A Guide to Siargao (and 10 mistakes to avoid)
Guest post by: Jojo Aquino
I arrived in the afternoon, got settled in my Airbnb, and rode on a motorbike to Cloud 9 for surfing lessons but that didn’t happen because I came during low tide.
So I ended up renting a bicycle and rode myself over to Harana Surf Resort to eat. I ordered the hummus plate, parmesan fries, sago’t gulaman while lounging on a giant pillow, with a dog on my lap.
And after that, I went home. Which brings me to –
MISTAKE #1: BIKING AT NIGHT WITH NO HEADLIGHT
If you rent a bicycle, double check to make sure it has a headlight or call for habal-habal to bring you home instead. You see, I wasn’t thinking so I decided to ride in the dark. If you watch the video, you can hear me freaking out. Yeah. Don’t be like me.
MISTAKE #2: NOT ALLOWING EXTRA TIME
TO TRAVEL TO THE MEET-UP POINT
Leave earlier than you think in case you get lost so that you don’t hold your tour back or get left behind. And if you rented a bike, here’s–
MISTAKE #3: LOOSELY PLACING YOUR BELONGINGS IN YOUR BASKET INSTEAD OF INSIDE YOUR BAG
Because I was in a rush, my iPhone decided to jump out of the basket and onto the road. Now I have more cracks on my phone!
Mistake #4: NOT BRINGING EARBUDS OR EARPLUGS
So to avoid that, bring earbuds or earplugs. Otherwise, bring something to read or bask in the ambiance!
MISTAKE #5: BRINGING A PURSE INSTEAD OF A WATERPROOF BAG
So bring a waterproof bag. They’re sold everywhere in Siargao.
At the cove, we hit 3 spots. The first is Hagukan Cave, a cave where you swim underwater to enter. It’s dark inside and the only source of light is through the entrance, underwater. And it’s really pretty in there. Kind of luminescent! And you don’t have to worry about hitting your head while swimming through because the guides help you with that. (I still hit my head anyway.)
The next spot is Magkukuob Cave. Over here, you get to do a little spelunking in chest deep water. Or if you’re petite like me, it’s neck-deep water! What’s awesome about this spot is that you get to climb stalactites and stalagmites to reach a diving board. It’s about 12 ft high and once you’re there, you can’t back out. It’s not that high anyway but it’s still a good thrill!
And the last spot is the Stingless Jellyfish Sanctuary! I really, REALLY wished I had footage but my GoPro broke at this point. It turned out water had leaked into the battery compartment. So that makes –
MISTAKE #6: NEGLECTING TO RINSE YOUR CAMERA GEAR
ANYTIME IT TOUCHES SALT WATER
Salt water is CORROSIVE. So always rinse your gear or anything in general that touches salt water. I was using the GoPro Hero Black 5 by the way. And no, the rice trick did not work. But thank you guys for helping!
In the sanctuary, you can’t swim with the jellyfish or their tentacles will fall off. Plus everyone’s sunblock and mosquito repellant will contaminate the water which will make their tentacles fall off. And you can’t pick them up either or their tentacles will fall off! But what you CAN do is touch them! And it’s wonderfully — eerie. Imagine touching a giant tapioca ball.
At the tour, I met a solo traveler, Angelique, who invited me to dinner with friends she’d met on another tour. We met up at Kermit’s, a restaurant known for their pizza. When you go here, arrive as early as possible because the wait is pretty long. Like 45 minutes. But if you do end up waiting, you can always order drinks at the bar! And if it’s happy hour, it’s buy one get one! And yes, the pizza does live up to the hype!
On this day, I went on the Corregidor Island Hiking Tour. I learned my lesson from yesterday so I gave myself extra time to head to Bravo Resort. So even when I forgot my camera battery and had to rush back to get it I still arrived on time! I even had time to stopped by Bake Siargao, a coffee shop with interior decoration goals. You can go here for a quick bite on your way to anywhere. So on my way to the resort, I came across –
MISTAKE #7: FAILING TO TEST YOUR BIKE BRAKES OR
NOT KNOWING HOW ELSE TO BRAKE
So avoid this making sure to test your brakes or jump out of your bicycle. I almost ran into 2 people so I ended up running into a wall instead. I walked away totally fine. Thank goodness!
So Corregidor island! It was only an hour boat ride away and the hike to the top of the island is scenic. You walk through the town proper, pig pens, and the beach before hiking up. So –
MISTAKE #8: FORGETTING TO BRING FOOTWEAR
I know this is obvious but if you’re used to walking barefoot, you usually forget where you leave your slippers. Or you know, maybe you crashed into a wall and you were still processing what happened so you forgot to bring your slippers. I don’t know! So I ended up hiking barefoot and for the most part, it was actually doable! I made it through the hot rocks but it started to get unbearable when it got too pokey. But maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’re secretly a masochist. No just kidding. It actually got too much that my tour guide, Symon, lent me his slippers.
