The breathless wonder that is Siargao

Handout photo taken and released by Surfing Australia on October 23, 2009 shows Hawaiian surfer Jamie O’Brien riding a barrel wave en route to defeating Australia’s Dru Adler in their round four heat at the Cloud 9 Invitational surfing competition in Siargao Island, the Philippines. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE AFP PHOTO / SURFING AUSTRALIA / JAKE WHITE (Photo by JAKE WHITE / Surfing Australia / AFP)

October 5, 2021

Siargao Island – one of the country’s top tourist destinations – recently made headlines as it barged into Time magazine’s list of “greatest places” in 2021, which recognizes destinations that were able to adapt and innovate despite the challenges brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat hailed Siargao’s inclusion as a recognition of the country’s continuous efforts to make the country a safe destination once travel resumes.

“I am pleased that the country’s innate beauty continues to draw attention from travelers all over the world despite the pandemic. We are doubling our efforts to create a future of Philippine travel that is safe, more fun, and provides travelers with an authentic and meaningful experience throughout their journey,” said Puyat.

 

Siargao earned its spot on Time magazine’s list of “The World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2021” not only for its waves that attract surfers even outside the country but also because of its ongoing development to strengthen tourism infrastructure.

“While destinations such as Boracay, Cebu and Palawan nailed the mass market, the teardrop-­shaped island off the coast of Mindanao until recently had been best known to a dedicated band of surfers lured by consistent wave,” Time magazine writer Duncan Forgan wrote.

Photographs courtesy of AFP, DoT
Game fishing is also popular over the open seas in the province.

“But the secret is out, and new spots are popping up on the island, including the beachfront Inara Siargao Resort, an intimate five-suite property that can be booked on Instagram. Just before Covid-19 shutdowns, Siargao got additional cell towers to improve data connectivity, which will be a boon to tourism when it reopens to vaccinated international travelers,” he added.

According to the publication, the list is a tribute to individuals and businesses who were able to “adapt, build and innovate” amid the challenges of the pandemic. It also highlights “ingenuity, creativity, revitalization and reopenings in destinations across the world.”

The list was compiled through nominations from the magazine’s international network of correspondents and contributors, focusing on those that provide unique and interesting experiences.

DoT said Siargao is now open to domestic tourists coming from areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.