Disclaimer: All views expressed on this blog are my own based on my own experiences and do not represent of any entity with which I have been, are now or will be affiliated.

*Don’t go on any trip unvaccinated. If you go unvaccinated, protect yourself and isolate 14 days once done with the trip so you can protect the ones around you.

If youโ€™re having a bad day, catch a wave. ” Frosty Hesson

July 31, 2021
Philippines

I have been wanting to see Siargao and find out for myself why so many travelers are falling in love with the island. I am going to share my experience in visiting this place. It was a well-deserved break and love every moment of it.

Philippines is divided in 3 main groups – Luzon, the major island to the north where I am currently residing; Visayas, a cluster of islands in the middle of the archipelago where my fave island Boracay is at and Mindanao, the southernmost island group where Siargao is.

Siargao, a teardrop-shaped small island located at the northeastern coast of Mindanao. It is also known as the surfing capital of the Philippines. It was also included in Time’s The World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2021. An eco-friendly island covered in palm trees, swimming dogs, white sand beaches, lagoons, picturesque landscapes, blue-green water very perfect for snorkeling and diving, friendly community, sexy tanned abs and the waves which make it so unique you just have to catch them all. The island also caters to delicious local and international cuisines. Siargao is so much more than just a beautiful island getaway.

With the threat of Covid-19 pandemic, the Local Government Unit (LGU) and Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) announced a set of guidelines and tourist requirements to follow before you fully enjoy your stay at Siargao.

Siargao is open to residents and domestic tourists. Requirements include a valid ID, a confirmed booking in an accommodation duly accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for at least 2 nights, and a negative result of RT-PCR Test or COVID-19 Saliva Test taken within 48 hours from arrival. All travel requirements must be emailed prior to departure to the Provincial Tourism Office via sdntourism@gmail.com. Make sure to have their confirmation because the airline checks it. You also have to download TrazeApp and Surigao del Norte e-Health Pass, you will need this once you are in Siargao.

RT-PCR test – we had this at Philippine Airport Diagnostics Laboratory. This is the cheapest we could see and we were also in a rush. It is located in Pasay area. It costs Php 2,500-00 for my friends 24 hours to get the result (if you booked your flight in Cebu Pacific). The lab is partnered with Cebu Pacific Airlines that is why they got a discount for flying in the airlines and mine costs Php 2,900 for 48 hours to get the result (because I booked Philippine Airlines flight haha). You don’t have to make advance booking in PADLAB which I like better, you can just drive-thru or walk-in and also better to book Cebu Pacific too.

I had a mistake in booking Red Cross (another Department of Health accredited laboratory) because I thought Saliva test only takes 4 hours to get the result, don’t be like me I did not do my research and you have to make a paid reservation at Red Cross so it’s non-refundable unless for valid reasons eg: double booking.

FLIGHT

I booked my flight in Philippine Airlines going to Manila-Cebu-Siargao on July 20-26. The price of my ticket was Php6, 370-00. You can also book a direct flight whatever works for you will be better. I chose connecting flight because I wanted to see Cebu again and it was way cheaper.

ACCOMMODATION

We booked our accommodation at Jonas and Twins Resort located in Catangnan, General Luna Surigao del Norte. Jonas and Twins Resort was named after the owner’s son Jonas and his twin daughters. I just heard him explaining to guests haha. It is pocket-friendly resort which I like. Room rate was Php3,000/night. We stayed for 7 days and 6 nights. I paid Php5,913.60 because I shared the room with 2 more friends. We stayed in a Family Garden Villa which was clean, spacious and very relaxing. I like the toilet/bathroom as well with water heater. It was not bad. I just did not like that they did not have airport transfer. I suggest you ask the driver of the van that would bring you to your accommodation if they cater pick up and airport transfer that wouldn’t cost so much. It only cost me Php 300-00.

CURFEW

Curfew in Siargao is at 11pm-4am.

BUDGET

I spent Php 36,000 for 7days 6nights trip inclusive of all. I honestly spent so much because I have to just check up all the places, food spots and we surfed a lot. I honestly can try to lower this down to Php10,000 let’s see on my next trip here.

Food

Please visit this link for flavors of Siargao. Restaurants are open and allow dine in and take out.

GETTING AROUND

Renting a motorcycle for Php100/day. Most accommodations cater to motorcycle rentals. If you can’t drive, you can always ride a tricycle (auto rickshaw and it’s common public transportation in Siargao and anywhere in the Philippines). Tricycle in Siargao can fit 6 people so it’s quite huge.

CURRENCY

Philippine peso. There are a lot of ATMs in the area so if you ran out of cash, they are easily accessible.

LANGUAGE

Filipino and Filipino dialects (Surigaonon, Cebuano, Boholano) and English.

