Siargao is a tear-drop shaped island in the Philippine Sea situated 196 kilometers southeast of Tacloban in the province of Surigao del Norte. It has a land area of approximately 437 square kilometres (169 sq mi). The east where such Art Skyes coast is relatively straight with one deep inlet, Port Pilar. The coastline is marked by a succession of reefs, small points and white, sandy beaches. The neighboring islands and islets have similar landforms.

Beach resort in Siargao island
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates9°54′18″N 126°4′0″E
Adjacent bodies of waterPhilippine Sea
Area437 km2 (169 sq mi)
Highest elevation352 m (1,155 ft)
Highest pointMount Alimbungog
ProvinceSurigao del Norte
Population94,273 (2015)

The island is composed of municipalities of Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, San Benito, Pilar, San Isidro, Santa Monica and Socorro.


The name originates from Visayan siargaw or saliargaw (Premna odorata), a mangrove species that grows on the islands.[1]


The first recorded sighting by Europeans of Siargao Island was by Spanish navigator Bernardo de la Torre on board of the carrack San Juan de Letrán in 1543, when attempting to return from Sarangani to New Spain. It was charted as Isla de las Palmas (Palm Island in Spanish).[2]


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.

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.

There is also a small island near Siargao called Guyam Island. It is uninhabited and has become a popular stop for tourists doing island-hopping tours. The most popular tour includes a stop at Guyam, Naked Island (an exposed sandbar with not much else), and Dako Island.[3]

The extensive mangrove forests of the western coast in the Del Carmen area are home to the Indo-Pacific saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). A large specimen measuring 14 feet, 9 inches (4.5 meters) was found dead in 2016 [4]

In the past, Siargao Is. could be reached via a direct domestic flight from Manila to Surigao City and then by a ferry to the coastal towns of Dapa or Del Carmen in Siargao Islands. Now, Cebu Pacific has flights from Cebu-Siargao, vv as well as a direct Manila-Siargao route (it stops briefly in Cebu and passengers then switch to a smaller aircraft). There are plans to extend the runway of Sayak Airport in Siargao, to cater to the demands of growing tourists who will be visiting this island paradise. In March 2017, both Cebu Pacific and SkyJet airlines commenced direct flights to Sayak Airport (SOS) Siargao island from Manila Airport (MNL), the first direct flights to the island from the capital.[5]

Cloud 9

One of the well-known surfing spots on Siargao and the Philippines, with a 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 traveling surfers in the late 1980s. It was named by American photographer John Seaton Callahan after a chocolate bar of same name and was featured in the United States-based Surfer magazine in March 1993. This surf trip to Siargao Island was named by Surfer as one of the "Ten Best Surf Trips of All Time" in 1995. Cloud 9 also has a reputation for being a relatively cheap destination for surfers with many accommodations, restaurants and bars to choose from.[6]

The island of Siargao was a hideout for convicted American drug smuggler and surfing entrepreneur Mike Boyum, who arrived on the island in late December 1988 and who died on Siargao from a 44-day "spiritual cleansing fast" in April 1989.[7]

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. While it is not the only wave in the Tuason Point and General Luna areas easily accessible via the long pier from the shoreline and without the need for a boat, it is easily the most popular, 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 and the General Luna area currently has nearly 100 accommodation options for visitors. A short motorbike ride outside of town yields even more lodgings, restaurants and bars.

Siargao, particularly the municipality of General Luna and the Tuason Point area, is well known as "The Surfing Capital of the Philippines" with a reputation among surfers within the Philippines and the International scene.

Eddie Florano has also written a song called "Surfin' in Siargao" from the 2006 Ukulele World: Acoustic & Power Ukulele compilation album.

Red Hot Chili Peppers' frontman Anthony Kiedis was also inspired to write a song after his 2014 visit to the island.[8]


  • "Surigao State College of Technology, Siargao National Science High School". Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  • "Siargao Island Institute of Technology". Archived from the original on 2013-03-13. Retrieved 22 March 2013.


  • In March 2018 journalist Karen Davila, anchor of late-night newscast Bandila, narrated in social media her family's "traumatic" experience on the island. Her son’s whole chest bled from abrasions from hitting the rocks on the shallow waters while their surfing "trainer" "suddenly disappeared" after supposedly assisting the family. The journalist called out to the Siargao management, as well as the Mayor, that surfing instructors needed to be professionalized.[9]
  • In July 2019 singer Yeng Constantino complained about local medical facilities in a Facebook post. She criticized a Siargao hospital for allegedly not attending to her husband properly after he sustained a head injury while cliff diving in Sugba Lagoon.[10]

See also


  1. Paredes, Francis Tom; Paredes, Sheila (2017). The Monosyllabic root -ao in Mindanao Languages. 8th Annual In-house Review of the Research Office of Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology. Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology.
  2. Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Explorations New York: The American Geographical Society (New York, 1967) p.123,131.
  3. "Siargao Island: Travel Guide, How to Get There, Where to Stay, Sample Itinerary, Activities & Other Tips! - Lakwatsero".
  4. Mascarinas, Erwin M. (28 October 2016). "14-foot dead crocodile found in Siargao". Sunstar.
  5. "DIRECT FLIGHT TO SIARGAO -". 24 February 2017.
  6. Cloud 9 Spot Check on surfline
  7. Mike and Bill Boyum
  8. "The Chili Peppers Almost Used 'The Philippines' As A Song Title In Their New Album". FHM.
  9. "Karen Davila reveals traumatic experience with family in Siargao". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  10. "Singer Yeng Constantino criticizes Siargao hospital; slammed for 'doctor-shaming'". Retrieved 2019-11-05.
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