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Siargao – Philippines: Surf and Beach Paradise Can Be Yours at 20$ a Day!

Clelia Mattana ASIA, BLOG, PHILIPPINES, USEFUL GUIDES 133 Comments

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SIARGAO ISLAND: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE


I have a confession to make: I fell in Love.No, I am  not talking about guys this time. I fell desperately in love with a beautiful place in the Philippines:

SIARGAO


For days I cluttered my Facebook fan page with pictures, status and ecstatic comments on what to do,where to stay and where to go in Siargao. I know, I know when I’m obsessed over something I’m a real nightmare…(same as for Sardinia basically!)So after three days and countless hours of work, here is the Ultimate Travel Guide to Siargao Island.I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed living it!


 

  • Do you want to do island hopping on amazing deserted Islands of Siargao in the Philippines?
  • Do you like Surfing and snorkeling in crystal clear waters on a cheap, affordable budget?
  • If the answer is yes, then  keep reading! you are about  to experience Paradise for less than 20 USD (15 Euros) a day!


BUT WHERE EXACTLY IS SIARGAO?

Let’s ask  Wikipedia!


Siargao is a tear-drop shaped island in the Philippine Sea situated 800 kilometers southeast of Manila in the province of Surigao del Norte. It has a land area of approximately 437 square kilometers. The east coast is relatively straight with one deep inlet, Port Pilar. The coastline is marked by a succession of reefs, small points and white, sandy beaches.”


 

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This Siargao travel guide will help you to discover one of the most incredible Islands on Earth and how you can experience it for a very cheap price, so here’s what you’ll find:


 

 CHAPTERS:

Click on the chapter you want to read and skip the rest!


 

TOP 3 ACTIVITIES IN SIARGAO  

Including details of the prices where applicable


OTHER ACTIVITIES IN SIARGAO

I couldn’t just stop at 3, could I?


WHERE TO STAY IN SIARGAO

The best, cheapest accommodation on the Island

HOW TO GET TO SIARGAO

I couldn’t  leave you without the coordinates, right?


TIPS TO SPEND AROUND 20$ PER DAY

Yes, it is possible if you follow my advice!


FINAL TIPS

Useful suggestions for first timers in Siargao.


ADVANCED TECHNIQUES TO SEDUCE THE SURFER OF YOUR DREAMS: 

Just kidding 🙂 But I bet you wanted to read about it… So let’s get started!


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TOP 3 ACTIVITIES IN SIARGAO

What to do in Siargao?


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Deserted beach in Daku Island, during our Island Hopping day around Siargao


Actually, the header should be “what can’t you do in Siargao” the list would be so much shorter. Siargao is so full of interesting activities and wonderful places to visit that I find it hard to narrow down the list to just the basics, but I’ll give it a try and I list the 3 main attractions/activities/itineraries around the Island you don’t want to miss.


1 | SURFING AT CLOUD NINE

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My first attempt as a surfer in Siargao!


If there is a spot  that surfers worldwide shouldn’t miss, it is without doubt Siargao’s Cloud 9, rated among the top 10 spots for surfers around the world.


Even if you are not a surfer but more of a beach bummer (just like me), this place is definitely worth a visit. The scenery is incredible, with the soothing sound of the waves and the famous surfer’s boardwalk where you can admire the acrobatic moves of some of the coolest surfers around.



Recently even Anthony Keydis, Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer was spotted riding the famous waves at Cloud 9

 

Too bad I just missed him, as I left Paradise a few days before he arrived!


Tip: Cloud 9 is for advanced /professional surfers only. If you want to experience the thrill of riding the waves there are plenty of other spots for beginners, as even the most skilled surfers can get injured sometimes as the coral reef is quite sharp.


 

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT SURFING IN SIARGAO CLOUD 9?


If you are a surfer and want to know more then check out these websites specifically tailored for this famous location in Siargao:




2 | ISLAND HOPPING


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Guyam Island during our Island Hopping tour. Totally deserted!



So you are not into surfing? Don’t worry, Siargao offers plenty of other beautiful options for those lazy people (like myself) who just enjoy sunbathing on a beach or exploring the beauty of the sea and snorkeling or swimming in turquoise waters.


But now I want you to open your eyes and ears widely, as I’m going to reveal to you one very important secret 🙂

 

My Biggest dream before my departure was to find an Atoll or Island so small that I could walk around  it in a few minutes…

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I finally found this place and realized my dream in the Philippines. I’d like to introduce you to Guyam: the perfect Island!

