Siargao Island

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(c)Photo: backpackerbanter.com

Siargao is situated at a coordinate of 9°52′N 126°03′E. It is composed of municipalities of Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, San Benito, Pilar, San Isidro, Santa Monica and Socorro.

Siargao Island contains the largest mangrove forest reserves in Mindanao, at Del Carmen. Long stretches of wetlands indicate a potential for commercial seaweed propagation. Siargao Island is greatly influenced by the winds and currents coming uninterrupted from the Pacific Ocean, intensified by the Mindanao current running westward through the Siargao Strait.

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Offshore, a classic tropical island lies protected within its surrounding coral reef with dozens of coconut palms dressed in the center circle of the island. Off to the right, well within the massive coastal reef, lies a shining white sand bar, (Pansukian, or Naked island) some 200 meters long. The tide of Siargao is diurnal with tidal curves typically present, especially on the east coast of the island.

The Island’s Pacific-facing reefs are situated on the edge of the Philippine Trench, and the extremely deep offshore waters assure the ocean swells have undiluted power when they encounter the many coral and rock reefs. Siargao has excellent surfing conditions, particularly during the southwest “habagat” monsoon from August to November, when the prevailing wind is offshore.

Siargao is well known as “The Surfing Capital of the Philippines” with a reputation among surfers within the Philippines and the International scene.

One of the best known surfing waves on Siargao and the Philippines, with a worldwide reputation for thick, hollow tubes is “Cloud 9”. This right-breaking reef wave is the site of the annual Siargao Cup, a domestic and international surfing competition sponsored by the provincial government of Surigao del Norte.

The wave was discovered by travelling surfers in the late 1980s. It was named after a chocolate bar of same name, and was featured by American photographer John S. Callahan in the United States- based Surfer magazine in March 1993. Cloud 9 also has a reputation for being a relatively cheap destination for surfers with many cheap hotel and resort accommodations and restaurants and bars to choose from.

There are several other quality waves on Siargao and nearby islands, but Cloud 9 has received more publicity than any other surf spot in the Philippines. It is the only wave easily accessible without a boat, leading to overcrowding and the nickname of “Crowd 9” among surfers. Eager foreign and locally owned accommodation and tourist facilities have profited from the magazine publicity and the influx of visitors drawn by the annual Siargao Cup competition in September.

In the past, going to Siargao is by domestic flights from Manila to Surigao, and then by boat to Siargao Island. The island is now also served by Cebu Pacific flying direct to Siargao Island via Cebu.

Mabua Pebble Beach

Mabua Pebble Beach Surigao del Norte
At Mabua Pebble Beach you’ll get less sand, more stones (lots of it) and an awesome view!

Mabua Pebble Beach is unique among many of the Filipino beaches due to its multitude of smooth white pebbles that make up its shoreline. Mabua Pebble Beach is a shoreline of kilometer-long stretch of smooth, multi-sized pebbles. There are almost no sands, of any kind, in this part of Surigao City. The beach’s shoreline is completely composed of smooth stones, mostly in white colors and of different sizes.

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While most beaches are formed through the movement of sediment influenced by the wind, waves and currents, Mabua Pebble Beach’s unique composition was most likely formed by very strong forward swashing waves that forced the pebble material to be driven onshore, and weaker return swashing waves that caused the material to be deposited.

The countless number of smooth pebbles that make up Mabua Pebble Beach, each varying in different sizes and shapes (although the majority tend to be oval) also serve another, albeit different, purpose. Walking barefoot on the smooth stones, according to reflexologists, has a strong impact on the body, as the feet have reflex points that are connected to our internal organs, making this beach both stunning and therapeutic.

Attracting both local and foreign tourists, visitors are impressed with the clear and cool waters that make this surreal place ideal for swimming and jet skiing. If you are lucky enough to catch the big waves, you can go surfing or windsurfing. The rock outcrop at the end of the beach is an easy climb and promises to give you a frightening but spectacular view. It is a great vantage point for the rest of the beach and even the mountains beyond. Mabua Pebble Beach is the paradise of photographers who are captivated by sunsets.

HOW TO GET THERE:
Mabua Pebble Beach is situated in Barangay Mabua and can be reached via a 30-minute drive from Surigao del Norte City center.

Get off at the Mt. Bagarabon Beach Hotel and Mountain Resort and make your way past their Hajahay Suites towards the pebble shore.

There are the carved steps off the side of a small hill, climb the steps and on the other side of the hill is the pebble beach. If you don’t prefer to walk, you may rent a banca (small fishing boat) to take you to the pebble beach.

Surf Lanuza

Surf Lanuza
Lanuza in Surigao del Sur is noted as a surfing destination in addition to the already famous Siargao with its various surfing areas from Reef Breaks to Beach Breaks. A perfect location for a laid back surf trip and is an awesome place to relax and experience serenity by watching or listening to the sounds of its rolling waves and clashing pebbles.

There are excellent breaks surrounding Lanuza with the combination of the area’s remoteness that is definitely an adventure for surfers without the crowd. Go surfing within the town proper located at Doot Poktoy and also in Punta and Sitio Badiang, Lanuza surfing grounds definitely possess world class waves comparable to that of Cloud 9 in Siargao. These reef breaks become famous because of its eye catching and roaring waves, this is a must see spot for all surfers.

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Lanuza’s climate is characterized by rainfall that is distributed throughout the year. The period from April to August has the lowest level of rainfall while heavier rains occur from November to February and has 7% exposure to tropical cyclone. Lanuza Surfing season is between the months of November to March where big waves are in constant motion.

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(c)Photo: Philippine Surfing Federation

Lanuza Surfing Festival is held annually. Lanuza’s perfect long right hander that rolls along the sandy bottom of the river mouth is best for classic longboard surfers but also excellent for short boards too. Minutes away are a series of barreling reef breaks. The waves of Lanuza Bay offer something for all skill levels, from beginners to professionals.

For those wanting to stay in Lanuza, you would be glad to know that it belongs to the economic zone of Cantilan, one of the major economic zones of Surigao del Sur. For telecommunication there are six cell sites operated by Smart Communications and Globe Telecom that cover the whole area of CarCanMadCarLan (Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmen and Lanuza). Two cable TV providers operate in Cantilan, Carrascal and Madrid, Cantilan has broadband internet with a number of internet cafes. The municipal building in Lanuza has a satellite connection, soon this will be extended to the school and may be offered as an internet cafe in the evenings.

Aside from surfing, Lanuza is also popular for its “agsam” accessories, bags and home curtains. It also offers beautiful beaches, caves waterfalls and cool springs and meet people of Lanuza who are so warm and hospitable.

HOW TO GET THERE:
From Tandag – at the Balilahan Terminal in Tandag, board any jeep or bus bound for Surigao or Cantilan. Get off at Lanuza (market)

From Surigao City – take any Bachelor Bus going to Tandag, vans can go straight to Lanuza

From Butuan City – go to the bus terminal and board any bus bound for Tandag. From Butuan airport, there is a van going straight to Lanuza

From Davao City – take a bus going to Tandag and from Tandag, take bus or jeep going to Cantilan (or Surigao) but get off at Lanuza