Published: October 25th 2006September 30th 2006
Some guy riding Cloud 9
Photo taken by Ayeen [http://sweetsentiments.multiply.com/]
Typhoon Milenyo, a bane or a boon?
Today’s our third day here in Siargao Island. It has been very sunny and dry; while Manila and the rest of Luzon has been on blackout due to typhoon Milenyo
. This typhoon, though, gave a beautiful strong barrel of waves at Cloud 9, where the surfing competition was held. It was also because of this that the surfing competition we came here for finished two days earlier than expected. It’s okay though, we have already been to a lot of places in this area, plus we have gone surfing the other day, what else could we ask for? Oh, I know… more surfing!
We went surfing at Cloud 9
this morning. (Okay, not exactly. But at least, I got your attention now! HAHA) Then, we drove around Siargao Island for the rest of the day. Siargao is pretty small and it could have taken us only an hour to travel around it; but since we’ve made a few stops on beautiful beaches, a lagoon, and a few town churches, it took us more than half a day.
Breakfast at Ocean 101
As early at 6:30am, we drove to Ocean 101
This is a map of Siargao at the wall of Ocean 101
I drew blue arrows to show you how we circled the island in one day. The red arrow is from Port of Dapa to General Luna. We took this same route on our first day here in Siargao.
Resort. It is 10 minutes away from our resort, Villa Ernesto. We were done ordering breakfast when we chanced upon the grand champion of this years surfing cup! He’s an Australian named Ryan Hitman. As expected, we asked for a photo op with him. As we were having breakfast, more and more of the professional surfers showed up in the mess hall to also have breakfast.
From Ocean 101, we could already see several surf breaks. Karlo
, our trusty tour guide described the names of these breaks for us. The closest one to Ocean 101 is called the Jacking Horses
. He said it’s the surf break for beginners. We walked further south and we saw Quicksilver
. It was named after the annual sponsor of the International Surfing Competition. Aside from that, it made “quick” surf breaks. Immediately after which, is the world-class Cloud 9
, famous for its strong and towering break surfers go wild about. No wonder surfers from Australia, Europe and Japan stay for months here in Siargao Island.
Feeling High on Cloud 9 Cloud 9
has put Siargao in the world surfing map. The locals say it was named so for the barreling right
Our tutors for the day
Marching to the viewing deck with our amateur surfboards
hander waves that forms the shape of a “9”. It was a foreigner, an Australian, who gave such name. Karlo
introduced us to our tutors for the day. Mine was Loloy. (I think. I also think he is the second person I met in this trip whose name is Loloy.) My tutor, a local, doesn’t talk much. I was the one asking what I should do to properly surf. He made me surf my way first then later on, he commented on my points of improvement. I applied my first tutor’s lesson, the Don’t-think-just-stand principle. For several times, I failed. Was it because today’s waves were stronger than those between Guyam and Dako? Loloy told me not to release my hands from the board till I found my balance. Common sense, eh? But it worked! I have been capable to stand on the surf board many times after that.
Here are my personal notes, formulated based only on my two sessions with the local surfers here. Again, I say, these are my personal notes. Follow at your own risk! Step#1:
Grab your surfboard on each side, while you plant your feet wide on the board.
Yes, this is me!
Not the best pose, though... hehe...
Quickly find your balance by trying to stand but without releasing your grip of the board. Step#3:
Stop thinking and stand! Enjoy the ride! (This is the part when I shout out a crazy woohoo.)
At 11:00am we had to leave Cloud 9
and say goodbye to our surfboards. I spent only 600 pesos for today’s surfing lessons. We walked to the exit of the Cloud 9 Resort and found two souvenir shops. My friends and I bought similarly-printed souvenir shirts and we even waited for these shirts to be printed on with the design we wanted. Customized pa
We had the cheapest lunch at the nearby turo-turo
. (Mind you, it’s a variety store that serves lunch and sells surfboards! I find it somehow unusual for a city-dweller like me.) We spent less than 40 pesos each for a very filling meal. Some had squid, while some had the local staple, tinuya
, which is fresh fish boiled with ginger, onions and tomatoes.
We hopped into the van and drove north for the town of Pilar. After an hour’s time, we stopped by a beach and we had a sight of big rocks
that have sprung out the ocean. “Pungko” is Surigaonon for sitting on your ankles. This place could have been named “Magpupungko” because the rocks seem to be sitting
on the water.