Look at the picture below: I will give you 100$ if you can find anyone who wouldn’t love to be there right now. This is quite something, right?


 

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Panoramic view of Guyam Island- Photo credit: www.outoftownblog.com


You can reach it by boat in just 20 minutes from General Luna Pier, and -hold onto your seats-  for only 150 pesos per person ( less than 3 $ or 2 Euros) for a return ticket to paradise.


Still not satisfied? what about a boat trip that will take you to Daku Island, Naked Island and Guyam for only 350 pesos per person (7$ or 5 Euros), including lunch? yes, it is totally possible in Siargao!


 ——————–


To know more about this tour, you can read a post on Island Hopping around Siargao, written  by Melo Villareal, a Filipino Travel blogger and friend,  on his  “Out of Town” travel blog.

In the article you can also find some of the pictures taken the day of the trip when together with the coolest crew of bloggers ever, we were celebrating 2 very important occasions: Melo’s Birthday and my first year of travels!

 


3 | SOHOTON CAVES – Bucas Grande Island


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Sohoton Caves Entrance – Photo credit: journeyingjames.com



Many people visiting the Philippines will head straight to Palawan and El Nido (also on my wish list) for its underwater river and stunning natural beauty.


Siargao offers something similar at Sohoton Caves Bucas Grande Island (located south of Siargao). The place is described  by the Filipinos as “Paradise on earth”. Below is an extract from a  blog entry by James from Journeyingjames.com on this spectacular place:


 

Various coral formations can  be seen because of the crystal clear waters. The place would leave every visitor with mesmerized clean lakes, secret coves and enchanting lagoons. Palawan is charming, Bucas Grande is way better and more pristine.


How to get to Bucas grande (and Prices):


Usually the resorts organize boat trips to Bucas Grandes for around 1000/2000 pesos ( 22/45$-16/32Euros) including lunch. You need to catch a boat early in the morning from General Luna pier which will take 3/4 hours, before you arrive and can fully enjoy the natural beauty of this place. A must see if you visit Siargao!


Curious Facts:

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Stingless Jellyfish. Photo credit: blog.luciolespress.


In the waters of the Sohoton caves live the rare “Stingless Jellyfish”, play with them as for once they are totally harmless!


If you want to know more on Bucas Grande and the peculiar Stingless Jellyfish? you can read more here:


PAULA THE EXPLORER POST ON BUCAS GRANDE


JOURNEYING  JAMES ON STINGLESS JELLYFISH


jOURNEYING  JAMES ON BUCAS GRANDE AND SOHOTON CAVES

 

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OTHER ACTIVITIES IN SIARGAO

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My loveliest moments in Siargao!



There are so many activities (mostly for free or at a very cheap price) to experience on the island that it would be a shame not sharing them with you. Below is a quick list with links with details to make sure you enjoy Siargao to the fullest!


  • Take a walk from General Luna beach to Cloud nine.
  • Paddleboard through the mangroves.
  • Try Yoga at the board walk tower.
  • Just rent a motorbike and explore the Island.
  • Try the Balut (only for the brave ones!)


 


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Four People on a motorbike? this is the rule in Siargao. Photo credit: Sabrina Iovino www.justonewayticket.com


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WHERE TO STAY IN SIARGAO

The best Hotels and Resorts in Siargao Island

 

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In Siargao you will have plenty of choice when it comes to finding the right place to stay. From budget accommodation to luxury resorts,the Island  literally has it all!


Below are some of the best options, including the contact information and prices, starting with the place I’ve called home for 10 days (a place that if you try you won’t want to leave EVER!)


1 | KERMIT SURF AND DIVE RESORT :

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My lovely Kermit!


Contacts: +63 915 606 4227 info@kermitsiargao.com 

Purok 5 8419 General Luna,Siargao Island, Surigao Del Norte


Price Range: from 350 pesos (8$ / 5.60 Euros) for the Backpackers’s room . If you are sharing, book one of the lovely cottages or Bungalows for the same price! Delicious and abundant Breakfast is included!


Notes:This place is not only cheap, it’s simply AMAZING! I’ve stayed there for 10 days and I didn’t want to leave. The vibe here is so cool and relaxed.


Owned by a very charming young Italian guy – Gianni- you will have the time of your life at beach , I promise! If you happen to visit Siargao, this is the place you should try to book first! Oh, and did I mention that a Rum and Coke here costs less than  1 USD?! Deadly!


