Part 2 – …Drumroll please!
If you’ve followed this travel log, you might have noticed how we never have prior arrangements for accommodations whenever we head off to a certain place. Because of this, we were at the whims of the tricycle driver we hired to bring us to General Luna in Siargao Island.
Travel time from Dapa to GL, the prime spot for surf breaks, on a tricycle takes about 30 mins give or take. The island’s main thoroughfare was fairly well-maintained and clean but the road to the Cloud 9 surf break is so rudimentary it took us a fair 15-20 mins. navigating through it. The bruises on are bums are proof of that! We probably also lost our love handles from all the jiggles.
The rain poured on non-stop and puddles transformed into streams of dirt, mud and sludge which occasionally splashed unto us. Like that’s going to dampen our mood. The scenery heading to our destination was in itself a sight to behold. We passed through dense forests of coconut trees and other vegetation, caught glimpses of numerous mangrove swamps, marveled at rows and rows of mango trees by the road, enjoyed wide fishponds and open agricultural fields. Our driver said these were usually prime lots owned by foreigners.
It would’ve all been prettier under a bright shining sun.
Finally… Cloud 9. Mr. Driver Douchebag Dude dropped us off at Ocean 101 and as expected asked us to pay P100 instead of the P30/head we agreed upon before we first rode on that tricycle of his which threatened to fall apart at the last second. To top it all off, he even demanded for a nice tip. Sorry, I’m bitter. We had no choice but to pay up since he foolishly lurked around like a fly to fruit. He even waited for us to check-in so he could ask a “referral fee” from the resort (which in turn would prompt the resort to deny us any discounted/off-peak/local’s rate.) Talk about modus operandi.
We decided to check out other places first but had lunch there first as a whole day without eating was already starting to alter our cognitive mental processes.
Looking out unto the waves, we noticed that nobody was taking off for a ride. A harder gaze revealed waves from all directions, no tubes were visible and there was white wash everywhere. Turbulence. The surfers there know better. That was our cue to think about where else we could possibly catch some waves.
What are the surf breaks of Siargao called?
1. GL, Tuason Point
a. Cloud 9
i. By far the most popular break but definitely not the only quality one. Featured on numerous surf magazines and websites all around the world.
ii. Reliable and fairly, best on high tides
iii. Experienced surfers; powerful hollow right hander (but could have several small left handers)
iv. Accessible without a boat. Has a walkway and tower connecting spot to the shore.
v. Reef isn’t as brutal as it may seem. They are mostly mossy reef with odd shaped rocks.
vi. Where the annual Siargao International Surfing Cup is held. Prone to over crowding thus earning its name “Crowd 9” amongst locals.
b. Jacking Horse
i. Fairly consistent, best on high tides
ii. Long right hander
iii. Accessible without a boat
i. Beginners and experienced surfers; left hander
d. Tuason Left
i. Experienced surfers; powerful hollow left hander
2. Up North of Siargao
i. Several left and right handers
i. Powerful long, hollow left hander
ii. Accessible by boat
i. Consistent, good surf on all tide stages
ii. Fat hollow left hander
d. Rock Island
i. Experienced surfers; extremely long, fast, hollow right hander
3. Islands off the South of GL – accessed by boat
a. Daku Island
i. Beginners; small right hander
b. Pansukian Reef (at Naked Island)
ii. Experienced surfers; hollow right hander
c. La Janoza Island
i. beginners and experienced surfers
ii. beautiful beaches
d. Mamon Island
i. Beginners and experienced surfers
ii. Beautiful beaches
a. Giwan a.k.a. Don Paulino
i. Beginners and experienced surfers
ii. Left and right handers
c. The Boomie
We realized that one way or another, our set itinerary was going to be useless. The crap weather threatened to dissolve our plans of surfing anytime soon so we walked the beautiful coast (say it, “BEE-YOO-TEE-FUL”) to do some exploring while hunting around for lodgings.
Where can we stay in Siargao?