DAY 1 – July 20 (rainy Tuesday)

My flight from Manila-Cebu is at 10:40am. I was so excited to be traveling locally again and of course to drink alcohol and be with my friends. I love traveling solo but there was so much better when you travel with family, friends, significant other or just a fling haha! The flight from Manila to Cebu is only an hour. Cebu is part of Visayas. I arrived at 12:00pm and had to devour some lechon(roasted pig) there. I love Cebu’s lechon!!!

I only needed to stay in Cebu for 2 hours and going to Cebu from Siargao only takes an hour. I flew Cebu at 2:00pm and I arrived in Siargao at 3:10pm. Once in Siargao, make sure to follow proper safety protocols: wear face masks and shield, observe proper social distancing. There is no quarantine required in Siargao. You must present all the required travel documents upon arrival at Sayak Airport (Siargao) or Surigao Airport and always carry a printed or digital copy of your e-HEALTH Pass with QR Code – this is for contact tracing purposes only. You also have to pay environmental fees on the way out of the Siargao airport worth 25 Php.

I have to take a van ride for 30 minutes to get to Jonas and Twins Resort which costs me Php 300-00.

Upon arrival at Jonas and Twins Resort, I met with friends (Tin and Glena new friend) and we decided to visit Cloud 9 first. Cloud 9 is the surfing capital of the Philippines. International surf competitions are also often held in Cloud 9, as it is ranked as having one of the top ten waves worldwide. After visiting Cloud 9, we head off to Kermit Siargao to have some Italian dishes.

DAY 2 – July 21

We booked our tour at WOW Siargao Island Travel & Tours. Our 1st day is the land tour comprises of the following: Sugba Lagoon, Magpupungko Rock Pool, Coconut Road “Burgos”, Pacific Beach, Maasin Enchanted River, Mountain View Deck and Secret Beach.

This tour was the most tiring of the trip! I’d probably recommend to separate this into 2 days. We started the tour at 8am and ended at 6pm. We ate dinner at Harana.

The cost of the tour is Php 1,799 per pax for joiner (not a private tour) + 250 for kayaking + 50 Php for table in the lagoon where we put our things = Php 2,099-00

Mountain View Deck

Siargao is covered with palm trees. At first, I thought was this it? I see a lot of effing palm trees when I just get out of our balcony. haha! Nevertheless, I actually like the view, I wish they cater more food made of coconut milk.

Magpupungko Rock Pool

A natural rock pool, best visited during low tide. We swam and enjoyed the pool. I like the food I ate here as well one of Siargao’s local food, Salvaro. Salvaro is a cassava crisps made from grated cassava, fried and drizzled with caramel on top! Yummy on my tummy!

Coconut Road “Burgos”

This is a simple road yet blanketed with scenic coconut trees. I actually like this place.

Pacifico Beach

Pacifico as they say has a world-class surf breaks. They told me the waves can get really nasty here and every surfer wants to test their skills here. We also ate at Wantaw, a Japanese restaurants. Unfortunately, I only have photos of my refreshing coconut drink and tested my balance in a rope haha. I couldn’t make it.

Sugba Lagoon

Probably my most favorite of the trip. It is well known for pristine waters, surrounded by forest of mangrove trees. I love this so much! It is like a paradise. I tried cliff diving, kayaking and swimming. I should have tried paddle boarding too but I was so tired jumping haha.

Maasin Enchanted River

It can be seen from the main highway from the bridge over the river. The river is quite enchanting they say but it did not had the affect on me. There was a bent coconut tree where you swing, jump and swim by the river but they have forbidden doing it now. The river was quite clear I was impressed. The people were only offering bamboo rafting which we did not do so we just had a photoshoot and bought Tshirt souvenir.

Secret Beach

They call it Secret because it is kind of tucked away in one of the picturesque landscapes in Siargao. I don’t have any photos because we were so tired. I just wanted to watch the sunset and immerse myself in the waters.

Day 3 July 22

We have also booked our trip at WOW Siargao Island Travel & Tours. Our tour comprised of Naked Island, Daku Island, Guyam. They call this Tri-Island tour. It costs Php 1299-00.

Naked Island

The beach has white sand and clear waters. Not my fave beach but I still swam here. They call the island naked because of it’s “nakedness”; thereโ€™s no shade or almost anything on the island.

Daku Island

Clear waters and picturesque landscape, this is the second island we hopped onto. I liked this better than the Naked Island just because we can rest and were surrounded by shades of coconuts. This is where we had a boodle fight (this is in Filipino context, military practice of eating a meal). The food is placed on top of a long banana leaf put it in a table and in the true military practice, diners do not sit in chairs but instead stand shoulder to shoulder in a line on both sides of the table, eating with bare hands. The food was served with a lot of seafoods, grilled pork, eggplants, salted eggs and fruits some of them I haven’t eaten in my existence so I ate them anyway. This boodle fight fucked my gut after.

I love the lemonade here as well. So refreshing! It costs 100php.

