After spending a night in Cebu City we had a morning flight with Cebu Pacific to Philippines surfing Capitol, Siargao Island. The flight was scenic and pleasant and most of all, short. We have reached the island in good 45 min.
If you like exploring places whose beauty has not yet been spoilt by commercialism then it is time for you to visit the tear drop shaped Island of Siargao. It is not your typical surfer’s paradise. For one, despite the fact that an annual international surfing competition has been held here in recent years, its beauty remains unspoiled by development.
Actually you will find this place very primitive (in a good sense) compared to other island getaway destinations as there are no chain hotels or resorts littering its pristine white beaches.
Siargao (pronounced SHAR-GOW) is hailed as one of the best surfing places in the entire world, landing on the number eight spot (http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/play/worlds-50-best-surf-spots-250983). It is the most gifted with its monstrous waves as it faces the biggest body of water, the Pacific Ocean. Surfer or not, it may be irresistible to waive on one of the most treasured secrets in Asia. If you are a surfer than the ideal months to come here is around October to April when the waves are most consistent and originating on the north eastern swell. With this, its waves can barrel up to 2, 2 m on the average and can take you to a long distance of 100 to 200 meters. However, you can revel in surfing all year round especially if you just want to give this sport a try. Surfing competitions already start around September so you can expect a lot of people coming in to General Luna which is home to the world renowned surfing spot in Cloud 9. If you’re really hooked into surfing, there are available surfing schools in the area to enhance your potentials.
But since we were not here for surfing, here’s what you can do beside it. And believe me Siargao has to offer much more than just surfing. Plus if you are a beach bum, summer moths are the driest ones in contrast to let’s say Boracay and Palawan.
Resorts are lined up around the beaches in General Luna and around Cloud 9. They offer surfboard rentals and provide surfing instructors for newbies at a very cheap price. We have booked the Greenhouse Siargao (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g2048776-d2523546-r297075710-Greenhouse-General_Luna_Siargao_Island_Surigao_del_Norte_Province_Mindanao.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT) and yet again we made an excellent choice. There are only 3 bungalows, all few steps from the beach. Our neighbors at the resort were lovely American family. They were both teaching in China and they had a daughter named Bo and expecting second child, so the girls had plenty to talk about. For Svit and Nia Bo was a blessing since they had someone their age to play with.
Things to do/see on Siargao for non-surfers:
We took the easiest and cheapest (40Php/person) way to get there. So habal-habal (motorbike that can take up to two people behind the driver) was the obvious choice. It took us just over 5 min to reach Cloud 9 surfing spot. Boardwalk on Cloud 9 is a tourist spot and a perfect place for your photo opportunity.
It is made of a wooden path where it will be easier for you to access the surfing spot of Cloud 9 or just enjoy watching the surfers tackle the unforgivable and powerful waters.
The best time to learn surfing is early in the morning as it gets already crowded in the middle of the day. There are designated surfing areas for beginners and pros and the spot for newbies didn’t looked challenging at all.
Island Hopping (Guyam, Daku and Naked Islands):
This trip required an early start due to the tidal conditions and waves around our resort.
The boatman had our lunch and drinks already on the boat when we climbed on. The view of clean and turquoise waters around us was really surreal.
Naked Island: We could easily spot sea stars in all kind of colors while we were approaching Naked Island, our first stop. So called because of its “nakedness.” Here you won’t find single tree, house, or anything at all. Just plain sand, just the island, you and the heat of the sun.
The sand is most fine and powdery then imagine wandering into finer and whiter sands of Naked Island. The beach remains to be untouched and swimming in its transparent waters is refreshing and ultimately picture worthy.
Next stop was Dako Island. Dako came from the word “daku” which means big as it is the biggest of the three islands. Our boat docked into the white beach. Half of the beach was almost elevated and you had to climb against the exquisite pearly sands to get to their cottages made of nipa.
We have lots of fun here for a couple of hours, running up and down and swimming in waters around the island. The rest of the island is filled with coconut trees, probably about 80% of the area and that just give you the best natural shade from the scorching heat of the sun. The sand in Dako Island is the most beautiful among the three and with its clearest waters making it the most ideal beach to swim.
We also had our lunch prepared here and we all concurred that that grilled tuna with avocado salad was one of best we ever had. And with cold Red Horse the paradise was found.
Guyam is the smallest among the three. But size doesn’t really matter when you get to seek this wonderful islet. The setting provides the usual island vibe but what make it different are the stony formations that are covered with mosses giving it a foamy texture. Guyam Island is highly similar to Dako Island wherein it also has cottages that visitors can lounge in. In addition, corals are also widespread along the reefs for marine explorers.
Even if you’re short on time, never miss an opportunity to go to Magpupungko Pools. You’ll be surprised of how amazing nature can be of how the Pacific Ocean envelopes the pools and the flat beaches surrounding the area and as the rock formations border the ocean. Again you have to check the tidal charts since when the tide is high you can’t access the pools.
As many of the tourists tend to swim at the first natural pool formation you’ll encounter in your stroll, we also stopped here for a dip. But as you advance and explore the beach, the other three are equally beautiful and enchanting pools. The nearest pool from the entrance is the biggest and the deepest. The spot for cliff jumping is also found here. Each pool is situated adjacent to the cliffs and all are facing the Pacific Ocean. Just imagine having your own private and natural infinity pool and the clarity of the waters is really surreal and magical.
We all made a conclusion that this place is again one of the best we had visited so far. The kids enjoyed it every single day from the moment they woke up until we put them down to sleep in the evening.
They were playing with the friendly dogs of Greenhouse, collecting shells in front of the resort or simply just running around under the palm trees in front the bungalows.
Svit actually cried when we left this place and asking about his new friend Bo for days after.
If only Siargao was not so far from Europe we would come back for sure. The only downside from here happened on the day when we left the Island. At the airport they threw away all the shells that kids and us collected from our trip (Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, Siargao).
There were not lots of them but they were all the kind you only see on pictures. Note to ourselves…next time put them between dirty laundry because they didn’t even open that backpack.