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Surfing Siargao: Ocean Ecstasy In The Philippines

Siargao Island Surfing

Surfing in the Philippines

Siargao Island, Philippines

I’m paddling away from a four foot wall of crystal blue water, rising up from the ocean and bearing down on my position. I feel a push as it catches my board, faster & faster.

In one quick motion I hop up in a crouch, knees bent, feet wide, arms out, pointing right as the peak of the wave begins to crash & churn on my left.

Dragging my right hand through the water as I race down its face to freedom.

If I had to describe surfing to someone, it would include the word ecstasy.

Surfing In The Philippines

Welcome to Siargao, a tropical island paradise known for its surfing in the Pearl of the Orient Seas. Its just one small island among the 7000 that make up the Philippines.

Yet Siargao boasts a unique mix of excellent surfing, relaxed vibes, deserted beaches, warm water, and a practically unlimited supply of fresh coconuts.

If you’re a surfer, or want to learn, you really need to visit Siargao.

I spent 3 weeks exploring this little slice of heaven and didn’t want to leave. That’s how incredible the island is!

General Luna Siargao

General Luna, Siargao

Siargao Island Paradise

Where is Siargao Island? It’s located in the South East of the country. They have a small airport that you can fly into from Cebu, or another option is the 3 hour ferry from the city of Surigao (careful, SURIGAO and SIARGAO sound similar but are different places!).

I flew from Cebu to Siargao Island in a small plane via Cebu Pacific Airways. Once there, it’s easy to jump on a shuttle to General Luna, the island’s main surf-town.

The 40 minute drive provides a glimpse at life on this island as you pass simple thatched roofed homes on stilts, rice fields, lush tropical forests, barefoot children and large carabao (water buffalo) on the side of the road.

Siargao Boardwalk

Boardwalk at Cloud 9

Siargao Cloud 9

Famous Cloud 9 Surf Break

Surfing In The Philippines

What really sets Siargao apart from other islands in the Philippines is the surfing! With over 15 different surf breaks around the island, both on & offshore, there are plenty of options for every skill level.

Just rent a small motorcycle with board rack for $8 a day.

Surfboard rentals cost about the same. The selection isn’t the greatest (boards are difficult to ship here), but Fat Lips Surf Shop has decent stuff.

To reach offshore breaks you need to hire a local outrigger boat, called a banca, to take you there. Round up a group or wait at the beach for other surfers to join you. It only costs about $5 per person.

Your captain will hang out on the boat (or go surfing with you) until you’re finished. How cool is that? One of our captains was only 15 years old!

Siargao Island Surfing

Time To Hit the Waves (Shot on GoPole Evo)

Siargao Surf Breaks

There are many different surf spots around Siargao. I’ve listed some of the most popular below. My favorites were offshore — usually less crowded due to the need for hirig a boat to reach them.

The boat ride adds to the surfing experience anyway!

Cloud 9

Cloud 9 is the most popular break on Siargao, and the location of some international surf competitions. It’s a powerful high-tide reef break that produces consistent barrels both left & right. For advanced surfers only.

Quicksilver

Located next to Cloud 9, this right-hand wave is smaller, but still breaks on the same shallow reef. It can often be crowded.

Stimpy’s

If you like lefts, Stimpy’s is great. It’s a 10 minute boat ride offshore, which means it can be less crowded. There are actually two breaks here, the inside one is larger. Best at low to mid tide.

Rock Island

Nearby to Stimpy’s is Rock Island, pictured in the first image. A similar setup only this one is a right, and only good when the wind is just right. It’s a sweet spot for photos with that giant rocky outcropping in the background.

Daku Reef

Daku is another offshore right-hand break, about 10 minutes by boat from the local fish market. When it’s good, this is one of my favorite waves. The current is strong though, so it can be a long paddle back after you catch one.

Cemetery

I actually never made it out to Cemetery. Located in front of an actual cemetery, it’s a long 15 minute paddle from shore. But if you’re willing to get out there, you’ll be rewarded with no crowd. Best at low tide.

G1

Many surfing classes go here, as well as locals, so it can be crowded. It’s a 15 minute motorcycle ride away from General Luna. G1 breaks both left & right, and is best at high tide. There is another break right beside it too.

Siargao Island Boat

Captain Lito & His First Mate

Siargao Island Surfing

Surfing with PrAna Board Shorts

Riding Waves With PrAna

Before traveling to the Philippines for my Siargao surfing trip, the adventure enthusiasts at PrAna hooked me up with their colorful Seaton Board Shorts, which I wore almost every day!

No need for a shirt and shoes while island hopping in the Philippines…

Surfing has quickly become my favorite adventure sport. It’s not easy to learn, but with a few lessons and lots of practice, you’ll be completely hooked.

