Thursday, October 20, 2016

To Be 37

An extension of summer and celebrating my 37th in Siargao

Siargao has always been one of the places that I've been meaning to go to ever since I started traveling by myself. Just to give you a super brief history, I’ve been going around the Philippines specifically with beautiful beaches that I can discover, to swim, and snorkel either a month before or after my birthday. I think I was in La Union at one time during my birthday and you can find that blog post here, and this was the first time that I was away on my birthday at a place new to me. Well, I kind of messed up my plans though because I was really hoping that I’d be in Siargao on October 6 but what happened was, I didn’t know that the last ferry ride going to the island from Surigao was around 12noon, and my supposed arrival was exactly 12noon. So, I had no choice but to stay a night in Surigao. I booked at The Annex Hotel Tavern, which is a few minutes away from the port where I can take the Angel ferry the next day that leaves at around 5:30am to Dapa port in Siargao. I mentioned the word “supposed” because customary to PAL and Cebu Pacific, my flight got delayed, and I arrived in Surigao at 3pm instead of 12noon. I was starving because I opted not to eat lunch. But it was all good, you know, I wasn’t in a hurry. And besides, it was my birthday, with the amount of well wishers on social media, text, and calls that I received that day, there wasn’t any room for me to be in a bad mood. I was happy and happier when I was already in Siargao.

My cousin Trixie was assigned at one of the check-in counters so I had to say Hi. She seated me at a window seat. YES!

More room for my long legs

            So like what I’ve said, I messed up my booking arrangements because if I have known about the ferry schedule, I would have booked a day early. So since I was already in Surigao, I made the most out of the few hours that I had to spend there. I didn’t have enough time to really go around, so I just asked where I could possibly eat a really good lunch. The van driver and concierge both told me to eat at Ocean Bounties, it’s their version of Dampa where you have fresh seafood cooked the way you want them to be cooked. I was eyeing the lobster, but it was expensive, so I settled with the prawns, which I had grilled and topped with lemon butter, and Adobong saang (spider conch).

Grilled prawns with lemon butter sauce

Adobong Saang

My tummy was very happy. I wasn’t able to finish it so I gave it to the tricycle driver that drove me to the nearest ATM. He was so glad, he told me not to pay him anymore. Oh, a tip, withdraw all the money that you’ll be needing to pay either the resort that you’ll be staying, food, souvenirs, tips, etc. at Surigao before you go to Siargao because I didn’t see an ATM when I was there, remember that! So I spent the entire night at The Annex Hotel Tavern. It’s a clean and fairly cheap hotel. I wanted to be comfortable and for P1250 a room/night, I was. Check out the photos of the room. 

Sorry naman sa dami ng pagkain ko. Birthday ko naman e haha!

Oh, hi!

A 37 year old dork

             The front desk scheduled a van transfer for me from the hotel to the port; it came with what I paid for. I was there at around 4:30am because I was advised to be early since the ferry gets full fast. It did though. There were a bunch of passengers already seated and sleeping in the ferry and luckily, I was able to find a good enough spot near the window that I can rest my head and take a nap for a bit. It takes 3 hours travel time from Surigao to Siargao via ferry, so we left at around 5:30am and arrived at Dapa port at 8:30am. Maaaaaannn, my butt and back hurt like shit! It’s a combination of age and the fact that I was sitting and resting on hard wood, no cushion whatsoever. But again, all good! When we docked at Dapa port, I asked a sari-sari store owner how to get to Kermit Surf Resort, where I’m booked from the 7th to 10th. He said to take a habal-habal. A habal-habal, kids, is basically your two-seater motorbike but with a roof and a comfortable leg rest. So I took one and from the port to the area where all the resorts are, it will take you 45mins so just breathe and relax, just bask on the beauty of nature while you ride on that bike.

Filterless creation of God. Thank you so much!

The sun is up!

Are we there yet? Gutom na meeehhh! Ay wait.....

YES! I remembered my baon. Chicharon with laman. Breakfast of champs!

Motor on board 

My habal-habal ride going to Kermit Resort
            Finally! I’ve reached my destination. Kermit Resort doesn’t have a signage along the street unlike the other resorts at that area but trust that it’s one of the most frequented by anyone who’s there come dinner time because of the delicious food. While doing my research three months before going to Siargao, I was looking for a resort that’s not overly expensive but I know I’d be happy with. And upon seeing Kermit, I kind of made my decision that it’ll be my home for my trip and I was more convinced by my friend Luke Landrigan, who frequents the place. And I was not disappointed, in fact, I loved my stay at Kermit that I would love to plan another trip in Siargao and stay there again next year for sure. Kermit has a very relaxing and chill vibe, the best food, the room that I stayed in was awesome, and the people and service were excellent. Owner Italian Gianni Grifoni made sure that everyone was very welcome at his resort. For my post-birthday dinner treat, he gave me a bottle of wine. Make sure to tell him that you read about him and his resort through this blog, okay? Haha!

The chill area where you can uhhmmm...chill

Uy! Hot surf instructors a.k.a. the Gwapitos! Follow them on Facebook

You get free breakfast at your stay in Kermit Resort

Asian rice with egg


Perfect! Just perfect 💖

My awesome room

The queen sized bed fit for a queen like me 😁

Chillin' at my personal lanai 😎

My pa-net si mayor hehehe!

