Siargao beneath the waves Edit

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Lorrianne Aryenz Valdecantos  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

Siargao beneath the waves

At first glance

Many places in the country claims to be the surfing Capital of the Philippines but Siargao exceeds them in many aspects. This little gem tucked away in Northern Mindanao can accommodate all kinds of people; from the thrill-seekers tourists willing to challenge the waves to those overworked souls that only need to reconnect with nature and get a nice tan.

The gist

Imagine waking up at the sight of the sun gently kissing your skin as the Pacific breeze combs through your hair, the serenity and tranquility seeps into your body as you look forward to a day of activities that will surely regenerate your soul. Whereas other places offer fun under the sun all summer long, Siargao offers something more. It offers answers to your questions.

The fine white sand envelops your feet as you stroll at the beach, the sea water lapping at your feet offers rest, to stay at your spot and breathe for the first time away from your deadlines, responsibilities and life.

The crashing sound of the water hitting rocks offers a challenge. To climb this cliff and jump into the crystal clear water and leave your worries behind on that ledge.

The empty shells along the shore offers an advice that it’s okay to come out and leave your empty shell behind this place and go back to your lives renewed and fresh.

In this place, where summer never ends there is only one question worth asking, how does one find the heart to leave?

Exploring the nooks and crannies of Siargao is an adventure on its own. Their long stretches of roads lined with palm trees often leads to brand new destinations, destinations you’ll be glad to get lost to.

Siargao has long claimed the crown for the surfing capital of the Philippines but soon enough, tourists began noticing the concealed beauty of the place, the softness of the island contrary to its wild and towering waves.

Today, we are going to shine light to that other side of Siargao

Cross these out on your bucket list:

Aloha to the sun

The Cloud 9 boardwalk where you can catch the sunrise and sunset became a staple for the tourists. There is nothing compared to witnessing the sun slowly breaking into the sky or watching it get swallowed by the horizon. You can drink your morning coffee here or strike a conversation with a fellow tourist or a local. It is located at Cloud 9 and people swear by this experience. Who knows, this may be the first time you don’t hit your snooze button just to catch the golden hour of the island.

Jungle but for Instagram

Have you ever dreamed of strolling down Hollywood in your convertible car, looking up the sky and watching the palm trees lined perfectly? Well, Siargao offers more than a strip of those palm trees, they offer a whole forest of it. The coconut palm forest accompanies those who travel along the long roads in Siargao. It wouldn’t hurt to stop by and take a few photos. Besides, as the saying goes, it you didn’t ‘gram it, did it really happen?

Thrice the charm

When it comes to island hopping, there are three most popular spots or the holy trinity of islands, if you will. These three spots are just minutes away from the mainland and rest assured that their beauties are worth the seasick. First stop, Guyam Island, a little island lines with palm trees, the perfect spot to get lost in thought. Second, Daku Island, the biggest of the three islands, it has huts around the island for those who packed lunch. Lastly, Naked Island, contrary to the first thought that pops in our heads, no it is not a naked beach. It earned its name because it is just a bare sand bar, perfect for those instagrammable shots showcasing the ocean.

Habal through town

This trip would not be complete if you didn’t rent a habal-habal or a motorcycle for the day to zoom through town and get to know the island better. You can either rent the habal for the day and get a little side trip through its history as your habal driver serves as your personal tour guide or if you just want to feel the breeze and get familiarized with the place, you can rent your own motorcycle. Nonetheless, it is worth a day of staying in the mainland to visit the marketplace, few historical sites like their church or simply talk to the people who run the island.

Below sea level

Here in Siargao, you can find some of the most pristine diving spots in the Philippines. This part of the Pacific Ocean is home to hundreds of marine life species only visible to those who are brave enough to scour the vast ocean. So suit up, mask on and dive down to the underwater cities made up of fabulous corals, swim with the fishes and who knows what kind of aquatic animal will you befriend.

