Discover your Ancient Roots in Butuan: 5 Best Things to Do in the “First Kingdom in Mindanao”


Butuan City is a destination rich in history and natural wonders. It was the former capital city of Agusan del Norte before it was transferred to Cabadbaran City in 2000. Butuan serves as the gateway to other destinations in Northern Mindanao like Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Siargao, and Surigao.

Long before the coming of the Spaniards, Butuan was already a trading post to our Asian neighbors like the Malays, Indonesians, Indians, and the Chinese. Archeologists have discovered that as early as the fourth century, there was already a civilization existing in this place based on the artifacts and bones that they have dug up. Aside from the historical landmarks, there are many wonderful destinations that await visitors in this bustling city. There are also festivals that showcase the culture of the citizens of Butuan.

Today, Butuan takes pride as the center for commercial and retail developments in CARAGA Region. It is a highly urbanized city in Northern Mindanao that serves as a hub for commercial, industrial, and administrative in the region. Thus, Butuan poses a good choice for real estate investments in Northern Mindanao.

With the influx of commercial and industrial establishments in Butuan, having a real estate investment is a practical move for those who want to invest in Northern Mindanao. There are lots of available properties to choose from including an affordable condo in Butuan that is perfect for young professionals, starting families, and overseas Filipinos.  

6 Best Things to do in Butuan

Get to know your roots in a trip to Butuan, the city dubbed as the “First Kingdom in Mindanao.” Enjoy discovering the ancient kingdom of Butuan through the list of activities listed below:

1.Visit historical landmarks

Those who enjoy learning history and exploring the ancient Philippines during the Pre-colonial times will find themselves amazed with the historical sites Butuan has to offer.

Butuan National Museum

Source: Butuan National Museum from the Official Website of Butuan

This is a must-see destination for history enthusiasts if they want to discover the roots of early Philippine civilization. The Balanghai Shrine, which is an extension of the museum, houses the remains and artifacts of the original Balanghai which is a large wooden boat that navigated the high seas to our neighboring Asian countries and traded goods with them. It dates back to pre- colonial era or about 320 A.D.

Balanghai Boat Building Site

Source: Balangay Site from the Official Website of Butuan

This is where a replica of the Balanghai was built using the same wood and materials used during those times. It is set to navigate the same route that our ancestors took in that period. It reflects the creativeness and craftsmanship of the Butuanons as they give pride to their forefathers.

Bood (Bud) Promontory and Eco Park

Source: Bood Promontory and Eco Park from the Official Website of Butuan

The Butuanons believe that this was the place of the first Christian Mass led by Ferdinand Magellan on March 31, 1521. Located in Barangay Masao, it runs in conflict with the State recognized Limasawa in Leyte. This claim may have been passed on from generation to generation. They have built statues of Spanish conquistadores and natives to commemorate the site of the first mass and the planting of the Holy Cross. This place has cottages for picnic and a beautiful view of Masao River and Butuan Bay.

Magellan’s Anchorage

Source: Magellan’s Anchorage from the Official Website of Butuan

This place is believed by Butuanons as the site where Magellan first anchored his ships. This island named Mazawa which means “bright light” by the natives and now known as Masao. There is also a famous beach for locals and tourists to enjoy.

Bonbon Shell Midden

Source: Bonbon Shell Midden from the Official Website of Butuan

The shells displayed at Bonbon Shell Miden are all pre-historic dating back around 7000 years ago or during the Neolithic period. A midden is a pile of trash of pre historic human bones and animal tusks. You will notice that the human skulls and fingers are entirely different from ours right now which explains the evolution of man.

2. Explore various tourist spots around the city

Aside from the historic sites, travelers can also enjoy a number of tourist destinations around the city. From parks to rivers, there are plenty of places to explore in Butuan. 

Magsaysay Bridge

Source: Magsaysay Bridge from the Official Website of Butuan

The bridge named after the late President Ramon Magsaysay and inaugurated by President Carlos Garcia is an important gateway that connects the east and west parts of the Agusan River. This makes travelling to Surigao and Davao possible. It has a nice view at night of the city center and the river banks.

Banza Ruins

Source: Banza Ruins from the Official Website of Butuan

The Banza Ruins was a place where a Catholic Church once stood which was burned by Moro Pirates in 1753. It was built by the Recollect missionaries and the ruins are wrapped by a huge Balete tree which impairs its visibility unless you check the inside of the tree. This was the first Catholic Church in Mindanao consecrated by a Jesuit missionary in 1597.

Guingona Park

Source: Guingona from the Official Website of Butuan

Guingona Park is where the Shrine of the Philippine flag stands as it commemorates the first raising of the Philippine flag in Mindanao which took place on January 17, 1899. A monument of Jose Rizal was erected and dine by famous sculptor Garcia Velarde in 1935. On the grounds also is a century-old Acacia tree.

Delta Discovery Park

Source: Asia’s Longest Zipline – Delta Discovery Park from Official Website of Butuan

Located in Brgy. Bonbon, Libertad Butuan City, it has the longest zip line in the whole of Asia. The zipline is 1.3km long. It has other amenities that adventure seekers will surely appreciate.

Nipa Distillery

This is far different from the Napa Wine Valley in California where grapes are processed into red and white wine. This one is made from the local Nipa palm where the sap is tediously processed and made into wine which they call “Laksoy.” Magellan’s crew were served with this intoxicating wine as written in the journal of Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan’s chronicler.

