A Glimpse Of Butuan City – A City Ascending

According to stories, the name “Butuan” came from a warlord and chieftain named Datu Buntuan who once ruled the city. Others have stated that the name came from the fruit batuan which is abundant in the place.

With over 1,695 years of recorded history, the city of Butuan is not just one of the oldest cities in Mindanao but in the Philippines as well. Butuan is also known for its colorful history and very diverse and rich culture. The city was once dubbed as the Timber City of the South as the place was once the primary hub for logging in the Visayas and Mindanao. Today, the city of Butuan boasts as the Home of the Balanghais. Balanghai or Balangay are large wooden boats during the pre-hispanic period.

A highly urbanized city, Butuan City serves as the administrative, commercial and industrial hub of the Caraga Region. The city is also the gateway to Northern Mindanao connecting the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Surigao.

Growing up in the streets of this once timid and aloof city, it brings back good old memories to being able to visit the place again. It took me 8 years to revisit the city of Butuan and it was very memorable because I was able to spend it with my family. And one more thing special is that I finally managed to eat my childhood favorite snack, Palagsing. Palagsing is a native delicacy made from a Palm Tree starch called Unaw., it is then combined with brown sugar, and coconut .

Image Credits: LoveMindanao

Though a lot has changed, yeah, 8 years is a quite long but good thing that the places that hold dear to me remains unchanged and gracefully aging.

Join me as I take you to some of Butuan City’s go-to places that showcases what really is Butuan.

Butuan City Hall

This is the city’s administrative building, the seat of the head of the city and among the most visited places in town since the compound has a very nice architecture.

St. Joseph Cathedral

Considered as the main historic church in Butuan City. Significant events for this church are First Easter Mass and First church built in Mindanao. This is where most of the Butuanons spend their Sundays.

Guingona Park

The Guingona Park is where the famous statue of Jose Rizal is located. Considered as the town plaza of Butuan City, the park is the official ground for the National Shrine of the Philippine Flag in Mindanao.

Butuan National Museum

This museum houses the most significant archaeological finds in Butuan and all throughout Caraga. Excavated Balanghais are among the main attraction of this facility.

Statue of Rajah Kolambu

A statue to honor Rajah Kolambu. Rajah Kolambu together with his brother Rajah Siagu are the local chieftains and rulers of Butuan and Surigao.

Balangay Boat Building Site

This is the site where replicas of the legendary Butuan Boat or Balangays were built using ancient and ingenious technology

There you have it guys, some of the places that you must visit when you’re in the city of Butuan.

I know you’ve been wondering why there are other interesting spots like the Magsaysay and Macagapagal, The Banza Church Ruins, The Balangay Excavation Site and many more. We never managed to visit them because the weather during our visit was not cooperating and whether we like it or not, we need to cut our trip short and head back to the hotel.

How To Get To Butuan City

The city is pretty much accessible to all major transport system available. Below are your options if you are planning for a visit in Butuan City.

By Air

  • Manila – Butuan – Travel time is around 1.5 – 2 hours via Cebu Pacific or PAL
  • Cebu – Butuan – Travel time is around 45mins to 1 hour thru Cebu Pacific

By Land

  • Manila – Butuan – Via PhilTranCo thru the Pan-Pacific Highway. Travel time is 45 hours or more.
  • Cagayan de Oro – Butuan – Travel by Bus (Bachelor’s Express). Travel time is 3-4 hours
  • Davao – Butuan – Travel by Bus (Bachelor’s Express). Travel time is 6-7 hours
  • Surigao – Butuan – Travel by Bus (Bachelor’s Express). Travel time is 2-3 hours.

By Sea

  • Manila – Butuan – Voyage takes around 36 hours via 2GO Superferries.
  • Cebu – Butuan – Shipping through Cokaliong of 2Go Superferries. Travel time is usually around 10-12hrs


If you’re looking for a very affordable place to stay that offers an authentic Butuanon hospitality, the only best option you have is staying at Almont Inland Resort or to its City Hotel. There is no other place in town that offers such warm hospitality.

Here’s a quick preview of the place. Video is owned by me.

Herbert Kikoy
I am a hobbyist photographer who's making a big shift to mobile photography, a frustrated cook and a wanderlust who don't have the luxury of time.