Island Hopping, Siargao
Travelers who are lucky enough to visit the Philippines will be rewarded with an abundance of islands surrounded by sun-drenched beaches. Make your way to the smaller, less travelled, islands and you can fulfill your sense of discovery. And, from these islands you can further explore the smaller islets through the popular island hopping tours. The island of Siargao is such a place with smaller islets off its coast. Within a 20 minute boat ride from the main city of General Luna are three beautiful islets. They make up the half-day island hopping tour.
You can ask your hotel to book it for you or just go to the harbor and negotiate with the handlers to acquire a boat. There are small fees associated with the tour called docking fees and a harbor usage fee, none of which are over 50 pesos (less than $1 US dollar). I chose to do a private tour since I didn’t want to go around and ask the other tourist if they wanted a complete stranger to join there tour. The private tour wasn’t very much anyway, approx. $30 US dollars.
The first island we visited was Naked Island. No, this is not a nudist colony. It’s called that because it is just an islet covered in sand with no vegetation or any type of cover. The islet is just an over-grown sand bar in my opinion. It’s a unique experience but with my shoulder and back already sunburned from multiple days of exposure to the sun, I didn’t spend much time here. I need a little bit of cover.
As we made our way to the next island, it started to rain. We docked on the beach of Daku Island and the rain continued. I found cover in one of the little bungalows but I was told there was a fee to use them. I was asked by my boat crew to join them under a little shelter in front of a little shop a short distance inland from the beach. The rain lasted for another 45 minutes and it finally stopped. The skies were still gray but it couldn’t hide the beauty of the island. I made my way out of the shelter and enjoyed the beach.
The island of Siargao and the surrounding islands are your ideal coconut or palm tree covered islands and Daku Island was no different. The water was warm, even after the rain. Coconut trees, warm blue waters, and fine-white sand made for an alluring location. The island is breath taking but this visit had one drawback, I had to leave once more.
As we made our way to the third and last island, it started to rain again. These islands are only about 15 minutes apart and by the time we reached Guyam Island, the short rain had stopped. This islet was similar with Daku with its coconut trees, fine sand, and warm waters but on a much smaller scale. One thing that Daku didn’t have is a reef that stretched for at least a hundred yards during low tide. It was fun walking around the reef and seeing life within it. As I got further away from the island, I started to see more and more sea urchins so I made my way back to the island. This made Guyam my favorite of the three islands. I could have sat in the water for the rest of the day but with my sunburn, I new I had to leave. Besides, this was only a half day tour.
In a land made up of over 7,000 islands. You would think I would get tired of visiting all these islands. That is far from the truth. If you consider all the islands I visited during my Philippines excursion, they each had something, a small detail, that made them all different. This group of islets off the coast of General Luna, Siargao, maybe small but will occupy a large portion of your heart.