It has been my dream back when I was a kid to travel the world. I remember growing up and looking at random postcards in bookstores, wishing someday I’d be there too. Now, with leisure travel becoming a trend amongst all ages, I didn’t wanna miss out on all these beautiful Philippine destinations.
“Siargao on my mind.”
That’s what I’d always say when I’m getting a jam packed work schedule, or simply lounging on my bed on a weekend. Since I went to Siargao in March 2019, no island seems to compare when it comes to defining my perfect escape.
Allow me to share some highlights of my Siargao weekend, which I’d like to call - #SiargaottaGoMyOwnWay! (Yes, I tweak song lyrics as hashtags of my trips. Haha!)
I went there for my birthday trip along with my very good friend, Carmela (Oh, before I forget, the tip among all tips is to go on a trip with people who love the islands as much as you do!). We were both working for the hospitality industry and it’s around March that we finally get to breathe from all the demanding workloads of the holidays and valentines.
When you’re organized but wish to be spontaneous as well, turns out you can end up having the best of times! We got to Siargao around lunch, so of course we ate and ate and ate. There are so many places you can go to for good meals. Our first stop was a Mexican-Thai fusion inspired resto we just happen to pass by while walking the strip. It also helps to search for the best places to eat, as that landed us to the famous Kermit Siargao, Bulaloan, and Bravo (well, Kermit and Bravo are also bars so you can stay longer for the fun!).
Picturesque as ever
Siargao is a small island with a scenic gift. As a traveler, nothing satisfies me more than waking up early for an adventure and ending it with a smile on my face - no matter how tiring the day was. Famous tourist spots as the Naked Island, Corregidor Island, Dapa, Sugba Lagoon, and Cloud 9 did not disappoint. They’re as dreamy as one sees them in photos and videos.
I recall just being in awe of these places, feeling so much gratefulness that I’ve seen them in my lifetime. Naked Island, as its name suggests, is just pure white sand. We had a great swim there with the people we shared the boat with (even if we did swim at high noon). Corregidor Island gives you this little hike on the hills, with the wind brushing and swaying you with the sea breeze. Dapa, oh Dapa. The abundance of coconut juice and good food there is quite special. I took a good nap there and told myself, “I can do this everyday.” Sugba Lagoon is where my adrenaline got hyped. A good dive some meters up is a good reminder that free-falling is such a liberating feeling rather than agonizing. Paddling around the lagoon provides a peace and quiet we all deserve.
Cloud 9 is where our day starts and ends. We got a place right by the beginners’ surfing area so we get a good stroll before and after we go on tours. There’s this serene sight and feeling there that still warms me up to now.
Surfing is a must-try!
Yes, I said that with an exclamation point!!
I have never surfed in my life. But one shouldn’t miss out on this activity when you’re already in the surfing capital. And considering the promise I made myself - to learn something new each year - I took this challenge. One, their instructors are everywhere and they do know what they’re doing! They will not waste your money as they’d really push you to learn.
We got Kuya Pit and his elder brother to teach us. It took us quite a while to catch the drift but we got there, and it’s so fulfilling that we had to do it again the next afternoon. The waves are not that scary on the beginners’ end of the shore.
This new skill is really the best souvenir Carmela and I got, apart from all the IG-worthy shots we took of each other.
What makes the experience complete
Luckily, there’s always a plus on being a Filipino: everywhere you go, it feels like family. Wherever I go, I make sure to meet new people - this is what makes every trip complete for me. It’s never a good trip if you haven’t met a local who tells you realistic stories.
Apart from Kuya Pit and his brother, we also met Yanyan in Corregidor Island as our hiking guide to the hilltop. The 40-minute hike each way allowed us to converse with her.
She’s thirteen. She has five other siblings. They live in this little community which is about an hour away from Dapa in Siargao proper. They only had an elementary school there. So I asked how they go to SHS and so forth.
“Mag bangka mi ate. Mumatag sayo tapos sabay na mi sa Dapa.” (We’d ride a boat. We’d wake up early to catch a boat that will lead us to Dapa).
I then learned that the households in the island do not have drinking water so they collect in a centralized water system. Phones are rare. And they don’t go to school with simple weather instabilities.
But what captured us is how none of the things we depend on now bother her at all. She told us they spend most of their days playing at the shore if they are not in school. They accompany tourists like us in hikes. And she wants to finish school even if she has to cross the seas almost everyday. They say we travel to get away. But I’ve always wanted to travel for conversations like this. The kind that humbles you and teaches you to be grateful. Always.
So as the quarantine saga goes on, I can only daydream of many other places I wish to go to. So many postponed destinations this year, but definitely pushing through our barkada getaway to Palawan once this is over! We can’t wait to book a stay through RedDoorz, to assure convenience in booking, value for money, and of course a comfortable space for our squad. For now, stay safe and stay healthy!
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