Surfing In Siargao's Cloud 9
Made famous in the early 90’s by acclaimed surf photographer John Callahan and pro-riders Taylor Knox and Evan Slater, Cloud 9 on Siargao Island has slowly progressed as an alternative surfing/vacation destination while holding true to its off-the-beaten path roots of past. As Siargao has gained popularity over the years, while locals have always shied away from a comparison to the fast paced and quick development of other Asian surf destinations.
The slow paced island lifestyle has has had certain progress over the years, but surely embracing the fun-loving, laid back atmosphere that daily life on Siargao provides. The Cloud 9 area is the epicenter for Philippine surfing and a range of activities in the area provide an opportunity for the solo traveler or the family looking for adventure.
How to Go :
Connect in most major Asia cities to Cebu with budget carrier Cebu Pacific Airlines : From Cebu avail the short 45 minute flight from Cebu (CEB) to Siargao (IAO) every morning. Seasonally, Cebu Pacific adds extra afternoon flights. Check their website for flight schedules and discounted fares. www.cebupacificair.com
Where to Stay :
Choose from a range of accommodation near Cloud 9 for all budgets :
Try Kalinaw for upscale 5* style. They offer the high end experience in modern beachfront villas. Their 6 villas are well designed with A/C, flat screen TV’s and tropical style. International and French cuisine coupled with thier brick oven pizza has helped Kalinaw build a great reputation for culinary treats. http://www.kalinaw.com
Try Greenhouse for a mid-range private guest house. Choose one of their beachfront, hardwood bungalows and dine on market fresh meals on your balcony! Bungalows are well designed with queen beds, speaker systems, stocked bar fridges, and free wifi to add a few more things to the list of positives attributes. The lagoon is great for swimming at high tide and the channel out front gives direct access to surf breaks high tide or low. Boats, tours and surf equipment available. http://www.greenhousesiargao.com
Try Kermits Backpacker for a budget conscious traveler. Situated on the roadside near GL, Kermits offers fun excursions as well as accommodation. Multi-Day packages with fan and AC rooms available. Try a meal or some of their famous boozy drinks from the bar! http://www.kermitsiargao.com/
What to Eat :
Most of the neighborhood resorts have a cafe or restaurant, some better than others. Try JJ King for local BBQ and Seafood. Kawayan at Cloud 9 has a great menu and their bar whips up some great cocktails. Buddah Cafe offers a full Thai menu and reasonable prices. For local food, be sure to try Mahi-Mahi kinilaw, a local style dish similar to ceviche or Pancit Canton, a hearty noodle dish with meat and vegetable. Its a Filipino classic! Other places to try are Harana Surf Resort for their yummy sisig, gising-gising, and a whole lot more.
Where to Go out :
Nighttime is normally quiet Siargao but a few spots come alive, check your “local” schedule when you arrive : Nine Bar, in GL has live music on Wednesdays and an “Open Mic night”. Bones Bar near Cloud 9 could be showing the big Rubgy game or they may have a “Benefit Dace” in town where people donate cash to hear songs they want.. The night comes alive to the beats of Reggaeton and Bodudtz! For the night owl : The ” Boulevard ” hosts a lineup of about 20 karaoke bars who sell hamburgers and beer until the early morning hours.
Where to Have Fun :
Have a surf! Siargao is home to plenty of waves for a beginner or expert! Cloud 9, put Siargao on the map with its barreling right hander, which offers rideable waves nearly all year : Look out for Kyron Rathbone, Kite and SUP Master, offering up Stand-Up-Paddle board lessons and photography. No experience necessary for fun! To get away from the crowd, there are plenty of other accessible waves on offer in the neighbourhood. Boats can be organized through your resort or locally in town.
Where to Shop :
No malls or high rises here! General Luna market is the center of commerce offering fresh fish, vegetable and local foods. Matanjak on the way to Cloud 9 sells plenty t-shirts and hand made tropical island knick knacks. Kudo Surf has just recently opened a quality surf shop with everything you need in GL. Board rental and reasonable priced ding repair on offer if you accidentally meet the reef. Jabines market in GL sells imported foods, wine and beer. Not super cheap, but they’ve got it all!
What to Visit :
Go to the pier at Cloud 9 and take pictures of the surfers in the big waves or try a surf lesson with the great team at Very Good Nice surf shop. Fun is guaranteed!
For a full day trip: head 2 hrs. by boat to Sohoton Caves : This protected marine sanctuary is a labyrinth of channels and pools some only accessible at low tide. Swim with stingless jellyfish and snorkel in crystal clear pools.
For a half day trip : pack a lunch and drinks in the cooler and head to Naked Island and Daku Island.
Large stretches of white sand beach and snorkeling on offer. Good waves out front, so bring a surfboard. On the way home, stop at Guyam Islet for a fresh coconut drink on your own tiny island!
Make sure you bring what you need. Get it online and delivered for free with http://www.KudoSurf.com