Agusan River

Source: Agusan River from Official Website of Butuan

Agusan River is the third largest river basin of the Philippines which drains the majority of the CARAGA Region and parts of the Compostella Valley. It is the habitat of some of the biggest Philippine Salt Water Crocodiles like the world famous “Lolong, ” considered to be the world’s largest crocodile. See the beautiful crimson sunset as you cruise along the river.

Mount Mayapay

Climb this majestic mountain and enjoy nature at its finest. You need not be an experienced hiker as Mount Mayapay is a beginner- friendly peak to climb.

3. Go church hopping

Butuan is a pre dominantly Catholic city. Some of the most popular churches here are the St. Joseph Cathedral which also serves as the Diocesan Shrine of Butuan and the Sto. Nino Church.  

St. Joseph Cathedral or the Diocesan Shrine of Butuan

Source: St. Joseph Cathedral from Official Website of Butuan

This church has been elevated to a Cathedral by his Eminence Pope Paul VI in 1967 and was created the Archdiocese of Butuan. Its glass- stained panels depict the life of its patron St. Joseph. You can also read the names of the missionaries and parish priests of the Church as you walk along the patio.

Sto. Niño Church

Source: Viva Pit Senor Official Facebook Page of Sto. Nino Church

This is a relatively new church which has become an attraction and a favorite among the Catholic faithfuls. The church honors the Sto. Nino thru a festival that comes to the streets in January of every year.

4. Feast all you can in a food trip

Take a break from touring and enjoy Butuan’s finest delicacies and dishes. Below are some of the city’s local delicacies and restaurants to try out when you are in Butuan.


Palagsing is Butuan’s native delicacy. It is made from brown sugar, coconut, and unaw, and sago. Unaw is derived from Palm Trees that grow in Mindanao. If you want to taste the authentic Palagsing, head over to Brgy. Banza which serve the best palagsing in town.

Halo-Halo at Snack Break in Buenavista

This place is very popular among locals and visitors. They serve a creamy and flavorful halo-halo at a very affordable price. Snack Break is usually packed with customers especially on weekends. You will see a long line of customers queuing up to get a taste of this crowd favorite concoction.


Weegool’s is a favorite place to eat for tourists and locals alike. They serve their speciality which is the Chicken Inato. The grilled dish is similar to the Inasal in Bacolod. Their halo-halo is also delightful as they serve it in a coconut fruit. Their prices are also affordable and budget friendly.

Lutong Bahay ni Aling Cora

This is a popular family restaurant among Butuanons. Established in the 80’s, it has several branches but the main one is located at JC Aquino Avenue. Make sure to try their chicken barbecue and seafood dishes, as they are the place’s bestsellers.

5. Experience Butuan’s festivals

Festivals are a year long celebration for the Butuanons. It starts with the Kahimunan Festival in January to celebrate the feast of Senyor Sto. Nino. During May, the Balangay Festiival and the Butwaan Festival kick off the festivities to honor the feast of St. Joseph. The Abayan Festival and Unaw Festival follows in June to showcase their culture. Finally, the Palagsing Festival and Adlaw Festival are celebrated every August as a thanksgiving for Butuan’s rich history.

Source: Kahimunan Festival from Official Website of Butuan

Amidst Butuan’s rich history that celebrates the country’s past, the highly urbanized city holds a bright future with the many economic activities and commercial influx in the recent years. Butuan is hailed as CARAGA’s central hub for commercial and retail developments in the region. It also serves as a gateway to many tourist destinations and business opportunities in Northern Mindanao.

Looking for a real estate investment in Butuan? Find the most affordable condo in Butuan here.

Butuan’s latest real estate player

Last January 2021, Butuan and the whole CARAGA region saw the groundbreaking of its first-ever condominium project. Camella Manors Soleia, the latest real estate player in the city, has officially started construction which is set to finish in two to three years’ time. The project is identified to become the tallest residential structure in Butuan City.

Camella Manors Soleia is the latest offering of Camella Homes in Butuan. The all-time favorite housing brand envisions to become the first brand to introduce the vertical lifestyle in the metro provinces, and cities in the Philippines. 

Pine - Estate Condo in Butuan - Camella Manors Soleia - Swimming Pool Perspective
Pine – Estate Condo in Butuan – Camella Manors Soleia – Swimming Pool Perspective

Located at Montalban St., Villa Kananga, Butuan City (just across Camella Homes Butuan), the condo project is set to rise four 7-storey buildings with a resort-themed condo amenities. The first building Avior has a total of 119 affordable pre-selling units.

Investors of Camella Manors Soleia will enjoy premium amenities like an adult pool, kiddie pool, fitness gym, function area, playpark, jogging trails, and commercial strips. The condo is also fully equipped with a 2-high speed elevator system, CCTV-security system, water-sprinkler systems. This affordable condo in Butuan is also a pet-friendly community and promotes smart condo living.

In terms of location, it is strategically located close to the city center, making it accessible to many essential establishments such as shopping malls, schools and universities, medical centers, and infrastructure developments.

From Manila, you can reach Camella Manors Soleia with just a two-hour flight.

Due to first building’s fast-selling rate, the condominium’s second building is targeted to be launched in the second quarter of the year.

Interested buyers can reserve a unit online via PesoPay. For more information, check the Camella Manors website at

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