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We’ve just found a beautiful place that we made our favorite to visit – Siargao. We spent four days and three nights there just in time for Kai’s birthday. We made it a “thing” to travel when it’s our little boy’s special day. This year, Kai’s turned four and we decided to take a trip to the surfing capital of the Philippines.
Our ticket was booked with Philippine Airlines in July at a cheaper price. Flying with Philippine Airlines was a great decision. In all of our travels, we mostly booked with a different airline but this year, we chose PAL and we’re definitely satisfied with our experience.
Arriving in Siargao
We had an 11:30 am flight from Mactan that was a bit delayed so we arrived in Siargao’s little airport at 12:30. Flying from Cebu to Siargao usually takes 45 minutes. We then head to the van terminal to get to our homestay. The fare for the van, as of this writing, is 300 per head. It’s nice since they wouldn’t cram the van with passengers before leaving.
Where to Stay in Siargao
Months before our scheduled trip, we’d looked for different hotels to stay in but most of them were fully-booked. October happens to be a peak season in Siargao so the hotels that we wanted to stay in were already filled. Luckily, a close friend of mine recommended a homestay, which happens to be available at that time. If you’re looking for a homestay experience, you can consider Porch Bongayon Homestay.
We met Bulak and her family, the caretakers of the home, and they’re very hospitable and nice people. The place we stayed in was basically a beachfront house with an airconditioned room and it costs Php 1,500 a night. Breakfast is not included but you can use the kitchen to cook. Visit their Facebook page and book your stay with them if you’re in Siargao.
Getting around in Siargao
There are different ways to get around Siargao. There’s a car rental service, bikes and motorbikes for rent, or you can get on their motorcycle and pay for each time you ride. But for us, the best way to get around Siargao with a kid is with a rented motorbike. The motorbike we rented was at Php500 but we know there are cheaper ones. We kind of got the crappy motorcycle for that price but that didn’t stop us from having fun and enjoying our weekend vacation. We stayed around General Luna and it’s pretty convenient to go around looking for restaurants or get stuff from the house when you drive the motorbike yourself.
Day 1: Settling Down
After settling down to our home for four days, we drove our motorbike and headed to Cloud 9, Siargao’s popular surfing spot. Ivan didn’t go for a surf since we got there around 4. He didn’t have enough time to do it. Instead, we hung around the shallow waters by the entrance to the boardwalk.
On our first night, we had dinner at the famous Kermit Restaurant. This resort and restaurant is famed for its delicious Italian meals and indeed, it didn’t disappoint. They serve one of the best pizzas I’ve tasted in my life. If you’re in Siargao, don’t miss out dining at Kermit’s.
Note: Since Kermit is really popular, it’s hard to get seats when you go there at dinner time. Make reservations or be early around 5 or 530pm – that is, if you don’t mind waiting around 45 mins to get seats.
After our dinner at Kermit’s, we went back to the homestay to get some sleep. Ivan didn’t have enough sleep that time since we went straight to the airport after his work.
Day 2: Three-Island Tour
It’s recommended that this will be an all-day activity for the family. This is an adventure in Siargao with a kid you don’t want to miss! The three-island hopping starts at the Boulevard. Our host arranged a boatman for us so it’s all good. You only need to pay Php1,500 for the overall tour. There’s no time-limit. You get to go stay on each island as long as you want and the boatmen will simply wait for you.
What to bring:
Of course, don’t forget to bring some sunscreen and lather some on your skin before your trip. Got tattoos? Check out this tattoo stick and protect the skin ink from fading!
- Put everything in your dry bag. A dry bag is a must – almost everyone I see in Siargao has one. We got our 10L dry bag from Ocean Pack and having it was very convenient.
- water bottle – Hydration is important when out in the sun. And when you have a kid, always be prepared with a water bottle.
- towel, extra clothes, underwear
- plates, spoons, glass – Our host was kind enough to lend their plastic dinnerware to us
- snorkel set
- arm floaties for your little one
- raw meats/fish for cooking
We set off at 9 a.m. but I suggest you do it much earlier than that so you’ll have plenty of time. Our first stop was Naked Island, and yes – it’s definitely a naked island. It’s all sand – no shade, no cottages, no trees. The awesome thing about that day was that the weather was cooperating. Mr. Sun was in hiding but he came out once in a while.
The tide was low at that time so everything was shallow. We stayed for about an hour. Kai was just playing by the shore and sand. Ivan stayed by him and we took turns swimming. Once the harsh sun started to come out, we decided to leave Naked Island. It’s past 11am and it’s just in time for us to have lunch when we visited the second stop – Daku island.
Daku island is the largest of the three islands. It’s where most people would have lunch because of the cottages that are in the area. Cottage rental is at Php 250 and the island is where you can ask the locals to cook your food.
