No other place in the Philippines has kept me running back to it like Siargao. This is my fourth (and longest visit) within a span of nine months yet I am even more charmed and captivated by this place that already feels like home. Eight days in this island paradise has given me an out of the ordinary experience with a brand new perspective.
I’ll probably further expound and compile photos, tips, and experiences of all of my past trips to Siargao with a separate post but for now, keep scrolling and reading this post to see why this has so far been my best visit.
How we got to Siargao:
Siargao is relatively very accessible to get to since airlines and flights flying to the island have significantly increased over the past few months. During my first visit back in June 2017, it was only SkyJet directly flying to Siargao from Manila and Cebu Pacific only had one flight per day that flew from Cebu and back.
Flying direct from Siargao to Manila can be costly so I usually opt for a flight to Siargao via Cebu. I usually don’t mind the quick stop in Cebu because it doesn’t really feel inconvenient, as long as the flights aren’t delayed of course.
For this trip I flew to Cebu from Manila via Philippine Airlines which was around 2,477php. I met up with Mari at Cebu Mactan Airport since he flew from Bacolod via Cebu Pacific. Our flight to Siargao and back to Cebu was at 2,744php each, we got these from a promo fair via Philippine Airlines back in November of 2017.
How many days we spent in Siargao:
We spent a total of 8 days and 7 nights in the Island, which was my longest stay yet. My past three trips here only ranged from 3-4 nights and truthfully, it’s sufficient enough if you are just opting to do the “basic” activities but for this trip, I really wanted dive deeper into the island life without having to compress our schedule into four days or so. There’s so much to Siargao than just the obvious list of activities to do. For one, I simply find joy in waking up at day break with the yellow sunlight slowly coming out through the coconut trees on my way to a morning surf session as well as
Day 1: Arrive in the island via Philippine Airlines, check-in at Siargao Island Villas, rented our motorcycle, surf, dinner at Barrel Bar, drinks at Bravo.
Day 2: Bucas Grande and Sohoton Cove, dinner at Harana
Day 3: Breakfast at Harana, smoothies at Shaka, lunch & afternoon chill at Isla Cabana, afternoon surf, dinner at Bulalo Inn, massage at our villa, midnight stargazing at Cloud 9
Day 4: Morning surf, check-out from Siargao Island Villas, Check-in at Surfing Carabao, 45-hour motorcycle ride to Magpupungko Rock Pools, dinner at Yeah Yeah Tacos
Day 5: Island Hopping (Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island) and Fishing Sanctuary, coffee at Coco Surf, dinner at Salty Bone Burger, and Yeah Yeah Tacos (again.)
Day 6: Breakfast at Viento Del Mar, road trip to Alegria Beach and Taktak Waterfalls. Dinner at Mama’s Grill and Yeah Yeah Tacos (yes, again!), party and drinks at Viento Del Mar and Loose Keys Moto Culture.
Day 7: Breakfast at Kalinaw Resort, Lunch at Bayud, Dinner at Kermit and Yeah Yeah Tacos (omg, again?!)
Day 8: Flight out of Siargao Island
Some things we originally had on our itinerary but weren’t able to do:
Sugba Lagoon– it was closed for rehabilitation. I’ve been here during my first trip to Siargao. It’s quite a far drive and boat ride but it’s definitely worth going through the scary dark & deep mangrove waters. I was excited to bring Mari here because he would really love the view and taking footages with his drone(which, he crashed and sunk in the jellyfish sanctuary in Sohoton Cove on the second day btw). We’ll be back in July anyway so I’m excited to see those bluegreen waters and rock formations again.
Corregidor Island– we allotted our last full day to visit this stunning island filled with coconut trees but it was raining all throughout the day. Corregidor can be reached in 30 minutes with a long tail boat.
Tayangban Cave – I honestly don’t know why we didn’t just do this since it was on the way to and from Magpupungko Rock Pools and Algeria Beach. lol
Where we Stayed:
Siargao Island Villas – Not sure why I never saw or heard of this awesome location before. We were very much impressed and so far this is my favourite place to stay in the island. What I loved the most about this place was that it perfectly combined modern comfort with the care-free Siargao lifestyle. I can’t count the number of messages I got from people asking for details about our room when I was posting on Instagram Stories. The place was simple yet elegant at the same time- it wasn’t too luxurious nor too basic.
When booking for our rooms, I just went on agoda.com and was in luck that this villa was at 40% off deal on that day. We paid around 16,000php for a 3-night stay in this alluring beachfront villa that had amazing accommodations and great service. Our room was spacious and featured a balcony with the view, two day beds, and an open bathroom that was so well-designed. The location was also very convenient as it was at the centre, along General Luna’s main road and very close to Siargao’s other hot spots. I loved spending sunrise and sunset in this room, we just opened the sliding doors made of wood and glass and let the ocean breeze in while enjoying our view. Having a massage in this room was also ideal.