Guyam Island

A white beach sand as well, clear waters and I swam as well. Although it was already a bit windy. I actually loved the mango creamy milkshake here. One of the best I ever tasted in Siargao! ๐Ÿ™‚ So creamy and flavorful! ๐Ÿ™‚

This island hopping was not tiring at all. I actually enjoyed it and of course the people I met. I enjoyed Siargao’s craft beer after and we went to dinner at White Banana Beach Club. More photos and reviews in my food blog soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 4 – July 23

This was a free to do whatever we wanted so of course I chose food. I was having gut problems here now because of what I ate yesterday. We went cafe hopping to try coffees, drinks, and food. I was stuffed! haha I also tried their alcohol.

Day 5 – July 24

This was my friend’s birthday Christine so we surfed at Tuason point. She surfed. I was wasted because of gut issues. After couple of waves I had to rest. I was so dizzy after suffering traveler’s diarrhea goddamit!

Anyway, I love Siargao’s sunrise. It was so amazing, waking up to waves, breeze of the ocean and sunrise – this was actually the reason why so many people love the place.

Surfing lesson costs Php 1,000-00 for 2 hours per pax

After surfing, we rested a bit and head on to the last tour which was Corregidor Island and Mam-On Island. We booked the tour with kuya Roswell, the surf instructor for Php5,000-00 for 3 pax private tour.

Mam-On Island

I actually love this island as we did snorkeling here. It was actually stunning islet with pristine waters where you can see rich corals and fishes. I truly enjoyed snorkeling here without life vest because life vest is boring haha! I would want to learn how to dive soon because I can only float.

Corregidor Island

Going here was a bit rough because it’s already windy by boat but we still managed to go and eat our lunch here. I loved the grilled milkfish we had! So delicious. My friends tried surfing in the island but I wanted to hike.

Corregidor has a picturesque landscape that I did not even want to miss. I saw how beautiful Siargao in an instant and saw the grass trails and rolling hills dotted with towering palm trees. I actually miss hiking and the short hike reminded me of how lovely landscapes are and yes, the hills are alive! :p The hike cost Php 350 for the guide and Php60 for the water and Php 60 entrance fee = Php 470-00

TIN’s Birthday – July 24, 2021 Season 28 Episode 1

We celebrated Tin’s birthday at L’Osteria Siargao. Yay! Happy 28th Birthday to my gorgeous friend! As she say, Season 28 Episode 1 of her life. Tin actually planned mostly of the trip and she took great photos of me so I wouldn’t know what would happen without her in this trip and I am glad to be part of her birthday. I was always in fact present on her birthday since we have met! This was her trip and so all the boys to the yard were for her! haha.

I got to know her during a Ted Talk Event in circa 2019 held in Singapore. Friendships really began in small conversations and we talked there and that was the beginning of our friendship. Thanks to Maro who’s also our mutual friend who introduced us together. She is a very sweet girl, loving, caring and very feminine. I always want to be around her. It makes me more feminine. We love hanging out after that from bars to brunches to traveling and to beach clean ups! haha I felt 23 again. I love that feeling. It didn’t even cross my mind that I was 6 years older than her. haha.

So Christine Reyes AKA Tin, I really hope you would find the peace and love that you deserve. I would like to witness it transpired. You have a beautiful heart and try not to think too much. You are still young and there are so much more in this life. I will always choose you and be here for you even if I was very wasted on your birthday. haha! Love you!


Day 6 – July 25

Surfing day again. Woohoo!

I wouldn’t miss surfing again and I needed to redeem myself in the board and waters. So, we woke up at 4am and watched the sunrise. This time we surfed at Cloud 9 Siargao Quiksilver.

It is the best spot for beginners to practice they say. The waves were more forgiving as it approaches the shore. The waves were also manageable so I learned how to balance on the board and get the timing right on when to get up as the waves begin and of course with the help of my instructor haha. I was riding the waves for 30 seconds or more sometimes! Woohoo!! The challenging actually in surfing for me right now was paddling back to the waves. It has a constant current and it seems like you are paddling on a water treadmill.

Day 7 – July 26

Our last day in Siargao. I will miss this beautiful island and people. I will probably come back and bring more friends and my family here so that they could witness the charm of Siargao. If I can bring my chowpuppy Joey here, I would and we could surf together. I have learned a lot of Siargaonons (how they call the people of Siargao). I actually plan to go to the South of Surigao just to see the beauty of the South when I am already vaccinated.

I am still on my 6th day quarantine upon publishing this blog because I went on a trip unvaccinated. I need to quarantine myself for other’s protection. Don’t be like me, do vaccination! Anyway, I will be out soon in my room and be with my Joey who has been waiting for me since I arrived by the window!

Anyway, come visit Siargao and you might find me in the waves! ๐Ÿ™‚

Love,

Maria, sometimes Niskie