With its large mangrove forest reserves, stretches of wetlands, and excellent waves for surfing, it’s no wonder Siargao is a traveler’s dream. If you’re thinking it’ll cost an arm and leg to enjoy this paradise, then traveler Mark Goa has got great tips on how to enjoy Siargao on a budget:
If you book your Siargao trip far in advance, you can get fares as lows as P2500 roundtrip. Book a flight on a budget airline, and drive the price down even further by booking on the Traveloka App.
Estimated cost: Approximately P2,500 for a round trip ticket (without promo)
b. On the ground
The preferred mode of transport is the habal-habal, which at its most expensive is P350. That fare is per head, and includes being taken to and from locations.
Estimated cost: Approximately P1,050 for three days
2. What to See, Do, & Eat
Day One: Island hopping and Surfing
Siargao is an island surrounded by smaller islands, so getting those out of the way first would be the best thing to do.
a. Naked Island and Daku Island
The two islands that are part of the tour are Naked Island and Daku Island. Naked Island is basically an empty sandbar with some grass growing on it. Spend some time lounging there before heading to Daku Island, where you can have lunch and bum around.
Renting a boat for island-hopping costs P1,200, so a group of five friends can split the cost to P240. Lunch on Daku Island will cost you P150, but you can also opt to buy lunch at the public market or town center before island-hopping to drive your expenses down further.
b. Surfing at General Luna
Once you’ve finished touring the islands, head back to General Luna and surf. There are waves to suit every skill level, from beginners to professionals. You can rent a surfboard for P250 an hour. You could also invest on a surfboard and ride the waves to your heart’s content.
c. Kermit Siargao
Admittedly, if you’ve got a picky palate, your food expenses in Siargao can be a little steep. However, if you’re okay with eating at carinderias, meals can cost as low as P70. If you’re looking to splurge a bit, Kermit Siargao is a restaurant that serves Filipino and Italian fare. Prices range from P160 to P420. The P420 meal is a risotto with truffle cream.
Estimated Day 1 Budget: Approximately P1200 (food, transpo, etc.)
Day 2: Explore the Island
The island of Siargao has a couple of natural attractions aside from its surf-ready waves. Visit the Magpupungko Rock Pools and Tayangban Cave on your second day.
a. Magpupungko Rock Pools
Found at Magpupungko Beach, these rock pools make their appearance during low tide. Once the tide recedes, you get natural sea water “infinity pools” that are great for Instagram snapshots. While there’s no entrance fee, getting to the rock pools require hiring a habal-habal for P350.
Photo credit: Mark Roa
b. Tayangban Cave Pool
Once you’re done at Magpupungko, the way back to General Luna will pass through Tayangban Cave Pool. Make a stop there and wade through a dark cave of chest-deep water to an open pool and cliff-dive spot. The water is clean, clear and perfect to dive in. Exploring the Tayangban Cave Pool will require a guide, which will cost you P70.
c. Mama’s Grill
As usual, if your budget is really tight, opt for the local carinderias for a meal that’s less than P100. You can also try out Mama’s Grill, which is a barbecue place popular with both locals and foreigners. Depending on what you choose to grill, you can spend anywhere from P15 to P195.
Estimated Day 2 Budget: Approximately P755 (food, transpo, etc.)
Day 3: See the cove, caves, and jellyfish
On your third day, take a trip to Bucas Grande. It’s a three-hour boat ride from Siargao and offers you opportunities to observe stingless jellyfish and go spelunking.
The Bucas Grande Tour will require you to rent a boat for P3,500, which will be whittled down to P700 if you split it with four other friends. Snacks and lunch will be served and charged separately on the boat, but only upon arrangement with your tour operator. Snacks and lunch are an additional P100 and P120, respectively.
a. Hagukan Cave and the Sohoton Jellyfish Sanctuary
The Hagukan Cave features bio-luminescent azure water that you can squeeze into as the tide recedes. But the real star of this trip are the stingless jellyfish of the Sohoton Jellyfish Sanctuary. Despite being stingless, visitors aren’t allowed to swim with these creatures, but more for the protection of the jellyfish than the humans.
There will be a number of fees to be paid during the visit. There will be an entrance fee and an environmental fee, both worth P50. A smaller boat is required to reach the coves. That will cost P500, or P100 per person for a group of five. You will also need to hire two guides for P330, or P66 split between a group of five. You’ll need to pay another P100 for a paddler boat to the jellyfish sanctuary.
b. Miguel’s Tacoria
If you’re craving Mexican food while in Siargao, Miguel’s Tacoria is the go-to place. It’s a take-out place that serves Filipinized chicken or beef burritos at P100. It’s affordable and satisfying, so it’s not a bad deal at all.
Estimated Day 3 Budget: Approximately P1,536 (food, transpo back to General Luna, etc.)
3. Where to Stay
To make this budget work, don’t plan on staying in any fancy hotels. Siargao has a number of hostels that are affordable and comfortable. Here are Traveloka’s recommended hotels:
- Patrick’s on the Beach – Starts at P554 per night
- D’ IslanderVille Pension Hauz – Starts at P720 per night
Estimated Hotel Budget: Approximately P1662 per head (3 nights/4 days)
Are you ready to explore? What are you waiting for? Book your trip with Traveloka today!