When Blue is a Happy Color: Island Hopping in Siargao

Note: This is part of my 6D5N trip to Surigao del Norte. Post was created through the WordPress app and all photos were taken using iPhone 5 only.
After my iPhone mishap the previous day, we were highly anticipating the next highlight of our Siargao trip, Island Hopping!

Our tricycle driver Kuya Lito, whom we contracted for our Magpupungko trip, helped us find a boatman for our island hopping tour.

He picked us up at 8am at La Luna Resort then brought us to The Boulevard (separate post soon) where the boat awaits us.

Two boatmen were waiting for us in a small boat. We arranged to visit all three popular islands in Siargao: Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island.

We asked them the night before to buy food that they can cook for us in the island.

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First Stop: NAKED ISLAND
This island is very small and even from afar you would inderstand why it was called Naked–there is absolutely no vegetation. There are no trees nor plants whatsover. This means there is no shade for us. We took pictures, sunbathed, and went on to the next stop before the sun becomes too much for us to bear.

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Second Stop: DAKU ISLAND
This island is the biggest of all three and is actually a barangay. There is a residential area, cottages for rent, an a private villa called White House.

We paid PhP 200 for a medium sized cottage, PhP 50 cooking fee and another PhP 50 for a bottle of Coke :p

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Last Stop: GUYAM ISLAND
Compared to Daku, this island is indeed Guyam or small. This island has the most rocky shores of the three islands.

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Useful Information:
– We started the tour at 9:30am and ended at 3:30pm.
– The rate for a small boat like ours (max 4 people) was PhP 500 per island so we paid PhP 1500.
– Our lunch was paid for separately for PhP 275 for the two of us.

My friend Lani and I had a great time during this island hopping tour not entirely because of the beautiful beaches (that is a given) but more so because we had a fun and meaningful talk with our boatmen.

We talked about our lives, families and even current events. The dialect in Siargao is slightly similar to our dialect in Romblon so I was able to understand most of what they were saying. This made them open up a bit more since they did not have to force themselves to speak Tagalog. I had to translate a lot to Lani, though. :p

Until the next trip,
CLAIRE

More Than Surfing: The Beauty of Cloud 9 in Siargao Island

Note: This is part of my 6D5N trip to Surigao del Norte. Post was created through the WordPress app and all photos were taken using iPhone 4s only.

The 2nd day of my Surigao del Norte trip is finally the start of my Siargao Island journey. This will be our home for the next 5 days. Hooray!

The trip from Dapa Port to Our resort was not too long (about 30 minutes) but definitely exhausting since it was past 1PM when we arrived and the sun was extremely happy that day.

After checking in and having a late lunch at La Luna Resort (I will have a separate post for this), we proceeded to the much anticipated part of this trip: Cloud 9.

We hailed a habal-habal (motorbike) and asked if we could ride with him to Cloud 9. A Caucasian woman we asked said that it was about 1.5 kilometers away and might be difficult for us to walk going there since roads are being repaired.

The motorbike we hailed was not really for hire but the man agreed to take us. He only asked for PhP 20 for both of us. Thanks, Kuya! :)

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The Boardwalk at Cloud 9

Cloud 9 is the most popular surfing spot in Siargao Island due to the big and clean waves generated in the seas. This area is not really for swimming since a large expanse of it is shallow waters. You can pretty much walk up to the area where the large waves form.

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Shallow and Clear Waters

The Boardwalk became the main attraction in Cloud 9 as it provides tourists easy access to Cloud 9 to watch people surf. I can imagine how difficult it will be to walk in the waters with a lot of rock formations just to get close and watch the surfing action.

It also became popular probably because you can relax and lounge here and just watch the waters or talk to friends and maybe even meet people.

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Rock Formations

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I’m going downstairs to swim :)

I’ve noticed that the people we met at Boardwalk and Cloud 9 were very friendly. Most of them said Hi and others even offered to help us take our pictures when they saw that my friend and I had to run when we were using the camera’s timer. I guess it is mostly the chill vibe that surfing brings that makes them friendlier or more cheerful? I don’t know but I greatly appreciate it.

