Siargao

Siargao Cloud 9

A small teardrop-shaped island at the coast of the Philippine Deep, Siargao promises a surfing and beach drifting experience like no other as the country's surfing capital. 

Situated 800 kilometers south of Manila, in the western part of the territory of Northern Mindanao's Surigao Del Norte. Siargao Island has approximately 200,000 inhabitants and covers 48 little islands which are divided into nine municipalities: Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, Pilar, San Benito, San Isidro, Santa Monica, and Socorro. It covers roughly 437 square kilometers of land area with each having something exemplary to offer from one island to another. 

The crystal deep blue waters surrounding Siargao's different spectacular islands and islets are just emblems of much-desired peace and relaxation. It is a haven to all ocean lovers, tourists or vacationists. Even if you are not (yet) a surfer, its world-class waves that reach up to nine-feet high are just breathtaking and awesome to witness. Its sugar-fine white sands, natural lagoons, dive sites, water caves, stalagmites and stalactites, mangrove forests make this place a haven for the sea children and nature lovers. 

Dapa is the main port of entry to the island, located about 16 kilometers from the Capital General Luna (GL) on the east coast where most of the action is going on.  A few kilometers north of GL is Tuason point, overlooking the world class surf break of Cloud 9, where an international annual surf contest is held.

Best Time To Visit

As Siargao is famous and best at its surfing features, save your July to November for a vacation in its islands for the height of the surfing season. During these months, surfing waves from the depth of the Pacific come alive and give its audience an awesome and enjoyable high altitude fit for your surfboards.

If you want to go island hopping and take a peek of the scenic views in different islands of  Siargao, summer months (dry season) from March to May will give you the perfect weather condition for your activity.

Game fishers can have their time during August as it is the game fishing season of the year, not to mention, the provincial government initiates a game fishing competition during this month. So if you're ready for some action in your vacation, might as well join this competition for a remarkable experience you can capture through your camera and your memories and bring home.

In general, you can easily come back to Siargao anytime of the year you may want, as its beauty knows no season.

Highlights

Being the Surfing Capital of the Philippines and one of Asia's most sought-after destinations, Siargao  boasts its pristine paradise-like white beaches incomparable to any other swimming capitals. Do island hopping to explore the captivating sites in its little neighboring islands, which are few minutes or hours away from each other. Have a glimpse of the crystal waters and let the cool breeze take you to each destination. Arrange a team of friends or family members and do an interesting work-out and bonding with beach volleyball.

Aside from its lounging coastline, it also brags about its well-preserved wetland of mangroves In Del Carmen, which is the largest in Mindanao. In the east, a number of virgin inland seas faces the Pacific Ocean and serve as source of livelihood for the area inhabitants. Kayak through the water-paved mangrove forests and be caught in awe.

Surfing and island hopping are not all in Siargao. You can also try game fishing in the islands of Gayum and Daku. Have an exhilarating riding-in-balance in a local 'habal-habal' or 'iskaylab,' a popular two-wheeled single motorcycle (motorbike) found in Mindanao which can carry  five to six passengers. Enter the Sohoton Cave and marvel in the beauty that awaits you. Take a dive in its deep waters and swim with the stingless jellyfishes.

Communication

Even when you're enjoying yourself in the water, you can still contact people back home through your mobile phone service provider. Smart/Talk N' Text works well in the areas although there are some islands which have bad signals. Landlines are also available for domestic and overseas communication.

Internet also works well so you can easily talk to your loved ones abroad through Skype chat, Yahoo messenger, or e-mail, or share the photos you just captured for the whole day through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Smart Bro works just right in Siargao as network signals.

Money

Being in the eastern part of Mindanao, Siargao is far from the country's capital. Thus, a bigger budget can get you going in Siargao without any shortage. A cash of Php5,000.00 to Php7,000.00 will let you explore Siargao and dig in the activities for three days and two nights, exclusive of air fare and transportation rentals if you'll have any. It includes surfing lessons for beginners.

Although some resorts accept international credit cards, it's good to have enough cash on hand. Most prefer cash. The Cantilan Bank, Inc. has also set up an ATM in Siargao which accepts only local cards such as Megalink, BancNet, ExpressNet, and local MasterCards.

Before going to the island, have your currency changed into Peso. There is a Western Union in Dapa Island in Siargao where you can send and receive wire money transfers in Peso. If ever you run out of cash, you can also go to Surigao City to find major banks and ATMs. It is a four-hour boat ride away from the island.

Commercial banks available are the following: United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), Land Bank of the Philippines, BDO, Allied Banking Corporation, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank), Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and Philippine National Bank. Surely, you can find assistance through these banks in case of money withdrawal or transfers.

There are also courier and mailing services for wire money transfers: JRS Express, LBC Express, Fastpack Services, Pates Forwarding Services, Libcap Super Express, and Philippine Postal Corporation.

Immigration

For extending your visa you can check and inquire in Surigao's branch of Bureau of Immigration right at the provincial capital. It is located in Narciso Street,  Surigao City, Surigao Del Norte. You can ask the process about visa extension through this branch. To get to Surigao City, ride a boat, a ferry, or fast craft which have daily schedules of sails from Dapa.