The experience of seeing this region from a boat is truly breath-taking. In addition, there are several rivers and huge sections of mangroves that are amazingly rich areas of biodiversity and natural beauty. You will have the chance to stop and swim whenever the mood strikes you. These trips are a relaxing and informative way to view the stunning beauty of Siargao and the many surrounding islands.
Not to be missed is a full day boat trip to Sohoton Caves & Lagoon. A magical place, overhung by Jungle cliffs where you can swim into caves with bats, strange fishes, stalactites and rock oysters, weird corals, pitcher plants, cycads and wild orchids. But take a flashlight and go when the tide is low during midday. The only entrance to the lagoon is through a natural cave tunnel, hanging with stalactites and with strong currents.
You can rent a kayak or paddle boat or row/sail boat and explore the coast line in and around General Luna and Union or paddle across to Guyam or Dako Island.
You can tour the Island by renting a motorcycle for about P600 (US$12) p day or a van for P1200 (US$24) from Patrick's or take a guided tour with a Habal-habal motorcycle. It is literally, the kind of joyful coupling pigs do-Makin' bacon- You'll see why when you see a full load of local passengers on one motorbike (habal-habal) - they take about six Filipinos but only two or three foreigners. A more comfortable way is Patrick's organized multi-cap day trips for small or large groups to the waterfalls, caves, beaches, surf breaks and some secrete places where the beauty intoxicates your senses like the rock pools in Pilar. There are few road signs, so take a compass or Patrick's Siargao Road Map. Patrick's provides picnics with a delicious assortment of food, drinks and snacks that will make your tour a truly joyful experience..
DIVING & SNORKELLING
There's plenty to see (fish, corals, sea snakes, etc, but no big sharks unless you go out far in depth of the Pacific) snorkelling on the reefs around Guyam and Dako right in front of Patrick's (you can just drift with the current along the drop-off). Around Pansukian, the coral reefs are great, (even better at night time) and you can explore reefs in front of Tuason Point (but please not under the break itself), and in La Janosa and Mamon. The Mayor of GL (the Ex Mayor now, for technical electoral reasons only) personally and forcefully stopped dynamite and cyanide fishing in GL some years ago. A marine reserve is planned for part of the lagoon to re-establish the reef and fish population for divers and snorkel fans.
A huge underwater cave with four to five separate entrances was recently discovered under the first rock islands in front of Tuason, and the Blue Cathedral just off Caridad, north of Pilar. Underwater visibility for photography is outstanding. Snorkeling and diving gear is available at Patrick's.
Deep-sea fishing is top notch here. The sailfish and blue marlin season, really hums from March to early May, when the big fish (sailfish to 40kg, marlin to 200kg) cruise the deep water only a mile or two out of GL. But you could fish for coral trout, large snappers and other reef fish anytime. You can join Patrick's local fisherman "Boy" for a one day or even a two day/one night fishing adventure to take you out to the Payao, a floating fish attractor about five miles beyond Guyam, and troll for bolis (skipjack) or Barilis(yellow fin tuna). You can catch Tanguigue (Spanish mackerel), huge Pacific Tuna, and Morang (dolphinfish). In the lagoon, you can get Bayo (Long toms) - they're fun to catch but a little too bony to eat.
Except at low tide swimming anywhere it's safe. Enjoy on the Beach silky clear ocean at high tide or at dawn or dusk, when the water is freshest, or at night when the moon is out and the water is phosphorescent. A natural swimming pool at Patricks beach let you enjoy swimming at any time including at low tide. At Guyam and Dako Island you can swim always at any tide.
There is a huge cave at Consuelo, with stalactites, stalagmites, rock crystals, piles of bat guano, a million bats and even a huge python, but you'll have to be fit to get there. There's another at Malinao, on the way to Union. You may discover some caves no man has set foot in as yet.
Siargao is one of the only islands in the Philippines where tarsiers (small lemurs or bush babies, extinct almost anywhere else) are still common. See Monitor Lizards six feet long, Hornbills, Parrots, Yellow and Black Lorikeets, Kingfishers, and other birds nobody yet knows the names of.
