top of page
Logo EKO Dolan

Surfing on Siargao, island of blackouts

We passed the middle point of our journey through Philippines! Here is a summary of the stuff we did on Siargao!


Siargao is an island that is immensely popular for its surfing spots and its greenery. Our goal was to sort of have vacation within vacation – not much travelling around, but solely surfing. Well, it didn’t go as planned, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Siargao was one of the greenest places we have ever seen, palm trees litteraly everywhere!

During the flight to Siargao Míša won a small price from the cabin crew. They asked a question and whoever was first to answer, won the price. Míša was first to guess Grinch correctly when asked who stole Christmas. The other questions were impossible to answer for us as they were about some Filipino actress and singer, so we got really lucky with the first one.


This time, there was no hassle after landing, because we communicated with our Airbnb host who helped us to get a ride from the airport to our hostel located in General Luna town. The Marajaw Jungle hostel is small but cool looking. It consists of 3 wooden houses and large terrasse with kitchen, hammock, and place to sit and eat.


After unpacking, we went through the typical process of renting scooter, which got slightly complicated. We rented scooter with racks for surfboards and surfs too in one spot, easy. After that we went on a dinner. General Luna town is basically one long street with numerous hostels and restaurants on each side, so we simply rode the scooter and picked the place we liked. We were mega hungry, but in the exact moment we received our meals, someone came from the outside saying that our scooter has leaky tank and the gasoline is dripping a lot. So, we ate our dinner within a minute and went back to the scooter place, but it has already been closed. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait too long and got new scooter quickly. Because the dinner was ruined, we returned to that same restaurant again next day to enjoy the same food, only without the hassle.


I already mentioned that Siargao is surfing paradise, thus you can find there many surf shops too. Moreover, you can ask them about some tips for surfing in Siargao depending on your skills. We are not complete beginners, but also not even intermediate riders. We got recommendation for the spot called Jacking Horse, so naturally, we went there. I recommend renting a small locker for your things to avoid theft, you never know. This spot works best at high tide, because at low tide, the rocky bottom might become dangerous. We didn’t mind the rocky bottom. The only thing that bothered us little bit was the strong current. Basically, when you got to the line-up, you could not stop paddling, otherwise you were totally out of it within seconds. It was exhausting, but Míša managed to get few nice waves. I didn’t. The funny thing was that we didn’t take our GoPro camera this first day. We thought that the first day will be just sort of warm-up for the following days…we were wrong. That first day had the best conditions by far. We returned to Jacking Horse couple more times, but with not much success.

The map of surf spots on Siargao, you can read more about them here.

The other spot we tried is called Salvacion, which is about half hour ride from General Luna. To enter the town, we had to pay small fee of 30PHP to a local toothless lady. You can expect surprise fees like this often. Locals are creative to find ways how to get a bit of money from you. We don’t take it as something negative. These fees are always low. I would rather pay hundreds of these fees to local toothless ladies than one overpriced taxi ride in some big town.


Back to the surf spot. To get on the line-up, you must either paddle for about 30 minutes or rent a boat that will take you there. It was fun experience, but the waves were too advanced for us, so after few decent washouts and as the weather was worsening, we decided to get back to our accommodation. There we encountered the biggest problem – constant blackouts.


Electricity blackouts are part of the game when you visit Philippines. Up until this point, the accommodation we used had always been ready for that. That wasn’t the case of our hostel in General Luna. The owner considered not having generator as more ecological. I get the point, we are also trying to live in more sustainable manner, but if even the running water on the toilet requires electricity, he should be ready for this. And we were still the lucky ones. We met two girls from Belgium who shared the hostel with us. One of them had stomach issues and was vomiting a lot and had diarrhoea too. Imagine all of that in a room without the possibility to flush the toilet. We pressured the guy and he finally showed us a well from which we could take water to at least flush.


We spent almost a week there and about half of it without electricity. The level of comfort wasn’t very high, but we are always trying to stay positive and we always find a way to enjoy ourselves.


The electricity and surfing aside, there were some fantastic things on Siargao like food. Siargao is a touristy place with all its perks. There are numerous restaurants of all styles. Are you a party person? There are many bars and parties with music too! We tried new restaurant every day. Many people told us that, for example, Kermit is great place to eat. Well, for us it was the worst. The restaurant is nicely designed, but the food was average. It kind of reminded us European restaurants that want to appear fancy, but the same effort isn’t put into food. We enjoyed ourselves the most in a small restaurant with local food called Emelia’s Restobar. So much so we had to return again. Plus, you can always count on the amazing street food. As I think about it now, Kermit was the only restaurant we didn’t like on Siargao. Every other place was simply so much better. To name some more, there is amazing Wok place on the main street, in the town is fantastic ice-cream shop Halika and close by following the main road is great Taco restaurant. As you see, Siargao indeed has all kinds of restaurants. Simply hop on the scooter and ride the main road, you can easily pick something you would like.

