Solo Backpacking Philippines 102: SUGBA LAGOON SIARGAO

Siargao is more than just a surfing haven. Non-surfers like me can still enjoy this island as much as the wave-loving community. Sugba Lagoon is a spot you should not miss when in Siargao, whether you are a swimmer or not. Aside from swimming, you can do a variety of activities such as cliff-jumping, kayaking, and board-paddling while enjoying the peaceful serenity offered by the emerald green lagoon surrounded by a wall of lush green forest. I felt a deep desire to visit this place after seeing my friend Abby’s vlog of Siargao.

Sugba Lagoon without the touristsSugba Lagoon without the tourists
Sugba Lagoon without the tourists

Getting to Sugba Lagoon

Located in Del Carmen in the western side of Siargao, Sugba Lagoon can be easily reached by driving a motorbike. However, I understand that this option is not for every kind of traveler. Availing a travel package is always a good option for those who are pressed for time or want less hassle while traveling. During my visit, I stayed in Magpupungko Beach and drove for an hour to the tourism office in Carmen. If you’re coming from General Luna, it’s a 40-km ride. Here are your options:

DIY by Motorbike. Rent a motorbike from one of the bike shops General Luna. The usual rate is 400Php but you can haggle it down to P350, especially during off-peak season. Make sure to test drive the bike before paying. Shops there don’t really check if you have a license before renting the bike to you, although they require that you leave a valid ID to them.

Rent a Habal Habal. If you don’t drive, you may rent one of those roofed motorbikes with a driver for P1000-1500 for two pax, depending on your haggling skills. If you are more than two, you may also rent a tricycle.

Join a Group Tour. Sugba Lagoon can also be done in half a day and is usually paired with Magpupungko Tidal Pool for a day tour. If you want less hassle, you can avail Kuya Bebot‘s (09309749974) joiner tour for 1500/head including transfers, food and entrance fees, even paddleboard rent. You will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel in General Luna. I highly recommend Kuya Bebot. I availed his Sohoton Cave and Tri-Island package and was uber satisfied with the experience, most especially the food.

Pumpboat ride to Sugba Lagoon
Pumpboat ride to Sugba Lagoon

Visiting Sugba Lagoon via DIY

As much as possible, I avoid joining group tours, especially because it takes away flexibility and spontaneity during my trip, which, for me make my travel more exciting and adventurous. In Siargao, I even did hammock camping in Magpupungko Beach for two nights, something nobody else has done before me, as claimed by the locals. Besides. DIY-ing a tour also saves you money if you are friendly enough. 🙂

When I arrived at Del Carmen Tourism Center, there was a couple who was also DIYing the tour. So we pooled and divided the boat expenses into 3.

Round Trip Boat ride = Php1600 (good for 8 pax max)/3 = 533.00
Entrance fee = 50
The couple rented two paddle boards which they allowed me to use, so I saved from renting it.
I also have my own snorkeling gears so no need to rent.
In total, I only spend 583.00 for my Sugba Lagoon trip, not including  Php100 for 2 liters of fuel and 350 for motorbike rental. The cost would definitely be cheaper if you are on a bigger group.

What to Do in Sugba Lagoon

  1. Bask in the lagoon’s peaceful surroundings. You can only do this if you are the first to arrive. The ambiance changes once the area gets filled with noisy tourists.
  2. Unlimited cliff jump and swim. Sugba Lagoon is popular for its diving board. During high tide, it’s an easy jump, but during low-tide, the height becomes more challenging. By 11am  and onwards, the queue for the jumping platform becomes longer. So make sure that you get there earlier.

    Ready to jump at Sugba Lagoon
    Ready to jump at Sugba Lagoon
  3. Explore the lagoon in a paddleboard or kayak. Rent the kayak or paddleboard and navigate to the edges of the lagoon.

    Do kayak and paddle boarding in Sugba Lagoon
    Do kayak and paddle boarding in Sugba Lagoon

Tips when going to Sugba Lagoon

  • Arrive at Del Carmen’s Tourism office as early as you can, so (1) you can pool with other travelers DIYing the trip, and (2) so you can be the first to arrive at the lagoon. It’s much more peaceful without the tourists who usually arrive at 10 onwards.
  • The pumpboat ride is around 40-50 mins, navigating around the mangroves of western Siargao. Prepare for splashes of water. Better if you have a waterproof bag.
  • Bring your own snorkeling gears, although there’s really nothing much to see down there. Rental at the tourism office is 200/set.
  • You can rent the paddle board from the Tourism Office of Php500 (unlimited use). The boatmen will load it to your rented boat. You may also rent it from the Sugba Lagoon reception, which expensively costs Php200/hour.
  • If you have an action camera, make sure it has a floater. I lost mine when it dropped to a depth of 30 feet.

Where To Next?

Assuming that you did Sugba Lagoon in the morning, you can head off to another destination in the afternoon. Your options are Magpupungko Rock Pools in the west (if you haven’t done so) or the attractions in the north such as the falls (which I don’t recommend if you have seen better falls before), or the highly-recommended Alegria Beach.

Alegria Beach - visit this after you leave Sugba Lagoon
Alegria Beach – visit this after you leave Sugba Lagoon

 

 

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