With its crystal clear waters and waves reaching as high as 7 feet, it’s no wonder why Siargao is considered the Surfing Capital of the Philippines. In fact, proving that it has more than earned its moniker, the island has hosted both local and international surfing competitions for years.
Still, you don’t have to be a surfer to be able to appreciate this small, unassuming tropical paradise. You may even be surprised at the number of things you can do in Siargao that doesn’t involve riding the waves. Here are some suggestions for activities you should try when you finally lock-in that Siargao tour you’ve been wanting to book for ages.
Take a Dip in the Magpupungko Rock Pools
Appearing only during low tide, the Magpupungko Rock Pools are one of the most popular destinations in Siargao for non-surfers. It’s perfect for swimming, cliff-diving, and, of course, taking gorgeous photos. You’ll certainly love the overall look of the place, as if Mother Nature has carved out an infinity pool within the rock formations.
The Magpupungko Rock Pools are located in Pilar, about 45 minutes away by scooter or motorbike from General Luna, the main tourist hub in Siargao Island. Before visiting, however, make sure to check the low tide forecast because you won’t be allowed to access the pools during high tide. In addition, make sure to wear reef shoes if you plan on cliff-diving since the rocks are sharp and can seriously hurt your feet.
Bathe in the Tayangban Cave Pool and Taktak Falls
Whether you’re waiting for the tide to recede or you’re looking for other places to swim in, you can visit the Tayangban Cave Pool. This is also located in Pilar, about 10 to 15 minutes away from the Magpupungko Rock Pools.
When you reach the area, you’ll be assisted by tour guides to get into the cave pool itself. They’ll be carrying the torches to help you navigate the dark “path,” which is basically a section of the cave filled with chest-deep water. You can either swim or walk in, depending on how tall you are!
Do take heed that the bats flying and screeching overhead could be disconcerting. They won’t hurt you, though, so don’t worry! You’ll know you’ve reached the pool when you see a huge opening in the rocks, almost like a welcome arch. Here, you can swim and float around, or even jump down the cliff into the 18-foot-deep pool.
Meanwhile, the Taktak Falls is located in Santa Monica. It’s the only waterfalls in Siargao, and while it’s not as majestic as other waterfalls in the country, it’s a great place to visit if you want a semi-private experience. Why? Not many tourists flock to Taktak falls, perhaps due to other more popular locations nearby. Still, you’ll surely enjoy jumping into the refreshingly cool and clean basin of water beneath the falls.
Go Diving to See Underwater Wonders
The sea is really where Siargao shines, not just above but also underneath. That’s why divers also love Siargao’s clear blue waters. Some of the best dive spots around the island are Shark Pint, Casulian, and Blue Cathedral. You’ll see a bunch of colorful corals and other marine creatures, and even get to explore underwater caves. If you have limited experience in diving, don’t worry. There are licensed diving centers in Siargao, with instructors ready to guide you through the process.
Stroll Along the Cloud 9 Boardwalk
Home to the annual Cloud 9 Surfing Cup, Cloud 9 in General Luna is a surfer’s paradise with its huge, barreling waves. For non-surfers, the boardwalk is the perfect place to catch some views of the sunrise and sunset. If you happen to visit during the surf season, then you’ll be treated to awesome views of surfers conquering the waves. There’s just something awe-inspiring about seeing how small humans can tackle the huge, rolling surf!
Explore the Sugba Lagoon
While Siargao doesn’t have as many lagoons as, say, El Nido in Palawan, it doesn’t mean that what it has is less majestic. In fact, Sugba Lagoon is enchantingly spectacular, almost like a fairy tale setting. It’s also quite huge. This means that even if there are other tourists around, you won’t feel crowd-weary. Aside from kayaking and swimming, you can also do other water activities in the lagoon like paddle boarding. There’s also a dive platform, where you can take a huge leap and splash down into the clear waters.
One of the best and easiest paths to explore in Sugba Lagoon is the mangrove sanctuary. You can encounter flocks of birds here, which live in the mangroves themselves. You may also catch sight of some fish if you paddle close enough. If you prefer, you can choose to dock in nearby beaches to swim and enjoy the peaceful, quiet beauty of the lagoon.
Go Island Hopping
Finally, if you’re a certified beach bum, island hopping is definitely a must-do in Siargao. The three most popular destinations to do this are Daku Island, Guyam Island, and Naked Island. Daku is the biggest of the three, where you can snorkel, swim, or simply sunbathe while laying on the fine white sand beach. Guyam Island is a lot smaller, with a tropical paradise feel to it with its plentiful palm and coconut trees. You can easily explore this island by simply walking around. Lastly, Naked Island is a sandbar. It’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and taking hundreds of Instagrammable photos.
Don’t let Siargao’s nickname discourage you from visiting. It’s definitely more than a surfer’s paradise, and these activities are just a few suggestions on how you can enjoy Siargao to the fullest.