Reviewed and Written by F/S Vince Hizon
Siargao, how do I even start to blog this amazing place? Well, to me it is by far the best island I have ever seen in the Philippines.
You can arrive from any airline of your choice, Coming in from Manila you can choose between Skyjet/PAL (please note that PAL passes by Cebu first before continuing to Siargao) or you can travel from Clark/Manila directly to Siargao via Skyjet via Manila and PAL via Clark. Usually, flights coming out from Clark is cheaper than flights coming out of Manila. Should you decide to purchase out of Clark, if you are from Manila, there is a point to point bus that will take you to Clark International Airport from NAIA Terminal 3 and vice versa. I think its only 350php per way. Since we came from Pampanga, we just went directly to the Clark aiport.
As soon as you book your airfare, you may start looking for your accomodation via AIRBNB or AGODA. Since most of the hotels are usually fully booked 3-4months ahead, we looked for our place to stay through AIRBNB. We have an option either we stay within the main city, General Luna (downtown, where all the happenings are) or on the neighboring barangay which is just 15-20min away from the main city If you like convenience and walking distance to almost everywhere, then book somewhere in the city. But if you want to stay away from the hustle and bustles, the noise and all that, then choose the neighboring barangay as we did, however, be prepared to face a life without internet anywhere in the island (prepare by downloading movies ahead. Anyway, its just a 20min tricycle ride away (150-200php per way) but in the city its 20php per way on whatever destination you will go to within the city) either way, its still an affordable means of transportation. You can even rent a motorcycle/van of your own so you can just drive around.
We booked our accomodation at Island Pacific Villas in Malinao. And oh boy, The place was really amazing! Its only 2,900 per night (for two) , extra person additional fee of 900, with the direct view of the ocean. Just a few steps away from the shore. The sunset is always what we are looking forward to everytime we go home. The view is indeed breathtaking. Our Host (Alyssa) and the manager (Marge) are very friendly and accomodating. They helped us mostly with our itinerary. And their 2 dogs, Molly and Teddy is also entertaining. Always asking for a belly rub. Anywhere in the island you will find dogs running around, crossing roads. By the way, We are allowed to cook inside our rooms we are also provided with cutlery and cooking equipment. On the other hand, there are also beachfront hotels/accomodation in GL (General Luna) ranging from 8-10k php per night. You can find them on the internet.
As soon as you land in Siargao, Van tansfer is your key to reach your chosen accomodation, You will find them as soon as you step out of the aiport, its 300php per way (from the airport to your accomodation and vice versa).
The main transportation in the island are, tricycle, habal habal, rent a motorcyle or a car/van.
What to do
- Tour package Number 1: 3 islands which composed of Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island (1 day tour)
- Tour package Number 2: Magpupungko Rock pools and Sugba lagoon tour (1 day tour)
- Tour Package Number 3: Sohoton Cove (jelly fish sanctuary) which is sometimes combined with the 3 island tour
There are so many tour packages you will find in the internet, but to make it simple. You basically have 4 options to book from,
1. Book from Kermit (Gwapitos) (joiners/big group)
- 3 island tour @ 1,000php per head
- Sugba Lagoon @ 2,000php per head
- All inclusive (food,van/boat, transfers,fees,rentals)
2. Book from Bravos (joiners/big group)
- 3 island tour @ 1,000php per head
- Sugba Lagoon @ 2,200php per head
- All inclusive (food,van/boat, transfers,fees,rentals)
3. Book from different tour company / Tour from a local guide you meet, you will find them within city (I have no idea regarding their prices, they can also mix and match the places you want to see)
( 4.1 and 4.2 was our choice)
- 3 island tour
- 1,500php per day for the whole boat and transfers, We contacted Rolly which was recommended by our host Alyssa, and we were picked up on the shore right infront of our home and brought us to those 3 islands which was just right infront of our accomodation aswell.
- We were brought in naked island for a photo op, had lunch at Daku island (you can just buy fresh seafoods there and they can cook it for you or you can go to the market the day prior to buy food, they will cook it for you in the island. Then took our Afternoon nap at Guyam island.
