Siargao is the last leg of our trip and we stayed here for 9 days. Our original flight back home, though, was from Butuan, because I kind of wanted to explore Surigao as well. 9 days in Siargao is too long, but that’s what we did anyway. I will also share later why we ended up not taking our flight from Butuan. Ahhh, Siargao. This island brings me both good and bad memories. As I write this, I’m remembering a lot of stuff that’s making me feel really horrible. I will definitely be writing ONLY about the beautiful things though.
Google definition: The shaka sign, sometimes known as “hang loose”, is a gesture of friendly intent often associated with Hawaii and surf culture.
We flew from Cebu, so the fare was actually not that expensive. Manila to Siargao usually is, though. The flight takes around 45 minutes, it’s really not that far and utilize the smaller CebuPac planes (it’s a CebGo flight).
Sayak Airport is in located in Del Carmen, Siargao. We stayed in General Luna and that’s more or less 45 minutes away. We booked an airport transfer through our first accommodation so it was really convenient. That’s also what we did when it was time to leave, but obviously booked through the second accommodation. I think this is the best and most comfortable way to do this. I really don’t want to ride a tricycle for 45 minutes and with our bags, it will definitely be cramped. It will also give you the best view of the island as you travel through towns. We also had a nice conversation with our first driver, who gave us pretty much an overview of how life in Siargao is. The second driver was more quiet and we had another passenger in our car, too, so the experience was much more different.
I had to rely on Google Maps again for this one, because I don’t remember the names. Marc booked these on Airbnb. These were last-minute bookings, he literally looks for our next accommodation a day before we need it. The first one was closer to the main road leading to the boardwalk, the second one was really close to Kermit Siargao.
CASA DEL MAR
I tried looking for this on Airbnb, and while it took me a while to do so, I found it! LOL. Here you go. The photos here are spot-on. This is a guest house, and you get the whole apartment for yourself. I would give this place 5 stars. It was our home for 5 days and we definitely had a blast cooking our meals everyday here! There were some things missing but the host is very responsive and would visit our place to bring what’s missing or tell us alternate options, even gave us the keys once to another place in the same compound where we can cook. They also allowed us check in early since our flight arrived before 9am, which is great! Any hotel that lets me check in early gets plus points for me.
LUKAY RESORT SIARGAO
We moved here after 5 days and stayed for 4 days. It was funny when we transferred because on top of our bags, we have a lot of groceries. Too bad, we didn’t really have our kitchen anymore in the new room so we didn’t really get to cook. There is a common kitchen so we can cook if we wanted to, but I don’t know, we just didn’t.
Although we only stayed here for a few days, we had more interaction with the other guests here than at our guest house (because there was only one other guest in there and he was always gone LOL). I definitely enjoyed speaking to this guy who’s a tour guide with My Siargao Guide and he’s staying in Lukay permanently. So yeah, guest interactions are always important! We can’t be just, you know, interacting exclusively with our travel companions.
I would definitely suggest renting a motorcycle. We did this during the first five days, because we rented one through Casa del Mar. The rent fee per day is a but higher than in Siquijor, if I remember it correctly, it was around PHP450 per day. That might seem expensive, but if you’re planning to go to far places within the island then that will be worth it.
We also took tricycles and habal-habal. We took the tricycle when we moved from Casa del Mar to Lukay. Our guest house though is not on the main road and I don’t normally see empty tricycles pass by in there so I had to walk to the main road, wait for and flag a tricycle and ask the driver to go to the guest house to pick up our stuff. We also used habal-habal when we party at night because it is definitely irresponsible to drive to the bar, drink and party, and then drive your motorcycle home. We definitely got drunk on so many nights in Siargao and we would take the habal-habals home, because there are no more tricycle available when you go home late and these habal-habals are big enough for two people.
It’s actually not so bad either to walk around, we did that a lot when going to some restaurants, especially when we moved to Lukay, since we no longer rented a motorcycle. Anyway, it’s closer to that road where a lot of the restaurants are so we didn’t think it was necessary. One thing I want to mention though is that, not all roads in Siargao are cemented. The main roads are, but then most of the accommodations are scattered around the residential areas and these roads are not cemented. In Casa del Mar, there is a faucet near the gate where you can wash your feet. I’m pretty sure it’s because almost everyone surfs in Siargao and they will come home sandy. But I’m also positive that it’s because of the sand from the roads.
I’m going to separate the beaches and islands. There were a few that I don’t know where to categorize so don’t judge me. I will just put them under where I feel like putting them. LOL.
GENERAL LUNA BOARDWALK
This was the first place I visited upon arriving. We arrived really early and I didn’t really feel like staying in the room so I decided to walk here from our homestay.
We passed by this on the way to the homestay from the airport so we know exactly where it is. When we passed by it on the way to Magpupungko Rock Pools, we definitely stopped and took loads of photos!
I thought we wouldn’t see the famous bent coconut tree cause the location isn’t really indicated on any of the blogs I read. I know that it’s in the Maasin River but couldn’t find that on Google Maps either. This is located just right after the coconut farm view deck if you’re coming from GL. I spotted the Maasin Bridge and when I looked to the left, there was the tree. You can ride the swing, too but we didn’t cause we were on the way to Magpupungko to catch the low tide at 11:44am.
