Siargao Island, Philippines

Siargao Island Philippines jungle palm trees

 

 

Siargao Island is much more urbanized compared to our time in Cebu. There are plenty of restaurants, a wider selection of quality food, and many more actual beaches. I found that Cebu is wonderful for adventure, diving, snorkeling, whale sharks, etc. but Siargao Island has the surfing, relaxation, and white sand beaches. I said to Kevin as we were driving into General Luna, “Wow, it reminds me a lot of Tulum.” If you’ve never been to Tulum, I recommend going as it has some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen and amazing boutique hotels, restaurants, and probably the most instagram-worthy town ever.

 

 

But I’m here to talk about Siargao (pronounced Shar-gaow) which one of the locals corrected me on when they heard me saying it wrong. When we first got in from the ferry we took a Tuk Tuk (aka: Tricycle) to General Luna, Greenhouse– where we were staying the first half of the week. I want to take a moment to talk about Greenhouse’s cafe (open from 7:30-12:30). It legit had some of the best breakfast food I’ve ever had. And the coconut cold brew- oh man. So, so good. Kevin and I ate breakfast there nearly every morning. The resort itself is all eco-friendly and feels like you’re in the middle of the jungle; completely isolated. Even though you’re not because General Luna is the most popular area. They also have a restaurant/ common area with wonderful dinners as well and surprisingly large portioned meals. Kevin and I were surprised with how much food they brought us after having dinner there one night.

 

Cheeky smiles because of the most bomb-ass coconut cold brew from Greenhouse Cafe.

 

 

Siargao Island is first and foremost a surfer town. Cloud 9 area is where the surfing mostly takes place. Kevin and I really wanted to try out surfing while we were there but ran out of time. We’re thinking our next visit we will take the time to dedicate a few days to hiring a teacher and learning. Also, if you’re looking to stay in Siargao Island, General Luna is 100% the best place to do so. The rest of the island is quite isolated without access to quality food, water, comforting hotels, etc. Also, the animals here look a lot healthier and are more friendly, which made me really happy.

 

 

On our second to last day, we took the scooter up to Tak Tak falls {renting a scooter on the island will cost you around 400-500 PP/ day, and, in my mind, totally worth it}. I will admit though, I was very scared riding on it -Kevin drove most of the time- because I feel it’s rather dangerous with the curvy roads and crazy drivers. Plus, the scooter is heavy so whenever Kevin was on the back it was very hard to maneuver. We saw a few wipe outs and accidents on our travels. But aside from being careful, we drove it up to the falls, which were widely disappointing. I wouldn’t recommend going here, at least during dry season. In comparison to Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Tak Tak falls {I don’t know why it’s plural when there is only one fall} was like it’s much smaller, baby cousin. And it took us about an hour and a half drive to get there, then about a 500m walk trekking through the unpaved mud. So not worth it, but the beauty was that we got to explore almost the entire island by doing so. We passed to many small towns, one was built completely over the water. We also stopped by a resort far north of the island called Jafe Resort. It was like a mansion in the middle of nowhere. We stopped for lunch and chatted with the owner. He had some amazing stories to share about the island. And him being a New York native told me some crazy things about New York too. I loved it here. They also had two small puppies roaming around which didn’t hurt either. 😉

 

 

Our last full day was spent exploring the nearby islands. We headed down to the market place in General Luna and you don’t have to try too hard to look for someone to take you out, vendors will approach you and ask “island tour?” {Side note: I really like how everyone speaks english, it makes it a lot easier.} We found someone to take us to the 3 nearby islands for only 1,500 PP all together.  It was cheaper because we found a vendor at the market place and just brought on our own food; mostly fruit and beers. You stay for as long as you like too. We started on Naked Island- this is essentially just a small pile of sand, they call it “Naked” because there is literally nothing on it. After spending a short amount of time there, we went to Daku Island {It kind of sucked because Kevin and I got soooo sunburnt, even though we applied vigorously before we left, and I couldn’t go in the water without major pain because of my motorbike burn a week earlier. Be careful kids, look out for the exhaust!!} but we made the best of it. Daku is a much larger island than the other 2 and a good chill spot. It is spread out and has little bungalow huts which you can rent for a cheap price. We ended the tour at Guyam island; smaller but lush. The water is crystal clear but surrounded by a big reef.

 

Shaka, Siargao Island, Philippines

These were our smoothie bowls at Shaka.

 

Now, where to eat. General Luna for Siargao Island in particular had a lot more options than all of Cebu. I mentioned how we ate at Greenhouse Cafe for breakfast nearly every day but if you’re looking for coffee shops with WiFi and AC {keep in mind, the WiFi everywhere in the Philippines is slow} then Coco surf is a cool place to check out. Plus, they have espresso shots and I love me some good espresso. We also checked out Shaka for their smoothie bowls- they didn’t disappoint. Harana Surf is a resort just down the road from Greenhouse and they have an amazing mango poke bowl. We went back a couple times for lunch. Lastly, the resorts can get a bit expensive, definitely more so than anywhere in Cebu, but you pay for quality. If you’re looking for good food on a budget, check out the market place. Tons of vendors, karaoke wars, cheap beers, and dancing on the beach. Kevin and I went to Palaka Beach Bar Resto for fish burgers on our last night. If I’m being honest, this was my favorite dinner spot and I’m sad we went on our last night. We watched the sunset, kids playing nearby, good music and dancing just across from us, and I fed a small kitten when I was done my meal #SharingIsCaring. They also have 2 for 1 happy hour from 4-6pm.

 

 

Next time we visit, I plan to head more west and visit El Nido, Coron and the surrounding islands there. Such an amazing place!

 

 

Have you visited the Philippines? Let me know in the comments below. What was your experience?

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