2)BUDDHA’S SURF RESORT

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budda’s surf resort siargao


Contacts: Buddha’s Surf Resort , 8419 Catangnan, Surigao Del Norte, Philippines, Phone +639199 456789 (sms only)  Email: hello@siargaosurf.com


Price Range: 25$ per person (if you share the room) with private balcony, flat screen TV in a lovely location! Breakfast Included.

Notes: I didn’t actually stayed there but I paid a visit to a friend for a few drinks and the atmosphere is very relaxed and the place is awesome, only 1 minute’s walk from the beach, located in between Cloud 9’s surfers spot and General Luna village.


Click here to book online and save money!

 


3) OCEAN 101 BEACH RESORT

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Ocean’s 101 surf resort

 


Contacts: Ocean  101 Beach Resort Cloud 9, Gen. Luna, Siargao Island Surigao del Norte, Philippines Mobile: (63) 910 8480893 / (63) 919 8268837 Email: michael@ocean101cloud9.com


Price Range: Fan Room for 2 people starts from 8$ per person, but if you want to experience the extra luxury of a private villa with ocean view and jacuzzi, the prices are around 200$ per room (perfect  for 4 people).


Notes: What can I say? the picture speaks for itself!If you have money to splurge,then this is definitely a place you should try! (I’m notoriously a huge fan of the Jacuzzi and sunsets experience from my private lounge!)

Click here to book online and save money!


OTHER CHEAP HOTELS IN SIARGAO

 Still looking for affordable Accommodation, Hotels and Resorts in Siargao?


Visit the Agoda website to check out the properties available in the area, with reliable reviews and prices you can trust. I always use this website and sometimes the prices listed there are even lower than booking directly with the hotel itself. Below are a few selected Hotels/Resort you should check out for an amazing time in Siargao!

 

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// &#93;&#93;></script><script src="//banner.agoda.com/js/show_ads.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

 

You can click on the link to see the reviews, prices, pictures and most importantly to SAVE MONEY WITH THE BOOKING ONLINE! (up to 40% discount, not bad huh?). I divided the Resorts in 3 main categories, based on price range: Luxury, Budget and Backpackers.


LUXURY HOTELS AND RESORTS IN SIARGAO:

For the holiday of your dreams all included!

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Would you like an holiday in a place like this?


Click on the links to check the place out and SAVE MONEY by booking online!



CHEAP RESORTS AND HOTELS IN SIARGAO:

Save money on very nice and refined places

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Click on the link to check the place out and SAVE MONEY by booking online!



BACKPACKERS BUDGET ACCOMMODATION IN SIARGAO:

For a nice stay at a dirt cheap price!

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Cheap but nice accommodation for Backpackers


Click on the link to check the place out and SAVE MONEY by booking online!



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HOW TO GET  TO SIARGAO

 

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Pretty Luna and me walking on the beach on Daku Island

  


Siargao is easily accessible by cheap flights, below are the two main options to reach the Island:


Option 1: Manila Cebu- Cebu -Siargao


  • From Manila (or any other International Airport) you need to fly to  Cebu. Flights are very frequent, operating almost one every our. The cheapest options are Air Asia and Cebu Pacific, but you can compare different airlines to find special offers depending on the seasonality.
  • From Cebu Airport there is a direct flight with Cebu pacific to the local airport departing at 11:45 am. The return scheduled time to Cebu is at 13:20 pm. The flight is around 40 minutes and the companies operating from Cebu to Siargao are Cebu pacific and Philippines Airlines.
  • Total cost from Manila: around 60/80 USD (45/60 Euros), depending on how early you book the flight and which company you use. Check out Air Philippines’s website for last minutes discounts and always compare fares before your purchase.
  • Tips: When comparing the prices, remember that with Cebu Pacific  you always need to add on the taxes and  fees to the initial price shown, whilst Air Philippines usually gives you the final overall price.


Option 2: Manila Surigao – Surigao-Dapa


You can also fly directly from Manila to Surigao with Air Philippines , departing at 11.30 am from Manila and then get a ferry to Dapa (around 3/4 Journey).


I prefer the first option as sometimes the boats and the flight schedule time are not aligned (the last boat from Surigao to Siargao is at 12.00 pm) and you might have to spend a night in Surigao before catching the next available boat in the morning.


For more details on the boat services departing from Cebu to Surigao,with timetables and prices you can have a look at COKALIONG WEBSITE.


