「 Siargao Island, The Philippines 」 C H A P T E R T W O
After an extraordinary night drinking, partying, dancing and revelling with new found friends from my hostel and other nearby hostels, waking up was rather difficult! Especially thanks to the ridiculously cheap alcohol on this island (though slightly more expensive than usual for this country). However waking up was made so much easier by the glorious morning sunshine. I forced myself out of bed and proceeded to head outside. I was still a little drunk, but excited for the prospect of exploring the island. My time here was limited, so I had to make the most of every second!
One of the girls staying at my hostel, Iris, was already waiting for me outside by my scooter - more eager than myself to head out an explore! After a quick freshen up and breakfast, we set off towards the small village of Union which is located just 40 minutes drive through the island. Why Union you may ask? Well we heard that through the trees at the back of the village was a secret beach and completely empty due to its location. For me, that was enough of a reason to head over and at least try to find it! Not just this, but the roads to Union were a stunning adventure all on its own. The roads, oh the roads. I find thrill in motorbiking, but even moreso when the roads are exciting as this. We were winding through palm tree forests, up and down hills with views of the island as far as the eye could see, with the view obscured by palm trees on either side. It was glorious and I recommend anyone who can drive a bike to do it on this island. And best of all, the road was in extremely good condition which was surprising to see!
We finally arrived at Union, still reeling from the incredible drive we just had. Union was just a small village, with a population of no more than probably of a few thousand people. What was nice was there were no other tourists here, but despite this, all the locals were waving, smiling and happy which was brilliant to see! And best of all, they were willing to help us find this secret spot! Luckily the level of English in the Philippines - even in rural areas - is very good. So without much trouble, the locals kindly pointed Iris and I towards a discrete path that led through the palm trees, barely navigable by bike. Slowly but surely however, we made our way down the path, at awe at the sheer beauty of the palm tree forest around us and the shine glistening through the leaves. It was beautiful, breathtaking, and serene, passing through the occasional hut. After driving for a good ten minutes, the forest started to clear and we saw blue - BLUE! The sea was in sight and they were right, there was not a single person on this beach, that seemed to stretch on for miles.
We relaxed on the beach for a couple of hours or so, having a dip in the warm ocean to cool down, and dried ourselves off under the shade of the palms. This was truly a gem but it was time to head off, grab lunch and finally meet the others who were joining us for the second part of our trip. We had two destinations on our itinerary for the rest of the afternoon - Tayangan Cave Pool, which was an underground submerged cave system; and the more well-known Magpupungko Tidal Lagoons.
Eventually we met up with the rest of the group from the hostel and together we drove towards the cave pool, located approximately an hour away from the main town of General Luna. After paying $5 each for entry and our guide, we climbed down some winding steps until we arrived at the mouth of the cave. Considering the temperature was 30C, heading into the cave was a cold shock. We all clambered into the water, with the guide in front holding a lamp for us to see. Without it, it would be total darkness, which would've been difficult particularly because we were submerged in water keeping afloat simply but holding on to a piece of rope that guided us through the cave. What we could see in the dim torchlight however was mesmerising, stalactites and stalagmites in all different shapes and sizes, dark corners that could've been hiding anything and in front of us the uneven rocks that we had to climb to progress through the cave. The occasional bat would fly overhead, its wings flapping seemingly just above our heads. Some of my friends were shivering, probably through cold or through fear. Or both perhaps? After twenty minutes we made it into a clearing - we were out of the cave! The sunshine however was barely making it through the jungle canopy and was obscured by the high walls either side. The photo below captures the sheer size of the caves - daunting right? For me it was a fun little excursion but a few of the friends I was with didn't agree so much - they were absolutely relieved to be out of there!
After drying ourselves off, we headed straight to the main attraction of the day - the Magpupungko Tidal Lagoon. This place is very popular with tourists, and with good reason. It's essentially a large hole in the ground with a rocky outcrop in the middle, which when it's high tide, fills up and covers the lagoon. However when the tide falls, water becomes trapped in the lagoon and heats up in the sun, almost becoming a bath. Not only this, the lagoon is mesmerisingly beautiful as well, coloured a green-blue almost matching the sky. After an hour drive from the caves, we finally arrived at the lagoon, ready to explore and bath in water that wasn't freezing cold this time! Luckily we had arrived right on time - the tide was low so the lagoon was revealable, and many of the tourists luckily had left as it was approaching evening time. After navigating a short walk across the reef, the lagoon revealed itself to us. I was taken aback by its sheer beauty, but what I wanted to do more than anything was climb the central outcrop and jump straight into the water. It was glorious, warm and relaxing. There was nothing really that I've seen that sits in the same category as the Magpupunko Tidal Lagoon. It was a rare feat of nature, and we were extremely lucky to be on an island where something like this existed.
Siargao Island, The Philippines
D E T A I L S
🌏 | Siargao, The Philippines
📷 | Canon PowerShot SX730 HS/DJI Spark
🎨 | Lightroom Mobile edits used
Over the next few weeks I'll be trekking through The Philippines and I'll be sharing with you my stories, emotions, advice and tips about this wonderful place. I will be doing this while sharing my photographs with all of you too. I sincerely hope this inspires you to go out there and travel!
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Click on the photograph in case you missed the last adventure...
I N S T A G R A M 📸