The Philippines has always been a favorite destination for people from all over the world because of the beautiful beaches and the all-year-round tropical weather. More popular are Palawan, Cebu, and Boracay. But after I've visited Siargao Island, I could say that this place should definitely be one of the destinations to go to in my country.
I couldn't believe why I waited this long to see this enchanting place. It is the epitome of an escape to paradise. The people were warm, the food was really good and relatively affordable, the beaches were spectacular, and the surfing was a definite must-try! I could only hope that my blog put justice to the beauty of my amazing 5-day vacation to this island.
Here is a short video of our experience:
Of course, a trip wouldn't be amazing if you don't get to try the food that the place has. If you're interested in trying out the dishes that we enjoyed during our stay, check out my other blog here:
Where we stayed:
We were lucky to find a good accommodation from Airbnb. The owner was this nice lady from Manila, who runs a tour service business with her Spanish boyfriend. She was kind enough to point out good restaurants and dishes to try out during our stay. Dominique and Havey were also responsible for arranging our tours to ensure that we had the best first visit in the Island.
We paid around Php 3,000+ or $60+ for the five days and four nights that we stayed in Siargao. We basically got a hut, two beds, electric fans, and mosquito nets. It was very comfortable and a very accessible place as well. We stayed in the middle of General Luna, where most of the restaurants and bars were located.
If you'd like to stay at the same place we did, please feel free to contact the owner: Ms Dominique - 0921 797 2791 or you can book straight from the Airbnb app. There are also a lot of other places to stay there that I'm sure are as equally nice as where we stayed in. Just make sure that when you pick a location, it has to be in the General Luna area.
The best way to go around the island is through a motorcycle. They have various types to choose from. The one we were able to rent was at Php 350 / day, gasoline not included.
You can message the same person we rented our bikes from, he was very accommodating and nice.
(Kuya Joy - 0919 890 1635 / 0950 179 1230)
We arrived in the island in the morning, which was really ideal for us since we wanted to try out surfing on our first day. Ms Dominique referred us to Kuya Ramon, the best surf instructor in Siargao. If you want to hire him as well, here are his digits: 0939 325 7128
As a beginner, I was naturally scared off my wits to try this. But, what the heck, I'm in Siargao. I should at least give myself a chance to try and learn. It was a good thing that our surf instructors were really good teachers. They took care of everything and never ran out of encouragements until I was able to finally stand on my board and ride the waves. They charge at Php 500 / hour, which was really reasonable, given the fact that teaching a total newbie something really advance requires a LOT of patience and tremendous amount of skill.
There are several surf spots in Siargao, you should just trust your instructor as to where the best place is for that day. It also pays to make friends with a lot of locals. They are all naturally friendly, which is common to Filipinos. It shouldn't be hard to strike up a conversation about surfing.
The surfboard rentals already come with the instructor fees as well.
There were a lot of other surfers when we visited this place. They also have a "courtesy booth" hut to leave your things in. You just have to pay Php 20 to the caretaker. They also sell water and other snack items to help the surfers replenish after a long day at the beach.
This was when we finally got our motorcycle rental. We were excited to try exploring the island by ourselves.
BOARDWALK - CLOUD 9
Cloud 9 is a famous spot for advanced-level surfers. But during the time we visited, they didn't allow people to surf there. The boardwalk was open to tourists, though. And we took our time exploring the area.
Magpupungko Natural Rock Pool
Armed with only our motorcycle, we braved the 45mins to 1hour road trip to this tourist destination. As advised by most locals, we had to visit the rock pool during low tide, or else, we won't be able to appreciate at all the beautify of this wonder. There was an entrance fee of Php 50 per person upon arrival, and another Php 25 for the motorcycle park.
When you go inside the beach area, won't see the rock pool right away. You'd have to walk through sharp rock formations.
This was one of the most amazing experiences during our trip. Being up close with the waves (while not surfing) was a whole level of beautiful.
The pool was very deep and perfect for a refreshing swim after a long hour of riding the motorcycle.
After spending a few hours in this place, we decided to head back to General Luna to catch some waves before the day ended.
Surf Spot: Union Beach, Dapa
This time, I opted to stay behind and watch them surf. I had my blanket, music, and shades out. This part of the island was not as crowded as the surf spot we tried out yesterday. There were only about less than 10 surfers, and I was able to enjoy bathing in the beach as well.
We ended the day with the view of the sun setting, the waves crashing, and the wind whispering.
This day was dedicated to the exploring of the stupendous mangroves of Siargao.
My Siargao Guide arranged our tour to this destination. We paid Php 2,000 for the whole tour. It included the van transfer from and back to General Luna, food, boat transfer, tour guides, drinks, and the paddle board rentals. This was a really good decision for us since we were first-time travelers, and it would be very difficult if we did a DIY trip for this. And we were very well taken care of, every Peso we paid was really worth it.
