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Your Ultimate DIY Travel Guide to Siargao Island 2024

I spent most of my days in there barefoot – with tiny white shells on a string dangling on my right ankle. Everyday, my hair gets too briny and my skin gets tanner than ever. I could instantly hit the beach and bury my feet in the sand when I want to as I could just hop into a motorbike and drive few minutes down to Cloud 9. At dusk, we’d hang out on the beach to get some cheap mango ice candy that tastes heaven available at the entrance of the tower, an overpriced fruit shake or a bottle of beer while waiting for the gorgeous hues of sunset change from golden to bloody shade and disappear. This is how it is in Siargao.

Siargao has been among the top destinations in the Philippines to get overdosed with world-class surfing waves, bone-white sand, laid back sunsets, waters with impossibly perfect hues of jade and turquoise that sparkles with brilliance under the sun and get the tropical vibes with countless towering coconut trees in every turn. Is Siargao worth visiting? Absolutely, as it could make everyone effortlessly fall in love with the island and its people! Indeed, it is a place to be for every wonder chasers. Knowing what the island is blessed with, surge of  travelers from all over the globe would come to experience its beauty first hand.

About Siargao

Siargao island is part of the province of Surigao del Norte under the CARAGA region situated in the Northern East tip of Mindanao. Locals mainly speak Surigaonan, Bisaya and Tagalog but could speak basic tourist English.

Siargao has been known to host International Surfing Cup for over two decades already. Today, people do not just mainly come to the island to surf but to experience its visually arresting natural gems like its pristine beaches, lagoons, caves, waterfalls and more.

Getting to Around and Away

By Plane

1. From Manila to Siargao
Local airlines such as Cebu Pacific, Skyjet and Philippine Airlines have several direct flights on a daily basis from Manila to Sayak Airport.
A. From Sayak Airport, take a van (Php 200.00 per pax), multicab (Php 250.00) or tricycle or habal habal (Php 300.00) to General Luna.

2. From Cebu to Siargao
There are direct flights daily from Mactan Airport, Cebu to Sayak Airport, Siargao. The flight takes more or less an hour.

3. From Manila to Butuan, Agusan Del Norte
The abovementioned local airlines also have several flights daily from Manila to Bancasi Airport in Butuan, Agusan Del Norte.
a. From Bancasi Airport, take a cab (Php 15.00) to the bus terminal going to Surigao City or Tacloban. Get into a Bachelor bus liner. This will take two to two and a half hours of land travel. Fare is at Php 250.00.
b. Another option you may also consider is taking the van which is faster than the bus. Fare is at Php 250.00 per head.

By Ferry 

Surigao to Siargao 

Dapa Port in Dapa, Siargao can be reached in two to three hours sea travel from the Philippine Port Authority in Surigao City, Surigao del Norte – the jump off to Siargao for almost three decades already.

There are shipping lines such as Angel, Montenegro, Evaristo & Sons and others which en route to Siargao from Surigao and vice versa as early as 5:00 AM. Fast crafts leaving the port may arrive to the other point of destination after two hours. RORO on the other hand may take three to four hours. The latter is cheaper but it takes too much time.
a. from Dapa Port, take a tricycle or van that may drop you off exactly at your accommodation. Last trip is at 1:00 PM.

Passengers are required to pay for the terminal fee amounting to Php 10.00. Senior Citizens, Persons with Disability and Students are exempted from paying the terminal fees as long as they have their Identification cards with them. They may also get discounts from the ferry fare as long as they can present their ID to the counter.

Getting Around

Motorbike and tricycle are the main means of transportation around Siargao. However, there are also resorts who have van and car rentals for a more convenient Siargao tour.

Motorbike 24-hour rental rates start at Php 350.00 up to Php 500.00 for a day. Gasoline is not included. A Liter of it which costs Php 50.00 to Php 55.00 could last through the day. Van rentals on the other hand starts at Php 2,000.00.

One of the most convenient and cheapest ways to explore Siargao, especially if you want to go from an island to another, is through joining travel and tours. For Siargao joiner tours, I’d highly recommend GotMarked Tours. They could also arrange and customize tour packages for you.