4.2 For our Sugba lagoon tour, We booked via binggo
- You will be provided a driver that can serve as your tourguide aswell and a unit (tricycle, a bigger version) that will bring you to sugba lagoon and magpupungko rock formation for 1,500php only for the whole day, Maximum of 10 hours
- As soon as you arrive in Magpupungko you just have to pay the entrance and the parking less than 50php each.
- Since we are a group of 3, we opted this option because we wanted a private tour. After all, we all deserve some privacy and flexible time when we travel around. At the same time, may become cheaper than the other options.
- After magpupungko you will be brought to Sugba lagoon, at the docking site you will just rent a boat that will bring you to the lagoon (packages are also offered there).
- You can stop by anywhere to eat breakfast or lunch or snacks just inform your tourguide/driver
Where to eat/hangout
- Kermit and Bravos (italian cuisine)
- Mama's grill (bbq's)
- Coffee pleasure points
- Shaka (healthy bowls)
- Kawayan (afternoon coffee)
- Cafe Loca (near cloud 9)
- Usually, there is only one "happening" bar pre and post midnight where everyone (foreigners and locals) have a drink or two. It's different every night, so ask around to know the whereabouts of this parties.
- 12nn- Departure from Clark
- 2pm- Arrival in Siargao
- 2:30pm- Van transfer (300php) to Isla Pacific
- 3pm- Check in and settle
- 3:30pm- Travel to Cloud 9 to have an occular visit/picture taking
- 5pm- Travel to the wetmarket to buy food for dinner, and tomorrows 3 island tour.
- 5:45pm- Arrival at isla pacific just in time for sunset watching by the shore
- 7pm lights out (or so we thought)
- 8am- picked up by a pumpboat by the shore infront of our home
- 8:30am- Arrival in naked island (30min stay)
- 9:30am- Arrival in Daku island (we spend 3 hours in the island just basking under the sun and playing around the beach, at this time the place is still deserted, it was just us, until 12nn where tourist arrived for their lunch, in our case, our departure time already for the last island.
- 1pm arrival at guyam for our afternoon relaxation/nap, we can actually wait for the sunset there, however at this time we already wanted to go home, and watch the sunset from our beautiful abode.
- 3:30pm arrived at island pacific villas
- Edited pictures while waiting for sunset
- 5:30pm sunset watching by the beach
- 6:30pm went out to kermit for an italian dinner
- Waiting time to be seated was an hour and a half and waiting time for our food to be delivered was 40min. Good thing the bar area kept us busy, and we really enjoyed their cocktails.
- 9:45pm we arrived back home
- We contacted kuya anton, tricycle driver to bring us to the city and back home. (Contact numbers are provided in the contact section below)
- 8am- We were picked up (ahead of other tours again which was our choice to avoid crowded tourist destinations. (Other tours usually starts later on) so we always had the advantage of being on the tourist spots first.
- We were asked if we wanted to pass by the caves along the way, however since low tide is only up til 10am, we opted to skip the caves, because Magpupungko is best experienced on a low tide.
- 9am- arrival at magpupungko, took a dip and cliff jump, and some photo op.
- 11am- Lunch(in the surrounding restaurant)
- 1130am- Departure for Sugba lagoon
- 1230nn- Arrival in the docking site at Del Carmen
- 1:15pm- Arrival in Sugba Lagoon
- Kayak/CliffJump/Paddleboards rentals
- 315pm- Left Sugba, Passed by Viewing deck before finally reaching back the docksite (packages are posted in the photos below)
- 4pm- Snacks in the surrounding restaurants near the docksite
- 530pm- Arrived in our home, again, just in time for the beautiful sunset.
- Bought dinner 10min walk from home just around the corner (bbq) please go before 6pm so you wouldnt run out of options.
- Between 6-9pm because there is no internet we just tried to entertain ourselves by watching movies we downloaded prior to arrival in siargao.
- This was our free day, we just wanted to chill and relax and ride the waves
- 8am wokeup
- 10am left our home to have breakfast at SHAKA (the best and healthiest breakfast bowls in the island)
- 12nn walked from shaka to kawayan for light lunch (they serve patries, coffee, pizza. (At this time it was really hot outside so we looked for a place that has an airconditioning unit, luckily Kawayan had it ?
- We stayed at kawayan until 3pm (because at 3pm high tide is expected thus we can go surfing)
- 3pm walked to Cloud 9 (5min walk) for surfing
- Ate lisa was our contact for the surfing instructor and photographer while you surf.
