April 5, 2015

SIARGAO 2015 TRAVEL DIARY – Surfing 101 at Cloud 9 General Luna

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.


 
SURFING 101 AT CLOUD 9 GENERAL LUNA

Cloud 9 can be found in General Luna, Siargao Island, it is one of the best surfing spots in the island and in the Philippines because of its consistent reputation for thick, hollow tubes of waves. This is also one of the surfing spots that doesn't need for tourists, surfers and wanna-be surfers (like me) to ride a boat or to take a long motorcycle ride. Cloud 9 is around 5 minutes from Siargao Inn (where we stayed). It is also the annual site for domestic and international surfing competitions. The waves at Cloud 9 were discovered by travelling surfers in the late 1980s and was named after one of the well-known chocolate bar made locally.

 

 
You will know that you’re in Cloud 9 if you see the 3-floor viewing deck/boardwalk that ends right where the reef is and it is the best place to stay to get the best view especially when there’s a surfing competition. Almost all tourists have their photos taken at the viewing deck/boardwalk and people will easily identify that you’re in Siargao.


  
Upon arriving, many locals will offer you surfing lessons, which will usually cost PHP500/hour inclusive of surfing board and instructor. You can also opt for a surfing board with a mounted GoPro sports camera with additional fee. Too bad that we were already on our way to the waves when our instructors told us about it. Our habal-habal driver, Kuya Levie, is the one who contacted our surfing instructor Nikki, whom we also met at Magpupungko Tidal Pools and Rock Formations and encourage my friend Nicole and my sister Hazel to dive from one of the rock formations.


 
After our trip to Magpupungko Tidal Pools and Rock Formations, Kuya Levie dropped us back to our resort so we can freshen up and have toilet breaks and then we headed towards Cloud 9. We met our own individual professional surfing instructors, Joel (an army who does surfing tutorials on his days off from military service), Joseph, Lalo and Nikki at the Jacking Horse Trail (left side of the boardwalk/view deck). The sea in front of Jacking Horse Trail is where they bring beginner surfers because the waves here are suited for first-timers and more forgiving than that of the waves on Cloud 9’s view deck’s  right side.




Our surfing tutorial started at the shore while our instructors showed and taught us what we should do when we hit the waters. It was like a 10 minute tutorial, then off we go.

 

I wasn't nervous at all, even though I don’t know how to swim because the part of the sea where we waited for the waves is only neck deep and when we started trying to get up on our surfing boards we always move towards the shore so the water gets shallower LOL!



Our instructors always know what wave is the best wave for us to try to surf and get up from our boards, it was like their souls have an intimate connection with the waves. I am proud to say that after too many attempts, I was able to stand up several times! Not bad for a first timer! My sister was the best of all us three, she had a good balance probably owing it to her knowledge of doing yoga.

 

One hour of surfing wasn’t enough for us because it was soooo much fun!!! So we decided to do it again the following day. The day 2 surfing lessons was not part of our budget but was definitely worth it! We enjoyed our time  while laying on our surfing boards waiting for “the wave” because our surfing instructors were super funny and would always crack jokes, while we wait for the next wave,  so it wasn’t boring at all.

equally beautiful sunset at Cloud 9, 
can't help but take advantage of it


We were very fortunate to have met a pretty nice bunch of locals  (from the Siargao Inn owners and staff, Kuya Levie, our surfing instructors, Nanay Inday where we always eat breakfast at the Boulevard and our island hopping trip boatman). Our surfing instructors, Nikki and Joseph even accommodated us when we visited Nine Bar on our last night in Siargao. Well, I can say (and many who have been to Siargao can also attest to this) that the locals of Siargao are one of the nicest, honest and accommodating people in my country. Oh, I can’t wait to go back!

 

Just a tip, ask your surfing instructor what time it is best to go surfing. During our stay it was best to start surfing at 6:00am then again at 2:00pm which is when it is usually high tide.
  
CLOUD 9
Barangay Catangnan, General Luna, 
Siargao, Surigao Del Norte, Philippines

post signature
Follow Me:  Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

3 comments:

  1. Oh wow, I def want to surf next holidays, its so cool! I love your pics honey <3<3

    Your blog is really great therefore I want to invite you to my amazing giveaway.
    Win a Daniel Wellington of your choice!!
    xoxo Colli from www.tobeyoutiful.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks dear! I hope you can visit my country soon! And I will check out your giveaway... thanks!

      Delete
    2. Thanks dear! I hope you can visit my country soon! And I will check out your giveaway... thanks!

      Delete

Powered by Jasper Roberts - Blog