Exploring Siargao as a Non-Surfer
EXPLORING SIARGAO: BEFORE THE TRIP
Siargao has been a goal of mine for the last few years. Two things that hindered me from going were the expensive flights, and the fact that I thought it was only for surfing (don’t get me wrong, I enjoy attempting to surf, I am just daunted learning in waters among expert surfers). Finally this year, a spur of the moment decision led me to purchase the not-so-cheap flight tickets. To be fair, there were cheaper options, but that would have entailed a long bus ride and ferry ride, and I wanted to spend as much time as I could in Siargao so I opted for a semi-direct flight with a stopover in Cebu.
I luckily had a very cheap room right by Cloud 9, which is a popular surfing spot in the area. They have a nice view deck right on the water aptly called the Surfing Tower. It is a great spot to watch the surfers, but I was really excited to explore the rest of Siargao so I did not park myself in this spot for too long.
EXPLORING SIARGAO: GETTING AROUND
The best way to see the many different sites around the island is by motorcycle. You can drive one yourself or get a habal-habal driver that doubles as a tour guide. I opted for the latter.
It was actually a comfortable ride given that the bikes they use have long seats that can fit 2 or 3 persons aside from the driver, plus it has a makeshift roof that somehow gives an extra sense of security despite riding with no helmets and in the open air. The best part about riding a motorcycle though is going through rows and rows of such lush greenery, alternating with breathtaking coastlines. I found myself spreading my arms wide while riding in the wind, a huge grin on my face, just soaking in all this nature!
For those who are not comfy on two wheels, there is also the option to rent a car. The roads in Siargao are well paved and easy to drive around in. Please be mindful though of the street dogs who just casually lie on the road, or the locals who blissfully walk without a care in the world, not minding any incoming traffic.
EXPLORING SIARGAO: BEACHES
Given that I had ONLY one week to explore, I really had to make the most of my days there. From General Luna, there are nearby public beaches with white sand that can compare to many other world class island destinations. There is Cemetery Beach, named for obvious reasons that there is a cemetery right on the beach. Molinao Beach is home to some of the highest end resorts on the island. Union Beach has a massive white sand bar just 5 minutes away from the shore. What makes these beaches even feel more like paradise is that they are very low-key and practically deserted. I felt like I had the whole area to myself.
There are some even more stunning, practically uninhabited beaches further out. Pacifico is an impressive beach known to be popular amongst surfers because of its strong currents. It is parallel to that is what is now one of my favourite stretches of white sand in the world, Baybay Burgos. This is a very private and breathtaking cove with only one charming English restaurant and pub on the strip. Magpupungko Beach itself is quite decent as well but more crowded, mainly because it has one of the most popular attractions in Siargao – magnificent tidal pools that are visible during low tide and enjoyed by many swimmers.
The island also boasts of the Tayangban Cave Pool and Tak Tak Falls – two cool, refreshing bodies of water that are perfect to wash away the salt water and heat of the sun. These two spots are not as popular as the others, but still such beautiful attractions.
EXPLORING SIARGAO: ISLAND HOPPING
The average island hopping tour consists of three nearby jaw-dropping white sand beaches with amazingly clear blue waters. Naked Beach lives up to its name because it is a sandbar devoid of any other structure. Daku Beach is a larger exquisite island with nice cottages and shaded area, a popular pit stop for lunch. Guyam Island is a tiny, tear-drop shaped island made even more beautiful by the coconut trees that cover it. My favourite island however is a bit further off called Mamon Island. This is one hour away by boat and now my favourite beach in the world. It felt like a movie set of a paradise island with beautiful calm waters and ate nothing but fresh seafood. This is the description of a perfect beach setting for me.
EXPLORING SIARGAO: FOOD
Another main attraction of Siargao is its’ scrumptious food! Bravo Restaurant is quite a popular place to chill any time of the day; it helps that they have delicious Spanish food and chill beach music too. Kermits is known for having the best pizza on the island – it is best to get there early for dinner as they run out of seats fast. Harana had the most beautifully presented and executed Filipino Cuisine. La Carinderia is a subtle side-of-the-road restaurant with excellent Italian food and seafood specials. If you like healthy breakfast smoothie power bowls, Shaka is the place to be. Kitya’s Place has a wide variety of items, from hummus to crepes, which are very affordable. Viento Del Mar has tasty international dishes and wine has the same price as beer!
What I loved about the experience as well is that it was so easy to eat healthy on the island. Many establishments had vegetarian options, green juices, seafood, and other healthy items. I will not leave out the abundance of cheap coconut juice available practically everywhere.
Other notable tourist spots I have yet to see are Sohoton Cave and Sugba Lagoon. I really do need to try surfing in the best surfing destination of the Philippines when I go back.
Siargao exceeded my expectations so much I still can’t believe how truly beautiful it is. No wonder people have fallen in love with this place. I am absolutely smitten.
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