Siargao for Non-Surfers, Yet!


Whenever I think of Siargao Island I imagine myself waiting for a decent swell to come and when it does, I follow through by padding my way to meet the forming waves head on. The first step in a series of difficult process culminating with trying to stand on my surf board prior to crashing hard and being swallowed by the waves. A failure of catastrophic embarrassment ending with my head emerging from the water almost short of breathe and struggling to swim back to safety.


As my surfing shame don’t end there, I visualize countless veteran surfers laughing hard at me. While my vision of Siargao may seem daunting and frightening - akin to going inside a lion’s den. In this instance, a beach littered with watchful eyes of the who’s who of the surfing community, a surfer poser like me have nowhere to hide.

That’s Alright Brother

But that’s not the case in real life as I found out. While taking photographs of the beach on our first morning, a local surfer sleeping on a hammock at the Cloud Nine view deck asked me if I am going surfing. I answered him in Tagalog with “I’m just a newbie, maybe next time”. He replied back with “Okay lang yon kuya, lahat nag-sisimula sa hindi marunong” (that’s alright brother, everyone starts from scratch when learning to surf).


I realized the local surfers aren’t the type who’d make fun of wannabe surfers like me. Nobody was born an expert of something anyway. As much as I wanted to give it a shot, I know I still needed to accumulate countless hours of practice in a more laid back surfing location such as La Union or Baler – before I take up space in the lineup with the surf board riding sharks of Siargao.

This is the reason why I eagerly welcomed this chill journey to Siargao as part of Cebu Pacific Air’s media trip. A big part of it was because I saw the itinerary only mentioning “Surfing” on the last day – and it came with a note that says “if we have time”.

The pressure of visiting Siargao and showing off my non-existent surfing skills and not embarrass myself somehow disappeared. I know that I’ve to someday return to this island with an advanced ability in riding the waves. But until then, I would love to explore the non-surfing attractions of Siargao first. 

Plotting a simple Siargao itinerary other than hitting the many surfing spots of Siargao? here's a brief rundown of the places we visited. 

Sugba Blue Lagoon

Situated right smack in a protected area of a 4,000-hectare nature sanctuary which also boasts the second largest Mangrove forest in the Philippines, the sight of the clear waters of Sugba Blue Lagoon sliced through my consciousness like a Zen knife. A state of calmness quickly got a hold of me. I was amazed at how magnificent Mother Nature formed these azure colored waters as it snaked around the scattered islets off the coast of Del Carmen.


A 40 minute drive from General Luna to Del Carmen and another hour and half of boat ride completed our morning journey to Sugba Blue Lagoon. As we cruised inside the mouth of the mangrove forest, I saw small fishing houses built on stilts surrounded by the islets thick vegetation.

Photo credit: Miss Backpacker
Inching nearer, the waters became greener and the first thing I noticed as we approached the makeshift wooden jetty is the lone pontoon house, casing the dining and receiving area where visitors are advised to proceed and hang out.

This is also where you can rent stand-up paddle-boards, kayaks and other inflatable flotation. After renting a table where we put our things, our group went on our own separate agendas. I started off with the paddle-board before shifting to the kayak.


There were more than 50 people that day, but the sheer size of the lagoon means you can still enjoy the isolation sense of the place surrounded by various kinds of shrubbery.

An 8-feet wooden diving board built adjacent at the walking platform became our playground after we had lunch consisting of adobo squids, liempo, steamed shrimps and crabs. Everyone just egged others to jump and when someone exhibited apprehensions, as if right on cue two little girls’ displaying bravado, showed the way. They took turns in jumping into the water more than a dozen times, to the astonishment of everybody including their mom. “Mommy, we’re going to jump again”, the older girl would declare the moment they swam back to the dais.

Magpupungko Natural Rock Pools

We took our sweet time at Sugba Blue Lagoon knowing we don’t have to rush going to Magpupungko, which is located an hour away. The best time to visit this place is during low tide, so the tidal pool will emerge from underwater.  


We arrived ahead of the crowd at around 4:30 pm, and while the tides aren’t that low, the sheen of the setting sun kissing the rock formations provided a surreal scene. Seeing the clear waters shining like crystals I wasted no time and quickly waded into it.


Not long after, our whole group are all plunged neck deep in the tidal pool, all enjoying an afternoon dip to cap a beautiful day exploring Siagao sans a surf board.


Naked Island

The next day, after coming from Bucas Grande – which is located 2 hours away by boat from the island of Siargao, we passed by Naked Island.


Naked Island is one of three widely visited white sand islands located off the coast of General Luna in Siargao. Since we pressed for time, we only managed to drop by Naked Island. Good thing or a bad thing, depending on your preference, the island isn't a nudist beach. It is similar to many sandbar islands in the Philippines such as the White Island in Camiguin, bare and beautiful, and I am hoping it remains that way forever.

Despite of the heavy downpour and cloudy skies, we still made the most of our short time here and whatever “wish I could stay longer” thoughts I had, quickly morphed into a planned return trip to Siargao soon.

Time’s a bummer so we missed out on the two other islands: Guyam and Daku Islands. We made up for it though by spending the rest of our short 4-days trip in Siargao by going on a food-trip feast checking out some of the island’s best places to eat.

And yes, next time I head back to Siargao I better take up surfing and never miss out Guyam and Daku islands again.

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Since December 17, 2017, the Philippines’ leading carrier Cebu Pacific Air have started flying direct between Manila and Siargao, six times a week.



Panampangan Island