Bucket list: Siargao

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Siargao is a surfing haven in Mindanao; in fact, it is considered the surfing capital of the Philippines. This island is a paradise to both surfers and non-surfers alike, and being a non-surfer myself, the relaxing sounds of the waves crashing and the beautiful scenes of nature  (and not to mention the affordable tasty meals) was more than enough to make the trip worth every penny. Hashtag: SEASCAPE.

            1.     Checking in at Buddha Surf Resort

We decided to stay at Buddha’s Surf Resort for 4 days and 3 nights. This is situated a few minutes away from Cloud 9 (the most well-known surfing spot in Siargao). The resort was clean, and just right for our taste. Our room and bathroom were both spacious. Buddha’s Surf Resort holds events on some evenings, like acoustic nights on Wednesdays. They also offer island-hopping and habal-habal tours as well as surfing lessons. Surfboards and motorcycles are also available here. Their friendly and helpful staff would always see to it that all our needs are covered, which made our stay more comfortable.

They also have a mini library. #heaven
          2.     Island-hopping in Naked, Daku and Guyam Island

On our second day, we opted for an island-hopping tour, which included three islands that are a must-see in Siargao and one of them is Naked Island. It is called naked because there’s nothing you can see (no palm trees or whatsoever) except for the 200 meters long sandbank with blindingly soft white sand and is accessible only during low tide. This is great for landscape photos. Make sure to bring your sunblock or umbrella (if you want to stay longer) to protect your skin against the sunlight.

We had our lunch in Daku Island, another stunning white-beach and peppered with palm trees. We had our lunched cooked by the locals, and I cannot forget how tasty the sword fish was. I think sword fish would be my favorite fish from now on. Try to have a conversation with your boatmen and the locals. Don’t worry they are nice. 

Also, a crystal-blue water. 

Guyam Island was our last stop from our island-hopping. Lying by the beach and sunset watching was blissful. There were only 2 people who were living in this island who will collect 10 PHP/person for the environmental fee. This island also has powdery white sand, crystal clear water (great for underwater photos!) and perfect for your Instagram just like Naked and Daku Island. These three islands were quiet and relaxing, and you can even go snorkeling if you want.

         3.     Spelunking and Cliff-jumping inside Sohoton Cave

It wasn’t my first time to climb because back in college, I used to go to an indoor rock climbing gym and it was basically big walls with rocks. I love rock-climbing, but man, cliff-diving was something else. It was a heart-pounding experience and a high-adrenaline choice. The jump was 15-feet high. I was pressured (joke!) to jump because I only had 2 options to exit there: (1) I can go back to the cave, which is impractical, or (2) Jump and get it over with. I could hear my heart thudding. I remained frozen. I asked our guide to just push me. Lol! Though, I can’t remember if he really did push me. I remember hearing other voices shouting, “Just Jump!”. Then, I jumped. It was the longest three seconds of my life- falling through the air, then crashing into the deep. My legs were burning which probably means my technique was crap (Btw, I got big bruises after that). Nonetheless, I was so proud about it, as if I’d made some big achievement! In contrast to the other islands, Sohoton Cave was a different experience; rock-climbing and cliff-diving gave us a great sense of excitement and exercise that yields a real feeling of exploration and discovery.  It was exhilarating!

         4.     Exploring Magpupungko Beach

Considered the jewel in Siargao, Magpupungko Beach is in the town of Pilar, just one and a half hour ride from General Luna. When we arrived at the entrance, I thought that this was just an ordinary beach, but boy was I wrong. Upon hiking down at the edge of the terrain, I saw people diving into the tidal pools. It was a sight that filled me with awe and reverence. On its northern end are amazing rock formations and tidal pools. It is separated from the ocean by a large reef. I’ve been to many beaches; however, none of them had natural sea water pools that seem like infinity pools. This discovery was an exciting experience and one that should not be missed. This is by far my favorite from our trip in Siargao. The pictures can’t do justice to the beauty of this paradise.

