Sunday, October 13, 2013

SIARGAO ESCAPADE

Location: Municipalities of Dapa and General Luna
Province: Surigao del Norte, Philippines
Coordinates: 9°52′N 126°03′E Total No. of Islands: 48
Municipalities: Dapa (Island’s capital), General Luna, Pilar, Del Carmen, San Isidro, San Benito, Santa Monica and Burgos while Buscas Island has the lone municipality of Socorro
Land Area: The combined total land area of Siargao and Buscas Grande Islands is 62,796 hectares

Siargo is known for being the Surfing Capital of the Philippines where it hosts annually domestic and international surfing competition sponsored by the provincial government of Surigao del Norte.


View Siargao Island in a larger map


Trying to learn surfing at Cloud 9


Siargao Island is a much publicized destination compared to Surigao del Norte, the province where it belongs. And this fact has stirred more my excitement to visit the place. My curiosity lies with the question of what really the island has to make it a highly must-see destination.

Teresita Sea Star Express boat which I boarded from Socorro port of Bucas Island coming from Sohoton National Ecopark at 1:00 P.M. and arrived in the Port of Dapa at 2:15 P.M


Mangrove forest reserves while approaching the port of Dapa


Siargao Island contains the largest mangrove forest reserves in Mindanao, at Del Carmen. Long stretches of wetlands indicate a potential for commercial seaweed propagation. Siargao Island is greatly influenced by the winds and currents coming uninterrupted from the Pacific Ocean, intensified by the Mindanao current running westward through the Siargao Strait.

This is habal-habal, the only alternative transport if a tourist has no chartered car


Arriving in Dapa, our group decided to check in at MEM's Pension House – a clean, modern and the best accommodation in Dapa. Since it was still early, we contracted a habal-habal to travel to General Luna - the municipality where the famous Cloud 9 Surfing area is located.

Cloud 9 Entrance


Curious of what surfing can offer, we hired a local boy to train us with surfing, a young, tall but slim teener who charged us with P500 for an hour. it was really exciting but I was hesitant to have it seriously as I have ear infection.

The long boardwalk leading to the surfing site


It was refreshing to walk along the boardwalk in one pleasant and windy afternoon. There were few surfers around which include the local surf trainors and some surfing enthusiasts both Filipinos and foreigners.

Surfers in action


An Australian national (left) just about to start his surfing routine


The waves of Siargo are noted to have combined the best quality features of the top-rated waves of Hawaii’s fabled “pipeline” and the top-billed waves of Indonesia. Its huge, powerful rollers have been ranked the top five breaks in the world, including the “Cloud Nine” which is considered as one of the world’s top surfing waves.

As they said, September to October the best months for surfing in Siargao where waves are like that of Hawaii’s best surfing waves.

One real picture of surfing


Done with our 3-hour surfing training at Cloud 9 of Barangay Catangnan of General Luna, we headed to Poblacion of General Luna along their refreshing Boulevard where its inviting boardwalk enticed us to have an afternoon walk.

The scenic boardwalk along the Boulevard as they call it in General Luna town proper of Poblacion


Along the Boulevard, is a row of Grill and Restaurants where guests can have their fresh seafood cooked bought from wet market in a very minimal charge of P30 in our part where we had four kilos of tuna and two kilos of blue marlin grilled and sinigang-cooked for just the four of us including our habal-habal driver.

Trees lined along the Boulevard giving more beauty to the beach scape and blue skies


It was not really boring to wait for our food cooked since the amazing scenery around was quite rewarding. We had chance to chat with some Filipino and foreign tourists. We learned that two of those who were drinking next to our table were Australians who opted to reside in the Siargao after they retired from their public post in their country.

The picturesque Guyam scenery as seen from the Grill house where we had our sumptuous dinner


Morning scenery while on board with a ferry for Surigao City


After dinner, the three of us, boarded again in the same habal-habal going back to Dapa where it took us 35-minute drive along concrete roads early evening at around 7pm. While on board the vehicle, I smelled the countryside from the vast riceland and rolling hills we passed by. We rested in our accommodation at MEM's Pension House for an overnight and left for Surigao City early in the morning the following day.

HOW TO GET THERE

BY AIR: Airphilippines flies daily from Surigao to Manila and vice-versa, and Surigao to Cebu and vice-versa every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Cebu Pacific likewise flies every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from Surigao to Cebu and vice-versa. Cebu Pacific flies every Monday and Friday at 10:40 A.M. from Cebu and returning from Siargao (Sayak Airport) at 11:50 A.M. and vice versa.

BY LAND: Buses from Pasay City have trips going to Surigao several times a week via Lipata Ferry Terminal. Daily bus trips from Surigao City to Butuan, Cagayan de Oro City or Davao City are also available at regular intervals only up to Surigao City. Roro and ferry are available for Surigao City – Siargao Tirp.

BY SEA: Passenger boats direct from Manila and Cebu City are also available daily. And from Surigao City, passenger boats and Roro are available daily at 6:00 A.M. and 12:00 Noon via PPA Port for Roro at Boulevard Port.

CONTACTS

Provincial Governor’s Office
Provincial Capitol, Surigao City
Tel. Nos. (086) 826-7778 Telefax (086) 826-0462

Provincial Tourism and Cultural Office
Provincial Capitol, Surigao City
Tel. Nos. (086) 232-6962 local 410; +639088963975
Email address: surigaodelnortetourism@yahoo.com
Website: www.surigaodelnorteph.com

No comments:

Post a Comment