THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SIARGAO ISLAND
PART 1: WHY YOU SHOULD GO URGENTLY
Siargao, a picture-perfect Philippine islet, is our second home and the latest dream destination of the well-traveled. How come? We’ll reveal.
When it takes nothing but a stable wifi connection to share sensations with the world, undiscovered places become rare. Even Siargao Island, barely 440 square kilometers small and hidden in the Philippine east, has lost its secret spot-status to the wandering Instagram hordes. But while being mentioned in the same breath as Canggu or Tulum, Siargao is still far from being crowded.
It’s been around six years since friends from Manila convinced us to “sacrifice” some days of our yearly Philippines trip for a stopover at their favorite place. “Forget about Palawan, book Siargao.” As there was hardly anything to be found about it, we were skeptical. And taught better as soon as we approached the island! Siargao’s shores, covered in greenery and frayed by the ink-blue ocean, look surreal from above: saltwater crashes against crags, sloshes into sandy bays or flows lazily into one of countless mangrove labyrinths. Siargao’s nature has its own beat. And (still) keeps many tourists away.
Those who expect gentle, Maldives-like beaches are out of place. Or have to take a short boat trip to an offshore island at least. Siargao itself has a tide, reef and sea grass “problem”, which is a blessing in more detail: Since many bays are – at least at low tide – hardly suitable for swimming, the masses head for other Philippine islands. Like Boracay. Or Palawan. And yet: the number of Siargao fans is steadily growing.
GENERAL LUNA: ONCE A FISHING VILLAGE, NOW A SURF MECCA
We fell in love as soon as we reached General Luna. The former fishing village, which has only recently developed into a Mecca for surfers and creatives, looked like a dreamy expat enclave. And the Tourism Road, connecting General Luna (or G.L. for short) with Cloud 9, the Philippines’ most famous surf spot, was no more than a dusty sand path shared by locals and a few dozen immigrants from all over the world. Many of them were former urbanites with a common dream: to finally live a simple life.
Much has changed since then. The Tourism Road, now tarred, is lined with an ever-growing number of resorts, restaurants and shops. The good news: Siargao has somehow managed to keep its “The Beach” flair and still feels like being privy to a well-kept secret. If the Philippine government understands, that this is why travelers fall in love with the island (and those travelers treat it with due respect), Siargao has best chances to remain a paradise. If not, we should enjoy it as long as possible.