By Diana Marie Laguardia-Paquingan
Siargao Island, Philippines – I long wanted to visit this rising island paradise but the over 12 hours of travel from Davao City with a baby in tow kept me from going. As soon as Philippine Airlines announced its direct flight from Davao City to Siargao earlier this year, I grabbed the opportunity and booked us a flight instantly.
“Siargao is a tear-drop shaped island in the Philippine Sea situated 800 kilometers southeast of Manila in the province of Surigao del Norte. It has a land area of approximately 437 square kilometres.” – Wikipedia
I never had a difficult time planning our itinerary since I already asked few friends who have been there. There are also many blogs about Siargao available in the internet. Once just a haven for surfers, it is fast emerging as a premier tourist destination. It even has a its own box-office hit movie.
A few friendly tips and reminders before heading out to the island:
Of course, the no brainer, bring cash. Wads if you can, and help boost the local economy. I mean, your credit cards might be at rest for awhile.
Never rely on your bank cards – debit, savings or whatever. There is only one ATM in General Luna and sometimes goes offline. Most restaurants and shops do not accept credit/debit which is quite a problem for travellers.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller
Bring a family member you can share the fun and responsibility. This is my top advice for a family vacation with kids, tag along your sister or brother for an extra hand in baby sitting and in — taking photos. 🙂
Bring sunscreen. Lots of them. Too much sun is too challenging to handle. It can also be expensive from the local shops.
Book your accommodation ahead. In my case, I booked our accommodation five months earlier because hotels and bed-n-breakfasts easily sell out. Don’t just walk in and expect to find an accommodation that’s exactly what you wanted for a holiday – and the budget that you have.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in you sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Take care of the environment. Limit the use of plastic cups and straws and be mindful of your trash. Do not litter. Throw them in proper garbage boxes. It was a relief that a lot of groups are trying to keep the island protected. When you go visit, help maintain instead of becoming a problem.
“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” – Chief Seattle
Day 1: Arrival and quick tour around General Luna and Cloud 9. General Luna is mostly where the shops and restaurants are located. Entrance fee to Cloud 9 is P50/head (USD1).
Traveling with a toddler: Tips here
Day 2: Magpupungko Rock and tidal pool +Sugba Lagoon. We rented a jeepney for P2500 (USD50) to take us to these spots, which is more comfortable than a tricyle and less expensive than a van that roughly costs P4000/day (USD80). It costs P1200/head (USD24) for a small boat to take you to the lagoon.
Planning for a trip in Taiwan with a baby in tow? Here’s what you can do.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
Day 3: Island Hopping day. I booked a reliable island hopping tour guide, My Siargao Guide (check them out in Facebook) and paid around P1000/head (USD20) to take us into 3 island, Guyam, Naked and Daku Islands.
Day 4: Horseback riding and beach bumming. My cousin Tina LaGuardia-Sarraga’s family runs Magic Rides, a fun horseback riding service along the shores of Siargao. Click on the link and make a reservation. It was an amazing first-time experience for Maddie!
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac
Where to eat? La Carinderia, Harana, Bravo Surf resort, Kermit (best pizza in the island), Shaka, The Dirty Kitchen
“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.” – Lovelle Drachman
Diane is Admissions Officer at Tebow-Cure Hospital in Davao City, Philippines. She also operates a 2-bedroom AirBnB place right at the heart of the city.