Siargao has always been regarded as this magical island south of the Philippines, with a very distinct vibe. The community, composed of locals and foreign settlers who initially came to the island to surf are the main purveyors.

Now with the influx of more tourists (hopefully not too much) both local and foreign, the question of whether there’s more to offer than surfing arises. The answer: a resounding yes—Siargao has a lot more to offer than just surf! And you can count on us to share with you these things. Here’s our top 7:

1. Eat

The best cuisines are making its way to the island to serve the palettes of a very diverse market. Restaurateurs from all over the country and the world are setting up shop. Although there’s a lot of good ones we’ve highlighted some of the best.

Shaka Siargao

Photo courtesy of @erikaaachaaan on Instagram

Brought to us by these two young Aussies who stumbled upon the island years ago and fell in love with it, Shaka is easily the healthiest (vegetarian and vegan-friendly) and most Instagram-worthy food destination on the island, serving fresh smoothie bowls and quick bites. Expect to see yogis, hippies and hipsters out looking for their açaí bowls. They’re currently expanding all over the Philippines—and soon worldwide—all from the success they started in their little shop in Siargao. Their new site boasts of a great view of General Luna’s surf.

Cantina Luna

Dinner, and after dinner, and drinks—why not? Who says an after-hours place can’t be the load up and dining destination in one? Cantina Luna whips up a full array of amazing Filipino dishes from sun down to sun up. A brainchild of the Pamintuan siblings, successful restaurateurs in Davao City, this place is a go-to destination for good food and good times during your stay on the island.

LOsteria

This Italian restaurant tucked in deep in General Luna faces the beach and features an open kitchen. If you want to dine someplace fancy, go to L’Osteria—it may be one of the pricier restaurants, but it doesn’t fail to deliver in quality. Try their calamares and the pizza.

Kermit Siargao

Serving up the best pizza on the island is Kermit. Although Kalinaw or L’Osteria might contest it, Kermit is so good that Manileños have clamoured and their request answered as it recently opened its Manila branch in Poblacion, Makati. Overall, it has a great vibe and is the home of Siargao’s iconic surfing team, the Gwapitos, if you were keen on buying some of the local merchandise.

Kalinaw

It’s noticeable to see that we’ve got three Italian contenders in the roster, and Kalinaw is arguably the best on the island, known for their authentic thin-crust pizza cooked in an Italian-made wood-fired oven.

2. Island Hop

There’s so many beautiful islands to visit and more being discovered as we speak—all within boating distance from the main pier of Siargao. There’s Daku Island, Naked Island, Corregidor Island… hopping from one island to another is really the highlight of a Siargao trip.

Photo courtesy of Galatea
Photo courtesy of Galatea

Travel on a yacht, Filipino style via the Galatea, a plus-size bangka (local pump boat) fitted out with some of the amenities of a real yacht. Here, you can enjoy a make-shift toilet, butlers who will cook your lunch on the island and serve it to you and your mates “boodle style”, a sun-bathing deck, and lounge seats. The Galatea boats are the hippest ones on the island, we definitely recommend booking them for your island hopping tours.

In our recent On the Fly travel film series, we let you in on our magical island-hopping journey through the Philippines, and Siargao Island was one of them. You can watch it here:

3. Go wakeboarding

Siargao Wakepark

Photo courtesy of @siargaowakepark on Instagram

Imagine wakeboarding in the middle of a lush coconut tree forest in a tropical paradise. It may not have a full 360 winch but the ambience more than makes up for this functional course. It’s a big plus that the friendly operators give you tips on how to master this boardsport, and even cooler that you can always spot Siargao Wakepark’s founder, Tom, in the area. He also moonlights as a surfer and DJ on the island. (See our wakeboarding action in the travel film above.)

4. Motorbike around the island

Photo courtesy of @victoriarll on Instagram

The island is so beautiful that it doesnt do justice to stay in just one area. Explore the island and its hidden beach coves (like Malinao) or go up north to see beautiful virgin beaches. You can do it Siargao style by renting and going around on a motorbike for that ultimate local experience. Just be careful not to get into any accident.

5. Chillax

Karagatan, Siargao Bleu

Photos courtesy of Karagatan

The best spot to watch the sunset as the cove is strategically located to face the sun as it goes down is at none other than Karagatan. Jove Schrottman, the man behind world-renowned island spa in Boracay, Mandala, takes the helm of this restaurant and bar that serves some of the island’s best cocktails. Located in Siargao Bleu Resort & Spa, it features an amazing beach front pool and and manicured landscape.

Isla Cabana

Photo courtesy of @laumorin on Instagram

One the best looking beachfronts in General Luna, the central area of Siargao, is Isla Cabana. It features a pristine white sand beachfront, a tempting pool fronting the sea and a restaurant that serves great Filipino food and some of the best cocktails on the island. Don’t be surprised to see a horse galloping into the sunset.

6. Jump into a lake/lagoon

Youve seen it in so many Instagram posts. A diving platform perched up on top of a glistening calm lake that reflects the sky like a mirror. What are you waiting for?

Bro tip: If youd like to be able to experience the enchanting Sugba Lagoon, make sure not to go in June 2019, as it will be closed for rehabilitation. More deets here.

7. Explore the Nightlife

Photo courtesy of @shmickate on Instagram

There used to be a time when nightlife on the island was so limited that one bar hosted a party per night of the week. But with the influx of more people (thanks to more flights available), the bars have become more bustling than ever. The good thing with Siargao is that it has been very resilient against commercial dance music as both locals and foreigners detest it like a plague. Hopefully it stays that way.

Loose Keys

This motorbike bar and restaurant that reminds you of a mini-version of Deus Ex Machina in Bali is the load-up place where everyone hangs out before heading to different nightspots. They normally have live acts performing, with a billiard table that’s always booked out and an overflowing volume of people spilling out to the streets.

Harana

Literally translated as “serenade” in Filipino, Harana is a great restaurant by day but an even hipper late-night watering hole for people out for a good time. Although this spot is a bit pricier than the rest, it covets CVMNs Favorite Nightspot Award, where the islands best can be spotted. Live music, followed by DJ sets, is featured on certain nights but expect a good selection and musical genre.

RumBar and Octopus Beach Bar

Make sure these are your last stops for a guaranteed fun night out on the island.. When everyone else has gone to sleep to surf early the next day, the nocturnal surfers continue on to these two hotspots. RumBar is known for reggae beats, while people flock to Octopus Beach Bar for its underground house vibe. Hungry? Dont worry, bros, both places serve yummy after-hour chow outside the dance area.

Baile

Certain nights will have massive underground rave events in this venue that can house roughly more than a thousand people if packed. Hit or miss on some nights, if you ask us—as the DJs are inconsistent—but if you’re lucky, they can have some really good undiscovered turntable talents.

Planning your Siargao trip soon? You can thank us later—and do report back to us and tag us on your Instagram posts if you’re able to visit any of these CVMN-recommended spots!