          5.     Surfing and watching the sunset in Cloud 9

Cloud 9 is approximately 2 km away from our resort. The most popular surfing spot; this is where annual surfing competitions are held. Surfers are flocking to Siargao to ride the biggest waves. Alvin tried to surf for the first time here. Before the actual surfing started, Alvin was coached to pick a board and practice paddling (you lie on your stomach and do a front stroke with the board under you) and popping up on the sand (from lying down to standing up in one jump, like a burpee). That was it! Training is complete. I settled in a hammock while Alvin was surfing (or I think that’s what he was doing, if you know what I mean) and watched the magnificent sunset- my favorite part of the day. For the best people-watching, head to the boardwalk, to an abandoned 3 storey-house. Hint: you can also spot some cute dogs and cats there, not just the surfers. 

The famous boardwalk in Siargao

          6.     Eat pizza and risotto at Kermit Surf Resort

If you google Kermit, you will read that most people are raving about their pizza. Pizza is well, pizza; what is not to love about pizza? Their classic margherita pizza is coal-fired and layered with tomatoes, basil and cheese, Italian style. Every bite was mouth-watering. Plain and simple, but, it just tasted so good and finger-licking amazing. We paired our margherita pizza with risotto. This authentic Italian-style risotto is so creamy and subtly flavored- definitely one of the best we had in Siargao, if not in our lives.  It was hard to stop eating, even after we were full.

          7.     Eat breakfast in Buddha Surf Resort

Whenever searching for a hotel, be sure to factor perks in (e.g. if breakfast is included or not). Dining out each morning can add up quickly, both in time and money spent. Breakfast is my favorite way to start off the day and we were lucky enough that we had an on-site restaurant at our hotel. The restaurant is described as a British gastro-pub with an Asian fusion. Their breakfast menu contained about anything you’d want from coffee, fresh juice, bread, egg, bacon and other breakfast delight. We tried most of their breakfast menu; the servings were colossal and satiating. I could eat breakfast here every day.

          8.     Shop at the Wet Market of General Luna

This is an old-style market with live fish, poultry, meat and other fresh produce sourced locally. Unlike the wet markets we’re used to in Manila, this market was relatively clean. Enjoy the wide selection of fruits and vegetables where you can bring to your tour (have the locals cook it for you) or home. I love to visit any local markets when visiting any provinces in our country; everything is fresh and affordable. The vendors are friendly and some of them can speak both Tagalog and English, making it even more convenient for you to shop. We bought liempo, sword fish and some fruits before we left for our island-hopping. Also, try to buy hot pandesal (bread) in a nearby bakery. You will thank me later. So which are your favorite fresh markets in the Philippines?

How to get there:

You can only reach Siargao by boat or plane. Plane is the easiest route, but relatively expensive. We flew from Manila to Cebu, then Cebu to Siargao via Cebu Pacific. Another option is the route from Surigao City, Surigao del Norte. From there, catch a multicab/tricycle to take you to the port where you can ride trigger boats or Roro Ferry to Dapa port of Siargao dock. The earliest departure is 5:30 AM and the last is by 12:00 noon. From Dapa Port, transfer to a tricycle or habal-habal (motorcycle) to take you to General Luna.


Buddha’s Surf Resort
Cebu Pac: Manila to Cebu
2881.92 for two
Cebu Pac: Cebu to Manila
2279.92 for two
Cebu Pac: Butuan to Manila
3183.92 for two
Hotel Transfer
Island-Hopping (3 islands and Sohoton Cave)
3200 for two
Guyam Island entrance fee
Magpupungko Beach: Habal-Habal
600-800 for two
Entrance Fee
Surfing lesson
Habal-Habal to Dapa Port
200 for two
Siargao to Surigao by boat
Jeep to the Terminal
Van Surigao City to Butuan

We went to Siargao last April 2015. This is one of the Philippines best vacation destinations and surfing spots. Philippine beaches are without a doubt among the best in the world. I heard there were number of conspicuous changes to Siargao; prices went up and there are new activities to choose from. :)

Rori Xx

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