Wandering in Siargao: Tips to Experience More of The Island
Siargao Island is a gem. And to be honest, that’s pretty much an understatement. I find it a bit difficult to describe it in words because its beauty is something you can’t easily explain. It must be experienced.
Just a heads up, Surigao and Siargao are two different islands. Surigao City is the mainland and Siargao is almost 3 hours away from Surigao.
So if you’re planning to experience the island for yourself soon, just like going to any other places, it’s best to do research. Here I’ll be sharing some tips I’ve researched prior to our trip and some of the ones my group and I learned along the way:
How To Get There
Siargao Island has only one airport, the Sayak Airport in Del Carmen. Flights to the island are limited. Cebu Pacific offers flights from Cebu to Siargao. The flights are usually scheduled daily but sometimes there are no flights on a specific day. The only way to be sure about this is to do a mock booking on their website.
You can also fly to Surigao City and from there you can take a 2-hour and 30-minute ferry ride to Siargao Island. There aren’t certain daily flights though so it’s best to check out websites of different airlines.
If you’re up for a long adventure, you can reach the island via land trips. What my friends and I did was ride a bus bound to Butuan City from Agora Terminal. We took the 11PM trip so we can arrive to our destination early and leave for Surigao City early. Since we showed our student ID’s (lol we still felt like we were still students) our fare only cost us 300 pesos each.
When we arrived in Butuan City, we rode a van bound for Surigao City. It cost us 150 pesos each. We arrived in Surigao around 5AM and the first ferry trip going to Siargao leaves at 5:30 so we hurried to the boulevard where ferries bound for Dapa dock. The ferry ticket costs 200 pesos but if you’re still a student, it only costs 180 pesos.
The ferry trip was a bit stressful because the one we rode was overloaded. It’s best to pack up tons and tons of patience for that ride.
Upon arriving in Dapa, we took a tricycle going to General Luna, where all the popular tourist spots are located. The ride is about 30 minutes. It’s quite long especially if you’re so tired and looking forward to crashing on your room to get a nap, but you’ll get to see breathtaking landscapes along the way.
Where To Stay
You can never run out of places to stay in Siargao Island specifically in the General Luna area. There are fancy schmancy resorts, chill places for budget backpackers, and cool spaces that are for rent in AirBnb. Check out this list by Senyor Lakwatsero to help you decide where to stay in the island.
For our group, we stayed at Patrick’s On The Beach in their shared dorm room which has around 8 beds. It cost us 500 pesos per person per night. It was okay for its price. Plus, we were the only ones occupying the room that time so we basically have it all to ourselves. We were supposed to stay in a different resort but it was fully booked. Almost all of the resorts and B&Bs that time were fully booked. Moral of the story? Book a room for at least two weeks in advance.
What To Do
Surf or Learn How To
Well since you’re already in the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines” why not ride the massive waves or at least learn how to? Cloud 9 is the surfing point in General Luna and there are pro surfers in the area who offer surfing lessons. You can also check with the place you’re staying in if they offer surfing lessons too. Most resorts have surfing packages for a reasonable price.
If surfing isn’t your thing, you can head out to the boardwalk area in Cloud 9 and watch surfers conquer crazy waves :)
Hop from one island to another
Siargao has several surrounding islets and islands that you can visit via boat. My friends and I visited three majestic islands: Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island. Most resorts have island hopping packages inclusive of meals. There are also boatmen on the marketplace of General Luna that you can charter.
For our group, we contacted Kuya Lito (contact him through this number: 09073103333). The tour cost the group 1,200 pesos excluding the docking fee in Daku Island which is 100 pesos. You can bring raw fish or meat with condiments and have the locals in Daku Island cook it for you for a fee.
We visited the three islands around 2PM and went back to our resort around quarter to six. You can actually camp in one of the islands if you like. Just put up a tent and sleep under the glow of the moon and the stars.
Visit Sohoton Cove and Bucas Grande
Sohoton Cove and Bucas Grande are located in Socorro which is one of Siargao’s neighboring island. If you want to make the most out of your vacation, you can visit Sohoton Cove and Bucas Grande via boat from the municipality of Dapa in Siargao. The boat rental usually costs around 3,000 to 3,500 depending on the size of the group.
Siargao is a laid back and chill island. There aren’t a lot of cars and big public utility vehicles such as jeepneys on the streets. The main mode of transportation are habal-habals and tricycles. So it’s a-okay and safe to be biking around the island specifically in the General Luna area. For 35 pesos per hour (or 150 pesos for a one-day rent), you can freely bike around.
My friends and I rented bikes for several hours. We biked from our resort to the boardwalk in Cloud 9 and back. I thought the ride was going to be easy but little did we know, it was 3 kilometers (or probably more) away and there’s a huge “hump” that we conquered haha! It’s been quite a while since the last time I rode a bike so the whole thing made my arms, legs, and butt sore lol. Nevertheless, it was a fun activity.
Swim in lagoons
Aside from the popular surfing spot and the pristine white beaches in the neighboring islands, Siargao also has this gorgeous emerald green lagoons called Magpupungko in Pilar. From General Luna, it’s about an hour away. I think there are resorts who offer organized trips going to the area with meals. But if you’re only a small group, you can charter a habal-habal. The rent usually costs 1000 pesos, but if you’re a skilled haggler (wink wink) they’ll offer the trip for as low as 700 pesos, excluding the entrance fee and the meals (which you can choose not to have there).
Make sure to visit Magpupungko when it’s still low tide. It’s dangerous to swim in the lagoons if the tide is high.
Whether it be lying on the white sand or try stand up board paddling or partying the night away at a local bar, there are endless ways to enjoy your stay in the island. Soak up the laid back and relaxing vibe of the place. You can never shake it off and you’ll miss it everyday just like I do now.
Fun fact: there’s sort-of a daily schedule for parties in General Luna. If one bar has a party, all the other bars close. If you know where the hip local bars are located then you can never run out of options to cap off your night!
I hope to see you around the island one day guys. I really hope I’d visit the place again later this year or you know, every year haha! :)
I'm Pearl, a digital nomad and wide-eyed wanderer from the Philippines. I like to take photographs and write lengthy blog posts. Long and deep conversations are one of my "things." I mostly blog about travel and anything else under the sun. More?