Siargao: Surfers’ paradise in Asia

10/2/08 - Siargao is set to become Asia’s next surfing destination. It is truly one of the world’s great frontiers for surf exploration.

Siargao Island is politically under the jurisdiction of Surigao del Norte, a province located at the northeastern portion of Mindanao.

It can be described as a tropical jewel that hosts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and home of wave surfing, the latest sport and tourist attraction to take the country by storm.Siargao is a teardrop-shaped island situated 800 kilometers southeast of Manila. It has a landmass of approximately 437 kilometers. The east coast is relatively straight with one deep inlet –Port Pilar with a coastline marked by a succession of reefs, small points and white sandy beaches.

The best-known surfing break, now with a world reputation of being in the top Surfing Waves in the world, is nicknamed “Cloud Nine.” But there are literally scores of breaks down the coast, and every time a surfing expedition is mounted in the area, more new breaks are being discovered.

Some of the main breaks around the General Luna area starting from the south and working northward along the coast are as follows:

– Pansuquian Reef, which is an open ocean right-hand break just 20 minutes by banca south of General Luna. The reef needs a swell of two meters or more to work and is not as intense as most waves in the area. When it is big, it has a great inside barrel section. However, one has to keep watch of strong currents.

– Cloud Nine is a world-class right hand break that offers machine-like barreling perfection. It works on any swell when there is a southwest wind, but works at its best from two to three meters. The waves are big, thick peak that rises abruptly, hallows out and breaks heavily in just two meters of water. When the swell is from the right-hand direction, the peak produces an equally left break. This is a dream wave with phenomenal tropical setting.Cloud Nine was surfed in the early 1800s by explorer Mike Boyum who pioneered Grajagan.

– In Tuason Point, there are long powerful left-hand breaks on a shallow reef at the base. In bigger swells, expect a board’s snapping power. This intense reef situation is for experienced surfers only. Tuason Point works well at any size swell, but is best at two to three meters, similar to Ulu Watu’s “Race-track.”

– Rock Island is another right-hand break. The swell warps around the base of a small rock island about 1.5 km. offshore. It hallows out and bowls over into superb high-speed section that will sometimes deliver 200-meter rides.

– Neil Spot is a well-shaped right-hand break at the base of a small island near the town of Pilar. It is protected from big swell and northeast winds so the waves are usually 40% smaller than the outer reef breaks like the Cloud Nine. It is a good alternative when the outer swells like Cloud Nine.

– La Janosa Island is the first island you come to after crossing the channel and one of the very few that is inhabited. There are some fun lefts in front of La Jonosa and some powerful lefts on the east coast.

– Antokan Island is a perfect left wraps 180 degrees around tiny Antokan Island. Large swell is needed before it breaks clearly.The breaks are least powerful and fun change from the usual death and glory of the bigger waves. There are also right-hand break on the opposite side of the Island.

These are just only few of the documented breaks in the area that would surely provide surfer with some of the best waves of one’s life.

Besides the surfing areas, Siargao Island is endowed with many tourist attractions. Only few of these potential spots are developed such as the famous white sand beaches and long stretches of surfing waves at General Luna.

Also beautiful beaches of Union, Dapa, Hanoyoy, Daku and Guyam Islands; at Socorro, the Punyaqui White Beach, the enchanting and exotic Suhoton Cave with its hidden blue lagoons and the breathtaking waters of Magkayuyog Falls; in Pilar the magnificent Magpopongko Rock formation; Poneas Island with its hilltop lake found in Del Carmen; Pook Amoya White Beach; Burgos and Taktak Falls at Sta. Monica are various potential sites in the island.

The most striking physiographic features of Siargao are the limestone areas, particularly in Kangbangyo and Poneas islands.

These islands appear to be a combination of the haystack hills of Bohol and El Nido or the regularity of the Chocolate Hills. (PNA)
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