The overwhelming swash from the Pacific make this island in the province of Surigao del Norte a marine goldmine for big wave seekers. World-class Siargao. The surfing capital of the Philippines that rings a bell both to local and foreign enthusiasts. But that is exactly the problem with creating taglines for travel destinations. Siargao’s tagline gives the misconception that it’s but a place where huge waves crash onto the shore. It’s a place for surfers alone. In reality, there is more to Siargao than that. Constant walking and talking with the locals  affords a glimpse of the Siargao that only those who’ve been there will be familiar with. Here are 10 things we recomend! 

For those learning the basics of surfing, there are smaller waves on the left of Cloud 9.

1. It has waves fit for newbies. In front of the boardwalk are intimidating waves—the rightful place for those who are comfortable riding those Pacific giants. But I badly wanted to try it. I desired the feeling of riding the waves. Luckily, Siargao is not only for the serious surfer but for the hopefuls as well. On the left of the boardwalk are smaller waves fit for a newbie. A surfing tutorial costs Php500 for an hour of tutorial, and is worth the price. “You must read the waves for you to ride them,”

TAKTAK FALLS. Located in the other side of Siargao, beautiful Taktak Falls is not too known among tourists. Photo by Jona Branzuela Bering, InterAksyon.com.


Located on the other side of Siargao, beautiful Taktak Falls is not too known among tourists yet.

2. If you’ve had enough saltwater, head towards amazing Taktak Falls..


ALEGRIA BEACH. A serene stretch of white-sand beach on the other side of Siargao. Photo by Jona Branzuela Bering, InterAksyon.com.


Alegria Beach is a serene stretch of white-sand beach on the other side of Siargao.

3. You can enjoy a wide stretch of white sand at Alegria Beach. Siargao’s other side never seems to run out of beaches. Whereas Cloud 9 can be considered the place for tourists, the other side—Alegria Beach— has preserved its local flavor. This part of the municipality of Santa Monica is a wide stretch of immaculate sand. 


BURGOS BEACH. Despite its unkempt state, Burgos is a favorite hangout among local kids. Photo by Jona Branzuela Bering, InterAksyon.com.

Burgos Beach is a favorite hangout among local kids. 

4. Burgos Beach is lovely.


PACIFICO BEACH. With its inviting water and sand, this beach is the most popular among locals. Photo by Jona Bering, InterAksyon.com.


With its inviting water and white sand, Pacifico Beach is the most popular among locals.

5. Pacifico Beach is a great spot for reading a book.

6. Take time to visit Magpupungko pool. “Adto tag Magpupungko na (Let’s go to Magpupungko.),” Magpupungko has a proud rock sitting atop a bigger rock like Simba overseeing his pride. It is a rocky shore hollowed out, making it look like a natural pool.


BOULEVARD. Locals do not have to go far to take  a dip, General Luna itself is a stretch of creamy sand. Photo by Jona Branzuela Bering, InterAksyon.com.


Locals do not have to go far to take a dip, General Luna itself is a stretch of creamy sand.

7. Soak some local culture through a walk around General Luna. Boulevards are great places to take a walk but General Luna’s take it a notch higher—it isan awesome place to take a dip. It is a stretch of creamy sandy shore, a beautiful beach with resorts out of sight. Right in front of the boardwalk is Guyam, one of the islets in front of General Luna. On the left of the boulevard is a short wooden bridge connecting to a village where kids found the camera as fascinating as it was intimidating.


Together with Naked and Guyam, Daku Island (in photo) comprise the three spots that are part of an island-hopping activity in front of General Luna, Siargao. Photo by Jona Branzuela Bering, InterAksyon.com.


Together with Naked and Guyam, Daku Island (in photo) comprise the three spots that are part of an island-hopping activity in front of General Luna, Siargao. Photo by Jona Branzuela Bering, InterAksyon.com. 8. Tres Marias is just one of the many islets you can visit. Together with two Fil-Am brothers I met at the resort where I stayed, we decided to hop the islets fronting General Luna. Our country is graced or cursed—depending on whom you ask—with too many islands. It was a grace for me, but for one of the brothers I was with, it was a curse. Naked, Guyam, Daku are just three of the many similar-looking islands in the country. They are beautiful, touristy. So despite their expected post-card perfect atmosphere, why do we still visit them? Perhaps because we hope to find something different or see an epiphany of sorts. We visit these similar-looking islands because, really, no experience is ever the same.


A unique Siargao culture, benefit dance is one of the few communal entertainments that even foreign tourists enjoy. Photo by Jona Branzuela Bering, InterAksyon.com.


A unique Siargao culture, benefit dance is one of the few communal entertainments that even foreign tourists enjoy.

9. You can find friendly locals at a “benefit dance.” At night, young, sexy workers from different resorts gathered and went to a communal dance they call benefit. It actually befuddled me at first since back at home, we simply called it disco or bayle in the countryside. Benefit dance, we would say, is the only communal entertainment in Siargao aside from the predominantly male cockfighting sessions. When we say communal, that does not exclude foreign tourists. It was very entertaining to see foreigners drinking mestiza (a rum and soft drink concoction) and dancing in the middle of a well-lit basketball court with the locals. During a benefit dance, a person can sponsor a dance for Php20 or Php50 and the whole community can dance to it. Seeing a multicultural disco on an island, which has a small airport with a carabao grazing nearby is beyond my imagination.


Before the high tide arrives, locals hunt for sea cucumbers or fish with the famous boardwalk behind them. Photo by Jona Branzuela Bering, InterAksyon.com.


Before the high tide arrives, locals hunt for sea cucumbers or fish with the famous boardwalk behind them.

10. It’s also fun to go exploring during the low tide at Cloud 9.

Surfers wait for the waves during the swelling of the sea. Once the sea recedes, the crowd empties Cloud 9, making the waves more resounding. So I walked around with the Pacific greedily lapping the shore a few feet away from me. My feet brought me to a glass house with a person sleeping inside, to a family of five, to a family hounding the shore for dinner, to a rocky shore beyond the cliff. I walked the entire afternoon before the sea swelled again. And when I got back at the boardwalk, the waves were not as imposing as I thought.


Photo`s by Jona Bering, InterAksyon.com