You can check how our room looked like by going to my Instagram’s My Story Highlights and click on SIARGAO. @andiej_
Surfing Carabao – When I visited last November 2017, my van passed this little cozy sanctuary to pick up some passengers and I was instantly captivated by the charm of these three little beachfront bungalows that I really made it a goal to stay here the next time I would visit Siargao. Quite a far ride from the island’s hot spots, this place located in Maliano gave us that experience of a quiet, simple, island life- which is what I really one of the things I wanted to experience for this trip. We spent four quiet nights here for around 11,000php.
The owner was a Finnish man, he was very accommodating and hospitable. He gave us tips, and showed us around himself on the day we arrived here. There was a common kitchen that provided refreshments, ingredients(yes you could cook here), and other basic needs. The room was much more simple yet still comfortable and charming in its own way. The place had direct access to it’s own beachfront filled with tall palm trees and a lot of friendly dogs. The only thing we struggled with was going home to this place every night as it was a longer ride. Although, this was near Bayud and island hoping is also accessible from this point.
Where & What We Ate
- Yeah Yeah Tacos.
We spent four out of seven nights in this taco hut located right outside Fat Lips Surf Shop. What’s not to love? Their menu was basically simple and straight to the point: Tacos. Choose from Soft, Crispy, Double Decker, or Crispy Round. Then pick your meat and Sauce to top. Apart from their super satisfying and scrumptious tacos, what really stood out was their homemade ice cream/ice candy that you consume directly from the cup without a spoon. While waiting for it to defrost, you can find insightful messages for you under the cup. There’s about 28 unique flavours, but only three-to four are available at a time. Even though we’ve already had dinner somewhere else, we never failed to come back to Yeah Yeah Tacos. I don’t know why I didn’t discover this place any sooner before, it’s such a hit.
What we loved: Everything, including the funny and friendly owner & his staff! Although what we kept coming back for was the Chicken Double Decker with spicy sauce and let’s not forget the ice cream and that night when I had two cups all to myself.
Yeah Yeah Tacos was definitely on top of our list for this trip.
2. Barrel Bar Siargao
We spent our first night here at Barrel Bar because we wanted a satisfying and tasty meal so this 24 hour spot was first thing on my mind. From burgers, to quesadillas, and roasted chicken, there’s pretty much a lot you would want to order here.
What we loved: Roasted Chicken + creamy garlic dip and their Famous Garlic Rice that smelled so good you could eat it alone. I also went back for the Cheese Quesadillas. We enjoyed this meal very much.
3. Mama’s Grill
You absolutely can’t complete your foodie experience in Siargao without trying Mama’s Grill. Definitely one of the most popular places to eat here, this place fills up pretty quick every night because of its cheap and wide selection of barbecued meat, seafood, and veggies coated by your choice of sweet, spicy, or mixed sauce. Extra rice is needed most of the time! I never leave Siargao without having my fill here.
What we loved: Mostly the chorizo; both in spicy or sweet sauce. Now is also the perfect time to have a bottle of ice cold soda.
4. Harana Surf Resort
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Harana’s ambiance embodies the laid-back, youthful, and cool culture of Siargao. Combined with their well-loved menu of Filipino dishes with a modern twist, it’s almost impossible not to have this place on top of mind even for just an afternoon of passing time.
What I loved: My day is not complete until I’ve had my serving of Fili Beans Espresso’s Mocha: Iced or hot. I’m not one who looks for coffee all the time but this is the first and only place that has kept me craving and coming back for their cup. Rich, flavourful, and high in quality, it’s safe to say that they serve the best coffee in the island- or even in the Philippines. Okay, I may be exaggerating on that last statement but I really and absolutely love their Iced or Hot Mocha so much to a point that I desperately begged the barista to still brew me a cup even when they already closed the bar for the day.
5. Waffle House
This laid back waffle shack had it’s own little charm. Located just a few meters before Reef Beach Houses, this was our cheapest breakfast from our entire stay. With 100php, you get to choose from different fillings like peanut butter, cream cheese, chocolate sauce and even combine different fillings to create your very own custom waffle. We were pretty full and satisfied with one serving.
6. Kalinaw Resort
If you want ambiance, comfort, and fine dining, Kalinaw Resort is an ideal place to plan a dinner date or to have breakfast with the family. Considered as a luxury resort in Siargao, Kalinaw offers a blend of local Filipino and South European cuisine. We had a quiet breakfast here on our second to the last day. We had French bread with butter & jam, together with fresh fruits and your choice of crepes, eggs any style or cereals. PS. They bake their own bread.
