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Surfing Siargao: Ocean Ecstasy In The Philippines


by Elberta Partin



Surfing Siargao is like diving into a world of ocean ecstasy in the heart of the Philippines. Siargao Island, located in the province of Surigao del Norte, is a tropical paradise blessed with pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a vibrant surf culture. It has earned its reputation as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines” and the wave-riding hotspot of Southeast Asia.


Siargao’s allure lies not only in its breathtaking natural beauty but also in its world-class surf breaks that attract surfers from all over the globe. The island offers a wide range of waves suitable for beginners as well as seasoned professionals, making it a truly inclusive surfing destination.


But Siargao is not just a surfer’s paradise; it is a destination that caters to both adventure seekers and those seeking a relaxing getaway. Beyond the waves, Siargao offers a plethora of activities and attractions that showcase the island’s unique blend of natural wonders, rich marine biodiversity, and vibrant local culture.


This article will delve into the magic of Siargao, exploring the island’s top surf spots, hidden gems, and the vibrant local scene. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or simply an admirer of nature’s beauty, Siargao is sure to captivate your heart and leave you yearning for more.


Siargao: A Tropical Paradise

Siargao is a true tropical paradise nestled in the Philippines, renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and laid-back island vibes. Its palm-fringed white sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush greenery make it a visual feast for visitors.


One of the main attractions of Siargao is its incredible surf breaks. The island is blessed with a unique geological formation known as the “Cloud 9 Left” wave, which has gained international recognition and draws surfers from all corners of the globe. This powerful wave offers a challenging and exhilarating ride for experienced surfers.


Beyond the surf scene, Siargao offers a myriad of other activities and attractions. Explore the mesmerizing rock pools and natural swimming spots at Magpupungko Rock Pools, where you can take a dip in the crystal-clear waters or simply relax and soak up the sun on the smooth rock formations.


Another must-visit destination in Siargao is the enchanting Sugba Lagoon. Surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and lush mangroves, this hidden gem offers a tranquil escape and a chance to paddle through the serene waters in a rented kayak or paddleboard.


For nature enthusiasts, a visit to Sohoton Cove National Park is a must. Embark on a boat tour through the park’s labyrinthine network of mangroves and explore the captivating Jellyfish Sanctuary, where you can swim alongside these beautiful, non-stinging creatures in their natural habitat.


Siargao is not just about its natural wonders; it is also a place to immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture. Engage with the friendly locals and learn about their traditional way of life by visiting the small fishing villages that dot the coast. Experience the warmth and hospitality of the Siargaonon people as you savor the local cuisine, which features an abundance of fresh seafood delicacies.


Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush from catching the perfect wave, a serene escape in nature’s embrace, or a cultural immersion in the local way of life, Siargao offers something for every taste. Its untouched beauty and unspoiled charm will make you fall in love with this tropical paradise and leave you yearning to return time and time again.


Surfing Siargao: A Thrilling Experience

If you’re a surf enthusiast, Siargao is a dream-come-true destination. With its world-class surf breaks and consistent waves, it offers an unparalleled surfing experience that will leave you exhilarated and wanting more.


The highlight of the surfing scene in Siargao is undoubtedly the famous Cloud 9. This wave, named after the local surf spot, is one of the best and most challenging left-hand breaks in the world. Its hollow and powerful waves attract professional surfers and adventurous thrill-seekers who are up for the challenge.


Even if you’re a beginner or have never tried surfing before, Siargao has you covered. The island offers a variety of surf breaks suitable for all skill levels. Beginners can find gentle and forgiving waves at spots like Jacking Horse, while intermediate surfers can enjoy the long rides and mellow waves at spots like Stimpys and Quiksilver. The welcoming and supportive surf community in Siargao ensures that surfers of all levels can have a great time enjoying the waves.


For those seeking a more laid-back surf experience, Siargao has plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Take a boat trip to nearby islands and reefs, where you can find uncrowded breaks and pristine waves that will make you feel like you have the ocean all to yourself.


