I was turning 30 in one of the loveliest islands of the Philippines. I had a beautiful AirBnB booked, island hopping plans to bask in the gorgeous sun, a travel buddy from Australia coming to meet me, and a whole lot of adventure laid out for myself. It was the perfect birthday week planned out and I had it all– it was a balance between the comfortable and the humble life. It was perfect and it was gonna beautiful. But I’ve never felt so alone.
It wasn’t necessarily because I was turning 30 because honestly, I’ve been looking forward to this. I’m determined to make this decade my prime years and truth be told, things are looking out quite well as I write this (hashtag namaslay). But the month of May hasn’t really been quite my month. I was going through something, a lot of things, actually. My husband was home in California to take care of my mother-in-law who was undergoing a lumpectomy surgery for her breast cancer. Normally, I make the best of my solitary moments. I even crave it sometimes. But not then, I was stressed out, I was a mess, and I was just not myself. There were just too many contributing factors that I’m not gonna bore you withl. But one thing I know though, is that I’m ready to share how I made the best of my situation in the beautiful island of Siargao.
You see, Siargao was probably the perfect destination for my semi-morose mood. Everyone talks about Sagada for the broken-hearted, for the grievers. Siargao, on another hand, welcomes all with open arms. There’s room for everyone here, even for the soul searchers. If your lonely ass doesn’t quite fancy the mountains and prefers being in the water, Siargao just might be perfect for you. I actually encourage you to book a ticket and pack your bags if you’re going through something. If you’ve been thinking about going somewhere to think, I encourage you to go to Siargao. If you need some time away from reality, I’m talking to you. If you’ve recently had your heart broken, I mean you. If you’re in any way feeling like the world is against you, I urge you to go. Siargao’s the one.
Siargao is known to be the surfing capital of the Philippines. But you don’t have to be a surfer to fit in. I went there with zero intentions of getting on a surf board, although I probably should have. Either way, there’s an array of activities you can do to keep yourself busy instead of pondering on the fact that you’re alone. The gorgeous beaches of Siargao is definitely worth traveling to. You know, just your typical Philippine beach with crystal clear water and white powdery sands. No big deal, just paradise.
I found Siargao to have a bit of a Bali vibe to it. With less western influences than most, Siargao has that hippie surfer atmosphere. Saying it’s such a chill place is an understatement, because it’s seriously nothing like anywhere I’ve been. If I were to compare it to the other surfing towns in the Philippines, Siargao’s surfing culture is the most authentic. Sure, there’s a tiny bit of western touches, like the unavoidable rise of modern resorts, or the super delicious smoothie bowls. It’s what makes it Siargao, though. I wouldn’t have it any way around.
How To Get There
So far, Sky Jet Air is the only airline that goes straight from Manila to Siargao. I went with this option because I wasn’t really in the mood to go through a long journey. Either way, I knew Siargao was going to be an adventure. Cebu Pacific has flights to Siargao, but you’ll have to go through a short layover in Cebu. Alternatively, you can also fly to Surigao and take the ferry from there. I haven’t done this, but most people do this option. You can also fly straight to Butuan and take a bus to Surigao to catch the ferry. Whichever way you hack this, just get there.
What To Do
Siargao is known for its big waves that every surfer dreams of. Even if you’re a beginner, don’t be intimidated. I may have been a little too pre-occupied with my own Dementors during the time I was here, but you can’t go to Siargao without surfing at least once. Don’t be like me! Get out there in the water and learn a thing or two. Siargao is home to a lot of amazing surfing instructors so make sure you get out there and see what you’ve got. Cloud 9 Beach is an amazing surf spot, however, it was very limited when I went because there was some serious filming going on. I still got to enjoy the beach though, even if I didn’t get on a surf board.
Magpapungko Rock Pools
If you’re gonna be alone, do it somewhere beautiful. And if you wanna do it right, keep yourself busy too. When in Siargao, definitely do not miss a trip to the rock pools. You’ve got to go at a certain time so you don’t miss the low tide, otherwise, well, there’d be no rock pools. Ask your local receptionist or someone in the know what time low tide is expected that day. It’s 40 minutes away from General Luna and you can either rent a motorbike and drive there on your own, or hire a habal-habal to take you, which costs about 1k for the day. A little pricey, but once you’re there, you’ll be presented with beautiful views of the ocean. There are two main rock pools where most people are jumping to, but if you walk around, you’ll find empty small ones where you can be on your lonesome and rethink life a bit. The water is magically clear, and the entire place is just extremely beautiful so you might not wanna be too lonesome and ask someone to take a picture of you.
Island Hopping With Kermit Resort
Kermit offers different island hopping tours but they run on a schedule, so I missed one of them. Apparently, depression turns me into such a lame person that I wasn’t particularly on top of it when I was trying to plan out and make a structure for my trip. Needless to say, I missed out. I was able to do the island hopping tour and visited three lovely islands in Siargao– Naked Island, Guyam Island, and Daku Island. Talk about the kind of islands you see in commercials and advertisements. For an affordable 1000php ($20 USD), you get to experience this PLUS a kickass lunch! Of course the lunch would be amazing if it’s hosted by Kermit. I swear, it was the best island hopping lunch I was ever served. Hands down.