And once you reach the top, you will. Feel. Amazing. There’s something about blue skies, an open field of grass and a breeze through your hair that feels amazing. I even think it’s better to go barefoot once you’re at the top. Do the hippie thing you know? You’ll feel light after.
After the hike, you’ll arrive back to your hut for a delicious lunch. Then you’ll have a couple hours to swim in the water, play drinking games, and lounge in the sun. And if you don’t want to move too much with your food baby, I suggest sitting at the shore and let the water wash over and move you. It’s really fun! But of course, you get sand EVERYWHERE. It even went inside my bikini top where the pads usually sit lol. At this point, you’ve been under the bright sun for hours which brings me to –
MISTAKE #9: NEGLECTING TO BRING YOUR SUNBLOCK
I didn’t really get sunburnt but some of the ladies did so bring your sunblock and keep applying it.
So we learned this drinking thing from Symon, if you don’t have a chaser, chase it with a smile! And that was the tour!
For dinner, I met with another solo traveler, Melissa, who was on the tour with me. We ate at Mama’s Grill, where they grill you all sorts meats and veggies on the spot. So if you like barbeque, definitely go here!
Next, head over to where the party is! Ask around where the party is every night because it always changes. At that night, it was Viento del Mar. I got to meet a follower and now my friend Jini! And we all drank and danced together!
The first island you’ll go to is Guyam Island where you get to chill, walk around, take pictures or sit in the water and drink like I did! If you have portable speakers, definitely bring it on this tour! Everyone will love you.
Next up is Naked Island! It’s completely bare from trees but makes a nice picture if you’re at the tail end #travelfam
The last island is Daku island, where you’ll spend most of your time. This is where you’ll eat lunch, drink at the beach, play drunk Jenga, frisbee, and beach volleyball! If you’d been drinking since Guyam island, so about 11am, you’ll definitely be tipsy at this point. Everyone couldn’t stop talking and laughing. A group of us connected really well so after the tour, we met for dinner at La Carinderia and later again at Harana and Rum Bar.
I left on the morning of Day 5. And I share with you my last and most important mistake to learn from.
MISTAKE #10: NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP AND HYDRATION
Can you imagine drinking straight from 11 am to 2 am in 2 days? That’s 30 hours total and I did that under the hot sun. I nearly fainted by the time I arrived in Manila because I was so dehydrated. So SERIOUSLY, always have a water bottle on you and get lots of sleep. LOTS OF IT.
All my tours were booked with My Siargao Guide and I suggest you guys go with them because #1, they’re a really amazing & fun team of people and #2, hello– booze?
And also shout out to Marty and the guys at Fat Lips Surf Shop for teaching me how to ride a scooter, encouraging me but still laughing at me when I attempted to ride it, dropping me off at a bike rental shop instead, and shouting “YEAH JOJO!” everytime I cycled by. And also for being so helpful when I rented their GoPro because mine broke.
And that wraps up my Guide to Siargao! I hope you were able to learn a thing or 2 from my mistakes. So be smart and stay safe when traveling alone and get out of your comfort zone!
Since starting Traveling Petite Girl a year and a half ago, Siargao was the best trip I’ve had and it was the people who made it amazing. Solo travel doesn’t mean you’re alone the whole time, it means there’s plenty of opportunities to make new friends and Siargao is the perfect place to do that.
Guest BloggerI’m Jojo – the 26-year-old traveler/photographer/videographer behind the blog Traveling Petite Girl.
On December 2016, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I decided to adjust my schedule so that I could be able to travel, while at the same time, practicing the discipline of working and studying on my own time.
Three values that are most important to me are authenticity, freedom, and happiness. And to me, that looks like bringing you lovable fun and juicy inspiration while being grounded in reality by sharing the discomforts (and the delights) of travel!
Peru’s Jungle City
Peru's Jungle City Guest post by: Nicole Tegge I think for most of us, we grow up with vivid images of the Amazon jungle: man-crushing anacondas, stalking jaguars, sky-scraping tree canopies. Well, at least I did, probably due to my fascination with all-things...
Things to Do in Cape Town
Everything You Need to Do in Cape TownGuest post by: Lucy BuchholzThe Mother City, otherwise know as Cape Town, is the oldest city in South Africa, and home to a range of beautiful animals, breath-taking views and fun-filled activities. It’s no wonder that there is an...
Visiting the Maldives – With Kids!
Visiting the Maldives -With Kids!Have you ever dreamt about visiting the Maldives -- that picture-perfect country of atolls where you can often find couples (and perhaps ABC’s The Bachelorette) escaping to for a luxury vacation in an overwater bungalow? Yes? Us...