Don’t be fooled by Siargaos tiny size. This small dot of an island off the south coast of the Philippines is home to around 200,000 friendly locals and numerous breath-taking sights. Siargao is a huge show off when it comes to its natural beauty, and once you’ve discovered all of the best adventures and awesome things to do in Siargao too, you won’t want to leave.
I was privileged enough to spend almost 2 months on this coconut tree laden, crystal clear watered paradise. During my stay, through trial and error, I figured out the best spots to explore.
So here’s my list of all the top things to do in Siargao
Cloud 9 Surfing
I am not a surfer, and even I tried to catch a wave at one of the World’s top surfing spots. Cloud 9 is the surfing capital of the Philippines and attracts surfers from all around the globe. This is not the only surfing spot on the island, just the most famous one.
What if you are not a professional surfer? Don’t let this detract you from the glorious waves that are calling your name at Cloud 9 – you will be hounded by many different locals offering beginners surfing lessons. If you haven’t already made friends with another surfer on the island – local or tourist – then take them up on their offer and try it out. If not anything else, it will be great fun!
Cloud 9 pier for sunrise or sunset
If surfing still isn’t your style, don’t worry. Cloud 9 offers you a beautiful pier to walk along, while admiring other people’s talent (and not relishing your lack thereof). The sunset is serene and peaceful, not many people take a walk that early on the island so you will have a chance to fully take it in – you can choose where to sit on the three-story high viewing deck that overlooks the ocean.
Read about my time in Siargao here: How I spent 2 months living with locals in Siargao, Philippines
Take a ride out to Malinao
If you are staying on Siargao there is a large chance that you are staying in General Luna, the tourist hub of the island. Malinao is about a 15-minute bike ride out of the town and towards the south of the island. You can’t get lost because it requires following Malinao Road until you come across a white sand beach with crystal clear water like glass. Pack a picnic, enjoy the ride, stop and play some basketball with the locals in the road if you get a chance, and enjoy the view of the ocean and the island. Malinao is something you do on an afternoon where you are wanting to relax and just enjoy the island life.
Take a trip up to Pacifico
Pacifico is further north on the island. The ride there is probably one of my favourite things – with windy roads, coconut forests, ocean views and sheer drops, it is an adventure in itself. After about an hour you will arrive in Pacifico. You can soak up the sun with a cocktail in one hand and a book in the other at the local restaurant, or you can play volleyball on the beach if you are feeling energetic.
Magpupungko Rock Pools
This is a whole day activity. Pack some food, a lot of water, a hat and some sunblock and head north. The rock pools are found just outside of Pilar, only about a 40-minute ride from General Luna. This is something that needs to be timed with the tides. At low tide the most beautiful rock pool appears and tourists from all over travel to see its beauty. I am not one to enjoy something if it is overcrowded, but with Magpupungko not even the hordes of tourists can ruin its magnificence.
Bask in the sun, swim in the see-through waters and jump off the large rock in the middle. I took some snorkelling gear with me and saw some of the beauty that the ocean had to offer. Beware though, I also managed to spot a sea snake! I guess the beauty comes from it being wild and untouched…
Tayangban Cave Pools
The caves are an adventure I almost missed out on, because it doesn’t look like much when you pass it on the road – it’s literally a little shack where you pay less than $2 for a guide that leads you down a muddy path to the entrance of the caves. Do not let this put you off. It was one of the greatest experiences I had while in the Philippines. I don’t want to say too much because it was so amazing when I had no idea what was happening next. I will just say that it is an adventure from start to finish! And if you are afraid of the dark or of water, then this isn’t an adventure for you.
The trip to Sugba takes you around the other side of the island and you will get to see the buzzing town of Dapa along the way. Once you get there you will board a boat that will transport you across the illuminous blue water and into another world. This magical spot in the middle of the ocean is something that simply cannot be missed. I am going to share a secret with you: as the boat anchors, don’t delay in hiring a sup and doing some exploring.
Going around one of the bends that are created by the surrounding small islands will reveal a different world completely – flying fish, beautiful clear water, only the sound of birds echoing around you. We managed to get two locals to take us to a spot to jump off for some adrenaline pumping fun. Be careful though, the guides don’t warn you about the Jellyfish that float in these waters, so keep an eye out.
Santa Monica Pier
The pier on the opposite side of the island is remarkable, you can ride all along until the end. It seems like a great place to film a movie scene or make a drone video. The feeling of riding along in a group all the way to the end of this pier is refreshing. Park off on this pier and enjoy the breath-taking views.
Village Hopping and Shopping at the Markets
All around the island are hidden villages and settlements. If you enjoy the raw culture and experience of traveling then this will be a highlight for you. Hop on your bike and find the little gems around the island. It is life changing to see how these locals live in the most amazing places – in the jungle, on top of the water and amongst the wild animals. And wherever you spot a market, do some searching! You never know what different foods you could find to tantalise your taste buds.
The Surrounding Islands
Hire a boat and a boat driver will take you to one of the islands nearby – Naked island, Daku or Corregidor. They all have something unique to offer. Daku is perfect for swimming and having lunch (buy a fish, some vegetables and beer at the local market before you go, then ask someone to cook it up for you when you dock onto Daku). Take a hike on Corregidor Island and see the most amazing view that you’ll ever see in the Philippines. Or bask up the sun on Naked island.
So there you have the top 10 things to do in Siargao. Everything you do will make you feel as though you are living the island life, which is a life I wouldn’t mind living every day. It is relaxing at the same time as being adventurous; it is meaningful at the same time as being impulsively fun. It is what I believe living should feel like. I am grateful to this island for sharing its beauty with me. Salamat kaayo, Siargao!
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