Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary: the Largest Wetland of the Philippines


The Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary is a vast wetland of swamp forests, watercourses and lakes covering an area of nearly 15,000 hectares, roughly the size of Metro Manila! It is accessible via a 1.5 hour motorized boat ride from the township of Bunawan, Agusan del Sur. The Agusan Manobo are the indigenous people that live in and around the protected area. Many of them live in floating houses that rise with the changing water levels.


Canoeing at Lake Mihaba
Canoeing at Lake Mihaba

Manobo Girls Washing Clothes
Manobo girls wash their laundry

Young Manobo
Young Manobo paddles through the misty marsh

Manobo Floating House
Floating pig pen


The marsh is also valuable habitat for Philippine crocodiles and water birds such as species of wild ducks, herons and egrets. It is also the refuge of the rare Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) and Purple Swamp Hen (Porphyrio porphyrio) and the threatened Philippine Hawk Eagle, Spotted Imperial Pigeon and Rufous-lored Kingfisher.

A&N Lodging HouseHOW TO GET HERE: From Butuan City in Agusan del Norte, hop on a Davao-bound bus like Bachelor Express and alight at the bus terminal in Bunawan town.


For eco-tours of the sanctuary, please contact municipal tourism officer Otic Ramirez +639109840285 or Lake Mihaba Fishermen Association chairman Rey Calderon +639083712443. Travel costs will be significantly cheaper if you tour the marsh in a group. Roundtrip motorboat to Lake Mihaba costs PHP 1,500. Entrance fee to DENR floating center: PHP 100. Canoe ride around the lake: P200/hr for 1-2 pax.


ACCOMMODATION: A&N Lodging House (Double room: P300/night), a dilapidated guesthouse in Bunawan offers basic accommodation. Make arrangements with the tourism officer (see contact number above).

2 comments

  1. Good photos! Is it safe to travel there for foreigners?

  2. Hi Adventure, yes the Agusan provinces are safe for foreigners! Do visit – it’s a unique landscape. This where Lolong, the world’s largest captive crocodile was found…

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