- 3-5pm surfing at cloud 9 (you can also hire a surfing photographer to get a good photo of you while you ride the waves (300php per hour) most of the tourists avails one aside from the surfing instructor.
- 3-5pm too, my companions waited for me at Cafe Loca just another 1-2min walk from cloud 9. . They have beanbags by the shore and offers shakes, coffee etc. you can actualy wait for the sunset at this place with the view of Cloud 9.
- Or your companions can stay at the hut just beside the surfing area and watch you ride the waves
- 5:30pm Arrival at our home just in time for Sunset watching while swimming on our beachfront.
- There are more places to see such as sohoton coves, caves, etc, but we opted to stay relaxed, and cooked food at home, afterall, its a vacation. And so we have more reasons to come back here in siargao.
- 9am Breakfast
- 10am Checkout
- 1pm Van Transfer to the airport
- Usually the van transfer picks up guests from different villas/accomodation around the island, we are scheduled to be picked up by 1pm, however we were picked up at 1:30pm our flight was at 2:50pm, we only had 5min allowance when we arrived the airport so on your next trip, just travel to the aiport earlier if you can via other means of transportation or ask then to pick you up earlier, they usually rely on the departure time of your flights.
- 4:45pm Arrival in Clark
- 7,400php roundtrip airfare (it was already expensive because we booked 2 days before our departure date) if you book way ahead its only 2,500-3,000php via clark roundtrip.
- 14,830 for 4 Nights / 3 = 4,943 (each of us 3)
- 1,800/3= 600php each (instead of 1k each for group tours) for 3 island tour (including tips)
- 3,850/3= 1,283php each for our Sugba Lagoon and Magpupungko tour (instead of 2k for group tours)
- 500 per hours surfing lesson
= 14,726php per pax for 5 days.
- Kayak,paddles rentals, entrance and parking fees (wouldnt cost you more than 600php each, because most entrance fees are just between 10-50php per head.
- Food expenses will depend on shat and where you eat.
A budget between 16-18k per head for 5 days is already an indulgence, the food are really good and affordable. Its super worth it! (What more if you got your fare through seatsale, or booked in a hostel (with other backpackers) you will still be able to lessen your expenses).
- Best to go on weekdays to avoid overcrowding
- If you want a worry free but a crowded tour, join a joiners tour
- If you want privacy, flexibility, cheaper option go with what we did. (As mentioned above)
- Advantage on group tours ofcourse you get to meet other people within your group, you get to socialize, and best of all, everything is provided and prepared for you.
- Every tourist destination we were always the first one to be there, after 2 hours, the majority of the tourist arrives. (Timing is everything, specially for good photo ops) the lesser the tourists, the lesser your photobombers.
- You can buy your food at the market and cook your breakfast before you start your adventure.
- Be aware of the high and low tides so you can manage your itinerary wisely. You can find this on the internet before you leave out of Manila/Clark. Or you cAn ask the tourguide regarding high and low tides and the best timings for your tour.
- Data/Wifi are very weak in the island, sometimes your connected (for a few min) then its gone again. So do all your research before you leave manila/clark.
- Bring mosquito repellents, sunscreen and aftersun lotions and all your gadgets and waterproof bags/container and power banks.
- Near our home, there is bbq store (walking distance), we bought our dinner there on our 3rd and 4th night because we were already tired to go downtown.
- There are alot of accomodations in the island, just research which best fits your personality, desires, and all that.
- Be prepared to live a simple living wherein 7pm feel like 11pm already. But if ur into chill and drinks then its a gonna be a good night out for you.
- Signal once again is really weak. Prepare to be gadgetless for the days you will be staying in the island.
- You can book via airbnb just type in siargao and look for island pacific villas under alyssa and ven/ or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rolly (Boat for 3 island tour) 09087103444
- Binggo (Sugba Lagoon, Caves,Magpupungko) 09776423765
- Anton (Our service to and from the city) 09127430523
- Lisa (surfing) 09094146351
To me, No words can ever describe what we experienced in SIARGAO. We will definitely go back there to explore other tourist spots and will always be my island of choice in the Philippines from this day on. Special thanks to our host Alyssa for welcoming us in her humble and beautiful home.
I hope this helps you on your future travel to SIARGAO!