Going to the Siargao Islands had always been on my bucket list. Famous for surfing, you couldn’t grow up in Butuan and not hear about it.
When I started planning about my annual midyear homecoming to Butuan for this year, I thought of taking a side-trip to Siargao. And, why not? David was coming home with me. Siargao would be another for our firsts together. 🙂 Later, with all the thinking and planning, Siargao became the trip while Butuan the other, because apparently, a day in Siargao wouldn’t be enough. Haha.
Then D suggested for his brother Lance to join us. With that, I too suggested for my brothers John D and Jammy to join us. Eventually, the trip became a happy trip for five — the trip with the bros (hence the title). And me being the only girl.
Anyway, here are our adventures in Siargao. Happy reading! 🙂
D, L and I left Manila in the midst of the beginning of what soon became Bagyong Gorio that later suspended classes and some offices in Luzon. The trip was a good timing for us, if you ask me. While people were getting drenched in Luzon, we were burning our skins in Mindanao.
Our flight was bound for Butuan. If I knew our plans would be mostly Siargao rather than Butuan, I would have booked a Surigao flight (because it’s nearer to Siarago and cheaper than a Siargao flight). Well, we had no choice but to make do with what we had.
Our ETA was around nine in the morning. The bus ride to Surigao City usually took three hours, and it was unclear if we were going to make it in time for the 12 noon (and last) boat trip going to Siargao. So I instructed JD and JM — who were already in Butuan since June, as they were on their midyear break from college — to make the drive ahead of us. True enough, D, L and I didn’t make it.
By the time we arrived in Surigao, the last trip — and the trip that JD and JM took — was already halfway to Siargao. No hope was lost, though. Remember the contingencies I was talking about in Stressing Out? I was referring to this. I had already anticipated the not-making-it-in-time-for-the-last-trip part.
Of course, I did some research on Surigao hotels before we left Manila. I found a hotel near the port (at walking distance only) called Hotel Tavern. It was a bit pricey, however. But I preferred that than the other accommodation (not a hotel) that I found. Then as we were walking towards it, we found another hotel right across Hotel Tavern called Annex Hotel, which I apparently missed on my research. And it was cheaper! 😀 Obviously, that’s where we stayed for the night. We found out later that the hotel was the budget-friendly “arm” of Hotel Tavern’s.
After check-in, we went out to a nearby barbecue place for a late lunch. We chose the place because the boys wanted something local but cheap. Later, we were filled with regrets of ever coming to the place. The food was okay, I guess. The question was, was it safe? Well, I myself had to poo twice. And it wasn’t the good kind of poo. If you know what I mean. Haha. 😉
We stayed at the hotel for the rest of the afternoon. L was dead to the world for hours. D and I either took a nap, read a book or discussed the book.
At dinner time, without much debate, we went across the street to EJ’s Garden by the Bay. It looked expensive, but we didn’t want a repeat of what happened ealier. To our surprise, though, the restaurant had a combo menu that’s affordable enough for us. Combined with a band playing, the whole experience was a sure thumbs up for me. 🙂
We took the 2AM trip — a special trip — to Dapa Port (Siargao). We rode a roro boat full of trucks and other large vehicles that resemble trucks. These vehicles may be the reason why there was such trip for such time. Though sleep deprived, it was the better choice than taking the usual 6AM trip — we already missed a day in Siargao, we couldn’t afford to miss another almost half-day.
At around 5AM, we finally reached Dapa. From there, we made our way to General Luna by riding a tricycle. Right before the clock struck six, I was already dialing JM’s number to come pick us up outside Malijon.
Malijon Siargao was our selected accommodation — or mine, that is, since I made the reservation. It wasn’t a hotel, but more like a compound of bungalows set up for rent. The place was beautiful — so beautiful you’d feel so homey. There was a common area where guests can hangout and chat, and where WiFi was the fastest. We even had a little chat with the manager there, too. The place also had a shared kitchen. JD suggested to cook a couple of times, but for some reason, he wasn’t able to.
Malijon didn’t serve any breakfast, so we had to eat out (or cook, if we chose to). However, as it was still early, most restaurants were still closed. We had to walk for a couple of minutes before we found a carinderia that seemed to have just opened. And, of course, we were the first customers.
Later, we rented bikes — not motorbikes, but the “human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle” kind of bikes. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was the fact that L didn’t know how to ride a bike! He had some medical condition or something, but I was sorry I failed to mention about it to him before. I mentioned this to D, though, and D didn’t even say a word about L’s condition. Anyway, JD, JM and I spent the better part of the hour biking around the area, while D gave L his first biking lessons.
Next, we went island hopping. Our boatman was a relative — brother, if I wasn’t mistaken — of the tricycle driver that brought us to Malijon. Because of that connection, we got ourselves a cheaper deal than what I anticipated. 😉
Our tour composed of three islands.
First stop was Guyam Island. This, in my opinion, was the prettiest of the three. The island was small enough that we could actually roam its perimeters. The sands were fine. The waters were great. The greens or trees were refreshing. I so loved the island that I even thought about living there if I could. Haha. 😉
Next was Naked Island. It was called as such because there was literally nothing on it but a small stretch of sandbar. As naked as it was, however, we decided to leave almost immediately due to the fact that there were no shades, it was already noon and the sun was right above us that we felt ourselves burning.