Filipino cocks are quite small, but you will often see a GL man proudly stroking his cock in the street. Cockfights are on Sundays, about 1pm, out of town. It's a great day out, if you're not a vegetarian. If you can understand the betting, win a little bit, but not too much - it's the local's only chance to make a bit extra, so don't beat the bank. Tip - bet on and watch for the owner's T shirt, not the bird - after a bit of rumpus, both contestants look tattered and patchy.
SITTING & LIMIN' AROUND
Probably the most popular active sport in General Luna, it's remarkably relaxing, restorative and healthful. From Patrick's Beach Bar & Restaurant overlooking Guyam and Dako Islands you can watch the fishermen from dawn to dusk, the clouds and the waves in the day or the moon at night. It's up to you if you just sit and think or just sit. The best hangout by far is Patrick's Beach Bar & Restaurant where you can get spoiled with the best cocktail blends: "Beach Streaker, Surf breaker, Sun Chaser, Mermaid's Lover and the Habal-Habal Splash. Don't forget to try Yo-Ho-Ho Mango Rum by far the best Rum you ever tasted made on Siargao Island. At night you can meet lots of friendly locals at Patrick's Roadside Bar, Barbeque and Karaoke. That's the boardwalk of GL where you will get to know the people. Check out Patrick's bulletin board that has all the latest information on all the action in and around Siargao Island.
GL people are very friendly and hospitable, sometimes a little shy. Smile and you'll get a radiant smile back. The girls are very beautiful and very charming, but well behaved. Fishermen often picnic by the beach or on Guyam, and may invite you for a shot of Tanduay rum, Kulafu medicinal wine, tuba coconut wine or pa-oroi strong nipa wine. Beware, they are more intoxicating than they seem. Try kinilaw, fresh fish steeped in vinegar, lemon juice, chili, ginger and onions, refreshing, spicy and delicious. They might offer iro, dog stew, which is worth trying (once), litson (roast pig) or kanding (roast goat), worth trying anytime. Get a lad to climb a tree for fresh butong, coconut juice straight from the nut.
SPA & MASSAGES:
Give yourself a special treat and allow your stress to melt away. Simply lay back, close your eyes and let the magic fingers of our massage therapists help you rejuvenate, relax and revitalize with a one hour total body massage. Choose from an extensive selection of treatments: massage, facial, manicure, pedicure all available at a very small fee starting at P100 only. Nobody at Patrick’s will ever hassle you what to do simply ask Nettie, Andreas or Elizabeth and they will organize whatever your wishes are.
There are hardly any restaurants on the island and the choice of food is limited but things have been improving a lot. Thanks to Patrick’s on the Beach who offers a tremendous selection of international and local delicacies. One of Patrick’s guest a German Doctor who visited Siargao in 1982 said – “Now being in Siargao is truly like living in paradise with those fantastic choices of food and wonderful drinks served at Patrick’s.” Just look at the daily menu. It’s food at it’s finest.
Yes there are quite a few Karaokes and Discos. Although there is no professional hooker scene in GL, and nobody wants one; however, you may find girls in some of the Kareokes and Discos who offer a little bit more than just a good conversation. In April 2005 the boardwalk or also called “Lovers Lane” was opened right along the pier in General Luna. A great hang-out with plenty Karaokes and snack bars where lots of visitors and locals meet.
OTHER SPORT & ACTIVITIES:
Basketball is very popular and the locals are happy to challenge your skills. You will find pool tables everywhere and some of the local fellows are quite good at it. Here at Patrick’s we have plenty choices: Volley Ball, Badminton, Shuffle Board, Darts, Beach Tennis and many other in and outdoor games.
Plenty to see on land, on and below the sea – at night and during the day. Unfortunately the Philippines are not known for good conservation but maybe you can make a difference when they see you watching their beautiful nature and wildlife.
SHOPPING: Siargao was only discovered a couple of years ago and life there is like one hundred years ago. There is not much exciting stuff to buy but it is changing for the better as more tourists discover and visit this jewel of the Philippines. You will find some unique products at AndreLiza Traders Department Store in Dapa. Patrick’s has a gift shop with a few unique items and you may find some local made stuff as you travel around this beautiful island.