Travel Diary: Days of Bliss in Siargao

Confession: (If you didn't know this about me already), I am not a beach person. When I think of travel or summer, I see myself exploring a city - whether here or abroad - walking along their street, dining at the local restaurants and coffee shops, visiting museums...

I'm also not a fan of travels in December. By this time of the month, all I can think about is the Christmas holiday - get together with friends, gift shopping and giving for family, friends and my godsons and goddaughters, and just being home. 

But last year, I went on a travel in December, in Siargao Islands with some friends. I stayed there for 5 days. It rained a lot throughout my stay in the island, despite not being a fan of rainy days, I would always remember my Siargao vacation as one of the most fun and memorable travels. 

Taken with the coconut plantation in the background.  L:R: Yum, me, Jen, Jordan, Vinse, Rej, Mia and Ryan C.

So these were my travel companions. Some of them are my friends, some I've only known for a brief period of time and have little to no interactions with before the travel and some I actually just met for the first time when we went to Siargao. My best friend, Ryan, also came with us to Siargao. He's just not in this group photo because he came a day later. 

Day Zero - Airport

Jen, Jordan and I traveled together from NAIA 3 to Clark Airport. That's where we booked our flights which were cheap at around Php4k PAL roundtrip. We rode a P2P bus in NAIA 3, arrivals bay area, that took us to Clark - fare is around Php400. 

When the three of us saw each other, we couldn't help but laugh. We sure knew how to travel light.😆 


Jordan with a backpack


Me with my trusty Cabin Zero backpack (it's bulging, can you see?), my handbag and the eco bag with my travel pillow


Jen with her two full bags 

We learned two things right there: 1) Jen and I don't know the definition of travel light 😆 and 2) don't book flights in Clark just cos it's cheaper. The stress of traveling there is not worth it.


Finally together at Clark Airport with Rej and Ryan. 

Day Zero - Siargao

After settling in our accommodations, first agenda for us was lunch. I went online and searched for restaurant suggestions to dine in at in Siargao on Google and that's how we ended up at La Carinderia, a Filipino-Italian restaurant.


It's got a rustic vibe going, befitting for an island life. 




There were a lot of cats in the area of La Carinderia and this particular feline was not shy in approaching us. This cat seemed very keen of Rej, letting him swoop her up in his arms for a cuddle. What an adorable cat.💓

  

 



All the food we ordered from La Carinderia. Servings are of good size but it's really just for one individual. It's good food but I wouldn't recommend dining here if you're really hungry because the food takes a while to be served.

We checked out the famous Cloud 9 after and stayed there til sun set.


          

                                  



Then we went to this coffee shop, our favorite activity.



  
And from afternoon coffee it quickly turned into alcohol when we met up with the rest of the group and had an impromptu birthday salubong for Rej, going from one bar to another. And what followed was a fun and drunken night with a series of blurred photos.



                       
 
Selfie with the birthday boy


Day 1 Siargao

On our first official day in Siargao, we had a full day of tourist activities. Up early even though we were up all night and coming off from a drunken night.

1st stop: Coconut Viewing Deck and Road Coconut View



2nd stop: Maasin River

The day started sunny with a clear view of the sky...




But then it started to rain while Jen and I were in line, waiting for our turn for a photo on the bamboo boat. Well that didn't deter us from our plan so we stayed in line and got drenched.



Jen and I took a selfie together. The guy in the yellow? We don't actually know him but there he is part of the photo.😅 He later on asked us for a favor - asked to use my phone for his photo in the bamboo boat because he didn't have a water resistant phone. Rej teased me about that later on saying I was meeting the guy. 😑


All drenched but at least I got my photo. Also thanks to the rain, the crowd cleared up.😆


3rd stop: Magpupungko Rock Pool

We stayed here for awhile - for swimming, for photo taking and lunch. During low tide, the rock pools are exposed and it becomes a great spot for cliff diving and just basically exploring. 



Yum frolicking around the beach area. Look at those waves. 


Rej clowning around as always. He had me take this photo of him - he wanted to make it look like he was kissing the rock that looked like a face




We then had a quick stop at Facifico beach where we tried a different kind of group shot suggested by Ryan. Took us a while to actually get the shot!😅



Finally got it right!


Our last stop was Sugba Lagoon. We passed by a mangrove forest aboard a motor boat to get there. At this lagoon, you can chill and have fun doing water activities. 

  Rej went paddle boarding

                     

I went kayaking with Yum and Jen. We had trouble moving at first. We went around in circles.😅 It wasn't until Rej called out to teach us how to actually get the kayak moving forward that we were able to make progress. Kayaking sure is tiring on the arms. Quite the workout! Good thing we're all strong.💪

And here's Rej on a canoeing on his own


The others went board diving while Jordan chose to watch us all from the sidelines. Sugba Lagoon was definitely the most fun part of the tour.

For dinner, we went somewhere nice to celebrate Rej's official birthday as recommended by my best friend, Ryan who finally arrived later that afternoon in Siargao. We went to Altrove which is a Italian restaurant in General Luna area. 