The better you get, the more addicted you become.

It’s the challenge of learning to read and move with the water. Making split-second decisions in a fast-paced environment. The threat of danger should a wave send you crashing into the reef below.

The unmatched feeling of accomplishment after a successful ride!

Sunset Philippines

Stunning Siargao Sunsets

Visiting Siargao

While the waves are rockin’ at Siargao year round, most people who visit for surfing do so in the fall (September/October). You’ll find all kinds of guesthouses, bungalows, and surf resorts around General Luna for as low as $10 a night.

I stayed at a few different places, but my favorite was Kermit Surf Resort. Proper island-style accommodation with a super friendly hostel-like vibe & common area. They make excellent wood-fired pizza and other authentic Italian dishes (the Philippines is not really known for its food).

In fact writing about Siargao is just convincing me to go back.

The slow pace of life, cheap accommodation, incredible surfing, lack of tourists, and laid back attitudes makes it one of my favorite island destinations. Oh, and did I mention the epic sunsets every afternoon? ★

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Location: Siargao Island, Philippines

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Find cheap flights on Skyscanner. This is my favorite search engine to find deals on airlines. Also make sure to read how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent apartments from locals on Airbnb. Read more about how I book cheap hotels online.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.

Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Philippines
Suggested Reading: When The Elephants Dance
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READ MORE TRAVEL TIPS

I hope you enjoyed my guide to surfing Siargao! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Have you ever been surfing before? Would you try it? Drop me a message in the comments below!

Prana

Things to do in Siargao

Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

Siargao is one of the hidden gems in the Philippines. It is becoming one of the most visited Islands in the country. Thank you for sharing this article!

Marcos

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

DON’T BOOK CASA DEL MAR IN SIARGAO!!!

Hi. My name is Marcos and I am from Argentina. I was stopping 5 days at Casa del Mar in Siargao. The first day, we had to change money so we grabbed 100 USD, we counted what we had left (as we always did throughout our trip) and left the rest in the room. When we returned at night, some things were out of the place where we had left them and 900 USD had disappeared. The windows of the house have bars, the door was not forced and we had closed it perfectly with its two locks when leaving. So, whoever had entered, did it with a key.

Before informing the person in charge or accusing anyone, we went to see the reviews of travelers who had previously stayed at Casa del Mar and we saw a person who had the exact same thing happen. On the first day of their stay they entered the house without forcing the door and stole money. Cleaning staff went evert day to make the bed (because the room is not cleaned and the towels do not change them) so, without a doubt, the one who stole from us and from the previous travelers was someone from the cleaning staff. We contacted the person in charge to tell her to talk to the cleaning staff so that they could return our money, that we didn't even want to know who it had been. She approached the place with a guy from the cleaning staff to talk to us and they started lying to us, telling us that only this guy had house keys when we later confirmed with the owner of the place that that was a lie, and the only thing they told us it was that no one of the staff had entered and that we should go to the police. We could only talk on the phone with the owner of the place, Sahara Sittie, who gave us no solution other than to promise to talk to the cleaning staff and let us know the next day if she knew anything (something that of course she did not do).

They told us after we insisted that all they could do is give us the refund, so we asked them how to do it and they never answered. After that they never answered our messages again, although they saw them, and both the manager and the owner disappeared that we never saw her in person and she never wanted to take care of the problems in her accommodation. We contacted booking.com to manage the refund and they told us that Casa del Mar agreed to refund the total amount of the stay but we had to check out one night before. So in addition to being robbed of 900 USD, we also had to leave one night before and pay for another accommodation. Both the manager Weshlynne, and the owner of the place that never appeared, Sahara Sittie, are complicit in this robbery for not taking charge and stop answering the messages. I honestly gain nothing with this review because the money was already stolen from me and there is nothing else I can do, but this place should stop working because as it happened to us and other travelers who also left their review, we do not want the same to happen to anyone else and that these people stop stealing from tourists going unpunished.

Clayton

Sunday 2nd of June 2019

Hi is it all reef breaks or can you get some beachbreaks around the island.

Monica

Thursday 7th of March 2019

Hi everyone,, i want to learn how to surf. So I’am planning to go visit Siargao this coming August cos i read and heared that the place is great for tha said activity. I just want to ask if 1 week stay in the island would be enough.? Thank you.

Fievel

Saturday 12th of January 2019

Hi all, I'm a beginner surfer so looking for consistent waves not big ones. Do you think Siargao will have consistent waves in the last 2 weeks of March? Or would a different place in PH maybe be better to learn to surf at this time of year? Thanks, :)

keesha

Friday 22nd of March 2019

Dahican beach in mati city will acommodate your wish.

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