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Siargao, Philippines

Siargao, Philippines: An Island Like No Other

There are some places that you just can’t help but fall in love with, and Siargao is one of them. This teardrop shaped island in the middle of the Philippine Sea has captured many hearts and lured many world travelers to live on its shores.  

If you’re looking for somewhere to live where you will never run out of adventure, look no further than Siargao.  

Siargao is in the Philippines, one of our top picks for a Southeast Asian country to move to. This country is a hidden gem – with rich biodiversity, breathtaking beaches and warm, hospitable people. English is an official language in Philippines, which makes it very easy for foreigners to communicate and integrate with society.  

Setting up base in one of the main cities in the Philippines such as Manila or Cebu is a great idea. Then you could just take a short boat ride or plane trip to explore the country’s 7,000 other islands. Or you could take it a step further and live in one of the most popular island getaways in the country. 

If you’re ready for true island life, pack your bags and get ready to move to Siargao. The surfing capital of the Philippines has plenty to offer.  

Siargao was awarded by Condé Nast as the Best Island in Asia and one of the Best Islands in the World in 2021. With pristine white beaches, seas of coconut trees, mangrove forests, clear water and spectacular waves, who wouldn’t fall in love with this place. It’s just too beautiful. 

Apart from the nature, what makes Siargao special is just the vibe. It feels like Bali might have been decades ago, unspoiled, remote and cool. The island has remained uncommercialized despite the boutique hotels and restaurants that continue to pop open in this top Philippine destination.  

The island is 500 miles from the capital Manila and the best way to get here is by domestic plane from the Manila or Cebu International Airport. The flight is around 2 hours long. Once on the island, it’s a completely different world. You get around by navigating dirt roads or hitching rides on fishing boats to explore the beautiful sites Siargao has to offer. 

The most popular attraction in Siargao is the surf. There are more than 15 world-class surf breaks here, the most popular of which is Cloud 9, named after a local marshmallow-filled chocolate bar. Here, countless surfers flock every morning to ride thick, hollow tubes for hours. These spectacular waves have earned Siargao the nickname surfing capital of the Philippines.  

It’s easy to rent boards and get surfing lessons from several resorts like Harana Surf School, Kermit Siargao or Buddha’s Surf Resort regardless of if you’re staying with them or not.  

One more thing you should definitely rent in Siargao is a motorbike. This is the best way to explore the island. Siargao is a small island that can be circled in five hours, but you would want to take several stops to soak in the incredible sights.  

Riding around Siargao, you’ll discover emerald forests, turquoise rock pools and pristine beaches. There are great restaurants and cafés everywhere, ranging from local street food to authentic European cuisine by foreign visitors who decided they would never leave.   

There’s a dazzling variety of food available on the island. For local cuisine, seafood, chicken or pork barbecue are delicious and cost very little. There are many carinderias, small roadside food stalls that sell home cooked Filipino food. With so many foreigners in Siargao, there are even carinderias that specialize in fusion food with Filipino and European influences.  

There are also a lot of vegan options available on the island. Smoothie bowls are very popular on the island and Shaka Café along Cloud 9 has become an attraction in itself serving colorful smoothie bowls beautifully decorated with fruit and other toppings. Vedya has a vegan carinideria and almost all restaurants and resorts offer several vegan options.  

Finally, as if the pristine natural wonders, fantastic surf and delectable food weren’t enough, Siargao has a vibrant nightlife. The community here is very tight knit, and every night almost everyone on the island goes to a designated bar or club. Drinks in Siargao are cheap and the locals and visitors alike love to dance til the wee hours of the morning.  

There are great cocktails at bars like Manu or at resorts like Siargao Bleu where you can enjoy your drinks with a stunning view of the beach. There are also epic pool parties at Bravo Beach Resort, Surfing Temple, Lamari and other resorts. 
There are many things missing from island life – for one, there’s no proper hospital in Siargao, the nearest being in Surigao City, a 2.5 hour ferry away. The signal for both internet and cell service can be pretty weak at times, especially when it rains hard. And the weather changes extremely fast – it can be really hot one second then pouring wet the next. But something about Siargao just draws some people in.  

The best part of Siargao to settle down is General Luna, where most of the resorts, restaurants, bars, groceries and services can be found. Some people choose to go up north for a cheaper and more peaceful experience, but General Luna is more convenient. With limited access to everything on the island, it’s best to stay here where what you need is within closer reach. 

In Siargao, a couple can live comfortably on a monthly budget of $1,000 – $1,500 or up depending on your lifestyle. It’s totally worth it. What are you waiting for? Time to pack and get ready for your Flip Flop Life! 
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