Takes your breath twice

Not all God-given gifts are handed to us in a silver platter, most of the time we have to earn it, similar story to the island’s hidden cave pools where you have to duck and squeeze through narrow caves which will leave you breathless only to find out that the cave pools are worth it and it takes your breath away for the second time. This is two adventures fused into one. It only takes a few boat rides from the main island to Sohoton Cove in order to witness these beauties. Down at Sohoton Cove, there are plenty of cave pools or lagoons to explore. They have Titikan Lagoon, Crystal Cave, Hakugan Cave, and Makuku-ob Cave.

The 3-in-1

Mapupungko Rock Pools is the 3-in-1 instant coffee of Siargao. It hosts a peculiar coastline that transforms during low tides. Normally, this place makes an excellent surf spot, and then, as the tide retreat to the ocean, nature’s versions of infinity pools are unveiled. These little rock pools are the perfect spot the chill with your family whilst enjoying the ridiculously clear water. The third attraction is the huge boulder that gently sits in the distance, much like a Titan quietly enjoying the sea.

Beaches be many

Siargao is lined with immaculate beaches, really the problem is where to set up your beach towels. Bonus, long gone the days where overcrowded beaches is all we deserve every summer. Because there are literally so many to choose from, you might stumble upon some empty spots and don’t worry, all of the beaches here are postcard worthy so everyone wins. Another bonus, there are also hidden beaches so don’t be afraid to ask the locals about the island’s secret hiding spots.

After hours

There is a tremendous difference between the nightlife here from the usual practices in other beaches. For starters, if you just want to chill, drink alcohol and hang out with friends, you can totally do that here. You can also engage to an intense karaoke competition with the locals. The party ground also changes its location every night, like a traveling circus. You just have to ask around the island if they know where’s the party gonna be.

The OG

It would be pretty rude to not include in this list the crowning glory of Siargao. General Luna is the home of some of the most popular surfs spot in the island. The most popular is Cloud 9. This is also the place where the anticipated Cloud 9 surfing cup is held. The places vary in the difficulty of the waves. Some say Cloud 9 is the perfect spot because of its steady waves but sadly, waves here can get pretty high. But worry not, there are some places for newbies as well. All is assured that whatever your expertise is, you’ll find the perfect wave for you.

Seafood smorgasbord

It is no brainer that Siargao’s most prized possession is their abundant seafood. Their marine ecosystem thrive under the care of the locals there and even though their homes are now under the spotlight and more tourists are expected to flock this island, the people value nature to the fullest and in return, the ocean answers to the call of their stomachs.

You can imagine their wet markets bustling with vendors trying to sell their fresh catch, ready to be cooked. Apart from your normal fishes, Siargao also harvests a wide array of shellfish waiting to be consumed.

It is also common to allow the locals to cook for you, since they have their own signature dishes for you to try. Although no one can go wrong with grilled fish paired with steaming rice and fresh vegetables, the food here in Siargao will truly let you dive deeper in the ocean.

Visit me when

Great news for surfers, Siargao is teeming with unfaltering waves all year round but during the months of September to November is the most preferred time in shredding waves and also because it is the time for the annual Cloud 9 Surfing Cup Competition. These months also produces the biggest and most steady rolls of waves for those who really want adrenaline pumping action.

Though for the visitors that just prefers the scenic ambience of the place, the summertime is always the best time to cool down in the island’s Pacific waters.

Know your way like a local

Siargao hosts a local airport, the Sayak airport. In the past, this airport do not have direct flights from Manila and tourists have to catch a flight to Cebu first then transfer to flights to Siargao but thankfully, the booming tourism of the island made it possible for a direct flight from Manila. Just check with your commercial flights for bookings.

Weaving through the island, there are plenty of modes of transportation but the most recommended is the habal-habal. Locals who drives the habal-habal can act like your personal tour guide and who knows what can you pick up from the conversation with the residents there. Apart from habal-habal, they also have multi-cabs if you bear heavy luggages, you can also rent motorcycles for the day, bikes and good old fashion tricycles.

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