26 September 2017

Creative's Travel Guide: 18 Hours in Siargao by Archie Geotina


Soak in some sun and fall in love with Siargao's amazing views and laid-back vibe. Siargao, in all its glory, has a reputation of being deemed as the surfing capital of the Philippines, understandably so, with countless of surfboards that have kissed the waves of its beaches and the amount of surfing spots it has to offer. But what do we really know of this surf-loving island besides its lively waves and the evidently sun-kissed skin of its locals and tourists? Artist Archie Geotina didn’t know much either, not until he packed his bags and started living there almost two years ago.

Back in Manila, Archie Geotina, better known as ‘chichimonster’, kept himself busy with freelance work as an artist. Working with different brands and doing art direction for different clients, Archie managed to fill his already thick portfolio with all the creative works he has done in the past. He also ventured out, owning a sewing shop that manufactures clothing for local and foreign brands, together with his partner. Needless to say, his life in the city was pretty productive and creatively-driven. However, for Archie, with the desire to breathe in a different type of air, moving to Siargao seemed like the most natural decision as he sees the hustle and bustle of Manila to be, in his own words, ‘repetitive’ and ‘mundane’. 


“I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted my mind to grow. So I decided to change my mindset by changing my scenery. And everything around me and in me changed after that.” Archie shares. These days, he is still rooted in his creative activities – would fly back to Manila once a month for a huge project he is currently doing, as well us check up on his sewing shop back in the city. Together with all of these responsibilities, he now also works as the brand manager of Harana Surf Resort.

So with his background and time spent in Siargao, we are sure Archie's guide to the island would be really interesting. The list is composed of his recommended activities that one can do within 18 hours in the island, to experience its laid-back vibe, great community and a variety of food.

Words by Christia Ramos & Photography by Emmanuel YbaƱez


6AM – 7AM: Wake up like a local
With the tourism in Siargao becoming a thriving scene, it’s best to come and watch the sun rise at the Cloud 9 tower to avoid the swarm of tourists later in the day. This way, you’ll get to witness the island in its purest form.

7AM – 8AM: Explore the island in style
For Archie, the best thing about Siargao is its lack of traffic, he would often drive around on his Honda TMX 155 brat while the island is asleep. After soaking in on an amazing view, why not rent a motorbike and explore the island for a much closer look while in motion and take advantage of the early hours to experience Siargao in its peaceful nature.


8AM – 10AM: Grab a hearty breakfast
Let Shaka or Harana Surf Resort fill you up with the most important meal of the day. After driving around, your appetite would've gone through the roof and a serving of some healthy breakfast from Shaka or a taste of the classic Filipino-style breakfast with a cup of the island's best coffee from Harana Surf Resort will do just the trick. 

While you're at it, go on ahead to Kawayan Gourmand for a taste of some legit croissants, but better go there early 'cause these things run out fast. However, if you're looking for a quick bite and cheap good food, go and look for Shat's or Dadang's by purok 3 and you'll find Archie's favorite and well-recommended carinderias.

Shaka 

Harana Surf Resort

10AM – 12PM: Surf like the locals do
After an hour full of great food, it's time to head on over to Malinao beach for a swim. It's a peaceful beach far from General Luna and it is less reef and more sand if you find the right spot.

Check the beach if surfing is possible. If the tides are right for the breaks that you want to surf in, go surf. Do not go to Siargao and not surf at least once. As a beginner, look for a SISA (Siargao Island Surfer's Association) certified surf instructor and get lessons at Cloud 9. Normally they will take you to a break called Jacking Horse, a good beginner break that works best during high tides. On lower tides the wave gets bigger and jacks up faster. 


12PM – 2PM: Feast on some fresh seafood 
You'd be hungry by now, so go with your friends and do some island hopping to Naked Island, Guyam and Daku. Before you head out, buy fish in the General Luna market and have it cooked in Daku island where you can rent cottages so you can relax under the shade. Normally you would spend 500 per head or 1,000 including food. 

2PM – 3PM: Get a glimpse of Siargao's natural beauty
I always tell people to explore the island away from General Luna, go to Tak Tak Falls or Pilar or Tangbayan Caves. See the island in all its untouched glory and see how peaceful it truly is. The road trip normally teaches tourists why they should respect the island. You realize these things when you explore. 


3PM – 4PM: Siesta time
The island will wear you down with all of the activities. So it's always good to have time to rest and slow down. 

4PM – 6PM: Snack, then go again
Grab a snack at CFC, Catagnan Fried Chicken. Then go back to the beach for a sunset surf. 


6PM – 8PM: Treat yourself with some more good food
Have some dinner at Kalinaw, although a bit on the higher ended price-point, the food and service in Kalinaw never disappoints. I recommend that you try their thin crust pizzas and specials.

8PM – 9PM: Bottom's up!
It's happy hour at Kermit's, so grab their mojitos, these drinks are buy one take one until 9pm so get them while you can.

9PM – 10PM: Sip or sleep
You're probably a little tipsy by now, but you can still head to Harana Surf Resort for some B52's and tequila shots if you're pre-gaming for a party. Or you could take a more relaxed route and get yourself some well-needed slumber.

10PM – 12AM: End the full day with a blast, if you're still up for it
Head to Viento Del Mar, Rhumbar or Jungle Disco for a glimpse of Siargao's nightlife. But you should really get some rest. All the activities that you did prior? That's only half of what you can do here.



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