Surfing in Siargao is probably an item on every Filipinos’ bucket list, and one of the first things that one does when in the surfing capital of the country. But when you already had that surf pinnacle or your adventure-seeking self longs for something else, or you simply want to relax, what other things can you do aside from surfing? I went back to Siargao via Cebu Pacific, which is now offering direct flights between Manila and Siargao, for answers.
Wave-spotting in Cloud 9
Whether you’re hoping to chill out and grab a cold bottle of beer or just admire nature’s awesomeness, Cloud 9 never fails. Locals and tourists flock to its boardwalk deck every afternoon, so don’t miss that out.
Kayaking in Sugba Lagoon
Okay, not just kayak. There are several other things you can do in Sugba Lagoon, which is located at Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte. You can rent a paddleboard, relax on that one giant inflatable, or jump into the lagoon’s clear water through the platform (which I am told was just recently built). To get there, you can rent a motorbike or a tricycle, or a van if you have a big group, then you need to ride a boat that will bring you to the lagoon.
Relaxing in the Magpupungko Pools
Because we failed to follow our itinerary, we didn’t get to experience the “visible” pools of Magpupungko in the town of Pilar. The best time to visit this spot is early morning or late afternoon when the tide is low. To get there, same as Sugba Lagoon less the boat, you can rent a motorbike, or a tricycle, or a van if you have a big group.
Diving in Hagukan Cave
By diving, I meant 8-second underwater diving. LOL. But seriously, you should all go and visit the Hagukan (from the word hagok which means snore because the silhouette of the cave resembles a sleeping person) Cave. Visitors can only go inside the cave during low tide as it is filled with water when the tide is high. To get in and out of the cave, you need to dive underwater for a mere eight seconds. If you don’t know how to swim like me, your tour guide will drag you, literally, until you get into the other side of the cave. It gets really dark once you’re in there, but you’ll be amazed by the bio-luminescent water.
Caving in Magkukuob
At the entrance of the national park, there are warnings for people who have heart conditions not to go to Magkukuob Cave. Why? To get inside, you need to waddle into the murky waters of the dark cave to have a better view of the stalactites and stalagmites, some of which have already formed columns. To get out, you need to dive from a platform 12-feet above the water. Ang gara, ‘di ba? But the fun’s all worth it!
Paddling to the Jellyfish Sanctuary
In 2013, while having fun with my friends on the shore of Banol Beach in Coron, Palawan, one of my friends got stung by a jellyfish. I witnessed her pain, the mark the sting left on her skin, and how she dealt with all of it. So when I found out that the Jellyfish Sanctuary, known for its hundreds (sometimes thousands) of resident and stingless jellyfishes, is included in our itinerary, that scene came flashing back to me. What if the jellyfishes aren’t really stingless? I don’t want to experience what my friend did. Luckily, we didn’t have the chance to swim in the sanctuary when we went there because we were in a hurry. Woot!
To get to the lagoon, you would have to ride a small boat that can carry only 2-3 pax and paddle all the way to the lagoon from the deck of the Sohoton Park. I think it’d take you 20-30 minutes. Muscle power, bring it on! Of course, paddling is optional if you’re not into it. And oh, do not put on lotion or sunscreen if you plan to swim or dip your hands in the lagoon. Jellyfishes are not fond of chemicals. 😉
Island hopping in Pansukian, Guyam, and Daku
These three islands starting with Guyam are just a 20-minute boat ride from General Luna. Visiting these islands is one of the most popular activities in Siargao aside from surfing. Renting a boat costs PHP 1,500.00 which is good for a whole day.
Unfortunately for us, it was raining and the wind was terrible when we arrived in Pansukian or more popularly known as Naked Island. Winter in Siargao daw.
Dining in Kermit
Our guide had been telling us since the day we arrived that dining in Kermit requires a reservation at least a week before your intended date of dining. That is how popular Kermit is! The staff and crew confirmed it stating that they’ve had several celebrity guests like the Curtis-Smith sisters, Julia Baretto, Andie Eigenmann, and more. Oh yeah, even Steve O! My verdict? You won’t mind paying for your meal as they are not just Instagram-worthy, but sumptuous as well! It lives up to the hype.
Surfing in Siargao
Of course, you’re already in Siargao, why not surf? You don’t get to visit the island every day so make the most out of it. Surf, eat, chill. It’s such a lovely place for you to miss out on its highlights.
Cebu Pacific now offers direct flights between Manila and Siargao, increasing the frequency of flights to daily starting March 25, 2018. Its lowest year-round fares start at P2,371. Aside from Manila, Cebu Pacific also flies direct to Siargao from Cebu twice daily, with the lowest year-round fare of PHP 2,105. Travelers from Manila can also visit the island by taking a connecting flight via Cebu to Siargao.