Marihatag is a laid-back but interesting municipality in Surigao del Sur where you'd like to spend a day or two in with your group of friends or family. It’s not as popular as Hinatuan where the blue Enchanted River is, but in the future, I foresee it will become another favorite stop for travelers exploring the northeastern part of Mindanao.
Etymology of Marihatag
There are interesting stories why the town is called “Marihatag.” One local shared that during the time of war, there was a plan to drop a bomb over the place. When the residents heard this, they ardently prayed to Virgin Mary for protection. On the day when the plan was about to be executed, the bomber decided not to push it through because what he only saw from atop was a field of beautiful flowers. The people rejoiced and said, “Si Maria naghatag namo ug proteksyon! (Mary gave us protection!)"
Another local shared that the name originated during the Spanish era. A lost Spaniard asked a mother where he was, but the latter due to language barrier misconstrued his question as a request for a glass of water. The mother told her daughter, “Maria, ihatag ni sa iya. (Maria, give this to him.)” The foreigner only heard Mari-hatag, so he assumed that was the answer to his question.
Marihatag Tree Park and Resort
In the late 1990's, the government developed an eight-hectare alluvial lot into a tree park. It's located along the stretch of gray coastal beach facing the Pacific Ocean. On July 1, 1999, the residents planted mahogany trees at the area to support DENR's reforestation program. The following day, it was converted into a resort for the locals to have a place for gatherings and leisure. Currently, it's called Marihatag Tree Park and Resort, and is operated under the local government unit.
Activities at the resort include the following:
1. Swimming and beach bumming - The beach is fine and friendly to both adults and kids. It has also a volleyball court and a wide space for other ball games. The resort has ordinary and family sheds where you can place your things and eat your lunch.
2. Stargazing, sunrise and moonrise watching - The resort is a good place for witnessing the sun or moon rising from the sea. Photographers as well as posers would love to get up early for a shoot. When the sky is clear at night, you can stretch out on the beach lazily for stargazing.
|Sunrise in Mahiratag, Surigao del Sur|
3. Surfing - Beside the resort is a surf spot called Squala, also known as Speedwalk Bay. Surfers will find the place a perfect area for playing with the waves, especially from October to March. It is where Ripples, a surf camp organized by Speedwalk in March 2013 was held. For surfing lessons in Marihatag, please contact Tagmariha Surf Club.
|Squala or Speedwalk Bay surf spot in a non-surfing season|
4. Snorkeling - The seabed is not the home to different vibrant corals, but if you go snorkeling, you will be amazed at how healthy the sea grass is. Seeing it swaying along with the current is quite comforting. You can also see schools of fish blending with the green environment. The most interesting creature we saw was this plump jelly fish. I'm not sure how it's specifically called, though.
|Drifting, unique jelly fish|
5. Hammock swinging - Since there are plenty of trees in the resort, you can bring your hammock for book reading, sleeping or mind-wandering. Even when the sun's up, you can still find a shaded area where you can hang your hammock for your "me time."
|Sleeping in a hammock|
6. Visit to Omangon Island - Five minutes away from the resort by boat is Omangon Island. You can go there for a swim and for a view of Marihatag's coast. Walk around the island for a couple of hours and get a better sight of the Pacific Ocean. Swimming to and around the island is strictly prohibited since the unfortunate accident happened about three years ago.
Marihatag Tree Park and Resort has also pavilions and halls where people can hold wedding receptions, birthday parties and other forms of celebration.
For more information about the resort, please contact the following numbers (as of July 2013):
- Front office - +639128352278
- Store / Canteen - +639462342786
- Manager (Ms Layno) - +639197473638
Please check room rates and facilities here. Read the last part of this post to know how to get to Marihatag.