I always love the idea of a beach trip and no way will that Siargao not be on the list, but I am indecisive of how expensive the island was for me as a budget traveler.
I remember when I first told my friend Jang of the idea of visiting Siargao a year ago but she apprises that her colleague spent more or less P 20,000.00 each for a 5-day tour on the island so I detain the destination. Not later this year I was able to tick off the surfer’s haven of the Philippines and prove that you can spend way cheaper with the proper planning and smart ideas with the help of other bloggers who had been to the island.
Siargao is an outlying island located in the northwest of Mindanao and still a part of Surigao del Norte province of the Philippines. Popular for most foreign tourists since it is the best surfing spot in the country not later than the year 2017 when foreign and local tourists started to flock all year round. Travelling has been much easier nowadays due to the opening of the New Sayak Airport on the island which has direct flights from Cebu, Clark, and Manila.
Recent post: Life Lesson my Experiences Taught me
How to get here
The island is now accessible for having both direct flights from Manila and Cebu. Operated by PAL and Cebu Pacific. Mostly Cebpac has discounted flights that you can book for as low as P1,800.00 for a sale ticket. Airline rates are pretty pricey during its peak season so you may opt to fly to Surigao or Butuan City instead and take the ferry to Siargao Island.
Top Places to visit in Siargao
I’ve been to Boracay Island and El Nido but Siargao is the best island so far. I had the most laid-back vacation that doesn’t require you to wake up early in the morning and catch up on an early tour. We had able to get some rest and enjoy our whole trip.
There are a lot of activities you need to try and experience even if you are not a surfer but oh boy! You need to try surfing! It’s addicting!
SURFING AT CLOUD 9
The favorite destination of both local and foreign tourists, Cloud 9 is in General Luna (GL) where surfer and non-surfer meets. It has a boardwalk and to its end is a wooden tower where you can sit and watch surfers race against waves, or wait and catch sunset during the golden hours.
If you are a beginner and wanted to try surfing, well you must try! There are surfboards for rent for P500.00 an hour including the instructor. They will teach you basic surfing procedure and will guide you in the water.
Tricycle fare: P20.00 (standard fee per head)
Cloud 9 Entrance Fee: P50.00
Surfing lesson with a guide: P500.00 per hour
Additional fee: P300.00 (only if you wanted someone to take a photo and videos of you/group)
SOHOTON COVE IN BUCAS GRANDE
After a two-hour boat ride from Dapa Market is an enchanting place comparable to the islands of El Nido, Palawan. Sohoton derives its name from the Cebuano word so-oton which means you have to pass through a small opening of the cavern. That is why you need to wear a helmet and bend your head down passing through the caverns low ceiling entrance. Sohoton Cove is enchanted, blessed with numerous small valley in the side of the mountains, caves, and mangrove forests, and blue lagoons a representation of raw beauty of Mother Nature.
Why it’s called Magkukuob? Because visitors have to wade in the water to get inside, climb in the middle of spectacular rock formations and walk down the stairway that leads you to a platform. There is no other way for you to exit in Magkuku-ob but to jump the 12 to 15 feet high above sea level water.
Hagukan Cave also called the snoring cave of Sohoton because of the snore-like sounds produced by waves inside that will may you actually think it’s a sleeping cave.
Are you brave enough to know the secrets concealed by this cave? If so, brace yourself for a 10-second dive to enter the Hagukan cave. It is crazy! I am so afraid of deep water but yes! I did brace myself just to unleash my fear. I worry so much how I will be able to sustain in the water but thanks to our guide and the life jacket. Setting my fear aside, once inside the cave you can see a luminescent light that glows while splashing the water. What an interesting discovery!
After our Sohoton Cove tour, we transferred to a small paddled boat which can accommodate 3 persons including the boatman. Upon entering the sanctuary you will be captivated by an amazing view of trees that surrounds the emerald hues of the water. There wasn’t much jellyfish at that time we visit so we only spotted a few. The boatman said that they are resting because it is too hot above and they are many during the rainy season which is July to August.
You don’t have to worry about holding it because it’s stingless, I hold one and it feels fluffy on the skin but be careful and put it back to the water.
More than just its pristine beach, Corregidor Island is not just only for swimming and snorkeling. Hike your way on its grass trails to the other side passing by the palm trees and on top of that is a majestic view of the island.
TRI-ISLAND TOUR (NAKED, GUYAM AND DAKU ISLAND)
Naked Island from its name is just an island with nothing. No shade, no trees could be found.
Guyam Island is a small circular island packed with palm trees. This island can only be reached when its high tide for easy docking of the boatmen.
Daku Island the largest among the three islands and has cottages situated along the coast.
A vast plantation of coconut trees just alongside the road. The most Instagram-able spot of the island.
Located in the northwestern side of Del Carmen is an hour ride from GL. At the port, you have to register your name first. Each boat can accommodate 6 people for P1, 600.00 if you want to pay less per head you may wait for other passengers to fill in to split the fee. The boat ride to lagoon will take about less than an hour. You will be given 2 hours to stay in the area. There’s a small table for rent for P50.00 for your things. Paddleboards, canoes, life jackets, and snorkeling masks available onsite and is for rent too.
Boat Fee: P1,600.00 good for 6 pax
Entrance Fee: P100.00
Table rent: P50.00
Kayak/Paddleboard: P200.00 per hour
MAGPUPUNGKO ROCK POOLS
Glad to visit here on its low tide because you can’t appreciate its beauty on high tide. During low tide, the coastline reveals a natural infinity pool perfect for drone shots and swimming, a local vendor there said we need to check out the other side of it and found a huge boulder of rock piled. So, this is why it’s called Magpupungko because of the 2 rocks that seem to sit on the other.
