Siargao’s 6 Is-and-Is-Not’s
Isn’t it a wonder that no two islands in the Philippines are the same? Sure the setting is the same: blue skies, fine sand, crystal clear to blue-green waters, coconut trees, two-way streets decorated with nipa huts or simple concrete houses and sari-sari stores, parked bangkas and farmlands with carabaos. But how come such uniformity hides an island’s unique character and personality? Case in point: the teardrop-shaped island located at the southeast section of the country and facing the Pacific Ocean called Siargao.
This blog is an attempt to analyze how Siargao is different from other beach spots within and outside the country and what makes it a paradise like no other.
1. It is not Boracay. For those equating the Philippines to Boracay, this is an eye-opener for you. As you explore this wonderful archipelago deeper and farther, you will notice that it is not only Boracay that can brag about great beach experience. To put it bluntly, Siargao’s bragging right is exactly that it is not Boracay–an island catering to the ironic preference of city-dwellers wanting to relax yet unwilling to forego the very reasons why they needed the escape–24/7 partying, internet connection, consumer brand launches, bars and endless inflow of people from big cities. On the other hand, Siargao’s absence of too many commercial shops and activities will provide you the zen you need.
2. It is not Maldives. I’ve had friends who have been to Maldives. When I asked them how was the world-renowned destination, all of them expressed that the beaches in the Philippines are way better and more beautiful. Even foreign blogger Sabrina Iovino of JustOneWayTicket.com, said this: “…Siargao has some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen in the Philippines – Wait… No. Siargao has some of the best beaches I’ve seen in my life…!! And I’ve been to the Maldives before, so heck… this means something!! Save your bucks and go to Siargao instead if you fancy a serene paradise beach looking like a postcard”. ‘Nuff said.
3. It is not for tourists. It is for those looking for a home, intentionally or not. Ask the foreigners living in the island for decades as to why they decided to leave their first homes and settle in this specific island. As you will probably gather numerous reasons, it is best that you try living in Siargao for at least 5 days. Embrace the unique personality of this island and immerse with the local’s culture and point of view. Then you will know the ultimate reason.
4. It is Hakuna Matata. (I bet you’ll be having the Last Song Syndrome at the end of this article). Perhaps the writer of that upbeat Lion King OST stayed here and really had a taste of the chill life. Who would’ve thought that the absence of electricity in some places, abundance of trees, the rich smell of soil and the wild waves of the Pacific Ocean will make you carefree rather than stressful?
5. It is simplicity. Daily routines involve catching fish, selling soy sauce in sachets or ice candies in sari-sari stores, working in the government, surfing or just having a substantial and sincere conversation with the people. This, however, does not imply that Siargaonons are lazy; they just know how to scrape off unnecessary and complicated activities and just live a simple and joyful life.
6. It is more than surfing. Siargao is definitely known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines”. Foreign surfers who frequent the island can attest to this. However, that doesn’t give justice to the roundness of this island. When surfing is not your thing, you can still enjoy Siargao with its abundance of affordable seafoods such as tuna, mackerel, marlin, sting rays, squids, octopus and crabs. Furthemore, aside from the big waves, Siargao also boasts of serene beaches, natural pools, caves, and mind-boggling rock formations. It also holds the largest mangrove forest reserves in the entire Mindanao and long stretches of wetlands which when tapped is a great opportunity for commercial seaweed propagation.
So there. Visit Siargao and assess for yourself if the points above are true. I’m pretty sure that instead of disagreeing with what are stated above, you will actually have some more to add.