All rooms have no TV so you can sleep soundly

Seafood spaghetti. Their pasta is so al dente. So good! 

Ano kaya ang ganap sa jungle disco?

Dinner was pan seared tuna and the bottle of Primitivo was courtesy of Gianni boy

And one of my favorite people ever was there. Lukie!!!

Dinner with Danika, Luke, Marama, Dani, and Gianni. Thanks, guys! <3

They have a make your own Pizza area available at lunch and dinner

This fills up fast during dinner time. Reservation is actually needed.

The yoga area

Kermit Resort's resident lechon lover, Moo

This Pan de Coco was fresh from the oven when one of the Gwapitos gave it to me. It was sooo good. Look at Moo, waiting for me to give her a piece. She ate almost half of this bread.

The vegetarian pizza that I made. I love pineapples on my pizza hehe. #sorrynotsorry

Bubu looking very dark and happy.

            Included in the package that I got at Kermit was a two hour surf lesson. I haven’t surfed in a while, and seeing that Siargao is the surfing capital of the Philippines, I was a bit nervous and excited. I woke up at 7am to meet my instructor Loloy. We were joined by another person, si Charles, who asked for the services of photographer Gaps Sabuero, who specializes on water and surf photography. Charles was kind enough to ask Gaps to take a few photos of me while surfing. Ang saya hehe! Anyway, Loloy and Tikmoy, Charles’ instructor, took us to a surf spot called Sementeryo. I forgot to ask why it was called that, I just hope that it’s not because there were bodies buried there, but will find out someday. I had so much fun surfing there. The weather was fine, the waves were my kind of waves – small and easy to ride, and the company was fun. I would love to surf there again.

Rico, Loloy, and Tikmoy (that dude at the back hehe) with some tourists from Switzerland also staying at the resort

You'll see a lot of this kind of motorbikes in Siargao. It's with a rack so you can easily travel with your board. 
Very ingenious!

From the dock, we had to ride a bangka going to the surf spot. The bangka left us there for two hours to surf.

Weeeeee!!! Thanks, Gaps. 

            When got back to the resort, it took us less than an hour to eat breakfast, and get ready to go island hopping. We went to three islands within Surigao del Norte – the Naked island, Daku island, and Guyam island. Here are some photos from that trip.

The Naked Island

Daku island where we had our lunch

Lunch was grilled fish, chicken, and squid. We also had steaming hot rice, fresh fruits, and buko juice. Lunch at the beach is always the best.

This is Tubby (I'm not sure what his name is really), one of the island doggies at Daku

Tubby slept hugging my right foot

Our last stop, Guyam island

One of the things that I like about going to the beach is that you'll get a free pedicure courtesy of the sand

With Charles, Kate, and Slovan

            The next day, we woke up early again to go to the Magpupungko Tidal Pools. We have to be there at low tide to see the really nice and crystal clear pool, deep enough that you can cliff jump too. I didn’t do that though because going up the cliff was a bit steep and the path was full of sharp rocks. I just swam for a bit and enjoyed the cool water. I wish we could have stayed longer but the tide was starting to get high so we had to leave. I asked Loloy if we can go to the infamous boardwalk to check out the surf line-up at Cloud 9, so we did. There were a number of surfers waiting for their waves; it was nice watching them ride each and every one that they can catch. Too bad I didn’t see Luke there surfing.

Magpupungko Tidal Pool

Butanding sighting

Oh no, it's just me hehe

Tayangban Cave Pool

The boardwalk

Yep! Most definitely.

Cloud 9

            We headed back to the resort so I could have my lunch and chill a bit before we can go SUP (stand-up paddle) boarding at the Mangroves to the Malinao beach. It took us about 45 minutes to accomplish that. SUP boarding looks easy but trust me it’s not. It’s a good exercise on your arms and legs though. Once we’ve reached Malinao beach, I was so happy because I got to swim for a while and the beach was so beautiful, probably one of the best beaches that I’ve ever been to.

Stand-up Paddle boarding from the mangroves area to Malinao beach

Saw a squad of starfish and one was missing an arm

Mr. Crabs

Malinao beach

Island doggies are by far the chillest and chubbiest doggies that I've ever encountered. This one was sleeping inside a surf shop and I just grabbed him for a photo. Look how confused he is.

If you happen to drop by Fat Lips Surf Shop, buy a cup of ice candy from Marty. I got the "Why Not, Coconut?" flavor and it's really good.

Oh hello there, Reefside! Hi, Baste! Call me! Haha!

            My heart was heavy upon leaving the island. It was one of those vacations that needed more than a week of stay, and I was only there for three days. I’m still grateful though that I was able to spend my birthday week at one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines. I made sure that God knew that. I've taken on this habit of praying while in the middle of the ocean, and being in Siargao was no exemption. I thanked Him for how He changed my life and continuously guiding me to be a better person to myself and to everyone who love and care for me. I prayed for a healthier version of mysel: physically, mentally, and emotionally. I prayed the same for my loved ones. I thanked God for Siargao and the beautiful places that He allowed me to enjoy and experience, as well as the people I've met. Lastly, I thanked Him for all the challenges that I’ve surpassed through the years that made me who I am today.

All photos (except for me surfing) were taken by me using my Samsung Galaxy K-Zoom. 


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