April 8, 2015

SIARGAO 2015 TRAVEL DIARY – Island Hopping Tour: Naked Island

Siargao has been in my bucket list ever since I saw how beautiful its beaches are. Obviously I am a sucker for white sand beaches and clear blue and turquoise waters. Whenever I have the opportunity to travel, I always choose a place where there’s a beach; I may not have the beach body and the confidence to wear two-piece swimsuits and I also don’t know how to swim properly, but the feel of sand under my feet gives me a certain high. 




Since one of my good friends is coming back to Manila this Summer, and we always make it a point that we will travel whenever she’s on vacation in the Philippines, I booked us a flight to Siargao Island. Most flights to Siargao are quite expensive especially for a regular-earning professional like me, but thank goodness for airfare promos and seat sales that I was able to book a flight to Siargao that was cheaper than normal. There is no direct flight to Siargao, you have to pass by Cebu and board a smaller aircraft to Siargao. There’s only one airport in Siargao – Sayak Airport in Del Carmen town, which is a relatively small airport compared to Caticlan’s or Coron’s airport. Only 1 flight arrives and leaves Sayak airport daily when it’s the lean season; but when there’s a surfing competition Cebu Pacific (the only airline that flies directly to Siargao) opens two flights per day and this is around May to September.

 
 

Siargao is a tear-drop shaped island in the Philippine Sea in the province of Surigao del Norte. It is  best known for its beautiful and large waves that are good for surfing, especially that this island is on the southeast part of the Philippines and faces the Pacific Ocean. But Siargao is not all about surfing, it boasts of other tourist destinations like beaches, natural pools, lagoons, falls etc. The landscape in Siargao reminds me of both Coron and Bohol, but it has its own different charm. It’s more laid-back, more peaceful and even though tourists flock it, it isn’t crowded at all. The locals of Siargao are one of the nicest and hospitable people I’ve ever  encountered – they are simple, respectful, fun and honest. Everyone is very friendly and accommodating. During our 4 days stay on the island, I’ve come to love it and had somewhat a separation anxiety when we were about to leave. I felt like I wasn’t ready to leave just yet, but then that only gave me a fuel to return to Siargao when I have the chance to.
 

ISLAND HOPPING TOUR: NAKED ISLAND

The mere mention of Siargao Island brings thoughts about waves and surfing; but Siargao is more than surfing. It also boasts of beautiful beaches with fine white sand and turquoise seas, lagoons, falls and the famous Magpupungko Rock Formations in Pilar town. Most islands included in the island hoping tour is just near the General Luna port and could be reached in more or less 30 minutes and transferring from one island to another would only take around 10 minutes.
 

On our third day we went island hopping in the nearby islands off the coast of General Luna. We availed a tour from one of Kuya Levie’s (our habal-habal driver) acquaintances. Usual rates for boat rental including boat driver is around PHP 1500-2000 and will still depend on how big your group is. But since there were only 3 of us and there weren’t many tourists going on the island hopping trip, we just rented a small boat and haggled the price down to PHP1,300 only for a half day island hopping tour.

Before we went on our island-hopping trip, we went to General Luna Boulevard where the port and the market are and had our breakfast there. We bought some frozen meats and had it cooked by Nanay Inday who owns one of the eateries there behind Palaka Diving Center. It is the usual practice of tourists to buy food and fresh seafood at this market and bring them during the trip; but since we were full from our heavy breakfast we decided to bring just some fruits and water.




Our first stop was this huge open-air building in stilts wherein a few meters away from this structure is a snorkeling site. We forego snorkeling and just enjoyed the view and took a handful of photos instead. 




The place was surrounded by picturesque turquoise-colored waters and view of the surrounding islands, that it would be such a shame not to take advantage of it. After we were satisfied with the almost a hundred (lol!) photos we told our boatman that we’re ready to go to Naked Island.



Naked Island is not a beach where people go naked sunbathing or skinny-dipping. It was called as such because it is actually a sandbar of fine white sand and there’s nothing there except for a small scarce patch of grass in one of the areas, a log that was probably washed by the sea when it was high tide and some left over trash from people who made bonfires. 



I just hope that people who go there and camp wouldn’t leave their trash on the island especially plastic wrappers and beer bottles. There was an instance that I saw a broken part of a beer bottle and my sister, my friend and I were barefooted, thank goodness I saw it and no one was hurt by it.



The good thing about this island is that you can take a 360 degrees video or photo and you can capture the entire island already. It is a very picturesque place and the water is beautiful in its shades of green and blue. 



We didn’t stay long here because the sun was its peak and there’s not a single shade available; after taking a couple of photos we moved on to the next island. But Naked Island shouldn’t be missed when you plan to do the island hopping trip in Siargao.
 
Shameless selfie! Lol!


Next stop for this island-hopping tour is: Daku (or Dako) Island


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2 comments:

  1. Such beautiful photos!!! looks like youre having a great time...
    http://sepatuholig.blogspot.com
    instagram.com/grace_njio

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