The Non-Surfer's Surigao Adventure

May 23, 2010 Travel

Surigao offers more than Siargao, known as the surfing capital of the Philippines with its famous Cloud 9 wave. This vibrant place has something for everyone, even if you're not into surfing like me.

Here's a recap of our exhilarating 7-day escapade in Surigao.

The Mabua Pebble Beach

A mere 30-minute drive from the city lies the captivating pebble beach. In all my travels, I've encountered only one other pebble beach (Batanes being the first), making this a must-see destination.

While it might not be the ideal spot for leisurely strolls or runs, it proves to be a perfect setting to unwind and witness the stunning sunset, preferably with an ice-cold beer in hand. You can conveniently purchase beers from the stores along the beach, and cottages are available for rent at P 200.00 each (or feel free to haggle for a better price).

Sohoton National Park, Bucas Grande

Bucas Grande proves to be an enchanting discovery, a true hidden treasure within the region. 

The two-hour boat ride from the Port of Dapa was an adventure. The waves, similar to those in Siargao, brought both excitement and a bit of nervousness at first. But as the ride got smoother, the beautiful coral formations came into view, indicating our arrival in this paradise.

Upon reaching Bucas Grande, tourists are required to register at a visitor center. In our case, a group of four (accompanied by friends Pao, Mimay, and Third) paid Php 1,400.00.

After completing the registration process and donning our life vests and hard hats, we switched bancas and ventured deep into what seemed like a maze of emerald wonders. 

A small cave, Sohoton Cave, served as our gateway or entry point into this breathtaking exploration.

Swimming inside a cave may not be a novel adventure, but witnessing you and your friends glow while doing so is truly something special. We relished a few minutes of refreshing bliss deep inside Hagukan Cave.

Next, we ventured into another cave called Magkukuob, where the exhilarating way out was a daring jump. Cue the drum rolls... my first cliff dive!

Following our cave adventures, we returned to the visitor's center for a hearty lunch. The delicious meal was expertly prepared by the staff of our Siargao resort, Jade Star Lounge, which also provided the banca for our Sohoton exploration. 

Post-lunch, we headed to Tojoman, also known as Jellyfish Lagoon. The surreal experience of swimming with non-stinging jellyfish solidified Sohoton's status as an adventurer's playground for me. 

From swimming with Agua (Oxinada) in Hagukan Cave to frolicking like Spongebob in this hidden lagoon, Sohoton left an indelible mark on our adventure.

Magpupungko Beach

This beach is renowned for its spectacular rock formations, natural pools that emerge during low tide, and, of course, a panoramic view of the waves. The largest pool also serves as an excellent spot for snorkeling and diving.

The beach is approximately a 45-minute to an hour van ride from our resort in General Luna. Although there is no designated washing area, a clean restroom is available for guests, and an entrance fee of Php 50.00 per person is required. Our van rental for the trip is Php 1,500.00.

Island Hopping (Guyam,Daku,Naked and Suyangan)

On Day 4, we embarked on a tour of some of the islets visible from our resort in General Luna.

Our initial destination was Suyangan Island, an hour-long boat ride away. The journey felt prolonged, amplified by the intimidating waves that, at times, turned our banca into more of a surfboard. 

Amidst our gasps, our boatmen skillfully trolled and managed to catch a liplipan for us. Later on, our friend Pao triumphantly reeled in a sizable barracuda.

Some local boys were playing at the beach, singing "Kay Binay, gaganda ang buhay."

Our banca briefly left us to visit nearby fishing villages, ensuring we could add grilled fish to our lunch and dinner. In the meantime, we spent the next hour indulging in our packed lunch, writing in the sands, and capturing memories with photos.

Our next destination was Naked Islands. The intense heat limited our time on this stunning island, characterized by a dome of white sand, hence the name "Naked."

Following Naked, we visited Daku and Guyam, both boasting white sand beaches and cottages available for rent. Our lunch was enjoyed at Guyam Island. Since the caretaker was absent at the time, we were fortunate to obtain our small cottage (even if it meant sharing it with numerous ants) for free.

Sea Urchin Harvesting

This wasn't originally part of our itinerary, but the exceptionally calm waters (finally) between Guyam and General Luna proved to be an excellent spot for harvesting sea urchin (or uni, as found in Japanese restaurants). 

The water was mostly knee-deep, allowing us to see what lay beneath our boat. Initially, it was just Pao and our boatmen (Itok and Jordan), but the fun was contagious, and soon we all joined in the harvest.

Cloud 9

We couldn't bid farewell to Siargao without witnessing the famed Cloud 9.

Opting to extend our stay for an extra day, we craved a relaxed break after three adrenaline-filled days, allowing us the time to explore what surfers from around the world had been raving about.

Before heading to Cloud 9, we took a stroll through the center of General Luna, where we unexpectedly found ourselves under a sudden rain shower. Pao quirkily commented that it was our island's way of blessing us.

Relying on a rented tricycle from General Luna to reach Cloud 9, we spent some time watching local surfers showcase their skills.

Jade Star Lounge

Our home for five days in Siargao was Jade Star Lounge. Situated in General Luna, it's an ideal spot for non-surfers, boasting a beautiful white sand beach. The owner, Anita Quintas, fondly known as Tiya Nita, is not only a gracious host but also an excellent cook.

Tiya Nita took care of everything during our stay, organizing our tours and meals like a motherly figure.

Our air-conditioned room, clean and accommodating, was priced at only Php 1,500.00 per night, suitable for five to six persons.


For a pescatarian like me, Surigao is a culinary Shangri-La, offering not only breathtaking sights but also delectable seafood. The servings are generous and fresh, making this place a game fishing heaven.

Punta Bilar Dive Site

Following our Siargao escapade, we went to Punta Bilar, just a short drive from the city, for an introductory dive. The dive center, operated by the Surigao Dive Club (thanks to Mr. Jake Miranda!), is a non-profit organization committed to preserving the Punta Bilar Coral Reef.

Regrettably, we didn't have our underwater camera to capture the site's beauty.

Sto. Nino de Bad-asay

As a devotee of Sto. Nino, I felt blessed to conclude our Surigao adventure with a visit to the shrine of the miraculous Sto. Nino de Bad-asay. Situated in Barangay Serna, the shrine marked a spiritual conclusion to our memorable journey.

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