We walked on the beach’s gray, rocky shore of hard coral. We were walking very carefully because the hard corals were sharp, while the shallow waters had slippery yet sharp rocks.
It was a relief to finally submerge into what they call the Magpupungko Lagoon. It has beautiful turquoise waters. I plunged in and surveyed the natural structure of this lagoon. It started shallow from our end (about 5 feet) and goes deeper and deeper to about 15 feet. There were few fish but I saw a sea snake
. I swear it was a sea snake! It looks exactly like those I saw on National Geographic. I was swimming around this big rock, in the middle of the lagoon, when I noticed a black-and-blue striped snake swimming away from my right side. I knew they were poisonous so I immediately swam away from it. But this did not stop me from swimming to the end of the lagoon. I wanted to see how this lagoon meets the
rest of the ocean.
The end of the lagoon is where waves crash into from the deep water. There’s a wall that has separated the lagoon from the ocean. Since it was low tide, I could see only a 6-inch depth of water from the top of the wall. These waters were calm, while those just a few meters away were in raging motion.
We resumed driving north and noticed little boys crossing the street with their small surfboards. Just then, we noticed a long barreling stretch of surf break, which some call the “Hawaiian Five-O”. It is the world class surf break, Pacifico
, which is formed due to the island’s very long reef and rocky ledge.
At mid-afternoon, we have reached Burgos, the northern-most town of Siargao Island. We were welcomed by a white sandy beach called the Alegria Beach. Surprisingly, this part of Siargao is not as rocky as those in the south, where Cloud 9 is. The water is clear and calm. I did not see much fish but it had some sea urchins hidden amongst a wide stretch of sea grass (which reminds of Bacon Beach in Sorsogon).
Geez! The skin on my face was already feeling sore and burnt. I was as red as a cooked crab ! For sure my officemates will tease me when I get back to work and see me in my new dark tan.
The First North Siargao Surfing Challenge
We had halo-halo
for snacks. Meanwhile, the local counselor approached us and shared with us his sentiments about their town’s potential for attracting tourism. He said that they have surf breaks that are world class as well, yet are not as popular as those in the south. These are Tangbo
, and Pacifico
. But atleast, they have started to catch up because they have recently held their First North Siargao Surfing Challenge, which was open for local surfers.
He further emphasized that the kids of the northern towns such as Sta. Monica, Burgos, and San Isidro, have great interest in pursuing professional surfing. The problem is they do not have enough surfboards to practice on. Thus, he has lobbied for funds from the local government. It was only then that I learned that a surfboard costs as much as 25,000 pesos! Despite this man’s frustration, I
The Town of Sta. Monica
The new parish office is built inside the ruins of the old Spanish-era church.
am impressed by his concern for his town’s people. His passion all the more convinces me that a strong local government is the key to a country’s overall success. This is yet my home country’s weakness. We need leaders like this man - zealous and passionate about the progress of his immediate community.
We left Alegria at about 4pm. In 30 minutes, we saw TakTak Falls which is still within Burgos. It did not have much water this time of the year. One of its pools was even dry. The entrance fee amused me though - just 5 pesos entrance fee.
Sta. Monica Parish
Driving further down south, we reached the town of Sta. Monica. We saw their beautiful church, which I personally did not quite expect in a remote town such as this. Ate Eunor introduced us to her friend, the parish priest. He toured us around and he even served us pancit
. We feel very welcome.
Darkness has fallen. We passed by the town of Del Carmen and saw another pretty church which was white and big. There happened to be some party or gathering while we were
there. Their town was well-lit and quite progressive compared to General Luna.
Surigaonon Barbeque at the Port of Dapa
We knew we have officially circled the island of Siargao when we arrived at the Port of Dapa. It was getting late, though, and we were getting hungry. So, we dined by the shores (and stars) of Dapa, which had pork and chicken barbequed to our delight! We devoured on a variety of Surigaonon barbeque and puso
(white rice cooked inside weaved coconut leaves). We had softdrinks still served in glass bottles (which is no longer common Manila).
Today’s fun-filled activities were best fitting to end our three-day stay here in Siargao. We have practically seen most, if not all, of its must-see islands, caves, and surf breaks, ofcourse! We missed watching the actual surfing competition, but that’s alright. There’s still next year!
There are more photos below