There is more to Siargao than surfing. But who can resist its fabled waves? So we do island hopping, swimming with jellyfish, spelunking, kayaking, cliff diving and surfing when we visit Siargao islands.
Siargao is the ultimate place to be for surfers visiting the Philippines. It’s extremely good waves can get any enthusiast stoked.
Beyond its surfing spots, more natural wonders await for visitors to discover and enjoy – from secret coves and lagoons to still lakes and natural pools to pristine white sand beaches that are never crowded. These hidden gems make non-surfers enjoy the Siargao islands, too.
Enjoy Siargao islands!
Photos courtesy of my travel buddies (Ely, Gin, Joann).
Below are itineraries for Bucas Grande Island and Siargao trips.
Day 1 – Morning
09:35 AM– Surigao Airport, Arrival
09:40 AM–Depart for Hayanggabon Port (Van/Bus Terminal)
10:20 AM–Arrival at Hayanggabon Port, Socorro
10:30 AM–Meet with boatman; depart for Bucas Grande
10:45 AM–Arrival at Sohoton Cove Tourism Center
11:00 AM–Sail to Sohoton Cove
11:45 AM- Back to the Center
Day 1 – Afternoon
12:00 PM–Lunch12:30 PM–Jellyfish sanctuary
1:10 PM– Mark-A beach, Snorkeling in nearby beach
2:00 PM– Depart for Soccoro
3:30 PM – Arrival at Socorro
4:00 PM – mini inland tour
5:00 PM – back in Island Vacations Country Inn, take a shower
6:00 PM – dinner
7:00 PM – return to hotel, pack up PM – lights out, sleep
Points to Remember
You have to reach Hayangabon port before 11 in the morning and before 4 in the afternoon because the scheduled daily trips will depart between 10 am to 11 am (for morning) and between 3 pm to 4 pm (for afternoon) if you’ll be staying overnight in Socorro town proper.
Note that locals also refer to Bucas Grande Island as Socorro, the lone municipality in these group of islands. You may contact Bucas Grande Island Travel and Tours if you are coming from Surigao through these mobile numbers: +63 09122485976 +63 09363345901.
Once in Hayanggabon Port, look for a boat rental for your Bucas Grande Island Tour. Rates range from P2,500-P3,000.
You can stay in the town of Socorro after your Bucas Grande Island adventure and depart for Siargao in the morning. When you reach Dapa Port in Siargao, look for public vehicles to take you to your accommodation site. Travel time from Socorro town pier to Dapa port is 3 hours.
Sohoton also has accommodations to offer such as that in Cinnamon Island. Three native cottages with fan/air-condition and breakfast for P2,500-P3,000 respectively. Contact operations manager Roldan Dizon at +63 9488205835. For further details visit The Pinay Solobackpacker website.
Daily budget, per person
Van ride Php 120 per head
Pumpboat fee starts at Php 100 per head
P 2,500 –Pump boat rental and guide fee
P 20 – Lake Tiktikan entrance fee
Sohoton Cove National Park Fees:
P 50– Entrance fee
P 50– Environment fee
P 100– Docking fee
P 80– Life vest and helmet rental
P 500– Pump boat to go inside Sohoton Cove
P 333– Guide fee (165 per guide, 2 guides per boat)
In a popular island destination like Siargao, it’s a wonderful thing to know that locals still have their space for recreations. That is the island community in General Luna, the gateway to several tourist sites in Surigao del Norte such as Cloud 9.
Other nearby destinations that can be accessed through General Luna are Bucas Grande Island in Socorro, and the trio islands – Naked, Guyam, and Dako – in Siargao as well as Magpupungko tide pools and a secluded lagoon. Tourists also stop here to eat, sing, or rent a motorcycle or a bicycle.
Once those necessities have been fulfilled, tourists moved on with their itineraries and leave the island community which to the delight of locals, I believe.
Folks living on this remote island are lucky to have a pristine island for their home, recreations and training sites for surfing, and a good place for sunset watching. Not to mention that business is thriving here, giving locals income opportunities other than fishing.
photo credits to travel buddies Gin Riobuya and Ely Cuela.
To visit Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte is to discover a world hidden in a labyrinthine terrain. A world where hilly and rounded islets, each covered in thick evergreen, dominate the landscape.
Bucas Grande Island is located in Socorro, Surigao del Norte. It is usually accessed via Hayanggabon Port, though some take an approximately three-hour boat ride from Genenral Luna in Siargao to get there. Visiting the island gives non-surfers other ways of experiencing Siargao than surfing.
Photo credits to my travel buddies Ely, Joann, and Ginny.
Exotic islands are almost perfect getaways, if not for the often excruciating travel they require in order to get there. Thankfully, there are white sandy beaches that are so accessible that you could reach them in less than 20 minutes via boat ride. And if you’re lucky you could find one along a major road, or just in front of your hotel room. Yay!
In the Philippines here are some of the most accessible island getaways I’ve had been to and would like to share with you.