MAGPUPUNGKO TIDAL FLATS & LAGOON
This was definitely the highlight of our day. Or probably the entire Siargao trip! LOL! This is definitely my favorite! I totally researched what time the low tide was on the day that we went to make sure that we’ll get to see the rock pools. You have to go on a low tide to enjoy the pools. Definitely worth the 1 hour motorcycle ride – it also rained a little bit at some point and we just powered through it. There is an entrance fee here, I think PHP50 + parking fee. Funny story, when we were about to enter, there was a girl who didn’t want to come in unless she’s sure that she could see the rock pools. But of course, the people at the gate won’t let her enter without paying the fee. And I was just like, I mean, if you drove to get here – no matter which part of the island you’re staying – you might as well come inside! Driving an hour and not going inside is just crazy to me. LOL.
It’s so huge, I advise walking around, there are even mini pools at the back. Just be careful with walking though because the waves are pretty strong.
We also had our lunch here, and had fresh buko. They have an area for eating and they are stores where you can just order food. It’s pretty affordable, too.
We passed by this place on the way back to General Luna from Pacifico and we still had some time so went caving! This was actually fun, but warning, there’s a lot of water inside this cave. We have photos inside but I never got them so these are the only photos I have.
I booked this tour (Sohoton + Tri-Island) via SiargaoIslandHopping.Com. It was PHP1850/person during out trip in Dec 2018. I checked their website and it is now PHP2000/person.
Sohoton Cove is a 2-hour boat ride from General Luna and was definitely a butt-numbing experience. That’s why it’s a bit expensive – the travel time is just too long. When you get there, you have 2 activities wherein you go into smaller boats to go to the jellyfish sanctuary and the 2 caves.
The first activity was swimming with the jellyfish. You get into a small boat, with just the person paddling the boat. Since we went in December, there is actually not a lot of jellyfish. The best time to go if you want to see a lot of jellyfish is around May. I still swam with them and enjoyed the few jellyfish I saw.
The next activity is Magkuku-ob Cave, where you climb up the cave and then you jump off a 5-meter cliff. You just have to trust that the guide will be there and not let you drown. LOL. The guide always explains what is going to happen so you have to make a decision if you would like to do it or not, because once you leave that boat, there is no turning back. The activities in Sohoton Cove are quite adventurous, so if you’re not into that and will just stay in the boat the entire time, then you’ll probably miss out on the experience.
And the other cave is Hagukan Cave, aka the luminescent cave. Ok, this is really scary. When we got here, it was already high tide so the entrance is blocked with water. Meaning, to get inside, you need to swim underwater. You just really have to trust the guide that he will not let you to die. LOL. In these activities, the guide is your best friend. You will do it getting inside the cave, and then again, going out. There is really nothing to do here except float around the luminescent water.
We had lunch here as well since it’s included in our tour package. Then after that, we went our way back to Siargao and visit the three islands. More on this somewhere below.
I had to Google what this beach is called because I just remember where it was, but can’t remember the name. Siargao’s beaches don’t really have signages. You just park on the dirt road, leave your stuff somewhere, take off your clothes (you should already have your suit underneath) and then go swim! There were not a lot of people here when we went. Perfect if you want to have some privacy.
We went here I think on our second day, but just to hang out and swim a little bit. But there’s so many surfers, I don’t think you’ll get to do much swimming. Almost everyone is just hanging out by the beach, if they are not surfing.
We finally got to surf on our 5th day in Siargao. My instructor was a bit impatient with me cause it took some time for me to get used to getting my left foot in front after the right one. I ate 5 slices of pizza at Kermit before surfing, and I felt really heavy, okay? LOL. My tummy is full of pizza and my butt is like 10 kilos, so cut me some slack hahaha. But I got the hang of it after a while and was able to ride the waves a few times so it’s all good. It was fun and I didn’t even realize I got bruised on my knees.
This is also famous for surfers, but we just went to swim. What I love about this is that, you have to do a bit of trekking in the middle of coconut trees before you get to the secret beach. So, if you feel that Cloud 9 is too crowded, then you can come here to surf.
PACIFICO BEACH / BIGFISH RESORT
We just kept driving north after spending a few hours at Magpupungko Rock Pools. We wanted to see how the beach is in this area. We parked outside the resort and went in just to check it out. It’s beachfront so you can see how the beach is from here, which is what we wanted to do anyway.
The waves in Pacifico are super strong, I think it’s impossible to swim here. There was a girl trying to snorkel and just gave up after a minute. LOL. It’s definitely a lot quieter here and there’s not much people actually. I can say that the beach is much nicer and looks clean, but that’s it because you can’t really swim. It could be dangerous to someone who is not an amazing swimmer.
In fairness, this a nice place! The huts remind me of that place I want to go to in Bali – Le Pirate!
Daku Island is definitely my favorite of the 3 islands. It’s sooooo clean!
Fun fact: Daku means big. This island is the biggest out of the three.
This is pretty much just a sandbar.
