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 Coronand 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.
NINE BAR SIARGAO
I am not really into partying and having a nightlife anymore. I’ve had so much of that back in college that as my age progresses I started to veer away from it and find other stuff to spend my weekend nights. My friend and my sister wanted to check out how is the night life in Siargao. But since my college friend only comes home every other year, I thought I’m fine with it since one or two drinks wouldn't hurt.
Since we were in Siargao during the weekdays, there wasn’t much happenings around. One of the staff from Siargao Inn invited us to Jungle Bar one night but we were already dog-tired from learning how to surf that after eating dinner and telling ourselves we will just have a power nap; we ended up waking up the following morning instead. So on our last night we vouched to go out and check the night life in General Luna, even though we still felt third after a day of island hopping and surfing lessons.
We went to a bar recommended by one of our surfing instructors, but no one was there yet so we asked our habal-habal driver to help us look for another place where we can have a few drinks. We remember we passed by a place called Nine Bar where there’s a reggae band playing so we decided to check it out. Two of our surfing instructors went there too and we had a round of drinks with them while listening to the reggae band playing and some tourist jamming with them.
Nine Bar is a two-story architecture resembling a huge nipa hut. The first floor is closed and was not in operation when we visited it. The second floor is an open space with several tables and lounge areas, where a band usually plays. The atmosphere and the vibe at Nine Bar is very unique and really gives you that island vibe.
What I like about it is are the seats, there were so many areas where you can sit on the floor with lots of pillows available, perfect for lazy lounging while listening to the band. We weren’t able to sit in one of those areas but the chairs were roomy enough that I can put my legs and feet up while drinking my Bailey’s and listening to the foreigner lady singing one of my favorite Incubus songs. The bathrooms are also unique because of the graffitis painted on the wall, they are clean and there’s toilet paper! yey!
The alcoholic drinks here were a bit expensive for me, my Bailey’s drink was more like a shot with added ice than a cocktail. I think they have to improve their service especially to train their waitresses/waiters. We were asking the one who attended us about the mixtures of their drinks and she completely has no idea what they were so we ended up ordering the familiar ones; we would have loved to try out something new but we couldn’t because we might not like the cocktail mixtures.
We didn’t stay longer and left when we finished a round of drinks. All in all it was a great visit at Nine Bar, it’s a cozy place to hang out if you’re not the party-mode kind of person. Though we only stayed for more than an hour, we get to know about Siargao from talking to our surfing instructors. Whom can you get better information about a certain place than from the locals!
Since Kuya Levie (our habal habal driver) can’t wait for us anymore and it was already past midnight when we left, our surfing instructors who bought their motorbikes with them were kind enough to drive us back to Siargao Inn. We thanked and bade them goodbye and promised we will recommend them to any of our friends who plan to go to Siargao. I can really tell, that the locals in Siargao are one of the most nicest people I’ve come to know and many will agree on me on that for sure.
NINE BAR SIARGAO
GL Road, General Luna, Siargao
Surigao Del Norte, Philippines
You can contact our habal-habal driver/tour guide, Kuya Levie here: 09076281852 and our surfing instructorJoel here : 09087437709