Surigao – Siargao Cycle Tour
I have often heard of stories about Siargao, and those stories often revolve around the surfing scene. There was never any mention of any biking in and around the islands. So when the opportunity for a bike tour of the island came, I went and grabbed it.
It all started when our group of bikers were chatting over food and coffee after a chill bike ride one rainy Saturday evening. There was talk of places where we haven’t been to, or wanted to cycle to, and Siargao was near the top of the list. It turns out that one of our group was going there with his partner, and we being the travel bugs that we are, immediately planned to join them on their tour.
Fast forward a couple of months, and there were a total of 6 bikers ready to take on the Surigao-Siargao cycle tour itinerary that we cooked up. However, due to unavoidable circumstances, two of our group wouldn’t be able to join. So us four; John, Cleo, Mae and yours truly were left to continue.
Day 1: August 17, 2013
The first day was spent on the road, travelling from Davao City to Butuan City, and then proceeded to Surigao City. Imagine sitting on a bus for 12 hours, don’t you feel feel irritated already? We were already anticipating the start of the second day, where we could finally get on our bikes and cycle throughout the city. For a quick recap, we boarded the bus from Davao to Butuan at around 1300, and arrived at Butuan by 2100. Took the bus bound for Surigao at around 2200 and arrived at Surigao City by 0100. And even though it was late, Cleo’s relatives stayed up and warmly welcomed us home. We managed to sleep by 0300 and woke up at around 0830.
Day 2: August 18, 2013
On the second day we got up feeling refreshed and after breakfast, we were raring to go and see the sights. We went to the Provincial Capitol, then to the Boulevard. Had lunch at a barbecue joint, and then went back to the Boulevard to check the rates and schedule for the trip to Siargao. After that was sorted out, we went to the City Hall, then to the park for some down time because the heat was killing us.
After the sun cooled down some, we went straight to the Port area, took some shots, took care of some mechanical issues with the bike. After that, it was a leisurely trip back to the city. We managed to find awesome locations to take some photographs, and were glad to see the sun set over the mountains. Then we went back to the city market, bought fish and shrimps and headed to a restaurant to have them cooked for dinner. After dinner, we went to the Boulevard and ate half a gallon of ice cream as we stared out to sea and looked back on the events of the day. With the ice cream done, we headed back home for some well deserved rest.
Photo Credits to John Buno
Day 3: August 19, 2013
The third day started early, with us rising at 0400 to take the 0600 boat bound for Siargao Island. After a quick breakfast, we headed to the Boulevard to take the ferry, and the 2.5-hour trip to Siargao began. We dozed off for a while, saving our energy for the day’s bike tour. We landed at Siargao at around 0830, and as usual we were “mobbed” by locals who were fascinated by our folding bikes. At the Port Tourist Assistance Area, we saw a poster advertising the standardized transportation rates in and out of the island, and we were really glad we brought our bikes with us since it saves us a lot on transportation expenses.
After buying some additional supplies at the grocery, we pedaled our way to General Luna, 15-kilometers away from Dapa Port, where the magnificent beach area awaits us. It took us a little over an hour since we had some stops taking pictures and getting a little bit lost along the way. After getting to our lodging house and taking a short break to freshen up, we had lunch and explored the place.
We went to Cloud 9, that famous place where all the surfers rave about, but it was low tide and there were no surfers about so we took some pictures and headed off. There was talk of going to Magpupungko Tide Pools but we decided against it after hearing different opinions about it (we were glad we did, but I’ll get to that later on), and just decided to explore the island instead. We found a stretch of beach a bit further, unspoiled by man, and decided to take a dip and cool our bodies.
After some time, we headed back and stayed by the bay hoping to see a nice sunset, but we didn’t get to see one. After some time spent relaxing, we headed out to find dinner and prepare our stuff for the following day’s adventure. Cleo will be leaving early the next day to attend to his daughter’s birthday preparations, and John is set to welcome Ice to the island. After packing our things, we went to bed early and it’s lights out at 1000 or so.
Day 4: August 20, 2014
The fourth day begins with Cleo leaving at 0400, and Mae and I going out to see the sunrise on the beach. Short to say, we were not disappointed. We went back, and made final preparations to pack things and transfer to new accommodations. With that done, we had breakfast and by 0800 we were on our way to Pilar, destination: Magpupungko Tide Pools. It was about 30-kilometers from Gen Luna, and a mix of up-and-down hills on paved and gravel road.
We arrived at around 1100, and the tide pools were there in all their majestic glory. We basked in the sun and cool waters before we headed back to shore and had some lunch. We didn’t bring anything to eat, so we bought some canned goods and we were given rice to eat by the kind storekeeper. And by then, we found out that Ice (John’s girlfriend) wouldn’t be able to join since the typhoon has made flights out of Manila impossible.
Kuya was very helpful, and after some discussion, he showed us the way we should take going back to Gen Luna. He said we should take the roundabout route since going back the way we came would be very tiring, the uphills were a definite killer he said. Taking the roundabout route would only be a few kilometers through gravel road before we hit cement roads on mostly flat terrain, so that’s a sure winner.
We left at around 1300 and by then the tide came in and covered the pools, never to be seen again until the next low tide comes in (now you know why we were really glad we didn’t push through coming to the tide pool a day earlier). As kuya said, a few kilometers of gravel road and we hit pavement which we were really glad to see since our folding bikes were taking a bit of pounding. We passed by the communities and stopped at some points, and the people we talked to were surprised to find out that we cycled all the way from Gen Luna to that point.
We decided to just proceed to Gen Luna and not stop at Dapa for some refreshments, because if we did that we’d be too tired and too full to continue to pedal back to GL. We arrived at GL at around 1730, took a break at a pizza and pasta place. The place was comfy, and the food was great: meat lover’s delight on a thin crust pizza crust, and a dish of pasta each and ice tea with some fruits mixed in was a sure cure to our hunger pangs.
After that break, we cycled back to our lodge, washed up, and prepared our things for our departure on the following day. When everything was done, we got out at 2100 to have dinner, see our pictures and just reminisce of the day’s events. On this day alone, we logged 91-kilometers so I guess all the food we had was our reward for a day well and truly worth spent. After some final checking and packing, it was lights out by 2300.
Day 5: August 21, 2013
The fifth day for us started early, waking up at 0330 to wash up and do some final packing for our trip back home. We left the lodge at around 0400, cycling all the way to Dapa Port 15-kilometers away. We rode out with the new moon lighting our way; locals saying it will be cold out but it wasn’t so, getting chased by dogs along the way, various animal eyes gazing at us as we pass by. We arrived at the port at 0500, and the boat left by 0530 heading back to Surigao. We were blessed by a beautiful sunrise along the way, it was as if the island itself was beckoning for us to stay for another day.
We arrived at Surigao City at 0800 then cycled our way to the Bus terminal, stopping by at McDonald’s for breakfast. The bus left at 0945, and we arrived at Butuan City at 1230. We transferred buses, and the back breaking 8-hour bus ride to Davao City begins. We got off at Buhangin at around 2030 to pouring rain, prepared our gear and cycled our way to have dinner at a roadside barbecue. The rain let up a little past 2100, and then we cycled back to the city. We split ways near Landco, with John cycling off to Toril, and me dropping Mae off at her home before taking a taxi going home for some well deserved rest.
Body pains: Check! But nothing a good rest and some massage could cure. Memories: Priceless!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of our latest adventure.
Here’s hoping for more trips and adventures with you all!