Before I officially start this Siargao post, let me just announce that Darel and I have a video talking about some highlights of our 25 Day Backpacking Trip. It was actually the EP2 of a little segment I have here on the blog called, “Conversations with Darel and Renel”. Hahaha. Feeling!! Pero seryoso, meron. Masaya naman, May mga new subs nga ako sa YT eh. Hahahaha.
Day 8: Welcome to Siargao
After 2 days of being in the city (Cebu), we were so happy and excited that we’ll be living the island life again, but this time, in Siargao. We got there around 8 in the morning and the first thing that we had to do was to find a motorbike so we can freely move around in the whole island. There are many motorbikes for rent right outside the airport so don’t you worry, although feeling ko mas mahal sila? I’m not sure. We booked one for 6 days and paid 2,200php straight (dapat 2,500 pero tinawaran ko haha) Yup. No deposit or anything. You need to pay the full amount immediately. The only thing they require is one valid ID, which you can get back once you surrender the vehicle.
Why We Stayed Outside General Luna
As we all know, GL (General Luna) is the most famous area in Siargao. It’s where most of the known resorts are located plus having the undeniable vibrant night life. So if you’re up for parties and all that, it is the perfect place for you. Although it would be a bit difficult to find cheaper lodging because again, it is the hot spot. The day before our flight, we tried to look up online of possible resorts that is not in GL. I initially thought that it would be a risk, because who knows what are the things you can do if you’re not in the main town of Siargao? But I’ve read reviews saying that it is possible to enjoy this island even if you don’t stay in GL. They say that it’s more peaceful, away from the crowd, and yes, it is cheaper. And that’s what we want, so we ended up in JAFE Resort in San Isidro.
San Isidro is about 25 minutes away from the airport, which is shorter compared to the 45 minutes travel to reach GL. We didn’t ask JAFE to pick us up because we figured out that it would be cheaper to go there by ourselves since we will be renting a motorbike, instead of paying 800php (per trip, not per person) for the airport transfer. We made a reservation the night before via their FB account, and got the handy Google Maps to assist us in getting there.
JAFE Resort is a Pleasant Surprise
It is impossible to miss JAFE resort with its beautiful front lawn and the mansion like feels of the main house. We were greeted by Jack, the owner, and had a little chitchat first before he eventually introduced us to the receptionist who assisted us to our room. We booked the cheapest private room available, the “Sadjap” as they call it which is perfect for honeymooners according to Jack. Haha! We got a cute little hut near the beachfront for 950php per night (no breakfast included). We got no AC but we have our own bathroom! Yay! Simple pleasures in life. *wink*. They have AC rooms in the main house, but we didn’t bother to take a look at kasi tinatamad kami umakyat. Hahaha. They have a separate hut which they call the “Hotel California” and it’s a dorm type I think, perfect for backpackers who don’t mind sharing a room with other people. The whole resort sits on a big lot and it’s good that the owners prefer keeping the spacious grass area instead of packing it with more huts/rooms.
Jack is originally from New Amsterdam (if I remember it right) who moved here in the country several years ago, and has a wife named Ferelyn (a Filipina). Therefore, we have the name JAFE. Haha. They love collecting random things from all over the world and displays it everywhere in the whole resort, especially in the main house. Sometimes, visitors come back and bring something from their country just for Jack and Fe to display it. We were able to talk with Ferelyn and learned that few years ago, the whole place was just really their own house, but since more people are visiting the island, they eventually opened it up for everyone. Dati daw may mga napapadaan lang tapos nagpapaalam if they can pitch their tent in their spacious lawn. They don’t treat guests merely as guests but more like family. We are so grateful for how kind and accommodating they’ve been to us. We will definitely come back!
I Was Injured on Our First Day in the Island
After settling down in our “home” for the next few days, Darel and I decided to take a dip in the waters and just explore. We’ve heard stories from friends who have been in Siargao and they were not kidding when they said that it’s quite rocky. Totoo. Mabato nga. But the waters are so clear like you’re in a swimming pool. <3 We spent a few minutes on the beachfront of JAFE before deciding to walk around. Pero di rin nagtagal at nadulas ako sa batuhan and tadaaaa! I had a deep cut on my knee and pati na rin yung toenail ko, na-cut. Napaka-galing. Hahaha. It was low tide that afternoon that’s why we decided to walk on the rocks instead of walking on the sand, na hindi namin alam na madulas pala because of lumot.
Can’t express how thankful we are to JAFE because they have a complete medicine cabinet! Sobrang saya namin dahil sobrang generous nila na we can use whatever we need. Sobrang worried pa naman namin before going to Siargao because of news and stories saying that most of the resorts don’t have any medicine kit man lang. God led us to the right place talaga! I’m also thankful for my husband who have been very patient with me since the day I was injured until the whole trip ended.
Day 9: Let’s Explore Siargao!
The following day, we decided to go visit Magpupungko Beach & Tidal Pool which is just about 20 minutes away from our resort. It was a Saturday, so a handful of people were expected. Locals suggest to visit the famous tidal pool early in the morning so that you can maximize the less people hour and mainly because of the low tide situation. Take note: It’s best to visit Magpupungko when it’s low tide so you can enjoy swimming in the natural pool. Navigating the island is so much easier if you have maps, but make sure that your resort has a mobile signal, or better yet, a wifi. We have zero signal in JAFE but they do have wifi, although madalas mabagal. So most of the time, tumatambay muna ako sa area na may wifi para maka-connect sa maps. Hahaha.