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TIPS TO SPEND LESS THAN 20$ PER DAY

 

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Shots in Siargao

 


The title of this post had a promise: How to experience paradise for as little as 20$. Do you think I forgot about this? Of course not. Here is a quick recap of my overall expenses for my 10 days stay in Siargao:


8500 PESOS/10 days=190 $ grand total

19$ PER DAY

 


Below is the breakdown of my total expenses. As you will see it is more than the allocated 19$ per day, so am I cheating here? Nope, as I have also included the activities, and in 10 days I obviously didn’t go out every day on boat trips, get drunk or rent a motorbike (possibly sober!). This recap represent the maximum I could possibly spend on a very busy action packed day.


Pubblicazione1okkkkooo


And now the TOP 3 TIPS  to maintain our 20$ budget per day goal. These suggestions also work very well for  almost all the Asian destinations.

 


1) Travel with other people: If you have at least one travel companion you can share the cost of the accommodation. Traveling solo? no worries, there are also budget dorms in Siargao (see the section on where to stay). You will still stay on a budget and socialize with other solo travelers like yourself.


2) Stay as long as you can: Golden rule. The longer you stay, the more power you have to bargain for a lower rate for the accommodation. The minimum is 1 week, but if you can pay in advance for 2/3 weeks the price goes down at least 20/30% (if you have good persuasive skills you could even get to 50% discount).


3) Eat local food and Shop at the market: Head to the local market in General Luna and you will find some nice places where you can eat for less than 2$. Do you want to buy delicious mangoes or  some fresh fish ? The prices there are ridiculously low and the quality of the food is excellent.


We asked the manager of our resort if he could get us some tuna for dinner at the market. He came back with a huge fish for only 150 pesos/kg and fed the whole crew with it!

 


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The Kermit Surf Resort crew eating some delicious Tuna for only 150 pesos per kilo. Bargain!


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FINAL TIPS

 

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  • Money:  There are no ATM Machines on the Island so make sure you bring enough cash with you. Ask your resort/Hotel before you arrive if they accept credit/debit cards, so that you know how much cash to bring.
  • WiFi and mobile phones: WiFi in the resorts is almost always free, but the signal is not as strong and fast as we are used to. This is not a big issue (unless you are a travel blogger!), and if you have a local Sim card, both Smart and Globe (the two main network providers in the Philippines) works pretty well on the Island.
  • Night Life: If you are looking for crazy partying and clubs on the beach, then maybe Siargao might not be the Island for you! Compared to Boracay, it is a lot less crowded and touristy but you can still find good places to listen to some good music and meet the locals (and the surfers!).One place you should make sure to check out is Nine Bar.
  • Transports: The main way to get around is by tricycle (very cheap!) or motorbike. Always negotiate the price and ask your hotel the fair rate for your journey. Once you know it (for short trips don’t pay more than 20 pesos), just jump in and don’t ask how much is it. They will assume you already know. If they ask you for a price beforehand and you think  it’s inflated, kindly thank them and walk away, 90% of the time they will call you back and agree to your price.
  • Flights: Siargao airport is small and sometimes flight are canceled last-minute due to bad weather conditions or because there are simply not enough people to fill the airplane.This  happened to me and Cebu Pacific put us on the next days flight. If you have an important flight connection I strongly recommend you book your exit flight at least 2 days before it. Better to be safe than sorry.

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Now that you know everything on what Paradise looks like…what are you waiting for? Book your holiday NOW and I might see you there as I’m planning to return and never leave this amazing Island!


See you soon Siargao!

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Related Useful guides:

Top 10 Sardinian Beaches for a low budget holiday! |Sardinia Free Guides |Sardinia Low Season |Sri Lankan misadventures Guide on how to move to England |Siargao for non Surfers  | South UK Guide |Top 10 UK Beaches |Bangkok by bus 


Thanks to:


Charlotte Blower for the editing part and  Giancarlo Camoirano for his invaluable help with the IT/formatting of the article.Sabrina Iovino for introducing me to the beauty of Siargao, Melo Villareal, Gay Mitra -Emami , Luna Emami, Sherv, Ron Cruz and Lisa Marie Mirasol for the great company, Kermit Surf and Dive Resort for let us feel at home and for the great times together! special thanks to Gianni, Paolo, Luca, Stephanie and all the staff at Kermit.

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Comments 133

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  3. Larry

    Great blog post. I enjoyed reading this… I recently went to Siargao and I enjoyed my stay in this island. I was supposed to stay for 2 days only, but I felt that it wasn’t enough so I extended my vacation for 5 days! I agree that renting a motorbike is cheaper and you should know how to negotiate with the price.
    Note from Admin: I remove all the links inside the comments, please avoid adding them. Thanks!

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  6. joanna

    thank you for this blog. this is very helpful, for additional tip: is it okay to visit during october? hows the weather?