Surfing in Siargao is not just about the waves; it’s also about the lively surf culture that permeates the island. Joining a surf camp or taking lessons with experienced local instructors is a great way to not only improve your skills but also immerse yourself in the vibrant surf community. Share stories and laughter with fellow surfers in the lineup or relax at one of the beachfront bars, swapping tales of epic rides and wipeouts.


Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, Siargao offers an unforgettable surfing experience. The combination of world-class waves, stunning natural beauty, and a warm and welcoming surf community make it a must-visit destination for surfers from around the world.


The Best Surf Spots in Siargao

Siargao is a surfer’s paradise, offering a variety of world-class surf breaks that cater to different skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, there’s a spot for you to catch the perfect wave and enjoy the thrill of riding the ocean. Here are some of the best surf spots in Siargao:

  1. Cloud 9: Cloud 9 is the most famous and iconic surf spot in Siargao. Located on the eastern side of the island, it offers powerful and hollow left-hand waves that break over a shallow reef. This spot is known for its challenging conditions, making it a favorite among advanced and professional surfers.
  2. Mam-on: Mam-on is a great spot for beginners and intermediate surfers. It features a long and gentle right-hand wave that breaks on a sandy bottom. Mam-on is relatively uncrowded, making it a perfect spot for those who want to improve their skills or simply enjoy a mellow surf session.
  3. Quiksilver: Quiksilver is a reef break located near the town of General Luna. It offers long and fun right-hand waves, perfect for intermediate surfers. This spot is known for its consistency and crowd-friendly atmosphere, making it a popular choice among locals and visitors alike.
  4. Stimpys: Stimpys is another spot suitable for intermediate surfers. It boasts long and playful right-hand waves that break over a reef. The wave offers a fun and mellow ride, allowing surfers to enjoy extended rides and practice their maneuvers.
  5. Jacking Horse: Jacking Horse is a beginner-friendly spot located near General Luna. It features a sandy bottom and gentle waves that are perfect for those who are just starting out. The relaxed atmosphere and shallow water make it an ideal spot for learning and building confidence in the water.

These are just a few of the incredible surf spots that Siargao has to offer. Other notable spots include Daku Reef, Salvacion, and Rock Island, each with its own unique characteristics and waves. Whichever spot you choose, be sure to check the swell and tide conditions to ensure the best surfing experience.


Remember, while surfing in Siargao, always respect the local surf etiquette, be mindful of other surfers, and take care of the pristine environment around you. With its variety of surf breaks and breathtaking natural beauty, Siargao will undoubtedly leave you with unforgettable memories and a desire to return for more thrilling surf adventures.


Exploring Siargao’s Marine Biodiversity

Beneath the surface of Siargao’s azure waters lies a vibrant and diverse marine ecosystem, teeming with life and waiting to be explored. Siargao offers excellent opportunities for scuba diving, snorkeling, and marine exploration, allowing visitors to witness the beauty and richness of its underwater world.


One of the most popular diving sites in Siargao is the Blue Cathedral. Located off the coast of Pilar, this underwater cavern is adorned with mesmerizing blue hues and impressive rock formations. Divers can marvel at the vibrant coral reefs and encounter a variety of marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and even reef sharks.


The nearby Guyam Island is another hotspot for snorkeling and diving. This small islet is surrounded by crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reefs, making it a haven for colorful fish species and other marine creatures. Snorkelers can explore the shallow reefs and witness the incredible biodiversity that thrives within the protected marine sanctuary.


For more experienced divers, Siargao also offers sites like the Shark Point and the Manta Bowl. Shark Point, as the name suggests, is a spot where divers can encounter different species of sharks, including whitetip and blacktip reef sharks. The Manta Bowl, on the other hand, is famous for its frequent visits from majestic manta rays, providing an awe-inspiring and unforgettable diving experience.


