Our 4th anniversary as a couple was an extended weekend in Siargao – adjudged as Asia’s Number 1 Island by Conde Nast Travelers Readers’ Choice Awards in 2018. This title was previously held by Palawan and Boracay, who are 3rd and 2nd respectively in the latest awards.
Riad Masaya – cozy accommodation in Siargao
The first thing I looked at was the hotel. We wanted something cozy, a little far out from noisy crowds, has good space, awesome reviews.
They have arranged a bottle of wine at my request, a bouquet of chocolates and a personalized greeting at their own initiative, all arranged in the room. So when I handed Mary the key, she saw the surprise first. What’s most appreciated and a bit surprising for me was that, when I asked to pay for the entire surprise thing, they didn’t even charge me a dime.
The hotel / resort is Moroccan-inspired that only has 6 rooms. It’s a short walk to the popularly-known CFC or Catangnan Fried Chicken, where we first had our decent meal after touching down.
The owners and managers are always pleasant to speak with, accommodating of our request, and there’s a sari-sari store attached to it where we occasionally got chips and bread from, and a ginanggang (grilled banana with margarine and sugar) vendor in front.
The Land Tour (river, falls, beach, natural pool, coconut lane, cave)
The inland tour took an entire day, and at first we thought we could take a habal just like everyone else. I wanted to learn to ride a scootie prior to our trip but she said we’re not doing that. During the trip, Mary had fever and so to fully enjoy the land travel, I switched to a tuktuk last minute. Probably the best decision I made. Imagine an entire day riding behind a motorcycle driver, when it rained in some parts of the trip.
Kuya LK’s number is (63) 909-010-6886 in case you want to book a trip on his habal or tuktuk.
Sohoton was a bit far and we didn’t have enough time, so we vowed to come back to the island and visit it. Sugba Lagoon was also closed for cleaning, which was a bit fine too because we wanted to relax and not cram all tours in our short trip. There’s always a next time, we said. We wanted to take it slow, have long conversations that’s really essential to our (or any) relationship, and a lot of rest.
Tri-island hopping and Siargao’s environmental stand
Siargao’s island hopping tour without Sohoton cannot be compared to that of Coron. Siargao has smaller, quiet islets. That’s why you’d hear some people say it’s not as good as Coron. Well, it depends why you’re going.
If you want a fully immersive island hopping, then don’t go to Siargao for it, my goodness. What it offers though, is unbridled island life, surf vibes and an admirable responsibility to the environment.
Food on the island
Food might also be overly expensive since the island caters to foreign visitors. But that’s only true if you don’t know how to eat in street eateries (carenderia) because man, they serve the freshest fish exactly how you would want to have it when you’re in the province. I honestly enjoyed eating at the carenderia in the mornings rather than cafes. Hotels for dinner are perfect, especially the one we had in Bravo – which gets filled really quickly once they open their restaurant for dinner at 6pm (you can’t order dinner earlier than that).
World-renowned Cloud 9 Surf Break
The star of it all is of course, Cloud 9. Siargao made itself known in the international arena of travelers because of the waves of Cloud 9. Other local celebrities call it their home away from home. A movie has been made on the island, about the island, and titled after the island. Cloud 9 brought tourism to Siargao. And when you tread the boardwalk, as you glance around the beginner surfers nearby, and farther out the professional surfers trying to catch as many barrels as they could, you would understand the island’s vibe.
Flights to Siargao:
Philippines Airlines flies to Siargao from Clark, Davao and Cebu
Cebu Pacific flies to Siargao from Manila and Clark
Of course, we’d be back! Who doesn’t want to chill here, right?
Riad Masaya – 2,400 per night for 2 pax (7,200 for 2 pax for 3 nights)
Inland tour – 1,300 for 2 pax for habal (but we changed to tuktuk at 1,800 for 2 pax)
Food – estimate of 5,000 for 2 pax (it’s an anniversary trip!)
Shirt for our cat sitter and couple sando for us – 650 pesos
Flight – Manila to Siargao was free because we used our GetGo points
Siargao to Clark via Cebu – 6,653 pesos for 2 pax (not on sale, bought 1 month prior to trip)
Tricycle to and from hostel – 200 (estimate) for 2 pax
P2P Bus from Clark to Robinsons Galleria – 300 each (600 for 2 pax)
TOTAL: 22,103 for 2 pax, 4D3N
But don’t be discouraged. You can wait for a seat sale to Siargao, least I saw was 2,000 RT per pax. Eat at carenderias like I said and 300 would be good for a day per pax. Rent a motorbike instead of hiring a tuktuk and taking the tricycle daily – should save you up big time.
Day 1 – arrive at the hotel, try a sunset surf session in Cloud 9.
Day 2 – Tri-island plus Sohoton. Night life after if you like. (if you have more time, spend a night in Sohoton)
Day 3 – Inland tour plus Sugba Lagoon. Chill night.
Day 4 – sunrise photos at Cloud 9, breakfast, pack up.
- Do not use single-use plastic – plastic straws, plastic bags have no place on the island. I hope bottled water and drinks too! Throw your rubbish in the properly-labeled trash bins, don’t waste food and do no patronize vendors that violate the local law (everyone’s responsibility, really) on plastic.
- Respect dogs and other domesticated animals – you will see a lot of dogs on the island. Please do not hurt or provoke them. Befriend, pat a little if you’re comfortable. Feed only if the owner approves as they may have a special diet. I saw a caged mama civet at the waiting area of Tayangban cave and I was told they’re selling it. I reported it to the local DENR
- Bring basic medicine on island hopping tours – we chanced upon an American family whose daughter must have eaten something. She rolled on the sand and laid there for an hour, as her skin turned blue. It was a jelly fish sting, and she reacted to it, could hardly breathe. It happened on Daku Island and aside from the language barrier, there wasn’t an anti histamine available. It’s a good thing she got better. I chatted with her parents and learned they’ve been married 40 years and take trips with their daughter and her husband to China, Thailand and Philippines.
- Don’t forget your island essentials – underwater camera, sun block, rash guard, sunnies and your basic first aid knowledge.
- Swim and surf only when it’s safe – pretty self explanatory
Hope this is enough to make you want to visit or revisit the island. If not, nothing else will 🙂 Just go!