We came to Cloud 9 a little late, around 4PM and soon that sun is about to set.

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Shadows

This long walkway called Boardwalk at Cloud 9 really completed my first day in Siargao Island. My friend Lani and I had tons of fun taking pictures but we’ll come back probably on our last day so we can take more pictures when the sun is bright.

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Isn’t it a beautiful day?

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Hmmmm, I wonder if better days are ahead.

We went back to La Luna Resort and called it a day. A great day, that is.

How to go to Cloud 9: Motorbikes or Habal-Habal are everywhere! Just wait for one to pass and ask the driver to take you to Cloud 9. Real fare is PhP 20 each.

In case you’re wondering, habal-habal is the basic transportation in Siargao Island. The public utility version is a regular motorbike but with a thin roof to provide cover for the passenger/s. A habal-habal can take up to two persons.

If you’re a big surfing person, it will be better to book with a resort in the vicinity of Cloud 9. There is a resort right in front of it called The Boardwalk at Cloud 9 Resort.

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Until the next trip,
CLAIRE

Where To Go in Surigao City: MABUA PEBBLE BEACH

Note: This is part of my 6D5N trip to Surigao del Norte. Post was created through the WordPress app and all photos were taken using iPhone 4s only.

We’re almost there!

After months of planning, trying to lose weight, researching and preparing, my friend Lani and I finally reached Surigao City, our jump off point to the island Paradise SIARGAO.

Since we arrived at Surigao Airport later than the last ferry trip to Siargao, we had to stay one night in Surigao City and then take the early trip the following day. In case you encounter a similar dilemma, do not worry. There are still some places you can visit in Surigao City while you’re there. For my friend and I, we only wanted to go to one scenic spot so we can rest enough for the day.

We chose to go to MABUA PEBBLE BEACH. This beach is interesting as I’ve researched that, well, the beach area is full of pebbles rather than fine sand.

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Common Tricycle in Surigao City

We were able to hire a tricycle from the city center to take us to Mabua Pebble Beach in Barangay Ipil.

The drive to the beach was scenic and while our tricycle driver blasts 90s music on his radio, we didn’t realize 20 minutes have passed.

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Beach Hut Against the Light of the Sun

First things we saw upon arrival were several huts surrounding the beach. No other tourists were there so we asked the driver if he would be willing to wait for us.

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No Sand, Just Pebbles

Indeed there was no sand but only round, smooth and pretty large pebbles!

It was my first time to visit a Pebble Beach and found it to be unique experience. I know that there are similar ones in La Union and Batanes and hopefully I will be able to see those soon and compare the pebbles.

No one was around to guard the place although we some a few locals sitting inside a beach hut but they did not show any sign that they are in-charge of the place. We did not have to pay any fee.

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Coconut Trees to Complete the Picture

The beach is in a residential area and we saw several houses nearby. The docked boats add charm to the place.

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The water looks pretty good, too!

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:)

Please take note than bringing home pebbles as souvenirs is strictly prohibited. Even though no one is there to remind you, please respect this policy as a responsible traveler.

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Take nothing but pictures. Please.

We only stayed there for about 15 minutes and did not swim since it was not part of the plan. We also did not want to make our driver wait too long.

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Almost Sunset :)

Going to Mabua Pebble was a simple but great experience since I was able to visit a beach different to the ones I was accustomed to. I now yearn to see other unique beaches like black sand, and pink sand beaches. I’m adding those on the list now!

How To Go to Mabua Pebble Beach:
There are several ways but I suggest you hire any random tricycle from any place you are staying at. Tricycles are all over Surigao City! As for us, we hired one from the area near the City Hall (after having lunch). The driver quoted us only PhP 120 one way for 2 people. Most other tricycles would quote PhP 150 so we got a deal!

Travel time is 20 minutes with light traffic.

We asked our driver to wait for us and bring us back to Destajo Traveller’s Inn in San Juan and paid PhP 300 for 2 people.

Until the next trip,

CLAIRE

Burot Beach, Calatagan Batangas: A Sunday Day Tour

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Burot Beach in Calatagan, Batangas is probably the best beach destination within 3 hours from Manila. It has off-white sand, a secluded location and minimal entrance free.

