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

Clelia Mattana ASIA, BLOG, PHILIPPINES, USEFUL GUIDES 148 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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A 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 to 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 wishlist) 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 of links with details to make sure you enjoy Siargao to the fullest!


  • Go to Magpupungko natural pools.
  • Explore Sugba Lagoon
  • Take a walk from General Luna beach to Cloud nine.
  • Paddleboard through the mangroves.
  • Try Yoga at the boardwalk 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 choices 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 the 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 stay 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 surfer’s 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 Booking.com  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!

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 into 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 a 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 hour. 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 times 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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Cheap Holidays in Siargao/Philippines! Discover the beautiful Island of Siargao and learn how I managed to spend only 20$ per day in PARADISE! #Philippines #Siargao #Holidays

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Cebu

Love the guide on how to save money and where to eat and what to do to have $20 expenses for just a day. Totally find your article helpful. Thank you so much for this. It helps a lot especially to those who loves traveling and love to spend less.

[…] Siargao – Philippines: Surf and Beach Paradise Can Be Yours at 20$ a Day! 52,217 views | 145 comments […]

Andrew

Hi Clelia,

Firstly, thanks for such a great, professional article 🙂 !

I’m coming to Siargoa in early November, for ~ 6 weeks – I’ve booked my first week’s accommodation, but don’t want to book for the entire stay, as I’d like to keep my options open.

Do you have any idea if there’s likely to be plenty of hostels/homestays with availability with only a day or so notice?

Thanks,
Andrew.

Hi to all that are invovled in this interesting blog/ website , Siargao is a wonderful place to visit without doubt a great place to come to surf , probably the top destination in the Philippines , but did you realise that Siargao is the number one place for Big Game Fishing in and around the Philippines ? Siargao holds 2 tournaments a year with international compeditors from across the globe coming to enter ,the board of tourism and local goverment prides itself on them promoting the fishing as best they can and with passion , the island supplies alot… Read more »

oh you’re friends with justonewayticket gal… that’s why you have a very good blog! birds of the same…

I would love to be there in the right time..

Lasse

Absolutely lovely guide, thank you very much! I will def use it when i will visit Siargao with my girlfriend.

There is just one thing that i don’t like and unfortunately ruined my mood when reading. Would you please mind to stop promoting cock fighting. Recent science showes that hens, cocks and other birds are way more sentient than anyone have ever imagined, they feel, they dream, they create social bonds etc, which means Cockfigting is direct animal abuse.

For more info go here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WW8JdCLngI

Best regards

Lasse

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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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[…] than 7000 islands that offer stunning views of the blue Pacific waters and white, sandy beaches, the Philippines are a diverse country that can not only help you indulge in top-notch water sports, but also give […]

Yul Nepomuceno

Nice blog! Planning to wander Siargao on August this year. Thanks for the wonderful tip.

joanna

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

[…] Top 10 beaches | Sardinia Free Guides | Sri Lanka Adventures | Bangkok By Bus | Siargao Philippines Paradise | Photography tips | Sardinia Low Season […]

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! 🙂

I think I will add this to my trip next month. How many days would you recommend to see all the beaches?

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.

Francis

Because of your blog, I am planning to go to Siargao in December 2015 during my vacation in the Philippines.

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!

[…] I have to consider the social shares, I had a post that was shared more than 11K time and it’s “Siargao on a budget” (people love traveling on a budget to beautiful destinations don’t […]

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Awesome blog posts, Siargao is a beautiful Island in the Philippines, a real Paradise. This is a very interesting trip to enjoy.

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.

susana

Thanks a lot! The information is awesome!

I hve a question, how is siargao’s weather in september? Thanks

Such kinda guideline help us to next tour, i found helpful, thank you ma’am

That place looks soo perfect thanks for the revelation. very soon am tour4 there

Thank you for sharing the best in Phillipines. It is actually a good place to be.

Wow! I hope you had a fantastic time in my country.
Also Come and Visit the UAE

This seems quite incredible! Thanks Clelia for the information.

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. 🙂

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

Wow! This is a very stunning place to visit. I’ll find time next year to be here.

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.

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.

mark

Can you rate the wifi/ internet connection (both globe & smart) in the area? 1-10 (10 as the highest)

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.

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?