Things to Do in Siargao

Surfing. Surfer or non-surfer, you can still ride on Siargao swells. There are several types of surf breaks but I would always hear of three: Jacking Horse, Quicksilver and Cloud 9. The beginners are brought to Jacking Horse while the experts ride the world-class waves of Cloud 9. This surf break is where surfing competitions are said to be usually held. Surfing with instructor and board is at Php 500.00 for an hour. Board rental on the other hand starts at Php 300.00 per hour. If you want to keep memories of your surf through taking photos and videos, the instructor would recommend you to get another local to do that. Their rate for that is Php 200.00 – Php 300.00 on top of the surfing instructor and board rental. Best time to surf is during the morning when the waters and tides are high. Take note that instructors may either be certified or not. They are not very strict about it. But if you want the most trusted surf instructors, you may drop by Oh Wow Surf and Surfista Siargao.

Riding the waves at Jacking Horse surf break

Activities for Non-Surfers

1. Spelunking and Cave Exploration at Tayangban Cave. One of the most exciting and fun activity that I’ve done in Siargao is exploring the Tayangban Cave. It took us an hour doing it. This cannot be explored without a tour guide. It’s seriously pitch black inside and chances of getting lost and drowned is high. The locals residing nearby has known every inch of the cave; thus, they know exactly which way to go and what to do while inside the cave. There is an environmental and registration fee of Php 20.00. Guide fee is all up to the tourists.

2. Swimming into the pristine beaches of the islands. Aside from Cloud 9, Siargao also has in land beaches such as Alegria, Pacifico, Malinao and Secret beach where you can get a good dip and bathe in the sun.

3. Island Hopping. Siargao Island itself may be pretty enthralling but it also has islands nearby that tourists usually go to. Among these are Bucas Grande Island, Guyam Island, Naked Island, Daku Island, Corregidor Island, Kawhagan Sandbar and more. Each island has its own unique characteristics that none of which can be compared with the other.

4. Diving and Cliff Jumping. This can be done in Tayangban Cave, Magpupungko Rock Pools and Sugba Lagoon. These activities would surely make your adrenaline rush.

5. Kayaking. Kayaking can be best done in Sugba Lagoon. Recently, they have added clear kayaks which make the experience more surreal and fascinating as you can clearly see what’s beneath your kayaks.

6. Paddle Boarding. There are paddle boards available for rental at Cloud 9. This can also be done in Sugba lagoon. Paddle board rental’s rate starts at Php 300.00 for an hour.

7. Rafting at Sugba Lagoon

8. Experience stingless jellyfish of Sohoton in its very own sanctuary. Appearance of swarms of jellyfish are only seasonal. They usually show up during summer. If you are visiting during their off-season, you might chance upon only a few.

9. Go through the caves of Sohoton. Sohoton and Bucas Grande Island Tours usually start midday. This is due to high tide. Boats could not pass through the caves to get into the main attractions since the tides are high.

10. Trek to the hilltop of Corregidor Islands. The hilltop of Corregidor Island promises a breath taking view of the green rolling hills that looks like that of Batanes. Also, it is the home of that extraordinarily bent coconut tree.

11. Swing from the bent coconut tree in Maasin River.

12. Crash into bars for some lit night life. There are a lot of restaurants in General Luna that transform into bars full of life at night.

13. Do a beach clean up. What’s a five-minute of your time doing beach clean compared to an almost an hour of trying to look for a place that would look good on your Social Media accounts?

Walking our way to the low point cliff diving spot of Tayangban Cave

Places to Visit

Cloud 9

Siargao’s Cloud 9 is every surfer’s paradise. It boasts several surf breaks that even a beginner can enjoy. It is among the picture-perfect spots in Siargao as it boasts a tower with a long wooden walkway from the beach. After a long and tiring day of touring around the island, retiring at Cloud 9 with the glorious sunset before you is among the best way to end your day. Entrance fee to Cloud 9 tower is at Php 50.00.

Mountain View

The Mountain View is among the the spots in Siargao that has become an instant attraction due to the picturesque view of the coconut treetops against the canopy of the clouds hanging in the blue skies. Below it is known to be a coconut plantation.

Kawhagan/Kauhagan Sandbar

Photo by Rizanoia

Sugba Lagoon

From Magpupungko, Sugba lagoon can be reached in 30 minutes by land travel and 30-40 min boat transfer via the town of Pilar. There are lots of water activities in Sugba Lagoon such as paddle boarding, kayaking, rafting and diving. Its among the spots in Siargao with the most relaxing view since the view on the other side of the tower where boats dock and people stay when off the waters is enveloped in nothing but hues of green.

Magpupungko Rock Pools

During low tide, natural rock pools appear on this side of Siargao. Tourists can enjoy the sight of tides from afar, snorkeling and low-point cliff diving at the rock pools. There are several pools that appear, big and small, at noon time. When famished, you can also have your lunch as there are small local restaurants at the beach. Should you decide to wait on low tide in this place, there’s a beach right at the entrance but swimming is not allowed due to the tides and waves.