Right before we went to the next island, the boatman suggested we take a look at the corals. So we took a spot near Naked Island and went diving. Okay, not exactly. We were either snorkeling with our rented masks, swimming around the boat or just treading in the water. We were like that for quite a while — more than the time we spent on Naked Island, actually. Haha. Just us, the boat, the sea and the corals beneath us — no land. We didn’t feel much of the heat probably because we were in the water.
Last stop, Dako Island. If you know Bisaya like I do, you know that dako means big. And Dako Island was, in fact, the biggest of the three. Hence, the name.
We had our lunch there. Our ulam were squid and tuna, all freshly-picked and cooked into different kinds of lutong bahay: kinilaw, sinugba and tinola. It was one of the best lunches I ever had. I especially liked the sinugbang squid. 🙂 I wish I took a picture of it, though. It was like a feast! 😮
When we returned to Malijon, I took my shower and slept — I wasn’t sure about the others if they did the same. We could have done one more acitivity, like visit the Mapupungko Tide Pools — which was actually part of our itinerary — but exhaustion from the early trip caught up with me and I just went to dreamland for a few of hours. I honestly regret not being able to go, as it’s one of the top things to do in Siargao. Well, we can still go back. 🙂
By late afternoon, we went biking again. D and L were back to their lessons, while the rest of us went to the Cloud 9 Surfing Tower. Yes, the surfing spot. We didn’t surf, but we met our soon-to-be surfing instructor there. JM and I watched others surf. There were professionals there too. And, well, just… Wow! 😮 JD, on the other hand, went exploring the rocks nearby, taking advantage of the low tide.
It was already dark when I saw D and L again. And would you look at that, L finally learned to bike! 😀 At least someone learned something from this trip.
We had our dinner at Kermit Siargao, one of the most recommended restaurants in Siargao. This time, our meals weren’t cheap buy. But the food was worth it! Had the best pizza I ever ate so far! 😀
At seven in the morning, we were back in Cloud 9. This time, we were wearing our swimwear. That’s because it was surfing time! 😀 Well, except for JM. He was in Cloud 9, but he didn’t go surfing with us. He said he couldn’t, claimed his butt was aching with all that biking the previous day. The only advantage of JM’s non-participation on this activity was the fact that he was able to take a couple of photos. Hehe.
I tried surfing in La Union before. I had fun and the experience was great. But it didn’t prepare me for the majestic waves of Siargao. Take note that we were there during an off-peak season, so the waves weren’t as big as the ones we see on TV. But they still overwhelmed me. How much more if we were there during peak season?
As we were all beginners, our instructors took us to a spot with smaller waves and lesser crowd. L was the fastest learner, who immediately got his balance on the first wave. Me, I got my balance only a couple of times. Mostly, according to my instructor’s observations, I fell when riding the big waves. I knew what he meant. There’s that strong push the big waves do that got me jumping in panick from my board. Hehe. Sometimes, I just fell, whether head-first (good thing the tides were high, else I’d have scrapes on my face) or my butt hitting my board hard. I didn’t see much of D and JD, as their instructors kept separating them from us. So mostly it was me and L. Once or twice, our instructors positioned us so close that our boards actually hit. Good thing, there were no casualties. Just funny moments. Haha.
All in all, it was an awesome hour of surfing. The instructors asked us to extend one more hour, but we just couldn’t. We wanted to, but we were pressed for time to catch the last trip going to Surigao.
We ate our breakfast at another carinderia near Cloud 9. After, we went back to Malijon, showered, fixed our things, checked-out and made our way to Dapa. The tricycle driver (as well as the tricycle) that brought us to Malijon was the same one that brought us back to Dapa.
It wasn’t a roro boat that we rode this time, but a smaller and faster one — the trip took us two hours instead of three. Upon arrival, we headed straight to Gaisano Capital Surigao — a mall right beside the bus terminal — to have a late lunch. The mall was small and looked new and construction to some areas were still ongoing. Later, we found out that the mall wasn’t new but was just getting renovated to fix the damage the earthquake months ago had caused.
After lunch, we went to the bus terminal, rode a bus and headed the three-hour-or-so drive to Butuan. It was already dark when we arrived in Butuan. Daddylo fetched us at the bus terminal and brought us home. 🙂
It’s always a good feeling to wake up under the roof of your childhood home. Though we didn’t stay for 24 hours, I think I got spoiled again. Haha. Lunch was like a feast. Mommyla went her way and actually ordered one big lechon. Some of the food were cooked by JD and JM. That included my favorite: buttered shrimps. 🙂 Of course, other relatives were there to enjoy the meal, too.
Later, D, L and I visited Lola Doie next door. Aside from being Mommyla’s cousin, she was also our friend and tutor back when JD, JM and I were kids. So every time I visit Butuan, I make sure to visit her too.
Our flight’s ETD was around three in the afternoon. Again, JD and JM were not in our flight, but they were also to returnback to Manila the following day.
There was a new cafe right outside the airport called Bastie Coffeeshop & Resto, which JM suggested for us to try if we had the time. And we had the time, so we tried it. The coffee I ordered was okay. I guess it was too sweet for me. I didn’t even remember what it was called. Haha. Thumbs up for the ambiance of the place. I liked it maybe because it wasn’t so crowded.
Anyway, our flight was delayed. No surprise there, as it was an afternoon flight. When we arrived in Manila, it was already nearing night. And a bit raining too. We had our dinner at the airport, and then went our ways home. 🙂