Siargao Island is in the province of Surigao del Norte, located 800 kms south east of Manila in the Philippine Sea . It is a relatively large island surrounded by a coastline with reefs, small points, unspoiled lagoons, white sandy beaches, mangroves, shinning white sand bars(Pansukian, or Naked island) some 200 meters long and is well known as “The Surfing Capital of the Philippines” with a healthy reputation for great waves in peak surfing season.
Siargao Island, faces the Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Deep, the second deepest water in the world, at more than 11 km below sea level. Due to the close proximity to such deep waters the island has a vast array of activities which include snorkeling, diving, island hopping, waterfalls, swimming holes and of course awesome waves. Siargao island has a population of around 200,000 friendly people with the larger town and port of entry is Dapa, located south of the island.
As surfing holidays go Siargao Island has a reputation for being a relatively cheap destination for a surfing getaway, as the island has many low budget accommodations, restaurants and bars to choose from. Considered the surfing mecca of the Phillipines, Siargao Island has a surfing peak season from AUG-NOV.
This area is located 3 kms. north of General Luna and is the most popular and well-known surfing spot in the Philippines. In this area is where the world famous Cloud 9 is contain. Here are the world class waves at Tuason Point.
> Cloud 9 – This has put the Philippines surf on the world directory. Cloud 9 has a hollow and heavy right hand barrel and extremely powerful reef break. Cloud 9 is for experienced surfers only.
> Tuason Left – a magnificent hollow and powerful left hander When it makes its day. The wave is about 400m south of Cloud 9.This is for experience surfers only.
> Cemetery – Left hander that is suitable for all surfers.
North of Cloud 9:
There are some well known and and countless world class waves in the North of Cloud 9. Here are the terrific breaks in the North of Cloud 9.
> Stimpies – It is a great left-hander. The waves can be fat, hollow and can be perfect.
> Rock Island – This is a wave that will test your ability. This is a 300m right hander that is fast, hollow and an extremely long ride. The waves in the Rock Island can be flawless.
> Pacifico – This is the best left hander waves that us long, hollow and powerful.
> Burgos – This is an area with several lefts and rights waves.
GL and South:
To the south of GL, all waves must be reached by boat, and are always a highlight of one’s holiday. Daku is an island to the east of GL and has a fun right hander that breaks during large swells. The wave breaks on the protected side of the island so it is usually small and great for beginners. Pansukian Reef is a fickle but hollow right hander; another for experienced surfers only. Further south are the islands of La Janoza and Mamon. These islands are beautiful. There are numerous waves in this area with the pick of the bunch being at Mabuntok Reef, which is to the left on Mamon. This wave will cater to all levels and is situated by one of the most pleasant and picturesque beaches in the region.
Every September, an International Surfing Contest is held at Cloud 9, with world class and local participants
It is a good idea to bring rubber surfing boots because you will need to walk in some rocky reefs to get to the waves. We would also recommend a first aid kit as there are many sharp coral reefs.
DIVING & SNORKELING
With such a close proximity to the deep pacific ocean there is a great abundance of marine life. Snorkeling on the reefs around Guyam and Dakosuch you will have the opprotunity to see a great array of tropical fish, coral gardens, sea snakes and if your lucky sharks. Other dive or snorkel spots worth exploring are Tuason Point, La Janosa, Mamon and in Pansukian the coral reefs are great, even better during a night dive. A huge underwater cave with four or five separate entrances was recently discovered under the first of the rocky islands in front of Tuason, and at the Blue Cathedral just off Caridad, north of Pilar. Underwater visibility and topography are outstanding.
The season for big game fishing for sailfish and blue marlin, when the big fish (sailfish to 40 kg, marlin to 200) cruise the deep water only a mile or two off GL, is from March to early May. If you are only interested in a more laid back approach to fishing then you could fish for coral trout, large snappers and other reef fish any time, or get a local fisherman to take you out to the Payaw, a floating fish attractor about five miles beyond Guyam, and troll for bolis (skipjack) or barilison (yellowfin). You can catch tanguigue (Spanish mackerel), huge Pacific tuna, and tayang-tayang (dolphin fish).
Just keep in mind that there are no money exchanges or atm/banks on the island of Siargao. The nearest cash point is in Surigao City. So bring the appropriate amount of money so you don’t get caught out.
There is also a wide array of wildlife on the island of Siargao which is great for enthusiasts of nature.
Siargao Ilsand is one of the only islands in the Philippines where tarsiers (small ‘bush-babies’, extinct almost everywhere else) are still common. Also common are kagos – flying lemurs and tambuka’ka – flying lizards. You may see bibang – monitor lizards six feet long, hornbills, parrots, yellow and black lorikeets, kingfishers, and other birds nobody yet knows the names of. The whole island, and Bucas Grande, to the south-west, is a designated and protected area.
The amazing colugo (kago) lives at the top of coconut trees, and glides on a web stretched from its neck to its tail. They even carry their infants when they ‘fly’
HOW TO GET TO SIARGAO ISLAND
From Manila going to Cebu City >> Surigao City >> Island of Siargao.
The most direct way to Siargao Island from Manila is catching a flight to Surigao City followed by the connecting ferry to Siargao Island. It is possible to come from Cebu city and Butuan City. Just keep in mind without flying you will be catching buses and ferries and this will take quite a long time to arrive at your destination.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to go surfing in Siargao is from July to November, when the easterly Mindanao current feeds the islands with waves that come from one of the deepest parts of the Pacific. This is the height of the surfing season in the island. If you want to get a glimpse of the other islands around Siargao, then extend up to March or May to get the perfect conditions for island hopping. For game fishers, game fishing season is on August. An annual game fishing competition is sponsored by the provincial government during this month.