In addition to coral reefs and larger marine creatures, Siargao is also home to extensive seagrass beds and mangrove forests. These vital ecosystems play a crucial role in supporting marine life, providing habitats for juvenile fish, seahorses, and various aquatic species. Exploring the mangroves by kayak or paddleboard allows visitors to admire the intricate root systems and spot colorful birds and other wildlife.


Siargao also embraces a commitment to marine conservation and sustainable tourism practices. The local communities actively participate in efforts to protect and preserve the marine environment. Responsible diving and snorkeling practices are encouraged to minimize impact on the fragile underwater ecosystems, ensuring that future generations can continue to explore and appreciate Siargao’s diverse marine biodiversity.


Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a snorkeling enthusiast, Siargao offers an adventure beneath the waves that is sure to captivate and inspire. So go ahead, dive into the magical world beneath the surface and discover the wonders of Siargao’s marine biodiversity.


Siargao’s Local Culture and Cuisine

Siargao isn’t just a paradise for surfers and nature enthusiasts; it is also a hub of vibrant local culture and mouthwatering cuisine. The island’s warm and welcoming community, coupled with its rich cultural heritage, adds another layer of charm to the Siargao experience.


The Siargaonon people take great pride in their local traditions and customs. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to witness traditional practices, such as the Pangdiwata rituals, which are performed to pay respect to the island’s ancestral spirits and seek their guidance and protection. These ceremonies highlight the deep connection between the Siargaonon people and the natural environment that surrounds them.


One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Siargao’s local culture is through its cuisine. The island offers a wealth of delicious and diverse dishes, influenced by both indigenous ingredients and culinary traditions from different parts of the Philippines.


Seafood is a staple in Siargao’s culinary scene, given its abundant marine resources. Freshly caught fish, crabs, prawns, and squid are often grilled, fried, or used in flavorful stews and soups. Don’t miss out on trying the mouthwatering Kinilaw, a local ceviche dish made with marinated raw fish or seafood, mixed with vinegar, citrus juices, and spices.


For a unique taste of Siargao, try the famous specialty dish called “Paksiw sa Isda.” This traditional sour fish stew is prepared by simmering fish in vinegar, garlic, and spices, resulting in a tangy and savory delicacy that pairs perfectly with a side of steamed rice.


If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, indulge in the island’s sweet treats. Try the “Binagol,” a dessert made from grated coconut mixed with sweetened root crops, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. Another popular choice is the “Budbud,” a sticky rice cake wrapped in palm leaves and served with ripe mangoes or peanut butter for a delightful combination of flavors.


Siargao’s local markets and eateries are also great places to sample other Filipino favorites, such as “Adobo” (a savory stew), “Sinigang” (a sour soup), and “Lechon” (roasted pig), among many others.


In addition to the culinary delights, Siargao is known for its lively nightlife scene and vibrant music culture. After a day of surfing or exploring, unwind at one of the beachfront bars and enjoy live music performances by local musicians. The combination of good music, a laid-back atmosphere, and the warm hospitality of the locals creates a truly unforgettable experience.


Siargao’s local culture and cuisine add a unique and enticing dimension to your island getaway. Embrace the flavors and traditions of the Siargaonon people and create lasting memories as you dive into a world of cultural richness and culinary delights.


Accommodation Options in Siargao

Siargao, with its growing popularity as a tourist destination, offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every type of traveler. Whether you’re looking for luxury resorts, cozy beachfront cottages, or budget-friendly hostels, Siargao has something for everyone.


If you’re seeking a luxurious and pampering experience, there are several upscale resorts and boutique hotels scattered across the island. These accommodations offer lavish amenities such as infinity pools, spas, beachfront dining, and private villas or bungalows with stunning ocean views. Some of the top-rated resorts also provide exclusive access to their own surf breaks, ensuring a premium surf experience right at your doorstep.


