Siargao, a small island in Northern Mindanao, used to be almost exclusively a surfer’s paradise. I remember hearing about it for the first time over a decade ago from an old college classmate who happened to be a surfing enthusiast, and thought she was just saying “Surigao” with a twang.
In the last few years though, a surfer somewhere let out the secret that ultimately changed the island’s fate: there’s more to Siargao than surfing! And so the island’s tourism picked up. Despite what the island purists may claim – that its popularity has led to its ruin – I think Siargao is taking its sudden fame in stride. I’d even go so far as to propose that if you’re visiting the Philippines for the first time, Siargao is the perfect “gateway” island.