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  8. Robie

    This makes me more excited to be here and celebrate my Birthday on March. Hope there are other travelers who needs a single companion for the island hopping and other tours just to lessen the expenses.

    Do you have any idea? Nevertheless, I’ll be here by hook or by crook 🙂

    Thanks a lot for this! 🙂

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Robie, I think the best way is to ask at the resort/hotel/Hostel you’re staying. You can ask to join other people for the island hopping, they are also usually happy to spend less 😉 Have a blast in Siargao! 🙂

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks for your message Mat, Siargao is not that big so I’d say at least 4 days, but to really enjoy the Island, chill down and don’t rush,a week is actually better! Have a blast in Siargao. I loved my time in there and I’m sure you’ll love it too.

      Cheers
      Clelia

  9. Rashedun Nabi

    Siargao Island is the most beautiful and catching island and coastal area. This place is best for surfing with friends and family. Among the entire component, cave visiting is the best adventure to me. Also accommodation arrangement is so much wondrous that serve in a royal manner. I wish I would explore the adventure. Thanks to share it.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Glad you got inspired Francis! Siargao is such a lovely place, don’t miss all the places I’ve mentioned, they are awesome and..have fun!

  10. kimk

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this outstanding blog!

    I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.

    I look forward to fresh updates and will share this site
    with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

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  13. Cherry Shary

    Your experience should be very impressing. Travel brings us different feelings.
    Gopro is cool, but I think your Gopro lack some accessories such as mount or head strip, or poles. I like traveling so much, and I have been to Asia, Europe and Australia.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Susana, glad you found it useful! As per your question, I’m honestly not sure. September shouldn’t be dry season but my suggestion is to go and check the weather as I went there in February and it rained for like 3 days in a row (but in other areas around the Philippines it was sunny and dry). Go figure! Usually, from December till March are the best months for the weather in Asia, but it really depends on the area.

  14. JB & Renee

    Good guide on Siargao. My wife and I were just talking about surfing in Siargao last night and this guide will come in handy. Thanks for putting it together.

    Have to be honest though, the link to cockfighting put me off a bit. Personally, I don’t think it’s an activity that should be promoted. It’s animal cruelty. There’s realy no place for it anymore.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Happy you enjoyed the Philippines so much. 🙂

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hi Jb&Renee I have to be honest here too.. I am also against cockfighting, and I have the same feelings as you.I only added it as it’s a part of the Filipino culture. It’s a big deal for them and I wasn’t meant to really “promote” it, is was more an information that I felt like putting together with other things.

      This whole animal cruelty is not right for me either, but then I thought that I am a Hypocrite as for example in India they worship cows and I’m not a vegetarian, but I still eat meat (which I’m aware it also involves some degree of cruelty for the animal).

      I’m trying to come to terms with what I should do about it and according to our western culture I’m sure many would agree with us, but I’d rather not judge what they do in there. I’m not sure how we could help in stopping something like that, as it’s a big part of their culture so It’s a sensitive topic.
      But I’m actually glad you brought this up, as I might add my two cents in the post and leave it as a fact which I don’t really agree with.
      Other than that..the Philippines and its people are truly amazing!

      I hope you’ll enjoy yourself in the Philippines as much as I did (and no…I didn’t watch the cockfight)
      Cheers
      Clelia

  15. Same Day Agra

    It’s really fabulous beaches trip in getting full enjoyed. I really like to this blog for traveling news in make of mind blowing for their beautiful Images………….Thanks

  16. Katherine

    Philippines indeed has a lot to offer. I was there last year with my sister and the place is truly magnificent. The beach is so inviting and I can’t wait to visit again soon with my husband! I am sure he will love the place as much as I do.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Philippines has so much to offer than it’s very difficult to just pick one place. I loved every single island I visited. Make sure to stay there at least 3 weeks and anything less than that would not be enough to discover its beauty!

  17. Harry

    I’ve been to the Philippines before but haven’t been in Siargao. This place looks amazing. I also heard a lot of good things about Coron, Palawan as well as their underground river.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Harry, believe me, sometimes I still dream about it! I’m 100% sure that one day I’m going back. Not 100% sure I’ll be back to the real world again 🙂
      Palawan is also awesome… I can not really choose between Coron and El Nido, they are both stunning|

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Difficult question Mark,
      at Kermit resort where I was staying the internet was pretty decent.I’d rate it as a 7 but unfortunately in the Philippines for a digital nomad like me, the internet is one of the things that don’t really work in our favor.

      If you don’t have to download huge files but simply surf the net, I’d say it’s pretty Ok. Skype also works well. The problems come when you need to work on heavy projects.

