Siargao Island – a place where smart phones are not a thing. In this day and age, you’d almost always expect people to be bowed down to their smartphones wherever there is a signal (even where and when there’s none, really) but in Siargao, locals seem very much content with a basic “call and text” kind of gadget. It’s absolutely refreshing to see, and as I spent a few astonishing days in the island, I can definitely understand why they won’t need all the so-called “conveniences” a smart phone has to offer.
But hey, no I am not writing this to talk about phones. This trip though, inspired me to want to put my experiences into writing again so I have something to look back to.
My trip in Siargao is everything I ever hoped it would be, and more. We weren’t always favoured with good weather, but not even the random heavy rains can tarnish the beauty of the island. It’s like Bali, but still a whole lot different. They’re similar in terms of (1) residents, where you’d see more foreigners than locals, (2) transportation, where people prefer the use of motorbikes to move their surfboards around, (3) way of life, I guess, where impatience is not encouraged (LOL), and a few more. Different, cause Siargao is way more calm and relaxed, and you’d have to struggle a bit to find a resort where there’s nightlife. You also wouldn’t find any famous franchised establishments in Siargao, such as fast food chains and the likes. One of the locals told us that the local government does not encourage it, because of their environmental advocacy to reduce plastic usage. In fact, the straws they use for drinks are made of steel. Cute!
Siargao is known as the “surfing capital” of the Philippines. And yes, compared to the waves I’ve seen and experienced in Luzon, Siargao definitely offers waves similar to what you might find in Bali and Australia.
Though surfing is the main star of the island, there are lots of other amazing things you can do in Siargao. Some of the highlights of our trip are:
Magpupungko Rock Pools – it will take about 45-min “habal-habal” or motorbike ride to get to this spot. You’d also need to go during low tide to see the pools.
Sugba Lagoon – we joined a group tour to get here – My Siargao Guide. We rode a van to get to Del Carmen Mangrove Reserve office, where we took another 45-min boat ride after a brief orientation of do’s and don’t. On the boat ride, you’d get a nice view of the mangroves and beautiful small islands where people actually live. The lagoon offers a number of fun activities, like paddle boarding and snorkeling.
Naked Island – a small, white-sand island with literally nothing on it (hence, naked) but some grass (and trees?) on the center part. There are no cottages or any form of shade, so prepare your sunscreen! It’s the best snorkeling spot out of the 3 islands included on our day-trip by Kermit Siargao, in fact I got to see the largest starfish I’ve ever seen in my life here! Yay!
Dako Island – it’s the largest of all 3, and it’s where our glorious lunch was served. Yum! It’s also a great swimming and snorkeling spot. After lunch, the surfers were brought to a nearby spot where they can enjoy some rides.
Guyam Island – the last of the 3 islands included on the day-tour. We got here late afternoon, so the low tide allowed us to see beautiful rock formation near the shore. It’s another good spot for swimming and snorkeling.
Of course, my trip won’t be complete without inserting a coffee trip on the list. Luckily, we passed by this cute little cafe where they serve a variety of coffee, smoothies, shakes, and desserts – The Pleasure Point Cafe Siargao
The food, overall, also didn’t disappoint. I wish I could’ve stayed longer so I could’ve tried more, but unfortunately, I was only in this day-dream sort of experience for a few days.
But more than the tours, food and everything else I’ve experienced in Siargao, it’s the way of life that I really want to go back to, and try for at least a little while if I can. Unlike in other rural areas in the Philippines, where most people want to try the life in the city, there’s this certain sense of contentment and serenity that you’d feel from the locals, which makes it sensible for them not to want to live elsewhere. In fact, I think almost half of the population are foreigners, who fell so in love with the island that they decided to leave their busy, fancy lives in more advanced and established countries to live peacefully and happily in the island. Surprisingly, there’s actually a lot who grew up in other areas of the Philippines, but unlike most who would prefer a more urban kind of living, they chose to stay in Siargao and embrace the island life. It takes guts to leave everything familiar and choose to live in a different, almost isolated place. But from what I saw from the residents of Siargao who chose that path, it was absolutely worth it. Honestly, I’ve probably never seen a happier society than the people of Siargao, albeit the heritage differences.
It’s the kind of “guts” I wish I have, or could have. Maybe we all can, really. I’m not saying we should all live in Siargao, obviously. Lol. What I’m getting at is that I’d like to think that we are all capable of giving up our “comfort zones” to do what can really bring us uncomplicated, genuine happiness. We just have to channel the natural happy-kid in each of us, and maybe in time, we can all find our hidden wings (or fins) to leave everything behind and be the happiest version of ourselves. Char!
Travel date: November 2016