Whenever I tell people I’m from Surigao, I always get asked if I have ever surfed in Siargao. I feel bad every time I answer that question, I hate giving them a “NO” for an answer. So I always look forward to the day when I’ll be able to visit and surf in Siargao.
…and now from here onwards, I can proudly answer them with a big “YES”.
I only heard/read stories, saw pictures, and watched videos of Siargao and I’ve been a fan of the place ever since. I thought that it’s just the same size as Mactan Island but I was amused to see how big it actually is when I finally got there. Mountains upon mountains beaming with endless coconut trees – a tropical island paradise.
We all got giddy when the plane finally landed at Sayak Airport. Imagine hyperactive foreign travelers exclaiming “Surf’s up!” upon landing. The excitement is totally building up! We’re finally here!
Overall, our days in Siargao were spent on island hopping, Sohoton Cove exploring, chilling, and surfing (lots of it).
Tours are quite expensive especially if you are traveling solo or in a small group of 2 or 3 – our boat cost us 1200php. After a morning dose of surfing, we started our trip at 10am.
We first visited Naked Island. It’s a pretty little (hot) paradise. A strip of plain white sand and clear turquoise water.
Second stop was at Daku Island where we had our lunch. There are residents on the island that would gladly cook the raw food we bought earlier at the market for a minimal fee.
I just love this island. The tall coconut trees and the ambiance was perfect for relaxing and sleeping. I could just stay there and sleep the whole afternoon. A very serene island.
Here’s a breakdown of our expenses in Daku Island:
Cottage rental: 250php
Charge for cooking: 150php
Last stop at Guyam Island. We were lucky the caretaker wasn’t around to collect the 20php entrance fee in the island.
It was of our great advantage that we had the boat all to our selves. Our decision, our time at our own leisure, our island!
For this adventure, we had an early call time of 6am together with the same boatman from our island hopping tour. We paid 3500php for the whole boat (good for 5-6) exclusive of lunch which we already made an arrangement as well where we agreed to give him an additional 500php and he’ll take care of preparing the food for us.
It took us almost 2 hours to reach Sohoton Cove (found in Bucas Grande Island) from General Luna. First stop was Bolitas and Crystal Cave. This is usually not part of the actual Sohoton tour but he offered to take us there which means there will be an additional charge for this. The additional charge will only depend on how much we are willing to give him. They call it “pampagana”, so the group decided to give the boatman 200php.
Entrance fee at the twin cave is 20php/person and guide fee for the group costs 100php. It was quite easy to get inside Crystal Cave unlike in Bolitas Cave where you need to crawl into a narrow opening to get in.
at Crystal Cave…
at Bolitas Cave…
After the cave adventure, we moved to the actual Sohoton Cove Tour and docked at the Sohoton tour reception cottage.
We paid 447php each(for a group of 4) which includes the life vest rental, tour inside Sohoton Cove, and small boat tour around the lagoon.
It was a short one-and-a-half-hour tour around Sohoton.
We were able to swim inside Hagukan Cave which is popular for its luminescent water. It was really cool to see our skins glow underwater.
After that, we went inside Magkukuob Cave and climbed up to a platform. The only way out is to jump off a platform. Never in my wildest thoughts did I ever consider jumping off the platform but I was challenged when everyone else was doing it. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done my whole life because I don’t know how to swim. But I conquered my fear and trusted the boatman who assured me that he will not let me drown. I first stared at the platform to the water to the people around me. Every minute I took in thinking and rethinking only makes me feel scared so I shut all thoughts, walked to the edge, and took the leap of faith.
On our way home, we made a short stop at a cottage in the middle of the sea where my friends tried the traditional zipline – using a smaller rope, they wrapped it around a longer rope tied from the post from the cottage connecting all the way down to the water and slide.
This is a solo trip made by Shine. Me, Earl and Maiza decided to do a whole day surfing rather than travel a one-and-a-half hour habal-habal ride to Magpupungko. Maybe we’ll try this on our next visit in Siargao.
Surfing in Siargao is quite expensive compared in Baler. A surfboard alone costs 300php/hour. Surfboard with instructor costs 500php/hour.
Our first surfing lesson was in Guiuan. It took us one hour to get there by habal-habal. It was a beautiful secluded beach with good waves that’s not as rough as the waves in Jacking Horse. We met local kids who also went there to surf. An older brother was teaching his 9-year-old brother how to surf. They were using a surfboard they borrowed from a friend. They mentioned that they can only surf on the weekends because they go to school on weekdays. I wish my life would also be like that, work on weekdays and surf on weekends.
On our third day, we decided to spend it all on surfing at Jacking Horse. We went to Hot Spot and rented a surfboard with GoPro at 500php/day. It was a day of bruises and reef cuts but our surfing skills got better. The surf instructor would just tell me to stand up without any warning and I was able to stood up on the board immediately. Though I still have to work on how to paddle fast without easily getting exhausted.