Sohoton Cave is another great island hopping tour in Siargao, which unfortunately, I can’t speak so much of because I missed out. I’ve seen photos of it though, and boy does regret hit you hard.
To book, Kermit’s Facebook Page gives updated dates for their tours.
If you’re anything like me who finds happiness from just sitting under a coconut tree the entire afternoon, watching the waves hit the shore, then there’s no way you won’t fall for Siargao’s island charm. It’s beaches are everything many of us dream of. Cloud 9 may be popular with the tourists, but it’s never swarmed with too much. Plus, do a little hunt, and you just might never know what private little area you’ll find. It’s really my kind of soul-searching though– the beach, good music, maybe a book, and a bottle of wine. It never gets old. And in Siargao, it’s just too lovely not to.
Another thing I wanted to do while I was there but my dramatic ass won’t let me, there are several places that offers yoga classes around Siargao. Let’s talk about my lack of interest in activities another time, but whether you’re an avid yoga fan or just a beginner, there’s a class for you.
Where To Stay
Lux Siargao Boutique Hotel
This boutique hotel has six rooms so it’s quite intimate, which also means they can focus on their guests. It’s an Airbnb find so the cozy, homey vibe is definitely there. I had a great time here, especially being beach front. They also have two residential German Shepherds who are just the sweetest. I’ll be writing a full review on this gorgeous find so keep an eye out for that!
For bookings and inquiries, you can check their official website.
Bayud is a new boutique resort that just recently opened. It’s located a bit far from the main hub of the island, but if you’re truly looking to make the best of your soul searching trip, Bayud just might be the one. The rooms are extremely spacious, even the semi-outdoor bathroom. They also have an in-house restaurant and bar so you’ll never really have to go far for anything else. And did I mention, it’s owned by the founder of Tipsy Pig restaurant in Manila, so you know your meals will be legit here.
Dedon Island Resort
If you’re super boujee, no doubt, you need to stay in Dedon Island Resort. It’s classified as an all-inclusive-resort, but this isn’t your typical all-inclusive treat. It’s luxury at its finest and their vision is simple; whatever you want, they’ll make it happen. You want sushi? They’ll give it to you. You want drinks delivered to your villa every 20 minutes, you got it. You want an outdoor movie set up for you, they’ll hook you up. Massage? Yoga? Island hopping? They got you. They’ll please you, and then you’ll cry when it’s time to leave. The resort itself is fancy af and you’ll definitely never want to leave. They have all the amenities you need, they even have a pagoda in the middle of the ocean if you really hate people and wanna be away from the world. Of course this exclusivity comes with a price tag– that’s why I said this is for the real boujees. But you can keep dreaming though.
For booking and inquiries, you may check their official website.
Kermit Surf Resort
Not boujee enough, are ya? Don’t worry, Kermit has an eco-friendly resort that has affordable rooms for everyone. The best part? The in-house Kermit restaurant. You gotta act quick though as this resort is usually booked months in advanced!
Where To Eat
Kermit Surf Resort
Okay, I may have been offered free food in return of my review, but honestly, I wouldn’t recommend anywhere else in the island. I’m not lying when I say that the best pizza I’ve had in the Philippines (or Asia) is from Kermit. Their menu is pretty extensive, but mostly offering Italian dishes. The owner, Gianni, is half Italian, so he knows what he’s serving. Three words guys; LEGIT AF. I was also able to have a chat with him, and I learned that a Kermit restaurant in Manila is in the works. I repeat, a Kermit Restaurant in Manila is in the works!!!
Their menu is pretty big so there’s something for everybody. We ate there almost every night so we were able to sample most of the best selling dishes. Definitely do not, I repeat, DO NOT miss their create your own pizza. Whether you like to keep it traditional or you’re a bit controversial like me who enjoys pineapple in their pizza, there’s no judgment here. Their homemade kinilaw (Filipino ceviche) is also quite the winner! If you’re a vegetarian, there’s a great variety here too– from risottos to pastas, you’ll swoon just like my vegan friend did. Happy hour is also another plus, as they serve really amazing cocktails. You can’t go wrong with a good ole’ buy one take one deal.
Sure, there are other places around the island that serves smoothie bowls, but Shaka Bowl is Siargao’s OG. Located just right across Cloud 9 Beach, Shaka Bowl serves the perfect smoothie bowls for breakfast or just because. Owned by an Aussie (surprise, surprise), it’s quite reminiscent of being in Bali. From the standard bowls to the music they play, this is that one westernized establishment every island needs.
Tip: Where not to eat? The curry place. Unless you’re a fan of Filipino style “Indian” or “Thai” curry– watery and soupy. Nope.
Disclaimer: Thank you to Kermit Surf Resort for feeding me every night and for taking me around the islands. Thank you to Lux Siargao, Bayud Resort, and Dedon Island Resort for the hospitality. As always, all opinions, photos, and thoughts are my own. I only recommend places I know would be good for my readers.
Hey, you! If you loved this post, why not connect with me on Instagram too? I’m all about spreading travel inspiration one photo at a time so, see ya there? I’m also on Facebook and Twitter— come say hi!