Star surfer Luke Landrigan, who is in Siargao Island half the time of the year, shows us more of the island other than its world class waves
1. Rockstar rock pools
Magpupungko in Pilar are tidal pools, which at low tide exposes the shore and several pools some big enough and deep enough to allow for some leisurely swimming. Luke shows us how to enjoy it best: by jumping off a cliff and taking a big plunge, and by choosing the remotest pool to get lost in floating on its gin-clear waters.
2. Standup paddle Guyam
Stand up paddle around Guyam, an island off the shores of General Luna. The roundish island in the middle of the sea fringed with coconut trees is a famous island hopping stop but the surrounding waters can be so ironically calm— and devoid of crowds—making it perfect for some scenic paddling.
3. Island hopping darling: Naked Island
Another noteworthy stop would be Naked Island—blindingly-wide, powder-fine islet with nothing but a few plants. The surrounding waters are spectacularly clear—instantly luring Luke for a little dip.
4. Sleepy seaside ride
Malinao is a little coastal village where Luke loves to take his Honda XR 200 motorbike. The quiet coconut tree-lined seaside and quaint neighborhood are calming and can give an instant recharge
5. Best pizza in town
“I love places that support the locals,” Luke quickly quips when asked where he loves hanging out to get his fill of good food and good time. One of Luke’s favorites is Kermit Siargao in General Luna, an Italian restaurant-bar and a quintessential stop when in Siargao. “It’s prolly the busiest place in the island at night,” suggests Luke. And it is.
Kermit serves brick oven-baked pizza and freshly made pasta but the healthy-eater in Luke swears by their signature Kermit Salad made of cucumber, tomatoes, onions and mango topped with pan-seared tuna with balsamic vinaigrette.
6. Fusion Filipino + local vibe
Harana Surf Resort in General Luna is a place Luke loves going to at day time for a helping of their Tuna Poke Bowl, a combination of fresh tuna, green onions, chili peppers, sea salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, calamansi, roasted coconut, cucumber, mango, rice, wasabi mayo and nori— Luke prefers having it without the seaweed—and Vegetable Pinakbet, squash, green beans, okra and bittermelon cooked in shrimp paste and coconut milk. Harana takes after the Filipino tropical look and feel, its main restaurant a huge open air thatched hut adorned with seats meant for unrushed meals.
7. Guilt-free dining
If the surf is not up in Siargao’s star surf spot Cloud 9, you can sometimes find Luke having a hearty snack at Café Loka, a beachfront snack bar serving all day breakfast, sandwiches, salads and fruit shakes. Luke orders their baked beans—but without the staple cheese topping— and their power shakes—blended fruits and vegetables combined with a superfood like wheatgrass. Other guiltless pleasures you can enjoy at the unpretentious café are their salads and homemade yoghurt with banana, mixed berries and mixed seeds.
8. Continental food love
Another favorite is Siargao Inn, an upscale resort in General Luna with a pretty patch of white-sand beach and resident pugs you’d fall in love with. Continental, Western and Filipino including seafood and all day breakfast make up its restaurant’s menu. Luke’s all-time favorite here is the Rico Salad, mixed vegetables with grilled chicken.
More on Luke
Other than surfing, I love: To ride my bike and play with my kids
On my music playlist are: Sarah Blasko, Angus & Julia Stone, Imagine Dragons
Series that got me entertained are: Narcos, Entourage. I tried Game of Thrones but got lost
Currently reading: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the creator of Nike by Phil Knight
I love to eat: fruit and coconut
SkyJet flies daily from Manila to Siargao’s Sayak Airport. From the airport, hop on a commuter van to General Luna. Book a SkyJet flight now.
Point to point habal-habal (Php30 or USD6) a roofed motorcycle, tricycle, motor bike with sidecar, hired van.
Kermit Siargao has aircon cottages and bungalows and fan rooms for those traveling in a nip.
From Php950 per night. Kermitsiargao.com
Harana Surf Resort has deluxe rooms, family villas for
up to seven people, and a dorm called Community Youth Villa.
From Php800 per person for the dorm, and Php3,200 for the rooms. Haranasurf.com
Kermit Siargao operates almost all kinds of island tours and activities, including standup paddle boarding tours in lagoons, island hopping tours to Guyam and Naked Islands, trip to Magpupungko Rock Pools, and rents out surf boards and paddleboards.
Who is Luke Landrigan?
Luke Landrigan is the founder of San Juan Surf School and Resort in La Union. He’s also a champion surfer and the first Filipino to have received Australia’s prestigious Bronze Medallion, surf rescue and CPR/life-saving which is a globally recognized credential given by non-profit organization Surf Life Saving Australia.
Photos by Daniel Soriano