For those on a mid-range budget, Siargao has numerous guesthouses, beachside cottages, and cozy homestays. These accommodations often provide comfortable rooms with essential amenities and may include perks like free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and bicycle rentals. With their laid-back ambiance and proximity to the beach, they provide an authentic island experience and serve as a perfect base for exploring the local attractions.


Backpackers and budget-conscious travelers will find an array of affordable accommodations, including hostels and guesthouses. These options offer dormitory-style rooms or private rooms with shared bathrooms, allowing you to save on costs while still enjoying a comfortable stay. Many of these budget-friendly accommodations create a social atmosphere, making it easy to connect with fellow travelers and exchange tips and stories.


If you prefer a more immersive experience, consider staying in a local homestay or guesthouse run by Siargaonon families. This allows you to get a firsthand glimpse into the local way of life and enjoy warm Filipino hospitality. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with the locals, taste authentic home-cooked meals, and gain a deeper understanding of the island’s culture and traditions.


Regardless of where you choose to stay, it’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons. Siargao experiences a surge in tourists, particularly surfers, during certain months of the year, so securing your preferred accommodation early ensures a hassle-free trip.


When selecting your accommodation, consider factors such as location, proximity to surf spots, access to amenities, and your preferred atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to indulge in luxury or embrace a more rustic experience, Siargao’s diverse range of accommodation options ensures that you’ll find the perfect place to rest, relax, and rejuvenate during your stay on this tropical paradise.


Transportation and Getting Around Siargao

Getting to and around Siargao is relatively simple, thanks to the island’s well-connected transportation options. Here’s a guide to help you navigate your way around this tropical paradise.


By Air: The fastest and most convenient way to reach Siargao is by air. Siargao Airport, also known as Sayak Airport, receives regular domestic flights from Manila and Cebu. Major airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia operate flights to and from Siargao. The airport is located in Barangay Del Carmen and is approximately a 45-minute drive to the main tourist areas.


By Ferry: If you prefer a more scenic route, you can take a ferry to Siargao from Surigao City. Surigao City is accessible by both air and sea from major cities in the Philippines. Ferry services operate daily, and the journey takes around two to three hours, depending on the weather conditions. It’s advisable to check the ferry schedules in advance and arrive at the port with ample time to secure your tickets.


Getting Around: Once you’ve arrived in Siargao, there are several modes of transportation available to explore the island:

  • Habal-habal: The most common and convenient mode of transportation in Siargao is the habal-habal, a motorcycle modified to accommodate passengers. You can easily rent a habal-habal to travel between different towns and tourist spots. Just remember to negotiate and agree on the fare before starting your journey.
  • Tricycle: Tricycles, which are motorcycles with sidecars, are another popular option for short-distance travel within the towns. They can accommodate up to three passengers and are a convenient and affordable way to get around.
  • Rent a Motorbike: Renting a motorbike is a great option if you’re comfortable riding and want the freedom to explore the island at your own pace. Several rental shops offer motorbikes for daily or weekly rates. Just make sure you have a valid driver’s license and wear a helmet at all times.
  • Public Vans: Public vans operate fixed routes between major towns and tourist destinations. They are more comfortable than tricycles and can accommodate a larger number of passengers. Look for the designated van terminals or inquire with your accommodation for the schedule and fares.
  • Walking and Cycling: The main tourist areas in Siargao, such as General Luna, can be explored on foot or by bicycle. Walking or cycling allows you to soak in the island’s beauty at a leisurely pace and provides flexibility to explore nearby attractions.

It’s important to note that road conditions on Siargao can vary, with some areas having unpaved roads or uneven surfaces. Exercise caution, especially when riding a motorbike or habal-habal, and always wear a helmet.


With its accessible transportation options, getting to and around Siargao is a breeze. Whether by air or sea, your journey to this tropical paradise will be well worth it, allowing you to embark on incredible adventures and create unforgettable memories.