      Hope this helps!

      1. Anna

        This is actually my question as well. I’ll be in Siargao in May 2015 (will also stay at Kermit) for 10 days and might bring some work with me since I am an online freelancer. Glad to know they got a rate of 7 as I might have to do some emails and Skype at some point!

        Great article by the way. I can’t wait to be there!

  18. Jesse

    Wow! This is one good blog post about the Philippines and Siargao particularly. I believe there are various food being cooked in General Luna and they are very cheap.

  19. Kyla Atasan

    I’m wondering if it’s okay to travel alone? I’m only 15 and it’s going to be my first travel if ever. Is it safe in Siargao?

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  22. Ronald

    Palawan is one beautiful place. My family in the Philippines said If I come to visit they will take me there. I mentioned Boracay, they said that it used to be beautiful but now it’s too commercialized. I’m glad that you enjoyed your visit and I love your blog.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Ronald,Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Yes Palawan is a real paradise! and I also agree on Boracay. I haven’t seen it when it was still a quiet place, but now it’s definitely too much crowded for my taste…

  23. raphael

    If you like it so much, why do you want the whole world to know about it.
    Then you´ll be crying once it becomes a new Bali.
    Keep it for yourself and don´t talk about surf spots ….

    1. Clelia Mattana

      I thought about keeping it for myself actually, and the same applies to many other places in the Philippines. I had a discussion about it with some Filipino people as no one wants these paradise places to be trashed out by tourists. We need to be sensitive and the Filipinos agree with me as they would benefit from more tourists coming to the remote areas but they MUST keep an eye on how they handle more people visiting their country.
      Boracay is the perfect example. Beautiful place indeed but too many tourists ruined it in my eyes. There must be laws to avoid this to happen to other places in the Philippines. Find the right balance is always the key.

        1. Clelia Mattana

          Too bad that the government is usually only driven by making money without really caring about the environment. I really do hope this doesn’t happen with the Philippines. It would be such a shame.

      1. paula

        thanks for the great info about siargoa. one question please. is the island clean? i ask because i am thailand and the beaches are beautiful and trash is everywhere. not alot but still. thanks so much. paula

        1. Clelia Mattana

          Hey Paula, Thanks for your comment!
          Regarding your question, yes the island is very clean, I don’t remember seeing trash on the streets or the beach. I went to El Nido on a boat trip and what a shame to see bottles on the shore. In such an amazing paradise! People are shameless!

          In Thailand the problem is that the tourism is massive and 80% of the people have no respect. I hope the Philippines don’t follow the same path. Even if I saw a bit of trash here and there in El Nido, it’s still much more clean compared to many parts of Thailand!

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  28. Ryan

    Wow Clelia what a super extensive guide this is! My budget is about $40 a day in Europe but I could totally use it being $20 a day again like Thailand. Looking forward to visiting the Philippines at some point!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Ryan,

      The Philippines are totally affordable, some other places are even less expensive than 20$ per day. The keyword there is slow travel, as you can save a lot of money in transport and you can also bargain for cheapest rates if you decide to stay longer in a place and pay in advance with cash.

      Let me know when you decide to go and if you need any tips to have the time of your life in that beautiful paradise!

  29. Marek Indietraveller

    I hadn’t heard of this place yet, seems like a true paradise! The Philippines truly is one of the best destinations in the world and when I inevitably go back, I’ll have to go to Siargao. 🙂 Awesome writeup.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks Marek! I know right? what else can I add about Philippines? (apart that I’m OBSESSED over them?)…when it’s true love you recognize it I guess! And yes, please if you go back to the Philippines you cant miss Siargao!

  30. Marta

    Wow!

    This looks like a true paradise. Thanks for the great advice. I really want to go to Philippines and I will definitely be staying in that place. I tried surfing once and I wasn’t that great at it, but I definitely want to give it another shot. I just need more power in my hands 🙂

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thanks Marta!

      Philippines are a Must for Paradise lovers! Don’t worry about the Surfing thing…im not that great either but you can still have plenty of fun by trying 🙂

  31. Agness

    Unfortunately, I have not met you when in the Philippines! That’s one of my biggest regrets :-), but hope we can catch up in Europe!!

    This post sounds like you had a fantastic experience here and I’m glad to see that. I’m not good at surfing (I’m good at hurting myself while surfing), but that’s something I want to do when I’m back in the Philippines!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      True Agness, it was a pity we couldn’t meet! You should have join me and Sab in Siargao. I bet you would have had a totally different experience and idea on the Philippines.

