Siargao pertains to a group of 49 islands and islets in Surigao del Norte whose coastline is characterized by reefs, points, and white sand beaches. The main island contains the largest mangrove reserve in the Mindanao area. The area is composed of nine municipalities: Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, San Benito, Pilar, San Isidro, and Santa Monica. There are no banks on the island and only two places (Patrick's and Siargao Institute of Technology) with internet access. The island is known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, sporting excellent waves, particularly from August to November in what is known as the "habagat" monsoon. Cloud 9, in particular, has a worldwide reputation for thick, hollow tubes. This is where the Siargao Cup is held every September, a local and international surfing championship sponsored by the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte, takes place. There are other equally good surf spots in the area, but a lot of them are hard to reach without a boat. This is part of the allure, however as it piques a lot of surfers' sense of adventure and discovery.
When to Go
Surfing season is from April to October, with the Siargao Cup held every September. The peak time for travelers is during Holy Week and whenever there is a surfing tournament. Expect an increase in room rates in all resorts around the island around these times.
Things to Do
Siargao has many beautiful white sand beaches, some of them accessible only during certain times of the day. The Magpupungko rock formations in Pilar, for example, appear only during low tide.
Siargao is composed of 49 island, thus making for new places to explore. The most popular island hopping adventure encompasses three islands-Naked Island, an uninhabited island characterized by its lack of vegetation; popular picnic spot Daku Island, whose name means 'big' in Visayan; and Guyam Islet, which is also uninhabited but is home to lush vegetation.
Siargao is also known as the surfing capital of the Philippines. There are a lot of surf spots on the island, but the most popular (and accessible) one is Cloud 9, which is famous in the international surf community for good waves and cheap accommodations. This is also where the annual Siargao Cup is held.
Spelunkers can check out Suhoton Cave in the Bucas Grande Islands, which is half-submerged in water and is only accessible during low tide. The cave contains a pool where visitors can swim with different sea creatures, as well as an array of stalactites and stalagmites. Other caves can be found in Consuelo and Malinao, both containing stalactites, stalagmites, and bats.
Fishing enthusiasts can indulge in both mangrove and game fishing in Siargao. The island is also home to the International Game Fishing Competition. Deep Sea Fishing is popular from March to May, when big fish are abundant near the waters of General Luna. Mangrove fishing can be tried in Del Carmen, which is also home to a saltwater crocodile sanctuary.
Sea kayaking is another popular pastime in Siargao, with different sides of the island offering different kayaking experiences. The east side, which faces the Philippine Trench, offers a view of the island's coastline. The other side, on the other hand, offers kayakers a view of virgin mangrove swamps.
Siargao has a number of dive spots. Most of them have strong currents, while others, such as the Blue Cathedral, have deep caves, which means that the area is best explored by experienced divers.
What to Buy
Fermented fish sauce made from a local fish called poot-poot.
A sweet, glutinous rice cake wrapped in banana leaves that contains coconut, peanuts, land sugar.
One of Siargao's specialties is its fresh seafood. While it may be hard to take it back home, it is definitely something one must try while on the island.
An alcoholic drink made from a tree locally known as Sasa. This drink has been compared to tuba (coconut wine)
Dapa is Siargao's main port town. It is the island's entry point from Surigao and contains a lot of resorts and dining places.
Formerly part of Dapa, Pilar is about an hour away from General Luna. The town' is home to popular surf spot Salvacion, and is home to the Siargo Invitational Game Fishing Tournament.
Del Carmen is the site of the biggest mangrove reserve on the island. Aside from tours, visitors can also enjoy mangrove fishing.
General Luna is located near popular surfing area Cloud 9, about 45 minutes away from the airport. There are a lot of accommodations of different types and price ranges in and around the town, as well as a number of bars and restaurants that cater to the surfing crowd.
Cebu Pacific flies direct from Manila to Siargao three days a week. The same carrier has flights from Cebu to Siargao twice a week. Flight time is about 45 minutes. Air Philippines has flights from Manila to Surigao City. SEAIR has flights from Cebu to Siargao.
Ferries from Surigao City to Dapa (Siargao Island's main port town) leave three times a day - around 6am, 11:30am, and 12 noon - with a travel time of anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on the boat, which can range from an oversized, motorized banca to the slower ferry.
One can take the bus from Pasay City in Manila to Surigao via the Lipa ferry.
Vans for hire are available at the pier to bring passengers to their resorts. There is no set price, so be sure to haggle.
Tricycles are used to take people around the island.
Motorcycles especially used to transport passengers are used throughout the island.