At the end of the rock pools.
This is among the picturesque spots in Magpupungko that we found since it was a little crowded when we came. Shall you decide to take photos in here too, be careful since the tides in here are a little powerful.

Coconut Street

The Coconut Street is actually that iconic part of the highway with what seemed like arrays of hundreds of coconut trees on each side. Extra caution shall be taken when taking photos in this spot. It’s a highway and we are just tourists and we are not supposed to be loitering in there.

Photo by Rizanoia

Maasin River

Bent coconut trees always fascinate me. I’ve seen a lot of them but this one in Maasin River has taken it to the next level. It’s in Maasin River where you can actually take a swing from a coconut tree and drop to the cold waters of the river below. It is just some three to five minutes away from the Coconut street.

The bent coconut tree of Maasin River

There’s an environmental fee of Php 20.00 and another Php 20.00 shall be paid if you want to take a photo on the raft.

Tayangban Cave

It features an underground river with fascinating stalactites and stalagmites formation with a short narrow canyon at the end leading you to the crystal waters where you can jump off to. Bringing headlamps or waterproof flashlights is a must.

Tayangban Cave Exploration ends in this point
At the low point cliff diving spot

Guyam Island

Just like Daku Island, Guyam Island gives it tourists a tropical vibe due to the number of coconut trees that will welcome them upon docking at the beach. Of the three islands included in the tri-island tours, Guyam island is most laid back, at least for me. There’s a small store of affordable bevarage in the island, too!

Boat docking fee (php 20.00) and Entrance fee (php 30.00 per head) are collected when the tourists set foot in the island.

Daku Island

From the word, Daku which means big, Daku Island is the biggest among the tri-island destinations (Daku, Guyam, Naked island). There are locals who can cook for you in this island. Getting a nipa cottage is required should you get your food cooked by them. Cottages rate is at Php 250.00 and table rate is at Php 150.00. You can choose from pork and seafood that they sell at a price. While waiting on your food, you may roam around, take pictures and play beach volleyball at the other side. There are also a lot of coconut trees that do not just provide shade but also bear fruits that could quench your thirst.

Naked Island

This island with nothing but sand, a small (literally small like it has just grown for months) palm tree and few grass is literally naked. There are no trees at all nor anything to provide shade to the tourists. It’s the most perfect place to those who want to lay and get tanned.

Corregidor Island

The famous bent coconut tree of Corregidor Island

Corregidor Island is among the wholesome spots in Siargao I’ve ever been to and the good thing about it is that it doesn’t often get crowded with tourists. Unlike any other tourist island destinations in Siargao, there’s an established community in Corregidor Island.

Corregidor Island’s Hilltop

Photo by Rizanoia

To get  more breathtaking scene, you may want to trek to the hilltop for a thirty to forty five minutes. Enjoy the vast greens and rolling hills with the distant sound of crashing waves from afar. It’s also in the hilltop where you can find an oddly yet beautifully bent coconut tree. Shall you wanna stay for a night in the island, there are several resorts in there, too.

It features a grainy creamy white sand beach. But tourists most especially the non-swimmers should take extra caution because there’s a tendency for the waves to carry them away from the each. Also, the waters get too deep already from only two to three meters away from the shore.

The beach of Corregidor Island

Malinao and Secret Beaches

Malinao beach was not hard for us to find since it is marked on the Google maps. We went there with our motorbikes and it took us thirty minutes to get there. The prestigous Nay Palad and Bayud Botique Hotel are actually found in there.

The way going to Secret Beach

Photo by Rizanoia

Secret beach, on the other hand, kind of tested our patience maybe because it was also raining that time, too. We asked the locals regarding its location since we could not find in the maps and we got nothing. Later on, we found out that it’s just on the other side of Malinao Beach.

What I liked about these two is that they are far from the touristy spot of Siargao and these are the beaches you can actually own for a moment.

Sohoton Cove and Bucas Grande Island

At the entrance of the jellyfish sanctuary

Sohoton and Bucas Grande island are characterized by caves, fascinating rock formations and lagoons with crystal clear waters where you can still see the seabed few meters from the surface. Every acitivity promises something that will make your hearts skip and beat and garner “ooh’s” and “wow’s” out of amazement. You can try diving for four to eight meters, viewing of stingless jellyfish, swimming on its clear jade and aqua blue waters, passing through and going underwater to get into caves, 10 to 13-feet cliff jumping, spelunking and more. The tour to the jellyfish sanctuary goes first then you have to wait for a few hours for low tide so the level of the water could go low too making it possible and safe for tourists in boats to pass through the caves as for the Sohoton and Bucas Grande tour.

