Siargao: The Stunning Surf Capital Of The Philippines
Going to the Philippines and love to surf? Visit Siargao!
After a week of partying with travellers in Boracay, my liver was ready to call it quits. If I didn’t leave my body would have hated me. In Boracay, I met some lovely English girls who mentioned they were just in Siargao. Even though it was wasn’t the surf season, they said people were surfing. And there were other things to do on the island even if you didn’t surf.
Some travellers I met in Boracay were going to Malapascua to dive and invited me along. I’m not a diver, so I made the executive decision to go to Siargao and try to surf.
Photos From My Visit To Siargao:
Walking to Cloud 9
Getting To Siargao From Boracay
From Boracay, I rode in a van to Kalibo airport. From Kalibo, I flew on Cebu Pacific to Cebu City. My flights didn’t connect so I spent a night in Cebu City.
While I was in Cebu, I went to one of the mega malls to refresh a few pieces in my round the world trip wardrobe (what little clothes I had were starting to look haggard), watch a movie in the theatre (Avengers!), and caught up on some much-needed sleep. The next morning I took a taxi to the airport and then I flew to Siargao.
Once I landed in Siargao, I hired a taxi to take me to General Luna where the famous Cloud 9 surf break is.
The famous Cloud 9 surf tower
I didn’t know what to expect in General Luna but I figured it couldn’t be awful….I was going to a small island where there was possibly surf. How bad could it be? It is an island so I figured there would be a beach.
When I arrived, I fell in love immediately. I regret having pre-purchased a ticket back to Bali. If I hadn’t, I probably would have stayed in Siargao for a very long time.
If you surf, this is the best place to surf in the Philippines. The surf season is usually from September to March. I went in May and I had a lot of fun on small 3-5 foot waves. I’m not an expert so this was ideal for me.
I had just been to Bali for a few months surfing which can be either very busy or too advanced for my surf skills. Siargao’s waves in May were nice and slow. The water temperature was also warmer than the air. There aren’t any sand breaks, just reef, so you’ll need some surf booties to protect your feet. Avoid going barefoot on coral, my exboyfriend got a flesh-eating disease from doing that (note: he’s still alive but he almost died).
The locals are so friendly and fun. The beer and everything else is cheap. I paid roughly $25 US for my own room with a fan (since I was there, many places have opened up so there are much more options from budget to very high-end).
Riding a tube at Cloud 9
The best part about Siargao is that it’s quiet (I heard it’s busy now from friends and my brother who have been in the last year). It was not very developed in 2012, so the vibe was very chill.
At the time the nearest ATM is about an hour away from General Luna in Dapa. Luckily I was able to charge everything to my bill at my guest house, Ocean 101.
Ocean 101 was not fancy at all but it was perfect for what I needed back then. If I went back I would probably stay at the 101 because the owners and the staff were amazing. Back then Air Bnb wasn’t even in the Philippines but now there are listings for Siargao!
Use this link to get up to $40 off your first stay with Air Bnb
Little local grom
When I was leaving Siargao, I was not able to get a flight out. I took a ferry from the port of Dapa over to Surigao, the next island over. From the airport in Surigao, I flew back to Manila to get on my flight back to Bali.
It was a long and arduous experience which I don’t recommend to anyone. In order to take the ferry, I had to wake up at 3:30 and get my local friend take me on her motorbike to Dapa. In Dapa, we had to beg my way onto the sold-out ferry (not safe).
Once I got to Surigao, I took a tricycle from the port to the airport. It was a long time before my flight so I found a restaurant nearby and took a nap in the patio area. Then I finally caught my flight to Manila.
I’ll say the hashtag is true! #itsmorefuninthePhilippines ;)
Getting to and from Siargao is a serious journey. At the time it was so frustrating but looking back now I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. I would, in fact, move there so I can surf in warm water with friendly locals every day of my life.
I WANT TO GO BACK SO BADDDDDD!
A few more photos and a video from Siargao:
Walking towards the water
Here’s a video I shot with my iPhone from the surf tower:
- Since Siargao tourism has flourished since I was there last, there are now daily direct flights now from Manila.
- If you are flying from other destinations in the Philippines like Boracay, you will likely have a layover in Cebu.
- I recommend flying over taking a ferry to/from Surigao or Cebu.
- If you prefer to have cash on you, get money in a city called Dapa or have some before you arrive on Siargao. There weren’t any ATMs in General Luna (2012) and doing a bit of research online and asking friends and family, the ATM is not reliable and does not work with all foreign cards.
- When I visited Siargao in 2012, I stayed in a guesthouse called Ocean 101. The owners and staff were lovely!! My accommodations were a simple private room with a fan and back then I paid about $25US /night.
- I hired a surf guide (who was a sponsored Billabong rider for the Philippines) through my accommodations for the first few days to go out with me. When I’m unfamiliar with the surf, I like to be with someone who knows the water. I don’t remember the price I paid but I’m glad I had some company who had more experience.
- Not a surfer? Check out these tours with Viator for Island hopping by click here.
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