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 of tourism. However, Siargao is no doubt starting to evolve into more than just a surfing destination. Here are things you can do in Siargao aside from surfing.
If you want to know our itinerary and budget for this trip, read my previous blog post A Non-Surfer’s Travel Guide and DIY Itinerary to Siargao.
CLOUD 9 BOARDWALK
Surfer or not, one shouldn’t miss Cloud 9 Boardwalk. It is the iconic landmark of Siargao and the best spot in the island to witness the sunset. From the beach, you have to walk a wooden boardwalk to reach the 3-floors viewing deck. Just be extra careful since some of the wooden planks are either missing or loose. This is where international surfing competitions are held during September so expect the waves to be as high as a coconut tree. But if you’re just a beginner, there’s baby waves for you, guys. If you’re too scared like me then you can still come here and enjoy the sunset, the sea breeze and the flying professional surfers.
P.S. When you have 0 surfing skills then you need to hire a surfing instructor for P500. It is kinda rocky so expect little scratches after. The seafloor is also uneven so maybe I need to warn you that there will be times that you’ll fall in a deep part. If you’re not a swimmer then you need to hold on to your surf board.
MAGPUPUNGKO POOL ROCKS
1 hour and a half away from General Luna is the Magpupungko Beach in the town of Pilar. It’s a long drive but the view is worth it. The area is managed and you have to pay an entrance fee of P50. There are stores and huts around if you decided to stay for a while. The famous spot is the Magpupungko Pool Rocks that is only visible during low tide. (usually starts at 9AM until 2PM) It was my first time to swim in a natural pool and it’s 101% better than a man made pool. The water is so clear (wait for my vlog to see!) and refreshing.
Aside from soaking in the pool rocks, we spent a lot of time admiring the big waves of the Pacific Ocean. I don’t know why but the big waves from the ocean is being cut off somewhere. It mesmerizing to be near it but a big one hit us and send us rolling to the beach. So yep, try to admire it afar. There are also rock formations near the pool rocks that are amazing like this one rock above that is like to fall off anytime.
Sugba Lagoon is in the different side of the island. It will take you 2 hours+ via land and a 30 minutes boat ride from the town of Carmen. Like in Magpupungko, Sugba Lagoon is managed by the town’s tourism office. You can only rent a boat from them. The boat will pass by mangroves and some green islands until it brings you to a big 2-floor house in a middle of a lagoon. The lagoon is beautiful, green and is a big adult playground. You can go cliff dive unlimited, rent a stand-up paddleboard and snorkeling gears. (P200/hr) And when you get tired, they have cold beers you can buy.
It was my first time to try paddleboarding and it’s easy to learn given that I’m the least sporty person you’ll meet. It’s a great way to roam around the lagoon, a good exercise and a racing challenge with friends. P.S We went here at 2PM. There are no lunch available here if you’re coming at lunchtime.
There are other 3 islands near Siargao. They are Naked, Daku, and Guyam. You can read my whole story about in this post Siargao: Naked, Daku & Guyam Island Hopping.
WHERE TO EAT
Siargao is know for its chill and laid back vibes. And it’s very much reflected in the restaurants and cafes around the island. Most of the restaurants are artsy and promotes making friends with other travelers. But I have to warn you that the prices are really much like in Manila retaurants.
Harana Surf Restaurant
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: 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.
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: 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 Restaurants on my List
Price Range: P20-P150
Recommendation: BBQ of course
If you need a BBQ fix, then you need to go to Mama’s Grill. It’s also the cheapest food place in the island. We only spent around P800 to fill 6 persons tummies. You just need to be extra patient when dining here because its usually packed with locals and foreigners.
Pleasure Point Cafe
Price Range: P90-200
Recommendation: coffee & breakfast meal
I didn’t got the chance to go here but it is quite famous for its coffee and breakfast meals. It’s a lot cheaper than Cafe Loka. It is an open cafe with hammocks and all artsy things.
Price Range: P100 – P250
Recommendation: smoothie bowl
This is also one place that I wanted to try but I only have 2 breakfast time in the island. Arka Hayahay is a resort, with an inhouse restaurant, famous for it’s boat shape villas. They are know for their healthy breakfast power bowls.
Price Range: P200 – P600
Another inhouse restaurant from one of the hippest accommodation in Siargao, Bravo Beach Resort. This restaurant is famous for its Spanish cuisine.
All of our activities are made possible by Kuya Loyding. You can contact him here 09056054600. You can also view my Siargao travel photos on Instagram @beadeegee. Don’t be shy to follow me! 🙂
Here’s a video of all I just wrote.