Cowrie Island and Luli Island in Puerto Princesa. These islands are part of the Honday Bay Island Tours that the city government offers to tourists. Normally, visitors can choose three islands for a one-day island hopping adventure. Pambato Reef and Starfish Island are two other island destinations that tourists can choose, together with Cowrie or Luli.
Private resorts and islands like Pandan Beach and Dos Palmas are also part of Honda Bay. These require higher fees though for a one-day tour around the island resort.
How to get there: Rent a van or a tricycle from the city proper to the Honda Bay wharf. There tourists would be asked to register. DIY tourists would choose a tour for the day and pay the corresponding fee. Travel time from the town proper to the wharf could take 45 minutes.
For entrance fee to these islands, please refer to the table at the end of this blog post.
Kurangon Islet in Tiwi, Albay. Albay’s two most beautiful mountains are an ubiquitous sight in this small coral-island in Tiwi. That’s not to mention that it is a marine sanctuary where different marine species can be seen and encountered when one chooses to swim in the area.
It can be reached in less than 15 minutes via boat ride from Baybay, Tiwi, Albay.
How to get there: Look for PUVs (either van or bus) bound to Tiwi at Legaspi terminal. Travel time is around 45 minutes.
Note: As a marine sanctuary, the local government of Tiwi requires securing a permit before visiting the area. The permit can be obtained from the municipal office of Tiwi, Burueau of Fisheries and Agrarian Resources.
There’s no entrance fee, but a boat ride fee would start from Php 1,00-1,500 ++.
Dancalan Beach in Donsol, Sorsogon. This beach is along a main road in Sorsogon, so there’s no need for you to ride a boat to get there. Even if it tends to attract local visitors for its accessibility, your group can still have a “private” space as it has a wide and long stretch of shoreline. Besides, tourists that stay in its cottages would not return until afternoon from their Butanding encounter in Donsol.
It can be an ideal side trip from Bulusan Lake, or a place to stay overnight for those who intend to swim with whale sharks. Either way, it’s a good place to spend the rest of the afternoon for sunset watching, swimming, or chilling out with friends.
Entrance fee is 10 pesos only.
Subic Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon. This secluded beach with pinkish sand is the main island destination for tourists seeking a pristine beach to swim and snorkel in Matnog, Sorsogon. Even if it is already getting known to tourists, the chance to have this island all to yourself is still high, especially if you would camp in the area for an overnight visit.
There are other pristine beaches in nearby areas, and those too won’t disappoint. Among them is Tikling beach.
Entrance fee to Subic beach is 50 pesos, plus 20 pesos for environmental fee.
Cloud 9 in Siargao. Yes, tourists flock to this part of Siargao for its magnificent waves which makes it the ultimate surfing destination in the Philippines. But no one says that you can’t take things slow here by just dipping in the water or basking in the sun. The beach, after all, is just a walking distance from most of the lodging houses in the area.
And did I mention that Cloud 9 has the perfect setting for sunset watching, with two very spacious two-story viewing decks built near the shoreline?
Then, there is also General Luna in Siargao. It is a small island village with two (and probably more) pristine white sandy beaches that locals frequented to swim, play, and practice surfing. Sunset here is also breathtaking.
The pier in General Luna serves as the jump-off sites for island hopping in the surrounding islands, or for visiting Bucas Grande Island in Socorro, Surigao del Norte.
Naked Island in Siargao. More secluded islands can be found in Siargao through island hopping, and it includes Naked Island. Like Kurangong Islet, it is bare with no vegetation thriving in the area. Rock formations are also nowhere to be seen in this island. Thus, the name naked.
Its endless expanse of clean, turquoise water matches the infinite look and feel of the sky.
Guyam Island and Daku Island are the two other unspoiled islands that tourists can include in their island hopping adventure in Siargao, along with Naked Island.
Entrance fee to Daku Island is 50 pesos and 10 pesos for Guyam Island.
Atulayan Island in Camarines, Sur, Bicol. It is a favorite island getaway for locals that want a quiet weekend by the beach. It is secluded, far from the crowd, and not to mention, scenic.
Fee for boat ride starts at Php1,500. It can be reached in 25-30 minutes from Sugod, Tiwi, Albay. It can also be accessed via Nato Port in Sangay, Camarines Sur.
Travel Note: Most of the islands mentioned in this post are considered secondary destinations, not because they are inferior in terms of travel standards, but because they happen to be near to already very famous destinations.
Php 50.00 (Cottage fee not included)
Php 50.00(Cottage fee not included)
Php 100.00(Cottage fee not included)
Island hopping for 6 pax (3 cylinder engine)
More than 6 pax (additional rate)
Island hopping for 6 pax (4 cylinder engine)
3 Cylinder Engine (6 pax)
4 Cylinder Engine (6 pax)
Island Hopping- Short Distance (Cowrie, Luli, Pambato)
Any 3 Islands
Photo credits to my travel buddies Ely, Joann, Gin, Cath, and Avi.