The stingless jellyfish

Sohoton and Bucas Grande island are characterized by caves, fascinating rock formations and lagoons with crystal clear waters where you can still see the seabed few meters from the surface. Every acitivity promises something that will make your hearts skip and beat and garner “ooh’s” and “wow’s” out of amazement. You can try diving for four to eight meters, viewing of stingless jellyfish, swimming on its clear jade and aqua blue waters, passing through and going underwater to get into caves, 10 to 13-feet cliff jumping, spelunking and more. The tour to the jellyfish sanctuary goes first then you have to wait for a few hours for low tide so the level of the water could go low too making it possible and safe for tourists in boats to pass through the caves as for the Sohoton and Bucas Grande tour.

Diving my way to the cave. Everything seemed luminous inside this cave because its source of light is nothing but that of coming from the outside shining through the waters
At the Instagram-worthy boat docking area in Sohoton

Where to Stay

Believe it or not, there are lots of budget-friendly home stays and AirBnB in Siargao. Among those are Bulan Villas, Yay Lodge and Tamara Coconut Home. For an honest review of these AirBnB accommodations, you might wanna read Surprisingly affordable and Instagram-worthy AirBnB in Siargao!
Bulan Villas

5 Days and 4 Nights Sample Budget

I was able to book my tickets during the seat sale last December 2018. I got my Manila to Siargao for only Php 481.00. My exit was Butuan to Manila. I got my ticket for only 467.00. I booked my tickets with Cebu Pacific Air.
DAY 1:
Lunch – Php 150.00
Dinner – Php 150.00
Accommodation – Php 500.00 (Php 1,000.00/2 pax) 
Cloud 9 Tower entrance fee – Php 50.00
Fare – Php 80.00
DAY 2:
Motorbike rental – Php 175.00 (Php 350.00/2 pax)
Gasoline – Php 25.00 (Php 50.00/ 2 pax) 
Food – Php 300.00 
Accommodation – Php 500.00 (Php 1,000.00/2 pax)
DAY 3: 
Inland tour with GotMarkedTours – Php 1,700.00 (with lunch)
Kawhagan sandbar sidetrip – Php 350.00/ head
Food – Php 200.00
Accommodation: Php 500.00 (Php 1,000.00/2 pax)

Fees and rates for DIY trips: 

Motorbike rental – Php 175.00 (Php 350.00/2 pax)
Gasoline – Php 100.00 (Php 200.00/ 2 pax)
Magpupungko rock pools entrance fee – Php 50.00
Boat to Sugba Lagoon – Php 400.00 (Php 2,000.00/ 5 pax)
*Php 500.00 – Php 600.00 can be added to the boat rental should you opt to visit Kawhagan Sandbar and Pamomoan Beach.
Entrance and docking fee to Sugba Lagoon – Php 100.00
Maasin River environmental fee – Php 20.00
DAY 4: 
OPTION A: Tri-Islandwith Corregidor Island with GotMarkedTours – Php 1,700.00 (with lunch)
OPTION B: Tri-Island with Sohoton Tour with GotMarkedTours – Php 1,700.00 (with lunch)
Food (Breakfast and Dinner) – Php 200.00
Accommodation – Accommodation: Php 500.00 (Php 1,000.00/2 pax)

Rates and fees for DIY trips:

