The mister and I spent the New Year’s in Siargao as the last stop of our backpacking adventures in Northern Mindanao. And, I would love to go back and finally make a proper surfing without hitting my face on the bottom of the sea lol.
In Siargao, there is something for everyone; whether you’re an amateur or a Soul Surfer, you’re a couple on a holiday, a family escaping for a week away, Siargao has something for you.
THINGS TO DO
1. Take Surfing lessons
Now before anything else, you need to know your level:
A beginner is a surfer who is yet to successfully paddle out alone and catch and ride a wave cleanly to its logical finish. If you plan to take a shot at surfing, Siargao is one of the best places to go. You can take surfing lessons for 1 hour-3 months.
Surf Board Rental:
1 hour – Php200
4hours – Php400
whole day – Php800
Turtle Surf Camp and Buddha’s Surf Resort offers Surf and Sleep packages. Prices vary according to course duration and surf level.
An intermediate surfer can paddle out alone at a familiar location and catch and ride waves to a logical finish front side or backside, confidently using the three basic surfing turns – bottom turn, top turn and cutback.
An advanced surfer is capable to paddle out alone to a surf spot he/she has never ridden, assess the lineup, and catch and ride waves to his/her choice of finish, confidently using a full range of turns in a distinctive, effective style.
For intermediate and advanced surfers, you can make your way towards the surfing sites in Siargao. Remember to take precautionary measures before hitting up the waves.
There is a boardwalk located right in front of Cloud 9 so if you plan to surf a lot, this is a very convenient place. There is a wooden walkway which allows surfers to get out to Cloud 9 and where spectators can enjoy watching surfers tackle the big waves of the famous surf break.
2. Visit nearby islands
If the waves are not good for surfing or you simply want to relax, you can still do some stuff like island hopping. The three closest islands to Cloud 9 are (1) Dako, with its very white sand beach, coral reefs, and a friendly village, (2) Naked, a white sand spit with coral all around and Guyam, the perfect palm-fringed islet. Most resorts can arrange this for you for Php700-1500 per person with inclusions such as food and cottage.
I recommend for you to book directly at General Luna because that’s where most of the bancas are docked. You can approach locals in General Luna market one or two days before your planned island hopping to get better deals. We hired a boat good for 6 people for only Php1500.
3. Go bird watching
You will be surprised how many species of birds there are in Siargao. While we were exploring the island, we saw a couple of sea eagles, king fishers and many others. This is one of those moments that I wished I knew more about birds to tell you all the species I saw. Nevertheless, just by the presence of sea eagles in the island already signifies Siargao’s rich natural resources.
4. Visit villages
If you start early, it is possible to go around Siargao in a day. Some resorts can arrange an inland tour for you covering most of the tourist attractions. But, I highly recommend to rent a motorbike and explore on your own. Siargao is a safe place for tourists to wander around. Just be mindful as some of the secondary roads are unpaved and when it’s rainy, it can be muddy. I remember walking across a large, muddy puddle so the Mister can drive across it. We were more concerned about the motorbike since it was a rental, we don’t want to return it covered in mud.
5. Enjoy sunset with a glass of wine.
While we were in Surigao, we bought a bottle of red wine at a local supermarket. It wasn’t anything fancy but it was way cheaper than in Siargao.
We stayed at Point 303 which happened to have a sister resort on the beach front. We asked two wine glasses and enjoyed a few sips while basking in the beauty of a peaceful sunset.
6. Take a dip in Magpupungko Beach
Magpupungko Beach is a small stretch of cream colored sand. There is an amazing rock formation and tidal pools created by nature itself. Unfortunately, we came at the bad moment when it was the high tide and weather was not cooperative. When we entered the beach area, the staff warned us about the huge, strong waves and the whirl pool. Although, there were areas safe for swimming, I chickened out so I didn’t take a dip but the Mister seemed to enjoy it because it reminded him of his hometown, Bretagne.
By plane: As of June 2016, there are no direct flights to Siargao from Manila. You have to make a connection in Cebu and take a one-hour flight to Siargao via Cebu Pacific Air, the only airline that offers this route.
By sea: From Surigao City, you can take a 4-hour trip to Siargao. Ferry companies don’t accept reservations so I recommend to go to the port early morning to secure your ticket. Trips are limited especially during the holidays.
WHERE TO STAY
The Mister and I highly recommend Point 303. They have friendly, competent staffs who bend over backwards to cater your needs. It is also situated right in the smack of Cloud 9, just a minute walk to the beach.