By Zerylle Mae Lim
Siargao Island in the province of Surigao Del Norte is situated 800 kms southeast of Manila. This tear-drop shaped island was first discovered by Spanish navigator Bernardo de la Torreon, board of the carrack San Juan de Letran in 1543, during his attempt to return to New Spain from Sarangani. It was then chartered as Isla de Las Palmas (’Palm Island’ in Spanish). The coastline of Siargao Island is marked by a chain of reefs, small points and white, sandy beaches. Also with several enthralling lagoons, caves, sand bars, peculiar rock formations, exotic wildlife, vast rice fields, waterfalls and Mindanao’s largest mangrove forest reserves, Siargao is now deemed as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines.
Just off the shores of Siargao are three spectacular islands that are perfect for island-hopping: Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island. Naked Island is a 200-meter long sand bank that is surrounded by crystal clear turquoise waters and surreal white sand. Daku Island offers a dotted aerial view with its countless coconut palm trees. The beach is beautiful with its super fine white sand and the whole island does not offer electricity so camping in the shores of this stunning location or sleeping in the simple beachfront huts does the trick for tourists. An exclusive piece of heaven would be Guyam Island, uninhabited and absolutely breathtaking, where you could almost feel like you own a fraction of paradise in the country.
Siargao is recognized as the go-to place for all surfing enthusiasts, both experts and beginners, because despite the overall island’s small size, it boasts a unique mix of excellent experience in surfing, tranquil vibes, unexploited beaches and clear blue waters. Cloud 9 Resort is the most popular surfing spot in the island, and the location of some international surf competitions. It’s a powerful high-tide reef break that produces consistent barrels both left and right, highly recommended only for advanced surfers.
Surrounded by bizarre rock formations lies a natural pool named Magpupungko Pool, which looks like an infinity pool. It is separated from the ocean by a large reef and during low tide, you can actually walk on the reef as the sea is calm. It is located in Pilar, which is about an hour drive from General Luna, the beach town of Surigao del Norte, and be reached by either renting a bike there or by hiring a tricycle or ‘habal-habal’.