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 ten 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 coldest months while March to May is the hottest. But if you are going for the waves, Siargao has 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 start at 6,000 PHP to 9,000 PHP. Here are some estimated fares from different airlines.
*All prices here are when booked six months before the travel dates. Seat sales are usually based on 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 a few cars. The number one mode of transportation here is by motorbike.
The motorcycle is the main transportation on 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, there are habal-habals, mostly outside hotels and restaurants, that you can pay to take you to places. It costs at least 10 PHP per person for the short distances and can fit two people at the back.
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 ask the local trike driver if they can tour you.
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’re traveling with a big group, a multi-cab is suitable for you. There were only a few multi-cabs on 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 six adults that can fit ten persons. You can look at this resort in Agoda.
The family room doesn’t have a beach view, but it is a considerable villa-like that can seriously fit more than ten people. There are four single beds and one 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 preferable, 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 beautiful with its open area overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a large villa by the ocean.
Its location is also a plus for it is just a 5-minute walk to Cloud 9 Boardwalk and some famous cafes like Cafe Loka and Shaka. They also offer a lot of activities like surfing with the 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 tiny bare 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 on the island and is located on the northern tip of the island.
Entrance fee: 25 PHP
Magpupungko Pool Rocks
Forty-five 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
It is the 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 are various adventures 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. I’m so in love 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 halo-halo in a coconut (P300) which is seriously the best I tasted ever. They have a bar too, but the cocktails are a little expensive. Bonus points here are their adorable 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 owned by a lady foreigner with two cute Shih Tzu dogs. I find their food pricey. Their breakfast meal is P200+, and their fruit shakes start at P100. There is nothing special about 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. It 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 pretty expensive, ranging from P150 to P180. I decided to order their wine instead because it’s just 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 self wants to take this whole place back with me in Manila. The place is small but full of beautiful photos of Siargao. The staff is extra friendly and chatty. Do order their banana bread because it is good. Shaka Siargao is not available for 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