Siargao is said to be “Bali 30 years ago” but with these hipster resorts and artsy cafes that sprawled out like mushrooms these past years then maybe we can minus 10 years in that. This Mindanao island is still a surfer’s paradise. The waves are gigantic, aggressive and still the main reason for tourism. However, Siargao is no doubt starting to evolve into more than just a surfing destination.
It might not be as wild as Boracay and as beautiful paradise as Palawan but Siargao has its laid-back charm. If you’re sick and so pressured by the metro life, then an airfare ticket to this island is what you need. You don’t even have to worry if you’re alone because no one leaves Siargao without newfound friends.
Siargao Island is once a quiet town in the province of Surigao del Norte who is now making names in the Philippines tourism. It is known as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines”, hosting several local and international surfing competitions.
Siargao is a tear-drop shaped island in the Philippine Sea situated 800 kilometers southeast of Manila in the island of Mindanao. Siargao Island is greatly influenced by the winds and currents coming uninterrupted from the Pacific Ocean making it a good surfing spot. Siargao also has the largest mangrove reserve in Mindanao.
Since Siargao is in the Philippines, expect summer all year long. It is recommended to travel in December – February since they are the coolest months while March to May are the hottest. But if you are going for the waves, Siargao has the excellent surfing conditions during the southwest “habagat” monsoon, from August to November, when the prevailing wind is offshore.
Only Cebu Pacific (2x a day) and Skyjet (1x a day) offer a direct flight from Manila to Siargao while Philippine Airlines offers Clark – Siargao and Manila – Cebu – Siargao route. The travel time usually takes 1.5 hours.
Seat sale usually sells at 3,000 PHP (~60USD) all in. Regular airfare tickets starts at 6,000 PHP to 9,000 PHP. Here are some estimated fares from different airlines.
*All prices here are when booked 6 months prior the travel dates. Seat sales are usually based on their promotional posters.
You can travel to Siargao from its neighbor provinces – Cebu, Surigao and Butuan, by land or sea. Siargao flights are rarely on sale but these provinces are usually are. So some traveler tend to book flights to these provinces and travel via bus and roro. But I have to warn you that it can be long and tiring.
(all prices listed below are one-way fares)
Surigao to Siargao
Ride a roro from Surigao Port to Dapa Port. It will take 2.5 to 3 hours and the last roro would be at 12:3PM.
Montenegro Shipping: P230 – P280
MV Fortune Angel: P220 – P270
Cebu to Siargao
via Cokaliong Shipping Line: Cokaliong Shipping line offers motor vessels that travel overnight from Cebu to Surigao City for P825 starting price. Since Cebu flights are often on sale than Siargao ones, this is a cheaper way but time-consuming one.
Cebu Pacific – 2,000 PHP
Philippines Airlines – 5,000 PHP
Butuan to Siargao
Ride a van to Surigao City just outside the airport for 3 to 4 hours for 200 PHP. If you chose to book a flight to Butuan, be prepared to waste one day for all the land travels.
Siargao Island never knew the word “traffic” because there are only few cars in the island. The number one mode of transportation here is by motorbike.
The motorcycle is the main transportation in the island. There are a lot of motorbike rentals in General Luna that cost 500 PHP per day. But if you don’t know how to drive a motorbike then there are habal-habals, mostly outside hotels and restaurants, that you can pay to bring you to places. It costs at least 10 PHP per person for the short distances and can fit two people at the back.
And of course, for the people who can’t drive a motorbike (including me), you can rent a bicycle for as low as P150/day. The island is a safe place to bike into because of the almost none existent cars on the road. Plus, you don’t have to worry about pollution here.
If you are in a small group of 3-5 people, there are tricycles you can rent a tricycle for your tours. They are all across Dapa port and General Luna and you can just ask the local trike driver if they can tour you.
If you’re traveling with a big group, a multi-cab is suitable for you. There are only few multi-cabs in the island when I went but due to the booming tourism industry, there are already some locals who offer this mode of transportation. One of them is Kuya Loyding of Loyding Siargao Island Tour. It’s also a lot cheaper than renting a van or a car.
Ocean 101 Beach Resort is in between budget and luxury accommodation. We paid around P10,800 for a 3-night stay in a family room for 6 adults that can actually fit 10 persons. You can look at this resort in Agoda.
The family room doesn’t have a beach view though but it is a huge villa-like that can seriously fit more than 10 people. There’s 4 single beds and 1 queen-sized bed around the corners of the villa and a sala in the middle. The bathroom is aesthetically made of stoned walls and floor which is good especially from all the sands you got from the beach. The room is gorgeous for the 4,000 PHP/night rate. The resort is also gorgeous with its open area overlooking Pacific Ocean and a large villa by the ocean.
Location is also a plus! It is just 5 minutes walk to Cloud 9 Boardwalk and some famous cafes like Cafe Loka and Shaka. There’s also a lot of activities offered like surfing with instructor and island tours.
