Siargao Travel Guide
You’ve probably seen the movie and now you can’t wait to gather your friends or maybe or get on the plane lone-wolf style to see the dreamy landscapes that Paul Soriano has captured rather splendidly in his latest film, Siargao. While the movie garnered mixed reviews from critics, they were unanimous with one thing, Siargao’s beauty is surreal. If you are already planning to get on the next plane to this beautiful island in Surigao del Norte, here’s a Siargao travel guide to help you make the best of your time in the island.
Where is Siargao and how to get there?
Siargao is an island in Surigao del Norte best known as the surfing capital of the Philippines. It is about 800-km southeast of Manila and to this date, only one airline, Cebu Pacific, offers direct flights to the island. The airfare, however, is quite steep, which plays between ₱4,000 to ₱8,000 ($79.68 – $159.36) one way. A cheaper option, albeit one that takes longer is an indirect flight from Manila to Cebu with a connecting flight to Siargao. Likewise, you may also fly to Surigao city then take a ferry to Siargao.
From the airport, you can hire one of the waiting vans outside to take you to the town for ₱300 ($6.01). Alternatively, you may arrange a van transfer with your hotel.
Where to stay in Siargao
It is recommended that you stay within the municipality of General Luna especially if you have plans to go surfing. There are many choices as the number of accommodation in General Luna is estimated to be about a hundred, such as hotels, guesthouses, resorts, and hostels. Among the most favored accommodations in General Luna are Buddha’s Surf Resort, Patrick’s on the Beach, Kermit Surf Resort and Restaurant Siargao, and Bravo Beach Resort. Some of these resorts also offer surf or island hopping packages, just make an inquiry with their staff.
Which places to visit in Siargao
Apart from surfing, you may also rent a boat for an island-hopping activity. Island hopping rate goes anywhere between ₱1,000 to ₱1,500 ($20.02 to ₱30.03) per head. You are bound to see 3 islands; Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island.
Named so due to the fact that it is bare, Naked Island is a long stretch of sand that has no trees, cottages, and other infrastructures. This is usually the first stop of the tour and where tourists who are hoping to get a nice tan stay for longer periods.
Daku Island is a palm-fringed island, the biggest of the three, where people stop for lunch. It has several cottages that tourists can rent and you can ask the fishing community living on this island to cook meals for you. If you are so inclined, you may also spend the night over by renting one of the huts from the locals.
The last island including in the island-hopping tour is Guyam Island. Out of the three, Guyam Island has an eco fee of ₱10 ($0.20). The most interesting feature of this island is the rock covered shores on one side of the beach.
Magpupungko Tidal Rock Pool
In another day, you can rent a bike or hail a habal-habal driver to take you to Pilar. It is an hour away from General Luna, and there lies one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Siargao, the Magpupungko Tidal Pools. This natural pool is only visible when the water is low, better to go there at around 10:00 in the morning when the tide has already receded.
For a one of a kind experience of swimming with the stingless jellyfish, head over to Socorro and visit Bucas Grande also known as Sohoton Cove National Park. Bucas Grande is a cluster of islands with mangrove forests and limestones caves. It is being maintained and protected by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. To ensure that you will see the jellyfish, time your visit from March to May.
Cloud 9 is the most popular surfing waves in Siargao. This is the site of Siargao Cup, an annual surfing competitions that attract both local and international surfers. Aside from surfing, you may also hang out at the Boardwalk to watch the sunset.
Where to get Surfing Lessons in Siargao
The best way is to ask your hotel about their surfing packages, the next best thing is to walk along the Cloud 9 area and make an arrangement with one of the surfing operators there. Note that riding the Cloud 9 waves is not for beginners; if you are an amateur or you are doing this for the first time, ask your surfing instructor to take you to the area with smaller waves. Surfing lessons goes for ₱400 ($7.98) per hour.
It is fairly easy getting around the island with the paved roads and a good number of motorbike (habal-habal) drivers around. A habal-habal ride is only ₱20 ($0.40), but you can also rent a motorbike and drive around on your own, which is what most foreign tourists like to do.