A. General Luna
a. Patrick’s On The Beach
i. Owned by Andreas, a German who has now relocated to Siargao with his Filipina wife and children.
Jake and Belle: So, who’s Patrick?
Andreas: That’s my little boy. My eldest son.
– We got into quite a long conversation with him, but got to know him more instead of the resort. What?
– created the well-known detailed Siargao map which you are most probably looking at right now.
ii. Famous for their Mango Rhum. It’s a must try, trust us! (Thanks to John for the tip). It’s even got its own “historical story”. We wanted to bring a huge bottle back to Cebu City but figured only airport security would end up getting drunk from it. If you do happen to drop by, Andreas himself recommended the Passion Fruit and Chocolate-Coffee Rhum.
iii. Loaded with recreational activities and services (i.e. diving boats, island hopping, etc.)
iv. Beautiful white sand beach at the back
b. Cherinicole Resort
i. Beach bunnies, watch out, they’ve got a pool.
B. Cloud 9
a. Sagana Resort Cloud 9
i. Owned by Naoki Nakata, a Japanese surfer from Tokyo who surfed in La Union for 6 years and ventured out to Siargao for 3 more years before deciding to open his own resort
ii. Beautiful landscaping, luxurious cottages within a garden setting, very serene and exclusive… and right on the coastline facing Cloud 9 surf break
iii. Prices are inclusive of 3 meals/day. 20% more expensive on surf cups and Holy Week.
iv. Hello, pool.
b. Kesa Cloud 9 Resort
i. Owned by Kevin and Sara Davidson. Kevin hails from Australia, surfed Siargao for 3 years and finally opened up the resort in 1995.
ii. WIN! Because it is affordable, the location is perfect (right in front of Cloud 9 surf break) and it feels like home. We got free buko salad and maja blanca on our first day’s stay there. Thank you, Inday and Dodz!
iii. There are various types of accommodations to choose from. We opted for the non-a/c native cottage situated in their quaint little garden for a rustic feel.
c. Patrick’s On Cloud 9
i. Even Andreas admitted he likes the one on the beach more.
d. Ocean 101
i. Owned by Mike the Australian
ii. Good food: try the jaffle… it’s like their own version of French Toast. They also have a nice sprawling grassy front lawn and beyond that, the waves of Cloud 9. Rooms are pretty much good enough considering its location.
iii. Where most of the surfer dudes and dudettes hung out the time we were there. Wi-fi P50/hr
e. Kawayan Resort/Bar & Restaurant
i. Owned by Frenchman David
ii. Luxurious! We couldn’t even afford to look at it. Just kidding. The place is known for its exclusivity, sumptuous ambiance and delectable French cuisine.
f. Jungle Reef Resort
i. Manager: Palaban (a surfer too, we guess… although we weren’t able to meet him personally)
ii. Affordable accommodations of non-a/c native huts starting at P550. In the far side of Cloud 9, takes a while to walk there. The huts are nestled in a garden setting… bring your mosquito nets.
a. Traveller’s Pensione House
b. Traveller’s Beach Resort
c. Wave Cave Surfer’s Lodge and Beach Bar
d. Island Dream Resort
e. Boardwalk Cloud 9 Beach Resort
f. Romantic Beach Villas
g. Kalinaw Resort
h. Pansukian Tropical Resort
So there we were… hungry, damp and excited. We couldn’t wait to get some rest so we could begin our week long island life. We finally settled at Kesa Cloud 9 Resort for night after hunting and chatting up several owners. I guess you could say Day 1 on the itinerary was well served.
P.S. Here’s the list of the services and their consecutive rates from what we found so far. Price is dependent on the changing times. *wink*
1. surfing lessons : P300/hr
2. surfboard rentals : P500/day
3. island hopping : P500/island
4. habal2x : P20/head
5. tricycle : P30/head
6. massage : P400/hr
7. jetski rental : available at Patrick’s on the Beach
To be continued…