      But stay tuned as I will definitely be back here and next time I’ll come to China and drag you here with me for a few weeks 🙂

      Ps, I’m not good at surfing either, totally rubbish, but was fun to give it a try!

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  33. Joel

    I woke up and checked my fb wall, then I saw this post shared by fb page “The Philippines”. Thank God I clicked the link. It led me to this blog. It’s amazing. It made me want to book a flight right after reading this. And yeah, I bookmarked this and I surely will follow your future posts. I can’t think of anything to ask, it is very detailed. Thank you for this. Godbless and take care 🙂

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Thank you so much Joel!

      I’m glad that you enjoyed my guide and hopefully you’ll be able to visit the island very soon!
      I will be writing more about the beautiful Philippines in the next months so stay tuned 🙂

  34. Anna

    Awesome detailed post. Now you have me going crazy. I want to go back. I’ve been to the Philippines 3x the past 7 yrs but only for several weeks at a time to visit family in the north (parents immigrated to Hawaii from PI). I would love to visit other parts of the Philippines and Siargao is on my list of places to visit in the future. Do you have any plans to visit the northern provinces of Ilocos Norte/Sur and Cagayan.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hey Anna, i bet you want to be back 🙂 Unfortunately i wont have the time to visit the north as i still need to see Palawan and dive with the whale sharks… then maybe malapascua or bantaya (or both) and back to Manila mid may as im leaving 🙁 but i will be back!

  35. Jumong

    People should visit the island earlier before it turn to a crowded place like boracay. If more crowd, the more expensive it gets!

    Btw, you should try to visit other municipalities in the island! and see you when you get back!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Jumong, i was lucky enough to visit the island at the right time then! oh and before Siargao i already visited other places (i’ve been in the Philippines since the beginning of january and i have other 2 months stay in here).

      I’ve already visited Camotes Islands, Bohol, Boracay, Carabao and i’m now in the Antique province, a place that i love and i will be writing about very soon!

      Too many places, i wish i could stay here more!

  36. Bobbie

    Wow thanks for this wonderful write up about Siargao. I was blessed to have been able to visit this rich and beautiful islands, back in 2003. Truly the Philippines is beautiful 🙂

  37. Arnette RTW

    I loved the 101 and my time surfing in Siargao!!! I love it there and I would move if I could buy a plot of land and retire there!! I miss my surf crew and the wonderful staff at 101.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Ahh Arnette, that’s the Siargao effect, when they discover the island, everybody wants to move there!

      I stayed at Kermit, another serf oriented resort, and i don’t know if it’s because of the Surfers vibes but the athmosphere was so cool and chilled out.

      I hope you can go back to your lovely crew at 101 very soon!

  38. Aileen Mendoza

    Wow! Thank you for that nice blog about the Philippines! Your blog is probably one of the most detailed one I’ve ever read! Nice! Hope you come back soon and try other parts of the country! <3

      1. Chris Dahl

        Hi Loved your revue 🙂 I fell in love with my wife from Dumaguete and found it to be an amazing place as well 🙂 swimming with the wail sharks there is still on my to do list. there is so much to do and i spent a year there hahaha I Had to buy property with my wife because i will go back and stay there forever in 5 more years 🙂 I Have a Plan :-)and i can hardly wait 🙂 I Look forward to more of your revues 🙂

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Hi Dean,

      It all depends from where you’re flying…

      I had this misconception about the flights too, but there are tricks to avoid spending too much. An easy example is mine.
      Many people can afford to fly let’s say to Thailand, but when they hear “Philippines” it looks like it’s on the other side of the planet. Well, i have to head back to bangkok in may and i was researching for cheap flights. I found one for only 80$. So my advice is:
      1) book way in advance if you can
      2) try to buy separate flights as a general rules they cost less than buy a direct fly to Manila (with layovers of course).

      I always check on skyscanner first, it compares every possible option and shows me the dates where a flight is cheaper (if you are flexible you can save quite a lot).

      A quick note: when i was still living in london and i had to get back to sardinia, sometimes my return ticket could cost me up to 300euros. RIDICULOUS if you compare the prices to go to asia. Seriously.

      Hope it helps!

  39. Ron

    wow… thanks for this post. I’m from central Philippines and I’ve never been in this part of my country… what a shame I got the coolest tips from a tourist. nevertheless nice post very informational and inviting… soon!

