10 Non-Surfing Things to Do in Siargao
Activities that one can indulge in in Siargao that don't involve a surf board.
Siargao’s claim to fame may be its world-class waves, but there is definitely more to the island that surfing. Check out this list of activities and experiences that you can try out in between surf sessions.
These are activities that take you away from the surfing center of General Luna. Most are accessible by a choice of motorbike or pumpboat. Travel times vary from half an hour to three hours so be sure to pack yourself some sunblock, water and snacks. A sarong also often comes in handy as a sleeping mat, a shade or an impromptu towel.
1. Suhoton Cove – Hire a boat to take you to Suhoton Cove in Bucas Grande Island. The cove, accessible only during low tide is home to hundreds of stingless jellyfish. Swim with them and experience something most people will only ever read about. Tip: the boat ride takes a good three hours so leave early.
2. Magpupungko Tide Pools – Over in the town of Pilar are small pools that come out at low tide. If you time your trip properly, you’ll get there just in time to try jumping into what feels like your very own snorkeling space. Or climb to the top of one of the larger exposed rocks and dive right into one of the pools. Again, pack some snacks and drinks. If you are up for it, you can even bring your own food for a small picnic on the beach set against a backdrop of limestone and granite structures.
3. Taktak Waterfalls – Tired of all the saltwater? Hire a motorbike to take you to Santa Monica’s Taktak Waterfalls. Stand under the rush of fresh mountain water, have a swim and keep your eyes open for a variety of seagoing birds that frequent the area.
4. Island Hopping – Hire a boat and ask for the tour of Naked Island and Guyam Islet. Naked Island is a sand bar with not much on it save for resting birds and discarded seashells. You can walk around its perimeter in under 15 minutes, at that’s a leisurely pace. The waters surrounding it are often calm and are passable for snorkeling. Nearby Guyam Islet, a 27 kilometer stretch of white sand shaded by coconut trees, is even smaller and is the perfect spot for a quiet afternoon picnic-and-siesta.
5. Caving – Head to Union where the town of Consuelo boasts a huge cave with interesting stalactite and stalagmite formations. Be prepared for the smell of guano though because, as with most caves, bats call this one home.
6. Go Diving – While not yet known for its dive sites, there are several spots around the island that have outstanding coral formations, excellent visibility and a variety of marine life. The reefs around Guyam Islet offer fun dive experiences as do the areas near Tuason and Pilar. Of course, it is always best to ask your dive master where he thinks it’s best to go. Non-divers have the option of snorkeling some of these spots so be sure to ask.
EAT. DRINK. BE MERRY.
7. Flying Fox Restaurant – Just outside of town and accessible by motorbike (or very long walk) is the Flying Fox Restaurant. The food is good but that’s not their biggest draw. At sunset every day, giant bats leave the nearby caves to begin their days’ hunt. The sight is breath-taking.
8. Eat around General Luna – The multi-cultural influences of the many nationalities that have found their way to the island is reflected in the wide array of cuisine on hand. Trust me, you will not go hungry in General Luna. Siargao Inn’s owners Nilde and Rico offer the freshest seafood dishes that change day to day depending on what is available. If Rico is serving barracuda while you are there, order it. You won’t regret it. Over at Sagana, the menu changes daily as well and everything is good. I kid you not, everything. If you can, start your meal with the tuna tataki. For thin crust, oven-baked pizza, the French owners of Kalinaw resort have you covered. Most restaurants and eateries have their own versions of what have become Siargao island staples: banana pancakes and chicken-mango curry. Try them all and decide on your favorite.
9. Party like a local – Nightlife on the island revolves mostly around two things: music played at full volume and lots of booze. Check out night spots like Nine Bar for a taste of the island at night.
AND THE BEST THING TO DO IN SIARGAO EVERY DAY
10. Watch the sun rise. Yes, I mean it. Make the effort to wake up early at least once during your trip. Make the walk to the tower that overlooks Cloud 9 and just watch the sun rise. You’ll probably also be treated to the sight of dawn patrol surfers paddling out for the choicest waves before the crowd comes in.