Mindanao is seen by many stereotypes as one of the most dangerous parts of the Philippines resulted from unending conflicts derived from politics and religion. There was a bad stigma associated with this part of the country which makes many travelers both, foreign and locals avoid it. Despite these negative perceptions, there are still loads of exciting activities for those who want to visit. Let’s give Mindanao a chance!
Just off the coastline of Surigao del Norte in Mindanao is where a little laid-back island well-known for its surf spots located: Siargao Island. What many people are not aware of, however, is that Siargao Island is not only about surfing. Siargao has a lot more to offer than barreling waves which give non-surfers reasons why they should visit this beautiful island. Check out these 5 exciting activities you can enjoy in Siargao aside from surfing.
Go Island Hopping
It’s not hard to shops that offer island hopping tour around the island. Most of them will take you to the three pristine islets that surround General Luna. Joining group island hopping tours normally cost P750 with lunch but if you don’t like the idea of exploring the island with strangers or you want to decide how long you want to stay at a certain location, you can hire a private boat that will organize a tour for you. Hiring a boat normally costs P1500 without lunch. A private boat can accommodate 2 to 6 people.
The first stop of the tour is Naked Island. Basically, Naked Island is simply a 200-meter-long sandbar. Meaning, it’s literally naked without any trees, seashells, or even a roof to cover you from the sun. It’s perfect for photo ops and swimming as the waters which surround the islet are shallow.
Not really far is Daku Island, which is a long strip of white beach with a lot of palm trees as well as sari-sari stores and cottages. As the largest island among the three, the place has become popular for skimboarding, kayaking, and fishing.
And last but not the least is the little piece of heaven on earth, Guyam Island. This small, relaxing island has three cottages and high trees you can use for shades. Be careful when walking, though, as there are many small hermit crabs walking on the ground, if you don’t want to hurt them.
Rent a Motorbike
You can get around hiring a habal-habal and make someone drive for you, but it’s not better than renting your own motorbike and driving at your own pace. Like many towns in the country, Siargao Island is best traveled riding a motorbike. The countryside of the island is lined with rice fields, huts, and mountains – there’s no heavy traffic and air pollution to swamp you down.
Take a map and get lost in the island, though it’s almost impossible. You will be astonished by the magnificence of the island and the friendliness of the people always willing to guide you in the right direction when going to a particular destination.
All you’ll feel as you drive is the wind blowing in your face, the sweet smiles of locals, and the freedom of being anywhere you want in the island whenever you want. Some of the places you shouldn’t miss when exploring with the motorcycle are Malinao Beach, Mapupungko Rock Pool, and Cloud 9.
Rent a Dune Buggy
If you can’t drive a motorbike, but also don’t want to hire a habal-habal to tour you around the island, you don’t have anything to be worried about as dune buggies are here to save the day. Yes, there are places in Siargao where you can hire them for affordable rates. There are organized tours offered by the operators but you can always go wherever you want. By doing this, you will most likely end up at Siargao’s off the beaten paths.
The tour normally costs P1300 to P1400 which is good for two persons for the whole day. If you are planning to ride the dune buggy for only an hour or two, then it would be smarter to rent it on an hourly basis which costs 300 pesos. That’s a lot cheaper compared to Bocaray which is P1500 per hour!
See the Beauty Underneath by Diving
Below high waves are beautiful world underneath. One of the most underrated activities in Siargao is diving, mainly because there are only two dive shops on the island, which are Siargao Divers Club and Palaka Siargao Dive Center. The island’s clear waters make for great visibility.
Some of the best diving sites include Pilar Twin Rocks, Casulian, Seeco Reef, Shark Point, and the islands facing General Luna. But the most famous one is the Blue Cathedral, which boasts with stunning rock formations and caves occasionally visited by sharks.
Exploring underneath you can enjoy seeing seabed festooned by vibrant corals, scattered by big rocks. There’s also a big chance for you to stumble upon a school of tuna and barracuda, stripy sea snakes, groupers, puffer fish, and other tropical marine life.
Experience the Nightlife
The nightlife in Siargao is focused along General Luna, particularly around Cloud 9 where both foreign and local tourists choose to end their day by meeting new people and drinking. Bars and discos flourish along its expanse of beach and enliven at night.
You may want to check out, Kermit, Hotspot, Jungle Disco, and Viento Del Mar.
You don’t have to be a surfer to find yourself stoked in Siargao! If you know of other exciting activities on the island, please let us know in the comments section.