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  41. Lourrey Saflor

    Great blog you have here! And what’s amazing to know is that you’re from Sardinia! Which town are you from? I am in Cagliari for my Erasmus. I’m having the time of my life here but I can’t wait to be back in the Philippines. I travel here as much as I could and came up with this idea of visiting all the provinces in the Philippines and Siargao is definitely on my list this year.

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Lourrey no way!!

      What a coincidence, i’m in your country and your are in my Island no less! How long have you been there?

      You should wait for the summer and enjoy the beautiful sea we also have in there! Did you choose to go to Sardinia or they just sent you there? I’ve never met any Filipino on Erasmus in Sardinia.

      Back to Siargao.. I can’t really believe how many Filipinos never visited the Island. It’s amazing 🙂

  42. Roel

    Amazing! Awesome! Very informative! Perfect! …. How else i can describe your article. I have never been to Siargao and after reading this…. I cant wait to go there….. I will definitely put this on my top list the next time i return to the Phils. I am a pinoy working in Saudi Arabia and returns home every year.

    You write with passion and your words always puts a smile on my face. And of course, I love your photos especially that one with you and the Pinoy girls…. Perfect smiles … So innocent and genuine… It made me smile more …. Awesome job you did…. Thank you for loving my country and us, pinoys.

    Hope to see you in Siargao, one day. Hehehe.

    Good lucj on your other travels…. CIAO!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Awww thanks so much for your comment Roel! You put a smile on my face too 🙂

      I write with passion as I truly have a passion for the Philippines! i’m even trying to convince my parents to move here,(they never took a plane in their lives!).

      Seriously, I wish i could stay more and had more money to spend in here. I’m planning to stay in Pandan for other 2 weeks now. Loving it and will be writing about the Antique province very soon!
      Next step, El nido. I’m very curious to see it for myself as I’ve heard so much about the place.

      I bet you come back home every year. I can hear you, I’m from an amazing island in Italy (Sardinia) and I’ve been far away from home since i was 19 but i come back at least twice per year. When a place is awesome like ours we can’t resist right?

      Have a nice time in Saudi Arabia and I hope to see you in Siargao very soon! 🙂

  43. Dave @ Travel Transmissions

    I know there aren’t any ‘nightclubs’ on Siargao, but did you see any Filipino discos there? Some of the funniest, cutest nightlife I’ve ever seen in my life was in the far-flung Filipino state of Palawan.

    It reminded me of a middle school dance: the girls and boys would line up on different walls and awkwardly look at each other across the room. Whichever song made them go crazy finally brings everyone into the middle for a few more songs where they all go nuts, full on dirty dancing! Then a slow song would come on, only a few couples would dance, then they would split up back to their walls and repeat the whole thing again!

    This was on the island of Busuanga. You typically arrive in the town of Coron, but funny stuff like this only happens in the tiny towns around the island.

    Definitely try to make it to Busuanga if you have the means!!

    1. Clelia Mattana

      ahahahah awwww no i didn’t have a chance to see it yet but sounds so cute! I’m wondering if they have this kind of “middle school” dance everywhere in the Philippines. Coron is on my list (the list is growing bigger every day auch!) i’ll try to make it there. Thanks for the suggestion Dave!

    2. Sky

      Yes…that is one of the most traditional disco night in the Philippines especially in the remote places. This happens if there are special occasions like fiestas…it’s really enjoyable because folks dances their best moves without minding each other…Im glad u have witnessed it…hehehe! try to also enjoy it next time…

  44. Nabz

    It’s such a shame I haven’t been to Surigao when it’s only an hour by plane from where I live. But this coming May, I will be going to that paradise and explore the place. That way, I can also feature the place in my blog site nabzadventure.weebly.com/ Thanks for featuring Surigao!

  45. Gran Canaria Local

    Lovely photos and a really detailed guide. Yes, there can be storms in paradise. Whilst we don’t have monsoons in Gran Canaria, carnaval season is definitely the wettest. Our parade is very much rained on.

  46. The Guy

    What a stunning place to be, no wonder you fell in love with it.

    Stunning beach, very inviting waters, guaranteed weather, lots of activities (I’d skip the cock fighting) and an amazing price.

    I suspect the question is, when are you going back?

    1. Clelia Mattana

      Good question The Guy…good question.
      I’m extending my Visa for other 2 months here. I feel so at home that i dont really want to leave ever. One point i need to clarify for honesty’s sake: the weather is not always perfect. They have monsoon seasons and how can we forget the Typhoon in November? sometimes it rains for days but even taking this into account, it is always warm and cosy.

      Philippines were a total surprise for me,i knew they were beautiful but i didnt expect the WOW factor! anyone should come here at least once.

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