Thursday, March 22, 2007

Stranded in Siargao

Hu-Waw Philippines

Riding the no-frills travel tide is probably the best way to experience Siargao.

First, I suggest you take the cheapest available flight to anywhere in Mindanao. Promo rates from PAL or Cebu Pac or SEAir or Asian Spirit or Air Philippines are ALWAYS available, if you book on the right time or hit the right season.

pier

Once in Mindanao, take any bus that brings you to the Surigao pier. As long as you are in Mindanao, I believe there will be a bus in any town that would pass by and take or connect you to the Surigao pier. Ask around town, I'm pretty sure the locals would know and be more than happy to help you get there. Your bus ride alone is a eye candy in itself. The scenic view is simply amazing. From little barrios to to rural areas to fishing villages to rice paddies to bustling towns to emerging cities.


en route

Take the local 3-hour boat ride from the Surigao pier and you will pass mangroves and islands. There are probably other ports but the one I took was probably one of the "fastest" ways to get there. The boat was not anything like the quintessential tourist ride, instead it was a life line connecting commerce with locals transporting goods.

mangroves

white road

Upon arrival, take the route to where the cement road ends and see the island present itself with one of its most blinding characteristics, sun-drenched powder white roads. I have been to places that have such prestigious claims of white sand, but only a few have the right. Siargao and its little towns uniquely have the best white roads I have ever seen.

powder

got milk?

road

Let the roads be a testament to life in the island. At time of travel, which was back in August 2005, I saw nothing but white sand roads. No asphalt, but instead nature created its natural road which was probably caused by the tropical climate of intense sunshine after a short rain shower. In the course of time, wet to dry to wet to dry, it turned itself to one huge ass white brick. There were probably only a handful of cars in the town, I just saw two in my entire four-day escape. No I am not stupid enough to make such a judgment without backing it up. I was located in one of Siargao's main towns. 'Nicer' houses were starting to be built but still the most dominant and easiest mode of transportation was the motorcycle/scooter/bicycle. It was a two-wheel barrio.

bounce

Although the island of Siargao may have its share of luxury resorts such as this and this. It is still best experienced as a Philippine backpacker's sanctuary.

J Spot

I stayed in J-spot. A simple abode that has a bar on the ground floor and a sleeping area above. Nothing fancy but the host was great! Just like most of the locals.

Union

You really can't expect much from the town to have fancy places to eat when you see omelets having some 'unions'. Nonetheless do not get me wrong, just head on to the wet market and grab the freshest catch of the day. Continue the no-frills vacation by grilling your own meal. Then prepare a pitcher and pour the San Miguel Pale Pilsen, gather around and let two half-full/half-empty glasses circle the shots of beer so that everyones gets the same amount at the same drinking pace. Remember this is the Philippines' surfing capital, everyone here is a surfer who enjoys singing, strumming their guitars and pounding the local Kahon to Jack Johnson. This is what I have come to experience as the so-called surfer's lifestyle. Simple and down with nature.

pirate Pete
Head on to Pirate Pete's bar and find out why it has such a name. A local resident of the island who everyone probably knows.

reef

Cloud 9

glare

crossing

tropical shower

wet

Wet or Dry

tubular

splinters

afternoon chill

A meets B
point A to point B

Siargao maybe best known for its surfing spots, but let it be known that it has more to offer. a bounty of pristine islands a few minutes away while steady bathing waters on the other side of the tide. I was not able to go, but Siargao also offers a jellyfish lake, similar to the one in Palau.

I suggest you experience the island by stripping yourself from vacation luxury.

KISSS! Keep Siargo Simple Stooooopid!

2 comments:

AnitoKiD said...

i find myself eagerly awaiting triptayo's new posts...ALWAYS! and why, you asked? THIS POST is WHY! a blogpost that captures the essence of being in the very same place by the way triptayo puts and places words into sentences; sentences into paragraphs; and paragraphs into ONE COMPLETE THOUGHT and BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE that HEIGHTENS and ENLIGHTENES all the SENSES! IT IS JUST LIKE BEING THERE! no more, no less! triptayo, KUDOS!

Carlo Dionisio said...

thank you so much for the encouraging comments anitokid! i appreciate all the support! noroc!