I couldn't really find the words to describe this place. It was beyond beautiful, almost surreal. From the town of Del Carmen, we were introduced to the world of 4,000+ mangroves. Home to around 3,000+ crocodiles, this place was infamous for discovering iconic crocodiles in the Philippines. It made us a bit nervous but we were assured that these predators did not wander to where we were supposed to enjoy our day.
It was a 20-minute boat ride to the lagoon. We were treated to the view of mangroves, clear blue skies, and green seawater. When we finally arrived in shed where we were to frolic for the day, we were beyond excited to explore the place.
This was the breathtaking view that beheld us:
The board was a popular spot for everyone. It made me kind of nervous to jump off, seeing that the water was a dark murky green. But I eventually gave in to the inviting beauty below.
The paddle boards were really interesting to try too. At first, I was nervous because I wasn't sure I would be able to balance myself on the board. But eventually, I got the hang of it and I enjoyed exploring the lagoon.
It was a long but really great day for us. I enjoyed snorkeling and discovering the astounding beauty around the lagoon.
We were well-provided with food and drinks as well. The tour guides were very friendly and they made sure that we enjoyed our stay.
We still chose to arrange our tour with Bravo Resort (My Siargao Guide) for this day. We were excited to explore the three famous islands of Siargao: Guyam, Naked and Daku.
We were charge Php 1,100 per person, which included the boat, island fees, food, drinks and guide. Hopping on our rented motor bikes, we set off to the boulevard where our boat was docked and ready to take us to our trip.
Luckily, there was only 6 of us, so we had the chance to visit the fish sanctuary just right before we headed off to our first stop.
As an infinite fan of sand bars, it was a delight to see another one as equally majestic as all the others I have been to. The wide stretch of white sand and blue green water were a welcome sight that I would never get tired of.
Our next stop was where we spent most of our time in. Kissed by several rows of rock formations, white sand beaches, brown huts and coco trees.
Our tour guide prepared lunch for us, and together with our tour mates, we had a sumptuous Filipino meal of Fresh Watermelon and Pineapple fruits, grilled fish, chicken, pork and classic Filipino noodles
We were given a few hours to see the island, swim around, and just enjoy the island life.
After enjoying three hours here, we headed off to our last destination.
The last island was the opposite of our second stop, it was very small and cute that you could literally go around in just less than 5 minutes.
We ended our day with sunkissed skin, salty hair and weary muscles. But we had such a great time that we barely noticed all these up until we were back in our little hut.
Other Places to Visit:
General Luna Church
If you want to attend mass on Sundays, like we do, they have a catholic church situated in the heart of General Luna. They have two mass scheduled all through Sunday.
Philippine Crocodile Habitat - Viewing Deck
Siargao Island is famous for being a home to government-protected crocodiles. This here is where you can enjoy nature and look out into this murky waters and imagine the predators swimming underneath. It was a bit unsettling but interesting at the same time.
Harana Surf Resort
One of the more popular resorts for visitors in Siargao, which I can clearly see why. The place was a beautiful meet of the island vibe and modern feel of current resorts. They had a killer view off the ocean in their beach front and really good food (which I will blog separately about).
Bravo Beach Resort
This was our favorite place to hang out in between tour trips and lazy hours. They had these huge sofas you can lounge in while looking at the sea, sipping pinacoladas or eating their really delish food.
Cafe Loka - Cloud 9
If sipping on a glass of mojito with the sound of waves and the sight of the sea, then this place is the best one for you. They have little hammocks and chairs littered outside their hut-like cafe that you can laze around under the warm afternoon sun.
The newest place to hang out at night in the island. Filled with a fun mix of locals and tourists, dance the night away with good drinks and island music.
- Siargao has quite a small population, because of this, local business owners make sure that no two events happen at the same time. This is so that the crowd will not be divided into smaller groups. They usually put a lamp outside the place where the party is happening.
- If you're staying in General Luna, you should know to bring cash with you because they don't have any banks nearby. The nearest one is in Dapa, which is approximately 30 to 45 minutes away by motorcycle. And the ATMs are usually out of service or offline at certain times of the day. They have money centers though that you can withdraw from, but with interest charges incurred. Not a lot of establishments accept credit cards, so again, it's best that you have cash with you.
- Befriend the locals. If you're not very comfortable with talking out of the blue to strangers, then you can forge friendships with the tour guide, staff from restaurants and hotels, or even your surf instructor. They are the best ones to give you tips on how to make your trip amazing.
- If you don't have problems with sharing a room with other people, there are a lot of hostels and pension houses to choose from that charge very cheap per night, but you'll need to sleep with other people in one room. They also let you rent a locker for the safety of your things.
The place has its charm that never really rubs out of you. If you've been to the island, you'll definitely be counting the days until when you can come back again. It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to, and one of the least expensive ones. The locals were very friendly and there was just so much to see and experience. I can't just get enough of everything in the island.