OPTION A: tri-island tour with Corregidor Island
Boat rental – Php 600.00 (Php 3,000.00/ 5 pax)
Guyam Island Entrance fee – Php 30.00
Daku Island Docking fee – Php 20.00 (Php 100.00/ 5 pax)
OPTION B: Tri-island tour with Sohoton Cove and Bucas Grande Island
Boat rental – Php 900.00 (Php 4,500.00/5 pax)
Sohoton Tour – Php 334.00 /head (Php 1,670.00/5 pax)
Permit, Entrance, Environmental and Docking Fees – Php 140.00 (Php 700.00/5 pax)
Municipal Government Fees
Permit, Entrance and Environmental fees
For local tourists – Php 100.00
For foreign tourists – Php 250.00
Safety gear (helmet and life vest rental) – Php 40.00
Sohoton Cove Eco Tour (Jellyfish Sanctuary)
Pumpboat and community guides – Php 166.00 (Php 830.00/ 5 pax)
1:1 boat at Sabay-Tojoman Lagoon – Php 100.00
Lunch on tour by GotMarked Tours!
DAY 5:
Cloud 9 Tower Entrance fee – Php 50.00
Surfing (boar rental + instructor) – Php 500.00
Tayangban Cave Environmental fee – Php 20.00
Tour guide fee – Php 40.00 (Php 200.00/ 5 pax)
Motorbike rental – Php 175.00 (Php 350.00/2 pax)
Gasoline – Php 50.00 (Php 100.00/ 2 pax) 
Food – Php 300.00
Accommodation – Accommodation: Php 500.00 (Php 1,000.00/2 pax)
DAY 6:
Tricycle from accommodation to Dapa Port – Php 60.00 (Php 300.00/ 5 pax)
Ferry fare – Php 350.00
Terminal fee – Php 10.00
Van transfer (Surigao City to Butuan) – Php 250.00
Food – Php 200.00 
There really is an abundance of Coconut trees in the island!

Grand Total of 5 Days 4 Nights Siargao Trip Expenses

Grand Total for Siargao Trip with Organized Tours (Tri-island with Corregidor): Php 9,585.00
Grand Total for Siargao Trip with Organized Tours (Tri-island with Sohoton Tour): Php 9,585.00
Grand Total for a DIY Siargao Trip (Tri-island with Corregidor): Php 5,980.00
Grand Total for a DIY Siargao Trip (Tri-island with Sohoton Tour): Php 8,160.00
Take note that plane tickets are not included in the aforementioned expenses. Also, expenses may vary depending on your entry to and exit from Siargao, your food and booze consumption and souvenirs that you;ll buy. It’s way time and budget-smart to enter and exit from Sayak Airport. The fees surf board rental and instructor and estimated food expense at Php 100.00 per meal.
Joining organized tours and going on a DIY trip also has its own pros and cons and always depend on one’s preferences. 

5 Days 4 Nights Siargao Sample Itinerary

DAY 1: Chill at General Luna’s Cloud 9 Tower
DAY 2:
Malinao Beach
Secret Beach
Cloud 9
DAY 3:In-land Tour
Mountain View
Kawhagan Sandbar and Pamomoan Beach
Sugba Lagoon
Magpupungko Rock Pools
Maasin River

DAY 4: Island Tour
OPTION A: Tri-island with Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
Naked Island
Daku Island
Guyam Island
OPTION B: Tri-island with Sohoton Tour
Sohoton Cove Tour
Sohoton with Bucas Grande Island Tour
Naked Island
Daku Island
Guyam Island
DAY 5: 
Sunrise at Cloud 9 Tower
Surfing at Cloud 9
Tayangban Cave
This Siargao interary for 5 days was pretty chill since we don’t want to be hustling on our trip. Other places that can be visited in Siargao include Pacifico Beach, Alegria Beach and Taktak Falls. Also, I intend not to include time in my itinerary as I’d rather recommend you to take your time exploring and having fun in these places. For inland and island tours, though, I would recommend you to leave as early as 7:00 AM and return at 5:00 PM.

Things to Remember Before Traveling to Siargao

1. There are more ATM now compared to the last time when we got in there in 2018. But then, it is a must to bring cash especially on tour. Philippine peso is the only currency accepted in the island.  Thus, it’s better to have your money exchanged into this currency before coming to the island. Only few establishments would accept cashless mode of payment (i.e. use of debit and credit card). 
2. Among the best and cheapest restaurant where we ate is Hab-Hab. I highly recommend it as you can get a silog meal for only Php 89.00 in here.
3. Bring reef-friendly sunscreen and wide brimmed hat or caps to protect you from the sun.
4. Main means of transportation around the island is tricycle. Minimum fare is at Php 20.00. If you plan to just stay in the island and go anywhere in it, it’s more practical to rent a motorbike. If you would, please drive safely and responsibly.
5. Stay hydrated. Bring a reusable water bottle everywhere you go.
6. Always be careful most especially when taking photos at the Coconut Street. It’s still a highway and please do not expect motorists and drivers to adjust for you. It’s mainly made for that purpose not for taking pictures.

Well, is Siargao worthy of visiting? Let this travel guide tell you what.

Anne Elizabeth Gumiran, also known as Queenie, is a 20-something, full-time public school teacher, a part-time travel blogger and a freediver. She started putting her stories of adventures and misadventures into words and pictures in 2017 and continues to do so as she shares her advocacy, Sustainable Traveling.


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