Tip from a Siargaonon: Bulak advised us that we should bring our own food to be cooked on Daku Island. Buying food from there or letting the locals cook food using their ingredients can be very pricey. If you’re traveling on a budget with your family, you can save when you shop at the local wet market in General Luna.
We stayed in Daku for about two hours. It was a gloomy day and rain had poured. We should’ve stayed even longer there. Since it is the biggest island of the three, you should need time to explore the place. Boats are parked along the shore and you don’t get to swim near it. But on Daku, there are other areas far from where the boats are. Stay longer in Daku and just enjoy the beach and have some fresh coconut juice.
After Daku, we moved on to the last island – Guyam. It’s a small island and the spot where we can swim was populated with boats. So, we can’t really have Kai on the shore without worrying about bumping into the boat. This is why you spend a good amount of time in Daku. Rain poured harder when we were in Guyam. We stayed for about an hour there before heading back.
I don’t have photos of our time on Guyam because it was raining hard. Our action camera’s waterproof case was long gone and I didn’t have any waterproof case. You might want to invest one if you are serious about not missing out on all your travel photos.
When it was time to go home, everyone’s a bit drained. Kai had missed his nap but when we got back home, he still had the energy to stay up and play with his phone.
Day 3: Ride to Magpupungko Beach for Kai’s birthday, Cloud 9 Surfing
Magpupungko Beach is located in the town of Pilar, roughly an hour from General Luna. This, for me, was the highlight of our Siargao trip with our kid. We started riding at 8. The road we passed on offered us breathtaking sceneries. For the lack of flowery words, I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves. These are the sights you get to see on your way to Magpupungko.
Once we arrived at Magpupungko Beach, we were in awe at the rock pools. There were shallow spots where fish got trapped so we can see them up close. At the same time, there were deep pools. Several steps further there is like a cliff where raging waves splash against the rock walls. But we’re staying away from that part and focused on the little rock pools.
I tell you, Kai was scared. It rained for a short while and the whole time he was crying because he was scared of the rain. Once the rain stopped, we moved forward, searching for shallow spots where we can let Kai play safely. And we found one.
We spent about 2 hours around the rock pools and got out to get lunch. I must say we had a very satisfying lunch, eating fish soup, sisig and calamari. We forgot to get the name of the restaurant, but it’s just within the beach property and it’s the first one from the left. We were already drained from swimming and playing in the rock pools Kai fell asleep waiting for the food. Yep, serving of food takes a while and we were already starving. I had to wake the little one up because I knew he was hungry.
We left Magpupungko to head for Cloud 9. We wished we could’ve stayed longer at the rock pools but it was almost 1pm and the tide had started to come in. Pretty soon people will be asked to leave because they don’t really allow people there once the tide comes. We were back to our motorcycle and drove to Cloud 9 for almost 2 hours. That was enough time for Kai to get his afternoon nap – while riding.
When we were in Cloud 9, it’s hard to get a shot of Daddy surfing. He was so far away so we just sat there by the viewing deck for an hour, watching him – fall, fall, and eventually able to get on the surfboard. Haha!
The third day was awesome! I love Magpupungko Beach. I really wished we could’ve stayed longer than we did. Maybe next time.
We went home in the afternoon feeling drained, but Kai still had energy left because he was able to recharge with his afternoon nap. As for Dad, he was really tired, mainly because he went surfing. That was a great workout. But he still had some strength left to find us a dining place for Kai’s birthday. We didn’t have much choice then because Kermit was packed – even if it was a Monday. We ended up eating grilled meats at Sugba. The food was so-so. Honestly, there’s nothing special about the food served because in Cebu, there’s just a lot of grilled restaurants that serve delicious meals.
We went back home again after dinner, thinking this would be our last day in Siargao. It was a beautiful day. And I know there are still many places we haven’t been to, like Sugba Lagoon and Sohoton – an adventurer’s paradise. We have limited time and we have a 4-year-old with us. We still need to wait for him to get older and be able to learn how to swim before going back to Siargao to visit those places.
Day 4: Great breakfast, Chillin before our flight
We had our breakfast – a scrumptious breakfast, that is – at Fayeyeh Bar! Yes! This small restaurant by the road serves awesome breakfast meals. We were so satisfied and happy we chose this place before we left for our flight later. If you’re in Siargao, don’t forget to drop by Fayeyeh Bar!
Final thoughts: I would say Siargao is not really the best place for kids Kai’s age. There are times when I’ve lost my patience on the whiney boy that was with us, but then you have to understand, kids might feel uncomfortable. But then again, when it’s time to hit the waters, you rarely hear any complaint. Kids just love the water. If you don’t mind all the fussiness and whines from your impatient kid, then by all means – go on an adventure. Taking them to places away from their comfort zone would also do them good. Make memories with your children – adventure just happens to be our way of doing it.