asia · philippines · travel

Wow, Siargao!

A lot of magical things happen when you play it by ear. One moment, we were thinking what movies to marathon for the long weekend. Four hours later, we’ve just booked tickets for a far-off island gem in the south of the Philippines.

Siargao’s not exactly the easiest island to go to. Leave it to Filipinos to be blessed with beaches at their disposal, but still need to hop on a plane, van, boat, tricycle, to get to the best ones. But as with any far-flung beach, it was worth all the cartwheels through logistics.


We had to burn a day to stay in Surigao City, but we finally hauled our butts off to Bravo Beach Resort. Then we thought it would be a brilliant idea to have the ‘Now what?’ conversation. We know we wanted to island-hop.

The idyllic Naked Island

Through our resort’s contacts, we were able to arrange to have a boat cater to our whims. The island-hopping tour takes you mainly to three islands, and it is up to you to decide how long you want to stay in each one. The first is Naked Island — no nude bathers here, but just a pearly-white sandbar, with a few lone resident benches to make for a 360-turquoise sea view.

A feast with a view at Dako Island

Dako Island is the next destination, the largest of the three, wherein you would also have your oh-so-scrumptious lunch, with fresh fish, mangos and tomatoes that we bought from Siargao before setting off. The cooks here did wonders with our fare — all for a whopping Php 200! It’s hard to top a gourmet feast, all while you laze away in a breezy hut with a splendid view of the waves.

Get away from it all at Guyam Island.

We docked last at Guyam Island, where we spent most of the time sprawling on the shore and splashing in the crystal-clear water. The bountiful shade from trees in Guyam were a welcome refuge from the heat. Sooner than we knew it, sunset (and higher tides) has crawled upon our day of languidly sloshing through Siargao’s waters and islands, and we headed back.

We had to first swing by Siargao’s crown jewel, Cloud 9, of course. We weren’t ready to ride the waves and battle its  famed barrels yet, but we were quite happy just to watch insane people do what they do best.

Serenity at Magpupungko Beach and Rock Pools

On the next day, we hailed a motorbike and caught a ride to Magpupungko Beach, to see its much raved-about rock pools. The hype is all well-earned: in a word, they were MAGNIFICENT. At low tide, small land surfaces emerge, filling the deep crevices between the gargantuan rocks with crystal-clear seawater and turning them into the one of the most breathtaking natural pools you’ll ever find. You can laze away and wade in the safety of the pools, all while hearing the chaotic crashing of the colossal waves against the rocks. We went the nearest to the edge of where the rocks met the waves (well, the closest that we could without wimping out), and the mini-tsunami that we could see coming was enough to have our hearts jump to our throats, before the water safely hurled against the rock barrier and curled away. That being said, make sure to check for the low tide forecast before you come, as swimming is not allowed in the pools during high tide, lest the aforementioned mini-tsunamis carry you away.

Another gem that we’ve uncovered in Magpupungko Beach was the spicy adobo served by a small stall near the beach’s entrance. Boy, was it hot, but it was a nice twist to an otherwise very-familiar dish.

On Sunday, we went all-out lazy and simply loitered around the common area in our resort. To our delight, they had a sungka board lying around for guests to play with. Sungka used to be one of our favorite games as kids, and I could always remember my ass being handed over to me by my sister each time we played it. Years later, as grownups, nothing has changed — she was still as feisty as ever.

I went all this way to have my ass kicked in sungka, once again.
Adorable little critter I found lazing away like us in the resort’s common area. Beach hair, don’t care!

On our last day at Siargao, we woke up early for one last quick look at Cloud 9 before parting. We’ll probably be no better in surfing when we come back to Siargao, but then again, we might. Who knows what magic is in store next? Just like this trip began, just go.


The Rundown:

  • Double Room at Bravo Beach Resort – Php 2500 per night + Php 500 taxes (total of Php 5500 or ~USD 118 for 3D2N)
  • Beer at Bravo Beach Resort – Php 55
  • Island Hopping – Php 1500 for the boat rental
  • Docking Fee at Dako Island – Php 100
  • Fresh fish at the market – Php 130 (more than enough for 2!
  • Tomatoes, mangoes and red egg – Php 81
  • Big bottle of water – Php 35
  • Habal-habal ride to Cloud 9 – Php 20
  • Habal-habal ride to Magpupungko Beach – Php 1,000
  • Entrance free at Magpupungko Beach – Php 50

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