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.
Siargao is a beautiful paradise island with nice beaches and clear blue waters. It`s a quiet non-tourist island well known for it`s surf spots, especially Cloud 9 where there`s a big international surf contest every year.
Siargao Island contains the largest mangrove forest reserves in Mindanao, at Del Carmen. Long stretches of wetlands indicate a potential for commercial seaweed propagation. Siargao Island is greatly influenced by the winds and currents coming uninterrupted from the Pacific Ocean, intensified by the Mindanao current running westward through the Siargao Strait.
Offshore, a classic tropical island lies protected within its surrounding coral reef with dozens of coconut palms dressed in the center circle of the island. Off to the right, well within the massive coastal reef, lies a shining white sand bar, (Pansukian, or Naked island) some 200 meters long. The tide of Siargao is diurnal with tidal curves typically present, especially on the east coast of the island. The Island's Pacific-facing reefs are situated on the edge of the Philippine Trench, and the extremely deep offshore waters assure the ocean swells have undiluted power when they encounter the many coral and rock reefs. Siargao has excellent surfing conditions, particularly during the southwest "habagat" monsoon from August to November, when the prevailing wind is offshore.
One of the best known surfing waves on Siargao and the Philippines, with a worldwide reputation for thick, hollow tubes is "Cloud 9". This right-breaking reef wave is the site of the annual Siargao Cup, a domestic and international surfing competition sponsored by the provincial government of Surigao del Norte. The wave was discovered by travelling surfers in the late 1980s. It was named and made famous by American photographer John S. Callahan, who published the first major feature on Siargao Island in the United States- based Surfer magazine in March 1993, and hundreds of his photos in many other books and magazines since his first visit in 1992. Callahan has put the island on the international map and has drawn thousands of surfers and tourists to Siargao. Cloud 9 also has a reputation for being a relatively cheap destination for surfers with many cheap accommodations and restaurants and bars to choose from.
Sohoton Lagoon and Caves is a 600+ hectare eco-reserve situated in the isolated south of Bocas Grande island. Accessible only on lower tides, this pristine sanctuary offers a grand experience of jellyfish swimming, caving, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and for landlubbers, hiking and walking tours. The trip is conducted by boat and are organized by local fishermen. Visitors are first required to sign up before embarking on smaller vessels. P500 entrance.
For the non-surf people, you can explore the island by motorbike or boat. You can go island jumping, scuba diving and snorkeling. And there's also many caves and waterfalls to explore.
Surf Cloud 9, Cloud 9, Brgy 5, General Luna.
One of the best known surfing waves, known for thick, hollow tubes. It is named after the chocolate bar of the same name by American photographer John S. Callahan. Cloud 9 also has a reputation for being a relatively cheap destination for surfers with many cheap accommodations and restaurants and bars to choose from. For beachcombers and first timers, the best time to pack one’s bags is during summer, from March to May. For hard-core surfers, bigger swells occur during the windy months from August to November. An annual surfing cup is held on September. Surfers from all over the world converge at General Luna to ride the waves and party. There are several other quality waves on Siargao and nearby islands, but Cloud 9 has received more publicity than any other surf spot in the Philippines. It is the only wave easily accessible without a boat, leading to overcrowding and the nickname of "Crowd 9" among surfers.
Mangrove Exploration, Del Carmen.
This means a trip requires sturdy sandals, dry bags to waterproof essentials and the acceptance that you will get wet! The country’s largest contiguous mangrove stand, which is also the second largest in Mindanao, is found here. In fact, Siargao’s mangroves are one of the two remaining sites in the country where the rare iron wood or magcono tree still grows. Eco-tourists will enjoy a day paddling amid the mangrove forests, kayaking through waters home to rich marine life. Feeling a little exploratory? Linger a bit longer and you may just catch a glimpse of the salt water crocodile, marine turtles, and the sea cow. The mangrove forest is a thriving, living ecosystem, home to many endemic species.
half-day or full-day. From the shores of General Luna, three distinct shapes visible in the horizon are best bets for island hopping: Naked, Guyam, and Daku island. Naked and Guyam islands are uninhabited white sand islets, while Daku island has a small fishing community.
Game fishing, Pilar town.
Game fishing is popular in the fishing grounds of Pilar. Anglers all over the world arrive every May for the International Game Fishing competition. Anglers are billeted at homestays, which are rooms in the locals’ homes, where they get to experience authentic Surigaonon meals. Most houses in Pilar are perched on stilts, atop swampy ponds with mangrove trees clustered around them. A stay in these unique homes is already an adventure in itself.
Driftwood Watersports, Cloud 9 Rd, Brgy 5 (1km toward Cloud 9 from GL (on the left)).
The largest surf shop on the island. Driftwood offers new/used/rental surf boards and SUPs, apparel, and surf accessories. Driftwood also provides accommodations, airport/ferry transportation and water transportation and activities. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There are direct flights to Siargao Island from Cebu two times a week, Mondays and Fridays.
Carrier is Cebu-Pacific. Prices for flights seem to vary, but expect to pay approx. $US50 one way. Flight time is approximately 45 minutes. Airport is approximately 45 minutes from the main accommodation areas at Cloud 9. Usually there are plenty of vans to transport people to their accommodation...price is not fixed, whatever you can bargain the driver down to...they have to return to the Cloud 9 area anyway.
The ferries from Surigao City to Dapa (main port town on Siargao Island) leave at approx. 6am, 11.30am and 12 noon...travel time varies between 2+ hours to almost 4 hours, depending on the ferry. Tricycles, vans and habal-habals (local form of transport=motorbikes designed for carrying passengers) wait at the pier to transport people to the main tourist/accommodation areas at Cloud 9. As always, flight times and ferry schedules may change without notice.
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