Siargao's biggest lure may be the surf breaks, but it has so much to offer.
This teardrop-shaped island is rich with stunning natural wonders, beach living essentials, as well as boutique stays and tasty delicacies.
Here's what you need to know when you visit the surfing capital of the Philippines!
Located in the neighboring town of Santa Monica, this 45-feet waterfall is a pleasant change of scenery from the beaches of Siargao.
The idyllic Bucas Grande is a paradise for nature lovers. Go spelunking at Crystal Cave and Bolitas Cave, hop on a banca at the hidden Tiktikan Lake, ride the zip line at Kapihan Nature and Adventure (the highest point of Bucas Grande).
It's not hard to fall in love with this enchanting inland lagoon. It's home to crystal-clear waters, gorgeous limestone natural bridges, and caves of stalactites and stalagmites.
Magpupungko Swimming Hole
Take a refreshing dip in calm waters amid natural rock formations that serve as sea pools. Although be careful as rocks can be very slippery and sharp.
TIP: For safety reasons, visitors are only allowed in when it's low-tide!
Tayangban Cave Pool
A short distance away from Magpupungko rests this deep natural well. For the adventurous ones, there's a swing and a famous cliff jump spot into the 18-feet deep water. The freshwater is a refreshing change after a day of swimming in the sea.
Yes, this aptly-named island is surrounded by none other than cinnamon trees! Upon arrival, visitors are welcomed with a waft of cinnamon from the surrounding trees and a cup of cinnamon tea from the locals. This place is managed by SAVE Sohoton, an organization that helps alternative livelihood of local fishermen.
Smoothie Bowls, Shaka Siargao
It's no secret that the smoothie bowl wave has reached the shores of Siargao! This all-day breakfast bar serves all things healthy but the colorful, too-pretty-to-eat creations are their signature must-tries.
Wood-Fire Brick Oven Pizza, Kermit Resort
When it comes to Italian food in Siargao, no one does it better than Kermit Resort. Served during dinner time, their delicious pizzas are made from a wood oven imported from Italy. The pizza dough is made fresh daily with locally-sourced ingredients. Choose from their menu or go DIY with your toppings.
TIP: Take advantage of their happy hour promo of Buy 1 Take 1 cocktails from 5-7 pm!
Locally caught fish, fresh produce, plus handmade tortillas and salsas make this no-frills taqueria a popular mainstay. Don't forget to order a cold beer or two!
Ihaw, Mama's Grill
There's no doubt that beach living goes synonymous with freshly grilled eats! Locals and tourists alike flock to this famous barbecue joint at dinner time for its cheap yet generous servings of grilled marlin, isaw, and more local favorites. Be there early, because this place gets packed fast!
Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) in Sugba Lagoon
Give yourself a balancing workout in the middle of a gorgeous remote area of vast mangrove trees and unusual rock formations.
Island Hopping (Daku Island, Guyam Island, Naked Island)
When in Siargao, island hopping is an absolute must! Sip on fresh coconuts, feast on freshly cooked seafood overlooking the beach, and stroll along the shores of powder white sand and crystal-clear waters.
Surfing at Cloud 9
Cloud 9 is the most famous surf spot for soul surfers, but it's certainly not for the faint of heart. Even if you're not an experienced surfer (don't worry, there are beginner-friendly waves nearby), watching the pro surfers chase the huge waves is a sight you shouldn't miss!
The nightlife in Siargao comes in different forms: reggae, acoustics, videoke, and dance parties to name a few. Famous hotspots include Tattoo Jungle Disco, Offshore Bar, and RumBar.
Islands Less Travelled: Mamon Island, Lanuza Island, Suyangan Island, Janosa Island
Escape from the crowds and revel in the privacy at these remote island hopping destinations.
If a secluded surf spot is what you're looking for, consider a trip to Pacifico Beach that's located more than an hour away from General Luna. Aside from crowd-less surfing experience, this peaceful hideaway is a perfect spot to watch the sunset.
In Siargao, the peak season for surfing is July to November. For better weather conditions, it's best to go from March to May during the summer season.
There are plenty of accommodations to choose from. For the budget-conscious, there are homestays and hostels that can go as low as ₱350/per night. If you are willing to splurge, luxury resorts like Kalinaw Resort and Siargao Bleu Resort & Spa are recommended.
There is an ATM machine in Dapa but it can be unreliable, so best to bring enough cash.
As much as possible, bring small change. It will be easier to pay for small habal-habal rides, snacks, and environmental fees.
The best way to get around is habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) or renting your own motorbike (₱350 a day) or bicycle (₱250 a day).
For tours, always double check with the inclusions. There are some islands that don't have places to eat, it's so best to plan ahead. Check if you can bring fresh seafood (available at General Luna market) and have it cooked for an additional fee.
WHAT TO WEAR
Beachwear (swimsuits, bikinis, trunks, sundresses, sandos) is the official dress code in Siargao! Bring comfortable shoes like flip-flops or slip-on shoes. Water shoes will be handy at the Magpupungko Rock Pools. If you're planning to go surfing, wear a rashguard!
HOW TO GET THERE
Illustrations by Ce Manalang
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