Survival Guide: Siargao International Surfing Festival

It’s September! And in my calendar, September is Siargao month. If you’ve been there during this month, you’ll know why. If seasons have peaks then the last 2 weeks of September would definitely be the summit.

Last year I travelled to Siargao 3 times between the months of August to November. Yes, it’s too obvious that I’ve fallen in love with the sound of the waves. I think it’s safe to say that I enjoyed my September trip the most. Although I didn’t make it in time for General Luna’s annual fiesta, I had 6 days to enjoy the much-awaited Siargao Surfing Festival in Cloud 9, the Philippines’ most famous surf spot. Being a surfing enthusiast, witnessing the event was more than enough to get me “Stoked”.

But whether you’re a surfer, an enthusiast, a spectator, or just someone who happened to be lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, you’ll surely enjoy your time in Siargao. Not that you won’t enjoy it there when you go at a different time, but this is just different – This is the season when the whole island comes alive. As soon as you arrive in General Luna, you’ll instantly notice the festive atmosphere and there’s no doubt you’re going to enjoy your time there no matter what.

Although I consider Siargao a very travel-friendly destination, I’ll just share a couple of tips and some information on how to enjoy your trip during Siargao’s International Surfing Festival.

Even the tower is in a festive mood

Even the tower is in a festive mood

1. Getting there(From Cebu)

Option 1(Best): Fly direct from Mactan, Cebu International Airport to Sayak Airport in Siargao. Cebu Pacific flies from Cebu to Siargao every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday BUT during the peak season, they fly daily and travel time is only 40 minutes.

Option 2: Fly from Cebu to Surigao through the same airline. Travel time is about 40 minutes. From Surigao, you can take a ferry to Dapa Port, Siargao for 250 pesos and travel time from Surigao to Dapa is about 2 and a half hours. Make sure you take the Dapa ferry because it is the closest one to General Luna. This is usually a cheaper alternative since direct flights from Cebu to Siargao are limited and are usually more expensive, sometimes twice as much.

Option 3(By Sea): Take the boat from Cebu to Surigao and follow the same route to get to Siargao. I don’t recommend this option because this is not necessarily cheaper except for spontaneous trips. The overnight trip from Cebu to Surigao takes approximately 10 hours.

2. Getting to General Luna(Where the festivities are)

From Sayak Airport

          Habal-Habal” Motorcycle – Can accommodate 2 passengers for 200 pesos each.

           Hotel-owned vans – There are a number of hotel-owned vans to pick up hotel guests. But if you are not a hotel guest, try asking the drivers to give you a ride. Many drivers will take you up on this offer for 200 pesos. Just as long as the hotel guests who booked the van will allow a stranger like you to hitch a ride.

           Connecting Trip to Dapa(Cheapest) – If you’re on a very tight budget where every peso counts, you can get to General Luna for only 80 pesos. To do this, haggle for any of the transport options(Van or Habal-Habal) to take you to Dapa for 50 pesos. From Dapa tricycle terminal, take the tricycle to General Luna for 30 pesos.

From Dapa Port

          Tricycle and Habal2x from Dapa port will cost you 200-300 pesos but if you walk a few meters to the tricycle terminal, it will only cost 30 pesos per person considering the tricycle is fully loaded.

3. Accommodations

Once you get to General Luna, you won’t really have a hard time looking for a place to stay. Hotels and hostels are lined up along the coastal road. From 200-peso a night dorm room to 6000-peso a night villas, you can find it here. Depending on your budget and preference.

This is the bathroom of my secret room

This is the bathroom of my secret room

For Budget Travellers –  Kermit Surf Resort and Ocean 101
For Mid-budget –  Buddha Surf Resort and Turtle Surf Camp
For the Luxurious – Isla Cabana

4. FOOD!

Although most resorts have their own restaurants, they can be a bit pricey. Again, depending on your budget and preference, you can always choose to stay and eat in the hotel.

My favorite Pan de Surf

My favorite Pan de Surf

My top picks:

Aventino’s Pizza – Not only is it inexpensive, it also compares to your top pizza brands in the city.

Barbecue Across the Church – This is where I ate the most because it is the cheapest one I can find.

Fried Chicken Across the Church – When my taste buds crave for something other than the barbecue I’ve been eating almost every dinner

Ning2x’s Burger and Halo2x – If you’re travelling from Cloud 9, it is located in the corner right after the church

Boulevard – There are a number of stalls and stores in the boulevard. Feel free to explore each one. Seafoods are cheaper here.

5. Activities

Please refer to my previous blog post. Click here

…but during the Siargao Surfing Festival, there are nightly activities in the boulevard. This includes Siargao’s got talent, live bands, HipHop dance competition, DJs and sometimes appearances from celebrities.

Everyone's stoked! I mean everyone!

Everyone’s stoked! I mean everyone!

6. Nightlife

The people of Siargao sure know how to party. There are quite a few options for us night owls.

Party Siargao Style

Party Siargao Style

Tattoo Bar – a.k.a Jungle bar. Probably the best known dance club in the island. It’s everything you’d expect from an island like Siargao but hey, it’s the crowd that matters, right?

Nine Bar – The unique drinks and acoustic music will give you that true island vibe.

Boulevard – Probably the best place to be if you want to mingle with the locals. You know how we Filipinos are drawn to Karaoke. And there’s quite a number of Karaokes in the area if you don’t mind the noise.


 

Additional Tips and Hacks

  • Never pay more than 200 pesos for a ride from Sayak Airport to General Luna
  • Each trip of the habal2x from Cloud 9 to GL will cost you 20 pesos. If you can drive a motorbike, you can rent a motorbike for 300 or 400 pesos for 24 hours.
  • 3 words – Pan de Surf! Don’t ever leave Siargao without trying this. The catch is, they sellout within minutes after leaving the traditional oven. Be in the area near the church across the open basketball court by 6am or 3pm everyday to get your share.
  • Wanna learn how to surf? Rent a board and hire and instructor for 200-250 pesos per hour, but you’ll surely get your money’s worth. Board rentals are 250/hour, 350/half-day and 500 pesos for the whole day.
  • Wake up early at least once to see the SUNRISE from the Cloud 9 tower. It’s an amazing sight but I can’t promise you won’t fall in love with the view.
  • Wanna score free meals? Ask me personally, I don’t wanna post it here for everyone to see. I can’t promise it’s legal but I swear it doesn’t involve stealing food.
  • Stick around till the last day of the festival for HOT surprise! A bikini open pageant/fashion show. Get ready to drool over the sight of sexy chickas!
Bikini Open Teaser

Bikini Open Teaser

That should be all you need to know to survive the Siargao Surfing Festival. This will be my 2nd year of pilgrimage for the international surfing competition and I know it’s only gonna get bigger and better each year. I hope you’ll enjoy the experience just as much as I always do. And if you have additional tips, please feel free to write them in the comment box.

See y’all in Siargao!

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Doi says:

    nangita jud ko anang pan de surf but murag wa man kaila mga taw ako gipangutan-an ana oi. tsk. enjoy your pilgrimage this year Ayn! :)

  2. Miaca Guijaro says:

    Helpful tips! Skyjet Airlines now have direct flight from Manila to Siargao daily! Visit their website http://www.flyskyjetair.com for promos!

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