butuan City’s version of the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, it is celebrated to pay homage to the city’s patron, Sto. Niño. Kahimunan is the Lumad term for “gathering.” The annual fest is a mixture of Christian and folk elements celebrated with pomp and pageantry.
- Flavored Otap. Buy flavored otap (a Filipino delicacy) with flavors Durian and Ube. edit
- Balangay Souviners. Before going home, buy Balangay (An ancient boat used by first native Filipinos) Souviners and art craft. edit
- RIBS. Their specialty are BBQ Ribs which can be found at near restaurants. Some of these restaurants that serve the best BBQ ribs in town are Rosario's Grillhouse, O'Henry's Grill and Big Daddy's Grill.
However, if you are on a hunt for the best seafood in town, go and venture to Island Seafoods Restaurant where they serve the best seafood such as calamares and 'kinilaw' at a suitable price. Rosario's Grillhouse also serves fresh seafood such as live crab, lobster, fish, eel, etc... at very low prices. edit
Butuan has a number of hotels, If you're on strict budget and don't mind scarce ammenities, you can try sleeping on various lounges and motels at the downtown part of the city.
- Balanghai Hotel and Convention Center, . edit
- Caraga Hotel. Good location downtown, clean, best price for what you get. If you're just looking for a cheap air conditioned room w/ hot showers this is it 700 pesos. edit
- Almont Inland Hotel/Resort. edit
- Wayfarer Pension House & Dormitory, T. Calo St. Brgy Limaha, ☎ (085)3428827. Cheap accommodation for as low as 560 pesos. It just opened last April 2012. edit
- Gloreto Guest House, Ilang-Ilang St. Ochoa Ave. and T. Calo St., ☎ (085) 342 9351. Gloreto has 2 separate building. The one located at T. Calo St. was the newest one. Gloreto Guest House offers affordable rates, without compromising the quality of service, comfort and cleanliness. If you are looking for value of money, Gloreto Guest House is tailored fit to meet your needs with a homey atmosphere. The house features air-conditioning system, cable television, private toilet with hot and cold shower, refrigerator, mini bar, electric kettle, dining utensils, and dining table. Free WiFi connection is available at the lobby. edit
- 1 Windsoar Hotel. Sister hotel of Dotties Place but cheaper room rates (cheapest is 896 pesos) with free breakfast at Jollibee. edit
- Dotties Place. One of the high class hotel in the city. edit