5 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON SIARGAO, PHILIPPINES
#1 Enjoy the best Siargao Surf spots!
This list of things to do in Siargao has to begin with the surf, it is after all the surfing capital of the Philippines. Siargao hosts the ‘Cloud 9 Surfing Cup’ each September, an official WSL Pro event. It also boasts waves almost all year-round, similar to surfing hotspots like Oahu, Hawaii. The Cloud 9 boardwalk and viewing area has become one of the most popular Siargao tourist spots.
The beauty of surfing on Siargao is that there is a surf break for all levels. Personally, I suck at surfing so I hit up the beginner waves at Jacking Horse. I did enjoy watching the seasoned surfers tearing up the bigger waves out at Cloud 9. This wave barrels and is not only one of the best waves in the Philippines but is ranked in the top ten waves of the world.
If the waves aren’t rolling in nicely at the beach breaks you can pay $4-5 USD to ride a boat out to an island break less than an hour from Siargao and surf the afternoon away in the middle of the ocean.
These are some of the popular surf breaks in Siargao and what you can expect at each of them.
Cloud 9: This is the most famous surf break on Siargao and has some nice barrels. We spent many mornings watching the experts carve it up from the three-story hut that sits out over the water. This wave has singlehandedly made Siargao the surfing capital of the Philippines.
Jacking Horse: The most accessible beginner wave on the island. A great spot for learning how to catch a wave but often crowded with surf lessons and it has a strong tide. Lots of paddling if you aren’t a gun. Some of the local long boarders tear it up here!
Stimpys: A consistent left-hander, which is a great place for short-boarders to have a little fun.
Pacifico: Although its a long drive (up to an hour) from General Luna, at Pacifico, you will find some of the biggest surf on Siargao.
Rock Island: Take the boat out for a fast-moving right-hander. Best for experienced surfers.
Guyan (Secret Beach): Head on past the trespassing signs and enjoy small rolling waves great for beginners. It’s about 30 minutes from General Luna.
#2 Cloud 9 Pier
One of my favorite things to do in Siargao was to wake up for sunrise and chill out on the end of the Cloud 9 pier. Sometimes surfers were tearing it up and watching that was awesome. Other times I watched the sun slowly rise in the distance. Hardly anyone wakes up to head out there except for a few others, quietly enjoying the start of the day at Cloud 9. It could be something to consider when you are thinking about where to stay in Siargao. Somewhere near Cloud 9 pier means you will have your sunrise spot sorted! If you had out here for sunset you will find yourself sharing the hut at the end of the pier with quite the crowd. It doesn’t get the perfect sunrise or sunset due to its location but it’s one of your best bets if you are in General Luna. I wrote a full blog post about the best sunsets spots on Siargao best sunsets spots on Siargao.
#3 Magpungko Rock Pools
Magpupungko Rock Pools on Siargao Island are one of the most popular things to do and easily my favorite tourist spot on Siargao.. Just a 45-minute moped drive from the main tourist area of General Luna, the rock pools are exposed at low tide and are an awesome spot for hours of exploring and cliff jumping.
The crystal clear blue water had me speechless. This is an epic little area, with coves, caves, and cliff jumping spots aplenty. There are multiple spots to get your backflip on if you are into a bit of a jump. I advise wearing water shoes or just regular shoes like me as the rocks are very jagged and sharp to climb. Make sure you check the tides in advance (they change daily), so that you don’t arrive during high tide. When you get the tides right, this is a truly magical spot and one of my favorite places to visit on Siargao Island
#4 Tayangban Cave Pools
Tayangban Cave Pool was one of the highlights of my many adventures throughout Siargao Island. It was one of the best caving experiences I have had in Asia. For 15 minutes you swim and float in darkness, only aided by torches. Bats fly around you until you finally emerge to the open cave pool where you can cliff jump from seven meters.
Immediately after descending through the opening, we were chest deep in water. We swam through the dark caves, guided by a solitary torch. From time to time bats swooped down on us and eerie noises shot out from the distance. The water was mostly chest height so you could walk through in most sections if you preferred rather than swimming.
The cave opened up after fifteen minutes with a huge archway that helped to breach the darkness and welcome us back to the sunlight. It was then just a short swim to the open pool, which is the end of the tour. Many people finish here but there is a cliff jump spot into the 18ft deep water. That was a big bonus for us and made it one of our favorite places to visit in Siargao!
#5 Coconut Palm Forest at the Top of the Road
This is a spot you will likely drive to without even planning on it. On the way to destinations like Pacifico, Tayangban Cave Pool or Mapgpupungko Rock Pool you will pass through an area we called ‘top of the road’. I’m not sure if this is a local/official name or something we came up with but by the end of our month on Siargao Island, we all knew it by this name.
It’s halfway to Magpupungko Rock Pool and you will know when you have arrived. You will veer around a sharp corner after about 30 minutes of driving from General Luna, and all of a sudden, you will be looking out over thousands of coconut palms. I think we pulled the mopeds over to the side of the road almost every time we came here to check it out.
One morning we even came for sunrise. Even though it is not a spot to see the sun come over the horizon, the colors were so beautiful as the light slowly broke out over the palms. The Siargao region is just covered in palms it has to be the most palm trees per square meter in the Philippines! We did have to wake up at 4 in the morning for that mission. Sunrise in the palms is nice and at both sunrise and sunset, you can get some light rays shooting through the palms!