Siargao : Living The Ultimate Island Life
The Philippines are the ultimate tropical destination in Southeast Asia. Hundreds of big and small paradisiac islands, with crystal clear blue waters that will make you want to stay forever and make this such a wonderful country, but there are few that remain untouched, wild and free, just like Siargao.
This green lust island is the perfect place to get your tropical mood on, with palm trees leading the way to the small villages, secluded white sand beaches, mainly along the east coast, little shops and cafes to fall in love with and the most beautiful scenic roads we ever seen.
If you plan to go to the Philippines, put Siargao up first on your list, so here is your Siargao travel inspiration guide, to get you ready for one of the most epic adventures of your life.
Getting to the island
Although most of the islands in the Philippines are reachable by boat, Siargao is not that easily accessible by sea, so the best way to get into the island is to catch a flight from many other bigger islands like Manila or Cebu. We took a direct flight from Manila and it took us only 1h to reach the island. Domestic flights within the Philippines are usually reasonable priced and are the quickest way to get around some of the islands. A flight from Manila will cost you something like 85€/96$, and if you buy in advance – and not 3 days before like we did – you can get cheaper fares. Here are your options:
Flight from Manila
Flight from Cebu
Ferry from Surigao
Transportation around the island
The main mean of transportation are the tricycles, you can find one pretty much everywhere. A tricycle is a combination of a small mopped with a little structure attached, made to carry more passengers and luggage. The ride fares will really depend on your itinerary so make sure you always agree a price before you leave – and don’t forget to bargain, drop the price at least 50% so you have room to negotiate a cheaper fare.
If you want to have the freedom to explore the island, which you should, we advise you to rent a motorcycle during your stay. Siargao is small, so you can make a loop around the island in 2 hours, so we think this is the best way to reach to your destinations, while having the most scenic views along the way. You can rent a motorbike at the airport, Pacifico Beach or General Luna from around 300 – 500 PHP per day (5-8 € / 5.5-9$).
Where to stay
As it is a small island and yet with its raw Filipino essence, staying in one of the tourist areas is advisable, so you can have the restaurants, shops and hotels near you. General Luna is the big touristic center on the island and where everything happens! Loads of accommodations near the beach, beautiful cafés and restaurants with delicious healthy options and that surfer vibe all around, make General Luna the favorite amongst travelers. However, it can be a little bit overcrowded, especially during high season.
To run away from all that travelers hustle, we decided to stay in the upper northern part of the island: Pacifico beach. This is our top choice if you like to chill and get that real tropical feeling, while having some of the sickest waves to surf, yeeewww!
We stayed in Bamboo Garden Resort, a small gathering of little cabins and huts by the beach. The accommodation is pretty simple, covers all basic necessities and has a really nice restaurant on site. Our recommendations are:
Awesome things to do around
We choose this one as the most beautiful beach in Siargao. Just a few minutes’ drive from Pacifico, in the small village of Alegria, you will find a white sand beach paradise. Surrounded by palm trees and only with a few locals hanging around, you will have this paradise all for yourself to play around the most crystal-clear water we’ve seen. This is the perfect spot to sunbathe and chill for a while.
The surfer’s paradise, Pacifico beach offers one of the coolest spots to surf. You don’t even need to be a professional surfer, as the waves are fairly accessible to beginners. You can rent a surf board on site and venture into the ocean. This is also a nice place to get some sunny vibes, while enjoying a cool San Miguel by the sand, just admiring the beautiful ocean in front.
Santa Monica Pier for sunset
Right after our chilled afternoon at Alegria Beach, we drove our scooter until we reached the small fishing village of Santa Monica. As soon as we arrived, literally everyone came to welcome us, as we were probably one of the only tourists coming into their village. We talked to the local people, played around with more than 30 children and soaking up all the simplicity of the Filipino way of life. The bonus: a warm toned sunset, with all the boats on the horizon. As we were so caught up in the village experience and playing around with the kids, we decided to leave our cameras in the bag and just enjoy the pure side of living.
The bended palm tree in Maasin Bridge
This place became super famous after an Instagram post, that you have probably come across at some point, with a bended palm tree in the middle of a lake view. We went there, expecting to just enjoy the serenity of that place, but apparently they now transformed it into a tourist attraction, so they charge you for the river experience, where you can rent kayaks, floating bamboo stations and swing on the palm tree. We were a bit disappointed about this so we ended up not enjoying the experience, but we still think it is a beautiful sight and a nice thing to check out while in Siargao.
Cloud 9 sunset vibes in General Luna
The most iconic spot in the surfer town of General Luna, Cloud 9 offers one of the most beautiful sunset vibes on the island. It is a nice place to chill after a long day and you can always grab the best smoothie bowl at Shaka Café and enjoy the tropical way of life, while watching all the surfers in the ocean.
Magpupungko natural swimming pools and beach
Our ultimate favorite attraction and where we had so much fun. Magpupungko are natural tidal swimming pools, and by tidal we mean that they are only accessible and seen during the low tide, so make sure you check the tidal chart before you go (you can check it here ). We advise you to arrive at least 1 hour before the low tide peak, so you give yourself time to fully enjoy the experience, while the pool is fully exposed. Beautiful rock formations with prestige crystal blue waters, will offer you the best spot to swim around and cliff jump as well. People tend to spend the whole day here, till the high tide, but we took advantage of the sunny vibe on that day to walk around the beach on site. Magpupungko beach is an amazing palm tree stretch of sand, where you can enjoy the rest of the day, drinking a fresh coconut or a Filipino tradition meal from one of the many stalls around.
Entrance fee: 50 PHP per person + 20 PHP motorbike parking (we advise you to park your motorbike as soon as you get on the road to the pools, so you skip the parking fee)
If you are a big dan of waterfalls, Taktak falls are the place worth to spend your day. The actual waterfall is not the wildest you will see but is a cool and fun spot to hang around and swim. You have a natural swimming pool on site, where you can swim, float or even jump. Only locals come to chill here so it is not that overcrowded, making it one of those gems around Siargao.
Entrance fee: 25PHP per person