Siargao is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines. Stories and photos of crystal clear waters and empty beaches are tempting in us travellers. Surfing at Cloud 9, the stunning Siargao resorts and the relatively little amount of things to do in Siargao means it’s a great island for rest and relaxation, without getting too bored.
Plus, the fact that Philippine Airlines have started up their flight direct from Cebu in just an hour means it’s only going to get livelier.
I spoke to a few local business managers while I was in Siargao, and all said that the island was so much busier that as recent as last year. I saw sites marked out for new developments and I overheard some surfers moaning at how much busier it was getting.
So… MUST. GO. NOW.
I went to the island for 5 days to find out what to do in Siargao that has got everyone so excited.
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What to Do in Siargao
Siargao originally became popular as the ‘Surf Capital of the Philippines’. Thanks to its unique most eastern spot, onto the Pacific Ocean, the swells come in and they break right there. Surfers love the chilled out vibe here and the little town of General Luna was set up to cater for them trickling in. But now they’re coming in droves and the sleepy island of Siargao is waking up.
Still, there’s not that much to do here, but that’s kind of the beauty.
– Rent a surf board for a day
For around 500 pesos (£7) you can rent a surf board and take to the ocean. Lessons available too, of course.
– Go island hopping
For around 1500 pesos (£21) you can go out on a boat to check out some of the surround islands. Would’ve loved to do this but didn’t, thanks to the temperamental weather when I was there.
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– Rent a motorbike
Absolutely the best thing to do on Siargao, and what I spent a lot of time doing, rent a motorbike to explore the island. I paid 450 pesos (£6.20) for 24 hours, twice, and pretty much drove the entire island. I ended up spending around 300 on petrol for that.
There are so many beautiful spots and interesting places to explore on Siargao – honestly, the island is just stunning. Everyone seems so happy, people from the villages I drove through would wave at me, and it’s just genuinely one of the best places I’ve ever been if you want a relaxing beach holiday.
– Visit Tak Tak Falls
Up in the north of the island Tak Tak Falls is a natural beauty. It’s about 90 minutes drive from General Luna, where most of the people are, so it’s really quiet and when I was there, it was just locals enjoying a Sunday afternoon dip. Expect a muddy drive up there on your bike, but you can clean off in the pools and falls.
Bring a few snacks and you’ll have to pay a tiny entrance free too. You could definitely spend a whole day here if you’re looking for cheap ideas for what to do in Siargao.
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– Admire the lush landscape
If you like a palm tree (meee) then you’re going to love Siargao. The island is lush with them. A few times when I was driving along I felt touched, don’t think that’s the right word, but we’ll go with it. Touched, by how beautiful the greenery was. Palm tree after palm tree all with coconuts sprouting from the top. I even saw a few fall to the ground and bounce.
– Hang out at the Surf Tower
Cloud 9 in General Luna is the most famous spot on the island, it’s the absolute peak for surfers down on the south-east coast. It’s also where this Surf Tower is, allowing you to walk out over low tide and watch the surfers up close. The tower is a great retreat from the heat of the Siargao sun too.
Unfortunately, I didn’t ever have a meal that I thought was amazing, as in, ‘oh my god you have to go there’, but I did enjoy the food at the Pacific Beach Resort and ate there three times, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as it was the best place in San Isidro.
Any food at my hotel, Bamboo Lodge, was disgusting. I gave them two chances. Do not stay there by the way. Long story.
I had some nice beans and toast at Café Loka at Cloud 9 in General Luna, and a good Filipino breakfast at the Big Bollox Bar too. I know, interesting name. Classic super friendly Brit running the place too, definitely pay a visit if you’re up in San Isidro.
I think the best restaurants are down at the plush hotels in General Luna but I was on a tight budget.
– Relax in a hammock
You’re not a Siargao Restaurant / Café if you don’t have a hammock. I lazed away an entire day reading on the beach in the one at the Pacific Island Resort, and spent another morning at the one at Cafe Loka.
Arriving into Siargao
Arrive into Siargao Airport and you’ll find a small car park with vans and cars offering to take you where you like, for a (hefty) fee, or go just outside and you’ll find the cheaper transport with motorbikes and tricycles. I paid 500 pesos (£7) for a motorbike ride to San Isidro. They’d adapted the bike to hold the suitcases, don’t you worry.
What to expect from Siargao
Siargao is a friendly place, there’s no doubt about that. I was walking down the road by my hotel in San Isidro and a little girl came over to me, maybe of about 3. She started walking in step with me and then slipped her hand in mine. Oh my gawd it was cute. And then another little girl did the same. They ambled off about 30 seconds later but it was adorable.
– I’d stopped to take the pic below, and that little boy legged it to come and say hello to me…[/red_box]
In the cafes the staff would be happy to chat, in the street people say hi and on the beach it seemed normal for the kids to come and start up a conversation. So the people are friendly, the island beautiful and the vibe, chilled. Siargao is brilliant. And I’d definitely recommend you visit for a relaxing break, just make sure you book into one of the better hotels and absolutely, definitely hire a motorbike.
I was in the Philippines thanks to Philippine Airlines, who provided all the flights.
I sorted accommodation and all the activities. All ideas and thoughts on what to do in Siargao, my own.
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Those drone shots are amazing Vic! Really keen to visit the Philippines but has never heard of this place. Will add it to the list :D
Friday 2nd of March 2018
Thanks Jayne. Glad you like them. I enjoyed taking my drone out after the first few attempts and Siargao is lush.