I fell in love with Siargao!
Siargao. This island is called “The Surfing capital of the Philippines” and home to Cloud Nine, a perfect barreling right and left hander wave that breaks over a reef. Siargao became part of my bucket list when I had started to enjoy surfing. So, naturally, when Surfista Travels announced a trip to this island, I signed up right away. What better way enjoy this country’s surf capital than with a bunch of other surfing addicts like me?
Someone told me that Siargao is a place you can easily get addicted to and they were right! It was a no-brainer - falling in love with the island was easy. Whether you are a surfer or not, this island has so much to offer, such as:
1. Awesome waves. Siargao, or more particularly the surf spot Cloud 9, was recently ranked 9th place in CNN Travel website’s 50 best surf spots around the world. Surfers from around the world flock to Cloud 9 to get their stoke on, but in the right time, its waves can be surfed by anyone, even by beginners and novice surfers like me. When Cloud 9 gets crowded or its waves become too big, there are other surf spots around the island such as Pisangan or Quicksilver, among others. While most of us were first-timers in Siargao, a couple of people in the group, like Hanz and Emily, were back in Siargao to further improve on their surfing.
2. And awesome surfers. Our instructors were not just good, they were the best that the island has to offer! Most of them have won in surfing competitions and are well-recognized in the Philippine surfing circles. Just recently, my instructor made a splash when he placed 2nd in the 19th Siargao Surfing Cup, the last Filipino competing against three professional Indonesian surfers and even getting a perfect 10 score during the semis. And it wasn’t just the instructors – even Elaine’s assistant in Siargao competes in surfing events.
3. Adventures (and misadventures!). I traveled on the back of the motorcycle for two hours to reach the Magpupungko Rock Pools, which was an adventure already in itself – while I enjoyed the open air view of the beautiful countryside, we also passed through muddy, rough roads. But just before we reached our destination, the motorcycle I was riding breaks down and we get stranded in a small town “in the middle of nowhere”. While on the same trip (and the same route), our companions also met an accident when they fell into the muddy road. On a different occasion, Hanz took the Surfistas to his hometown Del Carmen and they explored the non-surfing side of Siargao. And what about coming face to face with live snakes on two separate times? There’s never a shortage of happenings in this island.
4. Unspoiled nature. Best enjoyed during the low tide, the Magpupungko pools emerge at Pilar and is a favorite site for snorkeling and cliff-jumping. At night, the sky is littered with stars and the trees on the roadside glimmer like Christmas trees because of the fireflies. White sand beaches are found and enjoyed all around the island. And as if that is not enough, we visited the nearby islands to enjoy a day full of sun, sand, and swim (in ridiculously crystal clear waters).
5. The island life. After all the frenzy of surfing, jumping off cliffs, and exploring Siargao on a motorbike, the pace of the island life eventually got to me and I managed to just let go of wanting to move around. I used the free time to do some yoga, read a book, sleep in a hammock, watch the sunset, chill out by the beach with beer and good company… And let the day pass by slowly. For someone who is so used to the fast-paced life of deadlines and to-dos, I was hesitant at first to just let time pass without doing anything. But, in the end, I learned to love it!
6. The people. Ah, the people. The Siargaonons and the rest of the people who call Siargao their home have been some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. We were only there six days and already they treated us like family. Cheery ‘Good mornings’ at breakfast, greetings at the line-up, words of encouragement when we try to catch our own waves, high fives at the boardwalk, and that wonderful feeling that we were always welcome to stay. It’s no wonder people stay here for days, weeks, months, years, and even forever! The island immediately feels like home and it’s people like family.
I was captivated by Siargao in as little as six days that I’ve gone back twice and planning more trips soon. After all, with all that the island has to offer and so much more, how can one not fall in love with Siargao?