CORREGIDOR / CASULIAN ISLAND
I booked this day tour via My Siargao Guide, it was PHP1500 per person. This was the last thing I actually did in Siargao. Corregidor Island is also quite far from Siargao, and you will actually pass by it on the way to Sohoton Cove. The main activity is trekking to get to the topmost part of the island, and then you get to do whatever you want at the beach. I booked this tour because on my own because I wanted to get away for a day by myself.
After the hike in Corregidor Island, went for a swim here. It felt so good cause we were hiking for 2 hours until noon and it was really sunny. That seawater was divine!!
Siargao is a bit expensive because it’s a tourist island. So what we’ll do is that we’ll have breakfast at home, then go out for lunch, cook and have dinner at home, then go out again for drinks and some partying. So we definitely visited quite a few restaurants and some resorts with restaurants. I am probably not going to have a lot of photos in these places, but just know that all of these are recommendable!
BARREL SPORTS BAR
This is one of our favorites – ate here a few times! They are famous for their burgers!
We just had to try their pizza and gnocchi! Definitely not a good idea to come here though before surfing. LOL. (I cannot believe I have no photos here!)
Shaka is famous for its smoothie bowls. I had to try them, even if they are quite expensive. This cafe is very close to Cloud 9. So we parked here and then walked to Cloud 9 to surf.
This was close to our second accommodation so we went to have dinner here once during a brownout. It was literally a candle-lit dinner. LOL. I wanted to eat here when I was in Coron, but wasn’t able to, so I was happy I got to do it in Siargao. A note: You need to take off your shoes when you enter the place, and when we were there, a guy lost his shoes. So maybe don’t come here with your favorite shoes. LOL. (I have no photos here either??? DAMN!)
VIENTO DEL MAR
This is a resort, and it’s one of the places close to our first accommodation so we had lunch here once. Marc really liked his tortang talong, so we made it for dinner once.
This restaurant is inside Brave Beach Resort. A friend thought we were transferring to a different resort everyday but we were actually just having lunch at these restaurants. LOL.
BARS / NIGHTCLUB:
I’m sure most of these doubles as a restaurant as well or a resort, but I’m putting them here because I went to these places specifically for partying. Also, note that Siargao has some sort of a party schedule every night. So like there are usually two places, where you can pre-game because they are only open until like midnight, and then another place where people can go afterward because they are open until much later. I don’t have photos in these places because I was partying and didn’t really feel comfy taking out my phone.
HARANA SURF RESORT
We went here on our very first night in Siargao, and it was amazing! I love this place!
This is like your normal small town night club. I didn’t really like it.
This is close to our second accommodation, and while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I personally liked it. I definitely think it was better than RumBar. I actually met a friend here that I still talk to until now. He’s really cool.
SOME RANDOM BITS AND INFO:
– We were here in December and it rained a lot. November to January has the most rainfall so just keep that in mind when you are scheduling your visit to Siargao. We noticed that it mostly rains in the morning, that’s why we start our day quite late. We’d usually go out for lunch, and then start touring around.
– If you need to buy ingredients for cooking, you can definitely go to General Luna Market. Not too far from there, there are a couple of groceries. Tag Grocery is the famous one, and there is another smaller one on the side of the street, which is Tag Minimart. Of course, go to the bigger one, it has more stuff.
– There are a couple of ATMs around, but I don’t think we tried withdrawing here. We made sure to have enough cash before leaving Cebu. But I think Tag Grocery helps with cash withdrawal, I just don’t know how.
– Like I said, I feel like it’s quite expensive in Siargao so I suggest cooking your own food if you have that capability in your homestay. We were lucky to have our own kitchen in our first accommodation, and we had a shared kitchen in the second one.
I can’t believe I stayed in Siargao for 9 days! We definitely took it easy and had a lot of days when we’re just lounging inside the room. I think we pretty much visited the hottest tourist spots, except for Sugba Lagoon. I felt sad, but I can always go back to Siargao to go there.
We also left Siargao a day earlier than scheduled. We were supposed to fly to Manila from Butuan on Dec 18th, but ended up taking a flight from Siargao on Dec 17th. Unfortunately, Marc got into an accident because of the cement blocks near Kermit and broke his toe. We had to walk here every day because we were staying in Lukay. I know you have probably heard of those celebrities who got into some sort of accident in Siargao and had some issue with the hospitals there. For sure, doctor shaming is not acceptable, but I do agree that their hospital system, as well as their roads, needs attention. I think the local government earns quite some money from tourism, so I think they should definitely pay more attention to this. We ended up booking a last minute flight back to Manila so we can get medical attention there. It was a crazy last day before the day we had to leave because we had to make arrangements for our flights and our Airbnb in BGC. Then we had to pack everything, we had to leave a lot of our food and drinks in the fridge of Lukay Resort.
Our flight was via Cebu, we only had to wait roughly 3 hours but I think it was a bit delayed, too since it was in the afternoon. We managed to arrive in Manila at around 7pm-ish. Took a Grab to our Airbnb near BGC. Put down our bags and then booked another Grab to St. Luke’s and spend until 1am there. It was a long day from Siargao to spending hours at the hospital.
I’m glad I finally finished this. Now I can fully move on.