Philippine tourism

How to spend your trip in Siargao

Joshua Berida

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How to spend your trip in Siargao
'There’s a lot more to do now compared to the first time I visited years ago'

Siargao has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the Philippines. I remembered the first time I visited the island some years ago. There were few budget accommodations, some attractions were not yet open to the public, and group joiner tours were non-existent. There was a sense of discovery exploring the island despite it being a known destination to travel enthusiasts. Stories from friends and acquaintances, and a subsequent visit of mine, have shown how the island has undergone a transformation into a major tourist destination.

How to spend your trip in Siargao
Best time to visit

Siargao is a year-round tourist destination. The beaches included in island hopping (or a random one you pass by while riding a motorcycle), lagoons, and of course the surfing spots are accessible throughout the year. The summer months of March to May are ideal for island hopping and dipping into (or jumping into) the lagoons. The peak months for surfing are from August to October. These are the times when the waves are high and professional surfers congregate on the island to compete against each other. Beginners can still ride the waves during peak season but should only go to spots for beginners and are recommended to hire an instructor.

Getting into Siargao

There were no direct flights to Siargao during my first trip years ago. Fast forward to today, you can book direct flights from Manila, Davao, or Cebu via Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. Buy your tickets months in advance to get the lowest possible fares.

Getting around Siargao

Like many provinces in the Philippines, you can take different types of public transportation to nearby places in Siargao. A habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) or a tricycle are affordable options to get from point A to point B. The fare for a short one-way ride is around P10-P20. Alternatively, you can rent a motorcycle starting at around P350+++ for a day. You’ll have to fill it up with gasoline though. There are also car and van rentals with or without a driver depending on the size of your group and the destinations you want to visit. There are also joiner tours which you can book at your accommodation or any of the tour operators on the island. A joiner tour is an ideal and affordable option for solo travelers or groups of up to three people.


SIargao is an ideal destination where you can go beach hopping, surfing, and swimming in lagoons during the day and go out at night. It’s also a chill destination where you can just hang out during your stay. There’s a lot more to do now compared to the first time I visited years ago. 

Day 1

Depending on the flight schedule you booked, you’ll arrive in the afternoon or mid-morning. The most convenient way to reach your accommodation is to book a van transfer. You can do this through your accommodation. The fare is around P300+++ per person. The trip can take up to 45 minutes. 

Once you’re settled, you can plan your next few days and book your day trips. You don’t have to book them before your trip. Ideally’ book your excursions at least a day before your planned schedule. You can swim, hangout, and watch the sunset at Cloud 9 to end your first day.

Day 2

Summer, Nature, Outdoors
DAKU ISLAND. Take a dip! Joshua Berida/Rappler

Spend your first full day island hopping. The islands of Daku, Guyam, and Naked have pristine beaches and clear waters, perfect for swimming and relaxing. Daku is the biggest island of the three, and in my opinion the nicest one. The shore has fine white sand and it has the typical tropical backdrop of swaying coconut trees and azure-tinged waters. Naked Island is what its name refers to – naked. No trees, nothing on it. It’s the ideal stop to go swimming and sunbathing. Guyam is a small island with snorkeling areas surrounding it. After your island hopping escapade, end your day in one of your favorite restaurants on the island.

Transportation, Vehicle, Watercraft
GUYAM ISLAND. A peaceful little pocket. Joshua Berida/Rappler

The cost of a joiner tour is around P1,500+++ per person. Depending on the tour operator the inclusions are food, guide fees, boat rental, docking fees, and entrance fees.

Day 3

DARE TO JUMP. Magpupungko Rock Pool. Joshua Berida/Rappler

After visiting some of the famous islands of Siargao, visit other known spots such as the Sugba Lagoon and Magpupungko Rock Pool. The Sugba Lagoon was a highlight during a recent trip to Siargao. The lagoon itself was lovely. However, the main attraction of the area for me was the diving board several feet above the water. Tourists jumped off the board awkwardly or gracefully (some showed off their diving skills with flips). I took the plunge a few times during my visit. The diving board felt higher once you looked down into the water. The trick is to just jump and not think about it too long. The Magpupungko Rock Pool is a great place to swim in and provides visitors with beautiful views. Tours go in the morning so that you can see and swim in the pools during low tide.

Nature, Outdoors, Scenery
SUGBA LAGOON. Gather up your courage! Joshua Berida/Rappler

The cost for this joiner tour is around P1,900+++ per person. Depending on the tour operator the inclusions are food, guide fees, boat rental, transportation, and others. You can pay extra to include stops such as the Coconut Plantation, Maasin River, Pacifico Beach, and other places.

Day 4

Summer, Palm Tree, Plant
CLOUD 9. A surfer’s paradise. Joshua Berida/Rappler

On day four of your trip, head on over to Cloud 9 and ride (or at least try) to ride its waves. If you’re a beginner, there are spots for you in Cloud 9. You’ll see others trying to stand on their surfboard for the first time or some practicing to improve their skills. You could spend hours surfing and chilling by the beach. If you’re done surfing, you can spend the rest of the day exploring the island riding a motorcycle or chilling by your favorite beach.

Surfing with instructor and board costs around P500-P900+++ per hour. If you’re confident enough in your own skills, you can rent a surfboard for P400 a day. 

If you know how to ride a motorcycle, you can rent one for the day for around P350+++ but you’ll need to fill it up with gas.

Day 5

Depending on the time of your flight, you’ll have enough time to go on a last-minute souvenir shopping spree or grab something to eat in a restaurant. Factor in the 45 minutes trip to the airport when you plan the last day of your trip. 

How much will you spend?

The tours you’ll do during your stay are your biggest expense. You can find budget accommodation such as a bed in a dorm which was non-existent during my first visit years ago. The prices of some of the restaurants on the island are like places you’ll find in Makati or BGC (foreign tourist prices). However, you can still find a few spots that are affordable for budget travelers. You’ll save a lot of money if you know how to ride a motorcycle. 

A budget of around P10,000 for 3 nights and 4 days covers a bed in a dorm hostel dorm, food and drinks from a budget-friendly restaurant, two tours, public transportation, and van transfers from and to the airport. You can spend less than that if you just rent a motorcycle to visit some of Siargao’s attractions and eat budget meals throughout. This doesn’t include drinking and partying, other expenses such as souvenirs, and airfare. You could also spend more during your trip because the island has some luxurious resorts and fancy restaurants. –

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