I've been fortunate enough to visit islands all over the world, and have even called a few of them home. Always seeking out new islands to go explore, I found myself on one of the 7,100 something islands that make up The Philippines.
S I A R G A O.
There was something so uniquely captivating about Siargao - it had such a balance of everything that I enjoy. From daily boat rides to surf breaks, friendly locals, empty white sand beaches, to fresh coconuts right outside our bungalow. I visited this island in March of this year with three of my best girl friends and we embraced all that the island had to offer.
Siargao quickly became my favorite island that i've been to in The Philippines.
10 - The locals
Ok so this one isn't totally specific to Siargao itself, because Filipinos are some of the kindest people I have ever met in my life. They are so welcoming and friendly with the biggest of hearts. They love sharing - be it stories, laughs, or coconuts that they climb up 50 some feet high to get for you! Countless days we would have fresh coconuts waiting outside our door for us. We really got to know some of the locals in General Luna, Siargao. It's a small town so chances are you'll start seeing lots of the same locals everyday. Say HI (that's if they don't say Hi to you first which will be pretty rare). They have a young, surfer, laid back personality and mentality. They are funny, charming, and make sure you are just as stoked about Siargao as they are. Making friends with the locals was definitely a highlight of our trip and we made countless memories with them during our two weeks on the island.
9 - The Vegan Foods
Siargao is on the rise! It's gaining popularity and the people know what visitors like! Healthy food is abundant on this island. It's no Bali - but we were pretty happy with the vegan options we did find. Everything from vegan burgers, to mylkshakes, to pumpkin soup. Oh, and can't forget the 2 am veggie burritos from the cart on the way home from nights out.
8 - The Nightlife
We are not big on going out - but to be totally honest - we had such a good time the nights that we did! Siargao has a ton of beach bars and what's fun is each place has their own night that it's poppin'. So if it was a Tuesday we knew Rum Bar was the place to be. We loved not having to wear shoes and still having salt on our skin from the sunset surfs. No one was dressing up, and everyone was just there to dance and have a good time. Take your pick - San Miguel or Red Horse.
7 - The Mellow Mindset
Despite knowing how to party, everything was always so mellow and easy going! We stayed in General Luna during our time - which is the surfing hub and area where you'll find all the Air BnBs and bungalows to stay in. The rest of the island is local with villages all around. There is no traffic, no traffic lights, no freeways. Just plenty of tuk tuks and people cruising on their motor bikes headed to the pumping surf or back to the hammock with their boards attached to the side.
6 - The Beaches
Unless you're at Cloud Nine, chances are you'll have the entire beach to yourself. Even in the town of General Luna, you won't find crowded beaches. We were staying in the heart of town (Shoutout to Torrey @ Boyums Bungalows!) and walked across the road everyday to our own private beach, or at least it felt like it! The sand is white and the beaches are lined with dense palm trees. It's the paradise i've always dreamed of.
5 - The Expats
The locals are amazing, but the locals at heart are such a wonderful addition to Siargao. It's easy to fall in love with the island, and just as easy to stay. We made friends with some expats from Sweden, Spain, and even Canada. Those who did stay truly embraced the island mindset and like the locals, made sure you were just are stoked about Siargao as they were.
4 - The Palm Jungles
SO. MANY. PALM. TREES. thousands... millions? Siargao is completely covered with palm trees - and the best part? They all have coconuts hanging from them. It was actually heaven. We spent many hours and many days just wandering around the island, admiring all the palm jungles and the way the light danced between each tree and the leaves. To get to most beaches on the island you have to walk through these palm jungles and I honestly can't think of a better way to go into a surf.
3 - The Water
The color of the ocean water is like nothing i've ever swam in before. It is crystal blue. Some days when we were out on the boat at surf breaks the water was this electric blue that I hadn't even know the ocean could look like. Not only is the clarity enough - but the water is so warm. We're talking 30°C/85°F. After a long day of riding the motorbikes around or after a jog - I found myself wishing the water was a bit colder.
2 - The Lagoons
As if the clear ocean water wasn't enough, there are tons of rock pools all over the island. There are the touristy ones like Blue Lagoon and Sugba lagoon - but if you just cruise around the road that takes you around the perimeter of the island you'll find plenty more totally empty pools to take a dip.
1. The Surrounding Islands
Hop on your own private longtail boat for about ~$4 USD and cruise to one of the nearby islands. Enjoy a surf at Daco, lunch at Gayum, and a nap on Naked Island. There are plenty of tiny little islands just off the beaches of Siargao. Some so close it looks like you could swim to them.
OH YEAH, AND THE SURF.
Clear, warm ocean water and crystal swimming pool lagoons aren't the only thing Siargao has to offer. Which makes this the 11th thing - but also should go without saying because Siargao is known for world class surfing. Everything from big waves to beginner baby waves. We rented our boards for the two weeks we were there and surfed every single day. It was mental. If you take a longtail boat out, which I highly recommend, you'll surf empty breaks, clean waves, and endless spots. You'll probably lose your mind and have a hard time adjusting back to reality.