                    
         
                                            

            


There was an invite to go party and drink again afterwards but we ended up having coffee instead. Tito/Tita feels. We did surprise Rej with a cake and a Happy Birthday song at the coffee shop since it was still his birthday. Officially 32.



Day 2 Siargao

We went on another tour on our second official day in Siargao. This time our itinerary was island hopping. Truth be told, I'm really not a fan of island hopping. 1) You gotta ride a boat for an hour at least to get from one island to another and 2) I don't like being so far away from the sea shore. But there I was, with the group, out on an island hopping activity. 

We went to Sohoton Cave - the farthest island in our itinerary. It took about 2 hours or more to get there on a boat. 



In the first cave that we went in, the water looked like it was glowing in the dark. This is me already forcing a smile on the way out of the cave. The kuya from our boat was enjoying taking my photo way too much. As I was the last one out, he had me posing here and there.😅 

  
And now with our hard hats on. This is us about to go in to the next cave, the one where people can be seen jumping from a certain height. No one from our boat jumped by the way. 

The weather sure was nice while we were there. It helped for good photos. We also went to the jellyfish lagoon area. These are the non-poisonous jellyfish which you can hold in your hands. Just don't lift them out of the water cos they'd die. 



So you can also swim with them or choose to stay in the boat like Ryan and I did. Our boatman took the photo of us below. He thought we were together romantically when he asked us to do a sweet pose. It's the story of our life, really. A lot of people think we're together but we're just friends. 



I will never forget our trip this island hopping activity because we had quite the scare on our way to the next islands in our itinerary. While in the middle of the sea, the weather suddenly turned bad and it rained, really hard. Really dark clouds loomed over us and then a downpour.

We were drench but that wasn't much of a concern considering we had gone swimming at Sugba Lagoon. But the scare came once our boatmen instructed us all to put on our life vests and what followed of the strong rains (that felt like we were in the middle of a storm) was also strong winds and the waves that came at us. I was silently praying the whole time. I was also thinking "Is this how I'm going to die?"; "Can I stay afloat for awhile if the boat capsized?" and "Dear God, don't let this boat capsize."

Everyone on the boat was quiet the whole time while also cold and trying not to panic. Thankfully, after what felt like forever, we managed to get to calmer waves and the rain subsided. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, look at your boatmen. If they're calm, you're still good. One of our boatmen even managed to smoke while we were in that ordeal.



By the time we got to the last island in our itinerary, Guyam island, it was already dark and almost high tide so we couldn't stay long. Just a quick group shot before we returned home. I was so relieved when we were back on land.

And after that whole tiring and scary island hopping activity? We went drinking again. There was a lot of eating and drinking booze during our whole island stay.

Day 3 Siargao

Only five of us were left by this time. The rest of the group traveled back to Manila. Vinse invited us to go island hopping again (I think he went back to the three nearer islands) but after our experience the day before, I think the four of us were more than happy to stay in land and just go exploring the island.


A little #OOTD on the beach since the sun was out again that morning


And then lunch at Bravo.

                           
                                             
                                           


Bravo Resort isn't a popular restaurant for nothing. Food is delicious! Expensive but delicious.


This cute dog approached Ryan while we waited for our food. Look at those eyes, seemingly saying "feed me human." He's well fed though because he's a pet of the resort owner. So adorable this dog!





Were we stuffed? Oh yeah. But after Bravo and a short shopping for souvenirs, we went for coffee and snack again.

                       



We went back to Cloud 9 afterwards so Jordan could surf and cross it off his bucket list which includes surfing in all the surfing spots in the Philippines. Ryan wanted to try it but since neither Jen nor I wanted to, he stayed on the shore with us. I don't really have dreams of channeling Kate Bosworth ala Blue Crush.

 Surfer dude, Jordan


For dinner, we treated ourselves with another splurge. We dined at Kermit, another popular restaurant in Siargao.


Ryan got a happy surprise when he ordered a cocktail drink and it turned out to be buy 1, take 1


Last stop for our last day in Siargao? More coffee.

  


Last Day in Siargao

We had a quick stop at the Coconut Viewing deck and coconut road for a quick photo shoot before we went to the airport.

                                                                                               
                                  


Too bad we didn't have a group photo of all of us - complete. 

So anyway, that wrapped up our travel to Siargao - five wonderful days in the island full of good food, coffee, booze and great company. And of course, there's that scary island hopping activity that will also forever be etched in my memory. I made a mental note that day: never going back to Sohoton Cave.😆  But I wouldn't mind seeing the 3 other nearer islands: Daku, Naked and Guyam. 

Yep, I don't like the beach or traveling in December but my vacation in Siargao island has already become a favorite vacation travel for me. I hope to have more of these kinds of amazing vacations. I can't wait for this whole Covid-19 health crisis to be over and for all of us around the world to move on from this. I'm gonna plan and book another travel with my friends and my mom again after this.  

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