It was in January  2013 when I decided to have an early summer trip and invited my sister and a friend to Burot Beach. The first time I went there I was with my boyfriend for an overnight trip and though we had a great time, It was a little creepy to have the place to ourselves (as in just us!) so I decided to come back and have a different experience. We left our place in Imus at about 6:30 am and with my dad as our driver, happily took the road less traveled to this hidden getaway.

After a few hours of driving, we reached the center of Calatagan where we bought lunch of rice, viands and soft drinks.  We took with us a big container of water so that is not a problem. We also had chips of different sorts. Please take note that you should either bring cooked food for lunch or dinner or be ready to cook it in the island as there are no available dining places there. Only a small sari-sari store is found in the island.

We arrived at Burot Beach at almost 11AM due to some mishaps in finding the place. Last time I went here, my boyfriend and I took public transportation then so I was confused with directions. Anyway, my Dad is an expert driver so it was not really a problem. We just had to turn and go back a few times which added to our travel time.

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The first order of business for that day was to drink a lot of water (we were so thirsty from the drive!), and eat lunch.

There are a few tables available for rent and we paid PhP 200 for ours. During my first time here, my boyfriend and I were there for overnight and we were no longer asked to pay for the table. During this day tour, we paid phP 65 each for the entrance. Please also take note that this property is not even supposed to open to public. They do not have strict regulations so do not be surprised if the fees change over time. Rest assured though that they are always very reasonable. (Update: The entrance fees are now fixed.)

Our table by the beach

Our table by the beach

Comfort Room (no luxury here) with running water

Comfort Room (no luxury here) with running water

After lunch, we changed into our swimsuits and started what we really came here for, haha! On the far left of the beach is a rocky area which would look great as a photo backdrop. This is also a nice place to swim as the water is at a swimmable level.

Shallow Waters

Shallow Waters

 

Rocky Shores

Rocky Shores

 

After the lovely time of picture-taking, we walked all the way to the leftmost part of the beach and found better spots to swim and take photos. What I love about Burot Beach is there are so many hidden little coves that are like totally different beaches!

View from the hidden cove

Hidden cove

We had the coves all to ourselves and while the other beach-goers stayed where we left our car and stuff, we had a great few hours of private swim time.

View from the hidden cove

View from the hidden cove

Tip of the island

Tip of the island

 

At around 3PM, we decided to go back to our table and call it a day. Once we started walking back, it started raining as well! Good thing we already finished swimming and taking pictures. We placed all our stuff inside the car, and took a bath one by one. I just enjoyed the rain while waiting for my turn to take a bath. We also brought a tent anyway where we can seek refuge. It was only sad for the others who arrived late because they have not even started swimming when the rain fell.

After we all changed into our dry clothes, we headed home. Traffic going home was slightly heavy so we decided to pass by Bag of Beans in Tagaytay to eat and we let the traffic subside. I will post about that soon.

Our Burot Beach Day Tour was short and simple but being in a beautiful, unspoiled and fairly hidden beach always make me happy. At least I know I have a place to go to that is pretty near and won’t break my bank .

 

:)

:)

How to go to Burot Beach via Private Transportation:

1. From Manila, take Coastal Road or SLEX (South Luzon Express Way). Drive all the way to Nasugbu, Batangas until you reach a junction or rotonda. At the junction, take the right turn going to Lian; a Caltex Gasoline Station will serve as your landmark.
2. Drive straight ahead. After passing the CADP (Central Azucarera Don Pedro) Sugar Refinery, take a left at the intersection (Landmarks: Shell and I-Gas Gasoline Stations).
3. Drive straight ahead. Once you see Sto. Domingo Church, turn right.
4. You’ll pass through a small public market (Talipapa), then a cemetery. From there, you’ll see signs going to Burot Beach. 

Entrance fee is PhP 65 for daytour and PhP 130 for overnight. You can bring your own tent  for overnight. Table rental is at PhP 200 each.

 

Until the next trip, 

CLAIRE