Siargao is an island of the Philippines on the eastern side of the archipelago and is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever set foot in. Seriously, this spot was magical, it was by far my favorite place within the Philippines that we explored on our 3-week adventure. Palm trees lined the highways that ran across the island, which we traversed on rented scooters without fear, as the traffic outside the main cities was minimal – sometimes we were the only souls on the road. Siargao has the perfect balance of having minimal tourists, but yet also offering good infrastructure for tourists – with plenty of accommodations, great restaurants and bars, and a safe atmosphere that made the whole time we were there feel like a dream.
Tres Islas Hostel
This hostel is reasonably close to all the major sights of General Luna. We did take tuk-tuk taxis reasonably often, as they were ridiculously cheap, but we could also walk to restaurants and bars nearby. It was a simple and affordable hostel with air conditioning and WiFi and friendly staff. The “free breakfast” is nothing special, and we went out to eat every morning instead.
I probably wouldn’t stay here again and instead splurge on something a bit fancier, as your money goes a long way in Siargao, but this gets the job done if you’re a backpacker on a budget.
If you’re in Siargao – rent a scooter! They were so much fun for zipping around and seeing so much of the island – because of some GPS navigation issues, we literally ended up riding around almost the entire circumference of the island, seeing little fishing villages and some stunning secluded beaches. They are very cheap to rent; most accommodations can hook you up with a rental, or you’ll see rental shops in General Luna where you can book by the day or for a week.
Food + Drink
Lots of great restaurants to choose from in Siargao – catering to a wide range of palates thankfully. You can get your fill of Filipino fare or indulge in delicious Italian, and of course, have lots of cocktails for little money.
Hands-down the most popular restaurant amongst visitors to Siargao is Kermit, and it’s easy to understand why. The food is phenomenal, with a variety of Italian dishes as well as Filipino favorites, and the atmosphere in the restaurant is wonderful. You might have to wait for a table, but grab a beer and enjoy lounging around, or put in your name early for a reservation. We ate here several times – their breakfast is also fantastic.
This is a great Thai spot with pleasant outdoor seating and prompt service. I enjoyed the green curry, and my friends enjoyed their meals of Massman curry and Panang. Plenty of spice to change it up!
White Beard Coffee
Coffee and waffles? What could be better! This was our morning “fuel” stop before hitting the road on our motorbikes. I had a great iced latte, and my friend Jodi tried a charcoal waffle – strange but tasty. Perfect for a trendy, hipster coffee in the morning.
Harry’s Hostel and Burgers
This spot was so cool – I absolutely loved the decor, and the burgers were awesome. Despite not being a vegetarian, I opted for the veggie burger for this dinner, as my consumption of vegetables during my travels around the Philippines was rather minimal. It was delicious! You can also stay at Harry’s – it’s a hostel in addition to being a restaurant.
There are lots of things to see and do in Siargao. It’s a haven for surfers, beach-goers, island-hoppers, and nature lovers. So many sights are breathtakingly beautiful, and everything can be enjoyed for a low price.
Our first time renting scooters, we set off on a journey to find this beach on the northside of the island. It took over an hour to get there, but the ride was half the fun. Zipping past endless stretches of palm trees, exploring little villages, and speeding down the road was tons of fun. This beach was gorgeous and void of tourists – it felt almost eerily empty, a nice change from bustling beaches full of sunbathers and vendors trying to sell everything from T-shirts to massages.
Island Hopping Tour to Naked Island, Daku, and Guyam
This was one of my favorite island-hopping experiences I’ve ever had. We had three stops, an EPIC seafood lunch spread, and a lot of fun exploring some gorgeous spots right off the coast of Siargao. Don’t forget sunscreen, and drink plenty of water. We did get a bit scorched this day, there’s no shade on Naked Island (as the name would suggest, I suppose), and a full day in the sun can be quite taxing.
Magpungko Rock Pools
Another day excursion we embarked on with our scooters was to these rock pools, although we didn’t time it correctly to explore them at low tide. It turned out to be a lovely beach nonetheless, with little bodega restaurants right in the sand serving up delicious Filipino food for ridiculously cheap. I ordered Pancit, a noodle dish that became my favorite meal in the Philippines.
Siargao was phenomenal. Hands-down it was my favorite place I visited in the Philippines, and possibly my ideal beach destination of all times. I really hope to return someday to enjoy more Filipino hospitality, sandy beaches, hot sun, and vacation bliss. Next time, I think I’d like to stay in the Cloud 9 area, which is famous for surfing. Maybe even enroll in a surfing camp for adults?
Want more Philippines blogs? Check out my post on seeing the whale sharks in Oslob.