The area around General Luna is basically a single road with hostels and restaurants on both sides


Back to surfing for a bit. Although there isn’t much to talk about. Only that on the third day, I started feeling pain in my ear and there was water all the time, I simply couldn’t unclog it. So, the fourth day on Siargao meant another visit of medical centre. It was better experience than the previous one on Siquijor. The centre looked modern and the stuff seemed more professional too. In the end, I had infection in my ear…and Míša too…and we both had slight fever. As you probably guessed, it was over with surfing.


It kind of felt like we were cursed. Since our vacation in Morocco in 2017, we didn’t have any trouble-free surf holidays. We thought that we’ll change that in Morocco again in 2020, but Míša hurt her back just two days before the trip and then Covid arrived to Europe, so our bad luck with surfing continues until today.


Even though, we both felt a bit sick, we used the time to explore the island little bit. First thing you will notice (probably already from the plain when landing), Siargao is incredibly green, there are palm trees literally everywhere. We have never seen so much concentrated greenery. There are even few spots that appear like directly made for pictures on social media like Maasin bridge, Coconut Trees View Deck and many more. We marvelled a lot when riding on scooter through the island. You can stop almost anywhere and go exploring the forest, which we did a lot.


Since I am writing about scooter riding. Be careful on Siargao. It rains a lot there and the roads tend to get very slippery and many aren’t fully paved, so it can be challenging to ride on them, especially with surfboards on the rack.


Maasin bridge requires you to pay several fees. First is for parking. You can park almost anywhere, but someone local will be most likely asking for payment of 20PHP. We kind of wanted to avoid it as the guy was quite rude, but the area looked too nice to skip it. Then, there is entrance fee of another 20PHP after which you can enjoy short walk through the forest by the river. Unfortunately, the place is littered a lot. After a moment, you’ll get to bended palm tree from which you can jump into the river. It’s not free of course, it is another 50PHP. There were maybe 10 locals sitting and asking for money and telling us to hurry up because they wanted to have lunch. To summarize, beautiful area, rude locals and quite a lot of litter. Maybe you’ll get luckier!

Maasin river with the bended palm tree in the background


Our last stop was at Tayangban Cave Pool. Similarly to the underground river on Siquijor, we wanted to explore the cave on Siargao. The cave wasn’t as impressive, our guide didn’t speak English and we had only one headlight (on Siquijor each of us got one, here three of us share just one), so the overall experience was rather dull, but still cool.


Next day, we went the opposite way from General Luna to explore different part of Siargao and ended up in amazing Malinao Paradise. There is a nice beach called Doot beach with shallow sea full of sea stars and nice garden with coconut trees. We spent there good few hours just chilling. By the way, this would be a great spot for SUP (stand up paddle boarding)!

Doot beach is a great calm spot to chill and relax


In the afternoon, after we returned to our accommodation, we started to hear noises of cheering crowd nearby. Now, I will get on a thin ice of double meanings. Other guests from the hostel told us that there is cock fighting arena. Naturally, we went there to check it. Cockfights are incredibly popular in Philippines. These are usually weekly events occurring in many cities and villages throughout the country. Each of these events hosts dozens of cockfights on which people bet between each other by shouting and throwing money around, crazy stuff. As we approached the arena, we noticed huge line of people holding cocks. You may think that these cocks must live in horrible conditions because they are basically raised to die in the arena. However, they are beautiful. It is kind of matter of prestige too. Many cocks looked magnificent, but the fights are cruel, of course. Most of them end within a minute, but we also witnessed a fight where one of the cocks was heavily wounded but not dead and was clearly giving up. So, the owner had to hold it while the other cock tore his neck apart and finally killed it. That was the tipping point for us as we left.


Fun fact: To speed up the cockfights, the cocks also have short single-edged blade attached called spur or tari to their legs.


We heard there are many groups trying to ban the cockfights, but there are still too many people who consider it cultural heritage of Philippines. I get that, but in the 21st century, humanity should be above such animal cruelty.


And that was it for Siargao. Although it didn’t meet our expectations, especially the surfing bit, plus the accommodation had also few issues, but overall, how can one complain when being on such beautiful island.


Next day, we packed our things and flew back to Cebu City just to change the plane and fly to Legazpi. The visit of the least touristic part of Philippines had begun but about that in the next blog!


Summary of our stay in Siargao:

Van from the airport to General Luna: 600 PHP

Length: 6 nights

Accommodation: 8000 PHP

Scooter rental: 1500PHP (300 per day) + 310 PHP for gas

Surf rental: 1800PHP (300 per person per day)


Activities and places, we visited:

- Cave 200PHP + 50PHP tip for the guide

- Maasin bridge parking+entrance fee 60PHP

- Cockfights: 100 PHP


Food: 9318 PHP


Result: 21938 PHP = 380 eur*


*We spent bit more on other stuff like cigarettes, but that is different for everyone, we just wanted to show the basic expenses, so you have something to start with when planning trip to Philippines


*I also didn’t count 2000 PHP for medicine, which we then got back from our insurance company

32 visualizaciones0 comentarios

Entradas Recientes

Ver todo

Comments


EKO Dolan, z.ú.

IČ 19607971

Topolová 1377,

Most, 43401

  • alt.text.label.Instagram
  • Facebook
  • alt.text.label.YouTube
  • TikTok

©2023 EKO Dolan

bottom of page