It didn’t take a lot of self-convincing whether I should go back to Siargao again for my birthday. I had the best time there two years ago and I even remember telling myself that I am going back, which I did this year. For those who don’t know, I always try to take a trip on my birthday, preferably somewhere where there’s a beach because the sea makes me happy. I was in Siargao two years ago on my 37th birthday and I must say, it has changed a lot. I think the sudden flock of tourists had a lot to do with the island’s transformation. From a then quiet town with limited resorts and infrastructures to having more vehicles and pricey food. I’m sure there’s an equal number of pros and cons of having these kind of adjustments in Siargao, but I’m not here to discuss these things. I’m here to tell and show you what went down on my 39th in the island (spoiler alert: It wasn’t that thrilling. I ate and slept hahaha!) and for a tita traveler like me, suggest what to do and where to eat in Siargao. Just letting you all know, this is not a sponsored post by anyone that I’m about to mention in this post and everything that I’m about to say are based on my personal preference that you can take into consideration when you go to the island. What’s good for me might be bad for you and vice versa. But hey, enjoy reading. Siargao is such a beautiful place and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of dreaming of being there as often as I can.
Unlike last year that I took a plane ride to Surigao del Norte then a ferry to Siargao, my friend and I took a flight straight to Siargao via Skyjet. It’s more convenient and less time-consuming. We were picked up by a van that I arranged through our resort. So, like what I mentioned earlier, the quantity of tourists that go to Siargao visibly grew since the last time I was there and as much as I wanted to stay at Kermit Surf Resort, where I stayed two years ago, they’re fully booked. Why? Because the place is nice, the accommodation is reasonably priced, the staff are very helpful, and they have an awesome restaurant. However, my friend and I found an alternative place that accommodated us for six days and that’s in Villa Pagoda. It’s this tranquil, beachfront resort situated along Publacion 5. It doesn’t have its own restaurant but it’s near a lot of places where you can eat and sari-sari stores. The people that took care of us there were May-may and Simon, who are such lovely people.
We arrived at around lunch time and we decided to eat at Bravo Beach Resort, which is beside Villa Pagoda. The ambiance of the restaurant is wonderful; beachfront dining is always the best. The food was okay, it wasn’t that special, although my friend ordered their Gambas and the shrimps were very fresh. It wasn’t bad for our first meal in Siargao.
For dinner, we went to Kermit and as expected, they did not disappoint. We ordered the Cloud 9 pizza, which was freshly made, we knew because we were seated near where the pizzas, calzone, and bread were baked. We also shared their Linguine Seafood which has the freshest catch of the day. It was such a satisfying dinner downed with probably one of the best calamansi juices that I’ve tasted (I’m somewhat of a calamansi juice connoisseur or at least I want to believe I am hehe). That wasn’t the last meal that we had there during our stay, we made sure of it.
The next day, we went on an island-hopping tour. I already did this the last time I was there, but I decided to join in anyway. It was organized by My Siargao Guide and it was a flawless trip. We went to the usual three island stops: Naked, Guyam, and Daku islands.
We tried Mama’s Grill for dinner because I was craving for ihaw-ihaw and it was what Google suggested when I searched online. We arrived right smack around dinner time and it was packed, but we eventually got a seat after waiting for a few minutes. These were one of those times that I wish I didn’t rely on Google because eating there was disappointing. I’m the kind of person who likes to eat in karinderias (I want to own one someday) and ihaw-ihaws (Matias in Cebu is my fave of all time), but this didn’t cut it for me. Ventilation was bad even though it was an open-air restaurant and the food was underwhelming for its price. My friend ordered grilled fish and it wasn’t that fresh. It was one of the most well-suggested joints for us to try by the tricycle drivers that I asked but I don’t think I’ll dine there again.
My birthday came, and first order of business was to surf. The night before, I already booked my surf session with the Gwapitos Surf School, the official surfing camp of Kermit Resort and the team of Marama Tokong, currently one of the best Filipino surfers. I’ve already had a good experience surfing with them two years ago, so I’ve decided to go back. Surfing is by far my favorite activity when I’m there in Siargao, aside from eating, of course. We went to Cemetery, the same surf spot where I surfed in Siargao for the first time and I really had a good birthday ride. It has been a while since I caught a wave, so being on a board again got me all nervous but my instructor was very patient and enthusiastic that it didn’t take me a long time to shake off my nerves and was able to ride. It was fun, and I wished I just surfed during my entire stay there.
A visit at Cloud 9
While I was in Siargao I met up with Andi Eigenmann, who’s the sister of my friends Maxine and Timmy. I interviewed her for Drinks with Denise and we had it at Olas Banditos / Seawadeeka. I’m so happy that they already branched out here in Siargao. I’m a late bloomer when it comes to eating tacos, flautas, and burritos and thank God, my friend Luke Landrigan owns this joint that I can easily request to not put onions on my food. I love Olas Banditos and Seawadeeka, they’re both my go-to eats when I’m in La Union. Good idea of branching out in Siargao because Mexican food is easy to eat, and Thai food is just the perfect break from your usual beach fare. They also have the perfect location because they’re just walking distance from Cloud 9, which means a lot of hungry surfers = costumers. I ordered my favorites—Chicken Pad Thai, Chicken Flauta, and Fish Tacos, which were extra huge, crispy, and fresh.
I also decided to visit my cousin-in-law’s resort called Bayud Boutique. It was a quite far from where we were staying, so the trike ride was a bit expensive plus we had to ask for the tricycle driver to wait for us since there were hardly any vehicles that pass by the area. It’s along Malinao beach, which is a strikingly beautiful coast. Aesthetically, the resort lived up to its buzz. It’s currently one of the most in demand resorts in Siargao because of its seclusion from the busy island streets and it’s stunning beach front view. Bayud Boutique is perfect for honeymooners and for family retreats. I think my nanay would like it there.
Upon visiting Siargao for the second time, here are some of my takeaways:
- If you know how to ride a motorbike or a bicycle, rent one during your stay because it will save you money from riding a tricycle and you can visit more areas in the island. Or if you’re up for it, just walk. Exercise din yun.
- Bring a tumbler or if you’re going to buy water, just save the plastic bottle and use it for the entire duration of your stay in the island. Most of the restaurants in Siargao have water dispensers, so just refill. It will save you money from buying water and you’re saving our planet by not using more plastic.
- If you’re on a tight budget, look for an accommodation like ours that has a kitchen. There are sari-sari stores there that you can buy food and rice that you can cook. If you’re saving your money for surf lessons or board rental, perfect ito!
- Ask the locals for suggestions on where to eat cheap. Don’t just rely on Google.
- Enjoy the sun, sand, and sea, although there’s no shame in practicing hilatalympics. You’re on vacation, not doing anything is part of it.
On a personal note, it’s my first birthday celebrating a lot of uncertainties and realizations, but life is like trying to surf again, it’s terrifying and overwhelming. But once you remembered the basics on how to balance yourself on that rushing board and raging water, it will be all okay and you’ll find yourself proud of all the waves that you’ve conquered.
I’ll always be grateful to God for giving back my strength a year after my hysterectomy. I’m thankful for a loving and understanding support system. I’m praying for more amazing travels, continued productivity, and genuine happiness in my life and in the lives of those who love me. Cheers!