Safety Tips for Surfing Siargao

While surfing Siargao promises an exhilarating and memorable experience, it’s important to prioritize safety in the water. Here are some essential safety tips to ensure your surfing adventures on this beautiful island remain enjoyable and incident-free:

  • Know your limits: Be honest with yourself about your surfing abilities and only tackle waves that you feel comfortable with. Start with smaller waves if you are a beginner or have limited experience, and gradually work your way up to more challenging breaks as you gain confidence and skill.
  • Observe the surf spot: Before entering the water, take the time to observe the conditions at the surf spot. Look for hazards such as rocks, reefs, or strong currents. Note the wave patterns and any changes in tide or swell size that may affect the difficulty of the surf break.
  • Warm-up: Take a few minutes to warm up your muscles before paddling out. Stretching your arms, shoulders, and back will help prevent injuries and enhance your performance in the water.
  • Wear proper protective gear: Always wear a leash to keep your surfboard attached to you. This will minimize the risk of losing your board and ensure it doesn’t become a hazard to other surfers. Additionally, consider wearing sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Respect local surf etiquette: Familiarize yourself with the local surf etiquette and show respect for other surfers in the lineup. Follow the “first-come, first-served” rule and wait for your turn to catch a wave. Avoid dropping in on other surfers and communicate with others to avoid collisions.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings: Stay aware of your surroundings in the water. Constantly look out for other surfers, swimmers, and obstacles. Be cautious of shallow areas, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the surf break.
  • Know the emergency procedures: Familiarize yourself with the nearest surf rescue stations and their emergency procedures. In the event of an emergency or if you need assistance, know how to signal for help and where to find designated safety personnel.
  • Stay hydrated and fueled: Surfing can be physically demanding, so make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Also, bring along some snacks to provide your body with the necessary energy and nutrients to sustain your surf sessions.
  • Listen to local advice: Seek advice from local surfers or instructors regarding the surf conditions, currents, and any specific hazards of the area. They have valuable knowledge of the surf breaks and can provide valuable insights to help ensure your safety.
  • Be respectful of the environment: Practice responsible and sustainable surfing by not disturbing marine life or damaging coral reefs. Minimize the use of single-use plastics and leave no trace behind when visiting the surf spots.

By following these safety tips and being mindful of your own abilities and surroundings, you can have a safe and enjoyable surfing experience in Siargao. Remember, your enjoyment of the waves goes hand in hand with respecting the ocean and fellow surfers, ensuring that everyone can have a great time in this surfers’ paradise.



Siargao, with its stunning natural beauty, world-class surf breaks, and vibrant local culture, is truly an island paradise that captivates the hearts of all who visit. From the exhilarating experience of riding the famous Cloud 9 wave to immersing yourself in the diverse marine biodiversity, Siargao offers something for everyone.


Surfing in Siargao is an absolute must for any wave enthusiast, with breaks suitable for all skill levels. The thrill of catching the perfect wave, surrounded by the breathtaking scenery, creates unforgettable memories that will stay with you long after you leave the island.


But Siargao is not just about surfing; it is a destination that offers so much more. Explore the enchanting rock pools, paddle through serene lagoons, and discover the vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful marine life. Immerse yourself in the warmth of the local culture, savoring the mouthwatering cuisine and experiencing the hospitality of the Siargaonon people.


Whether you choose to relax on the pristine beaches, embark on thrilling adventures, or simply embrace the laid-back island vibes, Siargao is sure to leave a lasting impression. The combination of natural wonders, a welcoming local community, and an abundance of activities make Siargao an irresistible destination that draws visitors from around the globe.


As you embark on your Siargao journey, remember to prioritize safety while enjoying the thrills of the waves. Respect the local surf etiquette, stay mindful of your surroundings, and take precautions to ensure a safe and memorable surf experience.


Siargao awaits, ready to enchant you with its unparalleled beauty and invite you into a world of ocean ecstasy. So pack your surfboard, embrace the spirit of adventure, and get ready for an unforgettable escape to this tropical paradise in the heart of the Philippines.