The smell of salt and soft coconut oil, waves crashing gently on the shores, sands in between my toes, wind kissing my skin gently telling me that time stand still in a place like Siargao. Time passes crescently taking you thru your whole day.
I’ve emptied my mind and released all expectations I had for this place since a few individuals that I’ve talked to that have been to Siargao cannot put into words how magical the place really is. All they say is that when you return back to your automated life in the city you’ll pause everyday and think about this place over and over again. Daydream for weeks that you’d rather be spending a lazy Tuesday afternoons disconnected with the outside city life.
If you think of Siargao, most will brand it as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines”, but for someone like me who’s not physically inclined to ride the waves Siargao can cater to anyone who’s in quest to experience what the island has to offer. Beautifully diverse landscapes from mangroves, enchanting forest, rock formations, waterfalls, vast rice fields, cave pools, calm white sand beach, and nearby islands. I’ve been to most beautiful and pristine islands in the Philippines and I thought I have seen it all. Of course, topping my list are El Nido and Coron which are situated in Palawan, but to much surprise, Siargao is authentically in its truest form strikingly, inexplicably and beyond beautiful.
Where is Siargao?
Getting to the island itself is a pretty long haul. If your kick off point is from Manila, Luzon
- FLY DIRECT to Siargao via SkyJet
- FLY CONNECTING Manila-Cebu-Siargao FLIGHT via Cebu Pacific
- FLY to Cebu take a 14-hour ferry ride (overnight) to Surigao City then take a FERRY to Siargao.
- FLY to Surigao City then take a FERRY to Siargao. I recommend riding the Fortune Angel.
- FLY to Butuan then BUS to Surigao City then FERRY to Siargao
I took the Cebu X Surigao City X Siargao Route as I wanted to spend a day in Cebu City first. From Cebu, I went to the pier and bought myself a ferry ticket going to Surigao City. There are options in terms of which type of sleeping area you’d be comfortable and also depends on your budget. I personally chose the Business Class area as it is more private, it has sockets for charging and it’s air-conditioned. A Business classroom will cost you roughly 1,200php ($20). There are mostly foreign nationals in the boat and I was able to some of them and they shared their Siargao stories, why they keep on coming back and how warm the people are. Of course, they went on and on and on how amazing the place is.
Ideally, you will end up staying in General Luna because that place is the main beach town with an interesting variety of shops, restaurants, resorts, and the great thing about it is that it hasn’t been ruined by mass consumerism for tourism.
You can see the sense of community on the island where locals and foreigners all co-exist. Most establishments are owned by foreigners who sought asylum from their western countries and built their homes and lives in Siargao. There are a number of restaurants, coffee shops, smoothie places scattered around General Luna
Where to Stay:
Note: Ideally you stay in General Luna area.
My friends and I stayed over at Eddie’s Beach Resort. It is reasonably priced and you get to stay beach front. Our room that is good for 4 people costs us only 2,200php ($40)
** all links are clickable to check availability, rates, and bookings.
- Paglaom Hostel (click for rates)
- Harana Surf Resort
- Point 303 Resort
- Kermit Surf Resort
- Siargao Inn
- Dedon Island
Where to Eat and Drink
- Pan De Surf (A MUST TRY)
- Coconut Pie
- Spicy Spider Shells
- Cafe Loka: Tourism Rd, General Luna, Surigao del Norte
- Kermit’s (A MUST TRY!)
- Shaka: General Luna, Surigao del Norte
- Miguel’s Taqueria: General Luna, Surigao del Norte
- Barrel Bar: Purok 5, General Luna, Surigao del Norte
- CFC: Cloud 9, Surigao del Norte
- NAH. Don’t.
For the best brick oven pizza try Kermit’s Dive and a Surf resort. They flew in folks from Italy to transfer crafting knowledge in making fresh pasta and making awesome pizza. This was probably one of the best pizza that you can get here in the Philippines. I asked for Parma ham, mozzarella, dill pizza.
Go to General Luna’s public market where you can get the freshest and cheap seafood. A whole yellowfin tuna that weighs 2 kilograms is only 200php ($4). What we did was we bought fresh seafood from the market and asked our resort’s restaurant to cook for us with a very minimal cooking charge. I must admit I haven’t gone around to random restaurants mainly because I was enjoying so much fresh seafoods from the market and my friends and I was happy to have it every day served fresh from Eddie’s Beach Resort.
It is a place where the land is rich and the sea is generous. You can live frugally yet get the best of what nature has to offer. The abundance of the island prohibits the locals to be greedy to its visitors.
What to do?
Surfing lessons will cost you only 500php ($10-$11) per hour comes with one: one instructor and board rental. For beginners, it is best to start surfing early in the morning at 7am-8am white the tide is high to avoid shore rocks. For experienced surfers, you can rent boats going to surf spots near neighboring islands.
- Daku Island
- Naked Island
- Guyam Island
- Explore General Luna Lagoon via stand up board or paddle board. Crystalline blue water and appreciate beautiful seascape
- The Magpupungko Beach and Tidal Pool
The Magpupungko Beach and Tidal Pool is located in Pilar, about 45mins to an hour drive from General Luna. Rent a motorbike for PHP350 per day (US$8) and explore it yourself. You can also hire a tricycle / habal-habal for PHP800 – 1,000/day (US$20). There is an entrance fee of PHP50 (US$1) per person.
- Surf in the morning in Cloud 9. Start before 7 am.
- Rent a bike and get lost. LTE is very fast on the island both Globe and Smart so just use Google maps or Waze
- Relax, lounge, sleep
I am still hung over for weeks now after my trip from Siargao. I am sitting right now in my office and everything and everyone around me were in a time-lapse. I want to pause. I want to be able to not wear a watch and forget time.
I want more of Siargao, I want to settle there and get a dog.
So what are you waiting for? Go and wander.
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