Entrance fee: P50.00 per person
Maasin River was once a secret spot for local kids; it is where the iconic palm tree swing found that has gone viral on Instagram. This has gone famous because of the bent angle of the palm tree positioned in the middle of the river that gives you a stunning view.
Entrance fee: P20.00
Rent the raft for P20.00 and give tips to the guides, don’t worry it’s voluntary
Other places you must include in your itinerary:
▪ Pacifico Beach Resort
I heard so many good things about this resort, it is less crowded and peaceful surrounded by a bunch of palm trees found by surfers in search of unchartered territories.
Check out Pacifico Beach resort.
▪ Tayangban Cave Pool
For those with an adventurous spirit, this cave pool is a must. Located at the municipality of Pilar near the circumferential road is the only inland place full of adventures, 18ft cliff jumping is waiting.
▪ Taktak Falls
The only waterfall on the island of Siargao, though there’s nothing much to see you can do activities like cliff jumping, rope jumping and explore the top portion of the falls.
SAMPLE ITINERARY (4D3N)
with Budget Breakdown
Day 1 – Arrival and Cloud 9
We booked the first flight from Cebu City to Siargao which left 7:10 am and arrived at 8:15 am.
|Day 1 – Arrival / Cloud 9|
|9:00 am||Airport to Hostel||₱300.00|
|10:00am||Brunch (Filipino breakfast)||₱130.00|
|2:00pm||Trike to GL||₱20.00|
|6:00pm||Trike to Bugsay for dinner||₱20.00|
|8:00pm||Trike back to the hotel||₱20.00|
|Beauty rest/lights off|
|Day 1 – Expenses||₱1,358.75|
Day 2 – Island Hopping Tour
Book your Island Hopping Tour with Gotmarked Tours, highly recommended travel and tour agent in Siargao. Highly organized when it comes to the itinerary, very accommodating and helpful tour guides plus an amazing lunch.
Contact GotMarked ToursFacebook Page.
|Day 2 – Island Hopping|
|7:30 AM||Trike to Dapa Market||₱20.00|
|9:00 AM||Island Hopping tour||₱1,700.00|
|Daku Island Naked Island|
|5:00 PM||Trike to Hostel||₱20.00|
|6:00 PM||Dinner at Mama’s Grill (625/4)||₱156.25|
|Day 2 – Expenses||₱2,216.25|
Day 3 – Land Tour
Arranged our land tour the day we arrived in Siargao. We’re passing by this signage beside the road and approached Kuya Meckoy and asked his rates for the tour. The gang agreed to have the car rental instead of multicab and Kuya Meckoy is such a nice person. We enjoyed his company while he introduced everything about Siargao to us.
You can either plan ahead or just plan your tour when you arrive in Siargao. Tour operators are everywhere and they are happy to serve you!
|Day 3 – Land Tour|
|8:00 AM||Car Rental (3500/4)||₱875.00|
|9:00 AM||Sugba Lagoon Boat (1600/6)||₱266.67|
|Sugba Lagoon Entrance||₱100.00|
|11:30 AM||Entance Magpupungko||₱50.00|
|12:00 nn||Lunch (500/4)||₱125.00|
|3:00 PM||Entance Maasin River||₱20.00|
|6:00 PM||Dinner Kermit Surf (1390/4)||₱347.50|
|8:00 PM||Bar hopping /disco|
|Day 3 – Expenses||₱1,884.17|
Day 4 – Departure
We decided to have a sumptuous lunch before leaving the island and not far from where we stayed in is the Bravo Beach Resort and Restaurant. It’s a beachfront resort with a restaurant and rated as a 3 Star Hotel in Siargao. The restaurant opens Monday to Sunday from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM. They host live music every Friday and Sundays. Poor thing it was our last day, but surely will come back though!
|Day 4 – Departure|
|11:00 AM||Lunch Bravo Restaurant (1750/4)||₱437.50|
|3:00 PM||The fare to Sayak Airport||₱300.00|
|Day 4 – Expenses||₱737.50|
|Summary of Expenses|
|Airbnb @ Cocoboo (4D3N) (2,050 x 3 = 6,150)||₱1,537.50|
|RT Airfare via Ceb Pac||₱2,555.00|
Get P 2,200.00 when you first sign up with Airbnb room in Siargao.
Travel and Tipid Tips
- Booked flights ahead, sale flights from airlines can down to P1,000.00 round trip ticket if you’re lucky enough.
- A standard fee of van rentals from Sayak Airport to any point in Siargao is P300.00 per head. The tricycle Fee is P500.00 good for 4 persons.
- Book hotels and hostels ahead of your flight, a lot of tourists in Siargao nowadays that even getting a reasonable hostel seems quite difficult. I suggest you booked hostels and rooms near General Luna which is close to everything. You may check out Airbnb or Agoda for the rates and available rooms.
- Highly recommended for your island hopping tours is GotMarked Tours. Message them through their Facebook Page.
- Bring a waterproof case when you are on an island hopping tour and in Cloud 9, rental of it is P50.00.
- Other helpful rates:
▪ Motorbike rental – P500.00 plus gasoline
▪ Trike rental Day Tour – P2,000.00 / 4 persons
▪ Multicab rental Day tour – P3,000.00 / max 10 persons
▪ Pick-up rental day tour – P3,500.00 all in
- I don’t have fix rates for Island hopping tours because every tour operators have different inclusions and rates. Your hotel can recommend also if you haven’t found any.
- Be a responsible traveler. Siargao town is the first in Surigao del Norte to ban the use of plastic.
- If you are a first-timer in Siargao, you need to try surfing! It’s fun!
- Siargao is best shared with groups in order to lessen the expenses.
- Locals are very friendly and make sure to have fun!
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