The motorbike we rented didn’t include any helmet so when Jack saw us about to leave without any head gear on, he insisted that we borrow JAFE’s helmets. Sobrang bait lang. Better be safe than sorry, right? ;)
Magpupungko Beach & Tidal Pool
There were already a lot of people when we got in Magpupungko. Upon arrival, you will actually be greeted by the beach and you still have to walk the rocky terrain (it’s either very slippery or very sharp; be careful not to trip) to get to the tidal pool. Despite the many tourists, we were able to get some good shots and it looks pretty cool! Buti na lang walang tao sa area na yun. Haha. We enjoyed swimming in our little spot and ang saya kasi may small fishes pa. There are some areas that are deep enough for you to dive or jump in, but there are also areas na hindi naman masyado malalim. But just in case, there are kuyas and ates who are renting out life vests and snorkeling masks.
When it was almost high tide, we decided to go back to the beach and have breakfast. There are many food stalls in the area and I’m so happy that I was even able to get my morning fix of hilaw na mangga. Hahaha. We didn’t stay long (kahit na buti pa dun may signal haha) since we already had enough of dagat that morning, and so we headed back straight to JAFE.
We got curious on what can still be seen beyond San Isidro so we decided to take a stroll up north, and after about 20 minutes, we found ourselves in a very secluded beach in Alegria. We were only about 5 people in the area and surprisingly, the sand is more fine in this part of the whole island. We were ready to take an afternoon nap on the shore with the perfect island trees as our shade, not to mention the very serene ambiance because again, wala ngang tao. Pero nagutom kami at dahil nga medyo secluded sya, walang stores sa area. Hahaha. We decided to pack-up and look for restaurants or any store nearby. Pero wala. So ang layo na namin nung nakakita kami ng resort who offers food for walk-in guests. Haha. Medyo sketchy yung daan coming from the main road kasi parang gubat, we even saw a bubuli (giant lizard) passing by. But you know what, it was so worth it.
We found ourselves in DaRosa Del Mar Resort and wow, the place looks so inviting. We were greeted by the relative of the owner and ang funny kasi akala nya foriegners kami ni Darel. Wait, have I mentioned that people always speak to me in English kasi they thought I can’t understand and speak Tagalog? And that goes for the entire trip, not only in Siargao. Hahaha. We ordered food and they were kind enough to let us stay for a while (we even got free wifi!). They also let us enjoy their beautiful beach. Although mabato pa din. Hmm hmm. It was the most beautiful secret gem for the day because literal na kaming dalawa lang yung andun. It was almost sunset when we decided to leave and thanked them for their generosity.
Spontaneity and Flexibility
We were supposed to check out the next day and transfer in General Luna, but after realizing that we still have Sugba Lagoon scheduled the next morning, and we do not know yet what time we’ll be back, we cannot afford to check-out early and bring our bags with us. So after much deliberation on how we will go about our schedule, we decided to stay for one more night in JAFE. Good thing our room was still available. I love the spontaneity and flexibility of this trip! Btw, we still didn’t have a place to stay at in GL until we got back from Sugba Lagoon. Hahaha.
Day 10: One Day At a Time
We have no idea on how to go to Sugba Lagoon without any tourguide. But thanks to the very friendly staff of JAFE, we were able to get directions. We woke up early and traveled to Del Carmen Port (roughly 30 minutes away), not expecting that we were too early. Haha. Sarado pa yung tourism office. While waiting for it to open so we can register and pay, we tried to make friends with another group, asking if it would be okay for us to join (dalawa lang naman kami) since it would make the boat expenses cheaper for everyone. They agreed and we only paid 500php for the two us. Haha! Score!
It was quite a long boat ride from DelCarmen Port to Sugba Lagoon (30 minutes I think?) and I can’t help but to think of crocodiles emerging from the waters anytime. Hahaha! 2016 kasi there was a 14-foot dead crocodile found in the area.Puro mangroves kasi so hello possible crocs!
We eventually made it to the famous lagoon and we were the first boat to arrive! Wala pang tao. Hahaha. We took the opportunity to get the perfect shots without too many people in the background. I didn’t jump off the platform though, thanks to my sugat. And I wasn’t able to even rent a stand-up paddle board because again of my sugat. I might have trouble balancing it with a wobbly knee. Haha. It was a peaceful morning. Soon, many people came and off we went. Btw, food is not allowed, so useless din pala na nagbaon kami ng sandwich from JAFE. Hahaha.
Last Night in San Isidro with This Province Vibe
I will definitely miss our cozy home in San Isidro, Siargao. We got what we want – away from the crowd and had a very peaceful stay. Although there were times na sobrang bored na kami at walang magawa because of no mobile signal and poor wifi, masaya pa din. We are so thankful to JAFE, who made it a point that their guests will not be bored to death by offering simple things to do instead. They have tv in the common area (no cable btw), they have a lot of books which you can read and borrow during your whole stay, they have a gaming area with the billiards table, and even a guitar which you can use for free. Pero more than that, ang saya maging creative on the things you can actually do because you have nothing else to do. Haha. Labo. It was nice seeing people coming in that place simply because they just want to disconnect from all the busyness in the island. It was the perfect place to unwind. It’s where real conversations can actually happen because the ambiance is making you just want to talk about life.
But then, every trip and every destination is different and unique. Travelers are not the same either. I must say that enjoyment and contentment is all about preference, and it’s just up to you how to make it fun.
10 out 25 days is over, and our adventure in the southern part of Siargao would be next!