F Siargao: Top picks for sleep, sip & savor - jeepneyjinggoy

Siargao: Top picks for sleep, sip & savor

What are your favorite spots in Siargao? Let me know in the comments section.

The surfers are stoked, sun worshippers bronzed, the shorelines trodden with footsteps, roadways teeming with people, sun up to sun down. Siargao is riding on the crest of the record-high waves in tourist arrivals again. The island is back in top form like it didn’t face transformative obstacles. Bragging rights: the island is the most visited in Mindanao, if not the country. Again. 

Guyam Island

It used to be only the affluent and surfboard riders of different nationalities frequent the Surigao del Norte island in the past. The former hops in a private plane to spend days in one of the private resorts while the latter not minding the arduous air-land-sea journey to get stoked at Cloud 9, whether it was to win titles in a surfing cup or just to ride the stormy season’s swells.

Today, the island’s conveniences make it a tourists’ paradise, and leisure seekers outnumber the surfers, but who’s counting? Commercial planes and ferries, vans and motorcycles, eateries and fancy restaurants, inns and posh resorts, pubs and bars, with new ones popping up like mushrooms. There is something for everyone in or out of General Luna, no matter the budget. Siargao is giving Boracay a run for its money with vacationers marking it the go-to spot on the calendar’s long weekends. 

The new Cloud 9 Boardwalk

The Boardwalk is also a good spot to catch a Siargao sunset

General Luna is the beating heart of Siargao tourism. Along the Tourism Road loop is the highest concentration of stay, eat, shop and party establishments. Partyphiles and foodies ply the route revisiting favored spots and marking new ones. 

Catangnan Bridge at sunset before the afams came

The beach and board sessions, seaward and inland adventures at daytime, the Catangnan Bridge for sunset viewing (and ‘afam’ spotting) and downtown GL (or General Luna, the action zone is the Tourism Road stretch) at night to dine and party. Perhaps it’s routine but there’s an allure to these that people can’t get enough of. Plus, there’s always something new to discover along and off the strip. Just as island regulars found their favorites, I found mine plus a few more after a recent visit. 

A trio of must visit spots along GL just a few steps from Katig Boutique Hotel - the Beachbaby Cafe, Kanin Baboy & The Extension

Katig (IG @katigsiargao), this new beachside boutique hotel is where you should stay when in Siargao. With only 11 rooms, all appointed with essential amenities every holiday traveler may need, the modern hotel extends the warm “island home stay” hospitality visitors will cherish, like a good breakfast at the garden by the seashore, a quiet time to work or lounge at the library, or just watch the horizon as day breaks while sipping a good cup of freshly brewed coffee. Ask for the seaside room on the second floor, the large picture window frames an uninterrupted view of the sun rising from the Pacific Ocean horizon while in the comforts of bed. How’s that for a Siargao treat to start the day? 

“We chose katig because we wanted to fit seamlessly into our neighborhood so we chose something that you’ll see everyday when you’re here. The beaches around Siargao are dotted with the local fishing, surfing and island hopping boats all being steadied by their katigs,” shared business partner Kim Honasan. 

The beach is at your doorstep. Take a shoreline sunrise stroll.

Katig breakfast

While the katig aids the boat’s balance, so does the Katig Boutique Hotel. It promises the balance of serenity to the revelry, privacy to the socials. Its location is a charm. Nestled in a quiet pocket just off Tourism Road, the hotel promises a tranquil spot. The morning sun kisses the crowd-free stretch of white sand beach right at your doorstep, a rarity in the island. And in the neighborhood, the bustling entertainment and dining scene of the most popular strip of General Luna beckons to be explored. 

This view from the balcony of your second floor room.

“Katig is for a Siargao visitor who values convenience above all else. We are near most everything you’ll want to experience your first to 10th time on the island,” said Honasan. 