General Luna is the best place to stay in Siargao. It is where most of the hotels and restaurants are.
Cloud 9 Boardwalk
The iconic landmark of Siargao. The surfing haven of the island where you can rent surfboards (P300/hr) or surfing instructors (P500/hr).
Entrance fee: FREE
Not a nude beach!! It’s a bare tiny island with nothing even a single coconut tree. Prepare your sunblocks, ladies.
Island Hopping Tour (included): 1500 PHP
This one is on the other side of the island (2hrs+ travel time from GL) but still worth going to. This lagoon is gorgeous and famous for its diving board.
Entrance Fee: 100PHP + Boat Fee: 1600 PHP (max of 6 pax)
Taktak Falls is the only waterfall in the island and located on the northern tip of the island.
Entrance fee: 25 PHP
Magpupungko Pool Rocks
45 minutes away from General Luna lies the natural pool of Magpupungko. It is advised to visit it in the morning during low tide.
Entrance fee: 50 PHP
This biggest island near Siargao where you can rent nipa huts and swim to its fine sand beach.
Island Hopping Tour (included): 1500 PHP
Another gorgeous small island full of coconut trees and surrounded by rock formations.
Island Hopping Tour (included): 1500 PHP
It is said to be a natural sinkhole in the island and a beautiful cave to explore
Entrance fee: 70 PHP + Guide fee
Bucas Grande is 3 hours boat ride away from Siargao Island. There’s various adventurous to do here like swimming in a luminous cave, cave spelunking, cliff diving and touching stingless jellyfish!
Boat Ride: 4,000 PHP | Entrance Fee: 350 PHP
You can read my adventure here:
SIARGAO: THE 3 HIDDEN GEMS OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS AND SOHOTON CAVE
Price Range: P200-P400
Recommendation: Their halo halo and crispy pata
Harana Surf Restaurant is near Cloud 9 and for me is the best in the area. The place is a hands down. I’m so inlove with those lamp lightings and their soft couches. I ordered their tuna poke bowl which is good but too spicy for me. I end up munching the crispy pata instead. The highlight of my dinner is their halohalo in a coconut (P300) which is seriously the best I tasted ever. They have a bar too but the cocktails are little expensive. Bonus points here are their very cute dogs!!!
Price Range: P80-P300
Recommendation: egg and bacon toast
Cafe Loka is just in front of Cloud 9 Boardwalk. It is a big colorful nipa hut that is owned by a lady foreigner with her two cute shih tzu dogs. I find their food pricey. Their breakfast meal are P200+ and their fruit shakes starts at P100. There is nothing special on their food anyway. I think you pay for the beach view though. It is beachfront and they have hammocks outside too!
Other food places in Siargao
Price Range: P250-P400
Recommendation: any of their pizza
Kermit Siargao is our second dinner place. This is a famous restaurant in General Luna that all habal habals know it. Pizza is their specialty so we decided to order one and it didn’t disappoint especially for its P250 price. You can choose to make your own by choosing the toppings and sauce but it will be pricier. Their fruit shakes are kinda expensive ranging from P150 to P180. I decided to order their wine instead because it’s just of the same price and I’m a wine laydeeeeh.
Price Range: P100-P250
Recommendation: Bom Dia and banana bread
Shaka Siargao is also located in the Cloud 9 area. We decided to eat breakfast since a shaka bowl looks good in the morning. I ordered their best seller Bom Dia and the fruit lover me wants to take this whole place back with me in Manila. The place is small but full of wonderful photos of Siargao. The staff are extra friendly and chatty. Do order their banana bread because it is good. Shaka Siargao is not available on dinners.
Island Hopping Food for 1500 PHP!!
RumBar – every Monday night and Reggae party every Wednesday night
Jungle Disco (Tattoo by the locals) – every Tuesday and Friday night (11PM)
Buddha’s Surf Acoustic Night – every Thursday night
Viento Del Mar – every Friday night
Harana Espresso Martini party – every Saturday at 4PM
Bravo After Sundays Party – every Sunday at 4PM
Kermit Happy Hour – 2-for-1 cocktails everyday at 5PM – 7PM
If you're traveling solo, no worries because no one leaves Siargao with no friends.
Motorcycles are the best and cheapest transportation vehicle in the island. You can even learn to ride one!
The foods are kinda pricey (Manila levels) but they’re good. If you’re in the budget, there’s always Mama’s Grill.
The Pacific Ocean waves are wild so if you’re not a surfer, hire an instructor, please. (P500)
The seabed is kinda rocky so expect to have some small scratches or cut in your feet when you fell down the surfboard.
The island has so many stray dogs. They’re harmless so don’t be scared.
There’s a party almost every night in different bar but it is said that the best is the local party every Friday night in Tattoo.
All of our activities are made possible by Kuya Loyding. You can contact him here 09056054600. He has a trike and his own boat and one of the kindest tour guide I knew.