Another popular and must-try restaurant, Kermit is best known for their make-your-own brick-oven pizzas. This place is always packed for dinner, and I understand the hype. It’s my third time to eat here and I still get so excited to craft my masterpiece because they have quite an array of toppings ranging from cheese, cold cuts, meat, sauce, vegetables, etc. There’s still something about having pizza at an Island and there’s also something about pizza cooked in a brick-oven!
What we loved: What’s not to love? Apart from the fun of choosing the toppings that go on your pizza (which you can divide into two flavours also, btw!) , their selection of pasta and other dishes are quite impressive as well. Pizzas are so flavourful and rich to the last bite. So far I haven’t made a “bad” mix yet, but then again, with quality ingredients, everything goes!
8. Miguel’s Taqueria
First stop upon arriving! We had late lunch at this little cute shack located at the port. This humble little corner has been loved by many because of its flavourful and filling tacos at an affordable price. This place also makes a great stop right after you’ve gone island hopping. I think the perfect time to have tacos is in the afternoon and I like the casual vibe of just sitting along the streets.
9. Fayeyeh Bar
Located beside Jose Surf Shop along the main road, this laid-back restaurant offers your favourite Filipino dishes at an affordable price as well. I was really attracted to their menu sign of Silog choices for breakfast. There’s still something comforting about having Spam, corned beef, hotdogs, tapa, tocino, longanisa, etc. (name it!) with egg and rice for breakfast!
10. La Cucina Restaurant in Viento Del Mar
Menu items reflect the international influence in the island, as well as Siargao’s original Filipino roots. The place has also an excellent bar for cocktails and drinks. For breakfast, we had a mix of sausage, bacon, eggs, and bread. I heard the Eggs Benedict here is also good. I still have yet to try La Cucina for lunch or dinner but I’m sure the food is awesome since they stand for home cooked quality dishes with a strong focus on local, fresh and sustainable produce.
I never leave the island without having my fill of healthy and yummy smoothies or power bowls here. I’ve always enjoyed having breakfast here after an early morning surf session. My favourite part is also watching the view outside while I consume my breakfast; tall palm trees reaching out to the blue sky with the ocean waves beyond. Browsing through the surfing photography books while I wait for my order gives me simple joy as well. For this trip, Mari and I had a refreshing smoothie here before we went to find lunch.
P.S. the place and the food makes for cute Instagramable subjects as well!
12. Salty Bone Burger
This little burger stand outside Fat Lips Surf Shop is hard to miss. I’m not one to love burgers but this one surely got me. It must be their special secret sauce on that soft juicy patty! If that’s not enough, walk over to Yeah Yeah Tacos just right beside this.
13. Bulalo Inn
Sometimes, it can get cold at night and a nice warm bowl of soup with beef shanks and bone marrow would be comforting! This would also make for a great place to grab a meal after a late night drinking session.
P.S. they also serve unlimited rice!
14. Isla Cabana
Although considered as a luxury resort, Isla Cabanad makes you feel well at home by having the perfect blend of elegance and simplicity around the resort. Enjoy a vast view of the ocean as you have breakfast, lunch, or dinner here or have some afternoon cocktails as you sit by their infinity pool. From pizzas, to seafood, to asian or wester cuisine, yes name it they have it. Isla Cabana feels comforting with their very vast selection of familiar and well-loved dishes.
For non-resort guests, there’s an entrance fee of 300php/person which is also consumable at their restaurant. It is very well worth it for the ambiance, the view, and the service. Mari and I had lunch and afternoon drinks here but I’m certain this place also looks beautiful in the evening.
15. Coco Surf Cafe
This is also a great place to get a cup of really good coffee. Apart from that, I like their baked pastries and the friendly surf community vibe they have in this little cafe. This place also makes for a good place to pass time and chill, or you can also opt to have a quite time sitting on one of the mats as you do some work. Mari and I spent an afternoon here to pass the time as we edit our photos and videos.
16. Daku Island lunch!
This is my favourite meal in the island that I look forward to the most! Before you go island hopping, it’s best to go shopping for your lunch early at the wet market by the port and have it prepared in Daku Island. You can have almost any Filipino dish made as the cooks in the island are quite good. The usual ones I get are kinilaw squid or blue marlin (raw seafood something like ceviche), liempo(grilled pork belly), adobong saang(conch or spider shells), and grilled mani-mahi fish. Their grilled chicken is also quite tasty. I can’t always seem to have enough of this combination. There’s always something about island lunch consumed under a kubo/cabana.
You can ask the locals or your boat man for recommendations. You can also have a boodle set-up for your group. It’s also best to bring your supply of iced-cold drinks, yes including alcoholic ones!