Beachbaby Cafe (IG @thebeachbabycafe.siargao) is a few steps away from Katig at the corner of Tourism Road. It has become a popular spot among vegans and foreign tourists. The draw? “Apart from serving vegan smoothie bowls & vegetarian comfort food, The Beachbaby Café has Ayurvedic items on the menu,” said Nikki Serrano, owner and yoga teacher, explaining that Ayurveda is an ancient system of healing, often referred to as the mother of modern medicine, that understands that food has a direct impact to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. “The menu is uniquely designed to encourage you to eat and drink to how you feel. Superfoods like Matcha, Maca, Cacao & Ahswagandha are used in our smoothie bowls and lattés, each one designed to cater to your specific mood or your body’s needs at any given day,” she adds. 

That may sound too “mystic” but believe me all the items on the menu are delectable. So delectable that one order will lead to another, or a revisit for another bout with Ayurvedic goodness. 

Perfect for the Siargao climate, the refreshing smoothie bowls are the bestsellers. If visiting for the first time, try the “Mixed Berries” (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, banana smoothie topped with fresh bananas), or if green tea is your thing, get the “Matchatropical” (banana smoothie with Japanese matcha topped with fresh mangos & pineapple). Made fresh as you order, each scoop of the yogurt-like superfood is a flavorful cool blast on the palate on a hot summer’s day. The slices of fresh fruits add another impression to the smoothie’s flavor while the toasted homemade granola puts a crunchy texture to the treat. 

Matchatropical smoothie bowl

The Rose Latte is not your ordinary caffeine fix. The mildly spiced and sweet pink latte gives the mind an incredible feeling of peace and balance, which is perhaps what you need after a late night out. Or better yet, have a shot of the “Oh My Wow” (cold-pressed turmeric, ginger, citrus fruits & honey). It’s the cafe’s “mighty immune booster” that can give your body (and mind) a reset for another fun day ahead. Go through the menu and read how each item can benefit your being. It’s fascinating as it is informative. 

Rose Latte

The next-door food joint is all about Pinoy food, and you know what that means- extra rice! But worry not, you need the carbs going through an active day on the island, and you won’t be judged. 

Kanin Baboy (IG @kaninbaboysiargao). Bali and Siargao, what do both share? If it’s not surfing, then it’s the babi guling. In Siargao, you can get a fix of Bali’s iconic dish at Kanin Baboy. The house specialty with the resto’s namesake, is inspired by the Balinese dish but “doesn’t taste anything like it because of the Filipino spices we use, " said the chef. Funny name, but catchy and has memory recall, more so once you have a go at the spicy crispy lechon with skin that crackles with every bite (also comes in spicy crispy fried chicken version). Served with green beans, pork bbq and spicy paste, it’s a fiesta on a plate. But don’t let one dish stop you from ordering the other dishes on the all-Pinoy menu. 

Kanin Baboy house specialty

“You have to discover the unique flavor of our Lechon Sinigang (spicy lechon in sour tamarind soup with vegetables). Our spicy lechon belly elevates the Filipino soup to new levels of deliciousness,” said Nikki Sering, part owner and chef. He also recommends the Lechon Kawali, Sisig and Tortang Talong. 

Before retracing your (few) steps back to Katig, you can explore the party scene further down the road or stay in the vicinity and have your nightcap at The Extension Siargao (IG @the_ext_siargao), or EXT as the locals call it. It’s the al fresco bar on the upper floor of the Beachbaby Cafe building. Wind down, have a cold beer or a cocktail while watching the live band play or the people walking along Tourism Road. 

Grab a drink, listen to live music & people watch at The Extension 

Now back in Katig, delight in the tranquility of the hotel, snuggle in bed and let the soothing lullaby of the lapping waves serenade you to sleep. 

P.S. The food offerings in Siargao are as exciting as its party scene. The locals and island dwellers recommend these bites worth your while: the thin crust pizzas + bonus view of the famed ramp and tower at Loka in Cloud 9, Tuna Carpaccio in Bravo, Kawayan for freshly baked croissants and baguettes, Carbonara and other handmade pasta dishes at La Carenderia, and the coffee & Sunday night aperitivo in Lunares. The list is long but perhaps you can let me know what to add on the list.