What a time to be alive in Siargao

My mother and her friends always told me about how evolved Millennial travelers are. During her time, she was not able to experience the world as much and it made her realise how lucky we are today. Now that traveling is more popular (and cheap), we have are actually seeing places and living life to the fullest — our lives are in our hands. With continuous evolution, we can go wherever we want and discover ourselves more to achieve the direction of our dreams.

I found that to be true when I arrived Siargao last Saturday. I ditched my flight to Manila and decided to come here. With no plans, not enough cash, just me, it is pretty much turning out better than I expected.

Do you know what it feels like to be really alive? Not all people know this: you might be breathing, but are you alive? There’s so much to it than your heart beating or your blood flowing. There is a big difference between people who are living and the people who are alive.

Yesterday, I realised what a time to be alive in Siargao. And it was a beautiful realisation. I rode motorcycles the whole day, sat down and watched people surfed, attended a BBQ party at a local’s home, shared stories with people who have been traveling a long time, looked up, embraced the sky, felt the wind on my skin. What an impressive first day! I was aware. I was feeling so much love for everything around me. I felt the magnificence of my being.

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The best time to be in Siargao is now

Siargao is not as easy to access than the other islands of the Philippines because flights only come from Cebu. Mind you, they are not cheap too. A flight from Manila (RT) can cost up to Php12,000 ($250.00 USD). The reason for the expensive flights is that Siargao is not a popular destination yet.

Located 8,000 kilometres southeast of Manila, Siargao is located in the province of Surigao del Norte. It is the closest to paradise that you can get. Stunning and super zen, I am not here for long yet but I have a feeling of belongingness. It’s not one of the many spoilt places you have visited so you better go now! If it wasn’t for my prior commitment on May 16, I would’ve not booked a return ticket!

Life in Siargao

IMG_20160425_170417Here I am, living in a friend’s apartment and I plan to stay here until mid-May. I am not here to be a tourist. In fact, I am currently looking for short-term jobs to get me by the weeks that I am going to be here. I have no plans and while this is very unimaginable for you, this works well for me. You might think that I won’t be able to justify my poor decisions but I promise you, this is good for me. I want this. I love this. I love the idea of not knowing.

During the day, me and my new found friends have our own activities. Some are surfing, others are working and most of them are just staying in to prepare for the night. It is very laid back! No one’s in a hurry. Coconut trees everywhere you look. You can’t see any high-rise buildings, except for houses with 2nd floors. I also haven’t seen that much cars in the 3 days that I am here. Everyone has their own motorcycle because it is the best mode of transportation in the island. I have not rented one myself yet but I will be doing it on Thursday! Wish me luck. I hope not to fall this time like in Siem Reap.

People are incredibly friendly. Majority of them are foreigners and even if I am new here, they would wave from their scooters as they pass by — like I’ve known them forever. Street dogs are well loved. Goats, carabaos and horses roam free like locals. Sit down by the beach, listen to music, people watch and just be zen.

Fresh fish is always available as fishing is the main source of livelihood in Siargao. Fruits and vegetables can be seen in the interesting market. Food is cheap. You can have a rice meal for Php55.00 ($1.17 USD) and that is definitely a big meal. Beers start from Php50.00 ($1.06 USD) and cocktails at Php80.00 ($1.7 USD). There are so much restaurants and coffee shops to hang out in. Most of them pass the chill criteria.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 3.44.45 PMThis has always been my island jam. I am sure you will like it. Full playlist here.

Okay, the nightlife here is not as wild as Boracay and I don’t hope for it to be like that. The nightlife here is pretty much… chill. At 16:00, everyone will be at the Secret Spot (not so secret anymore) or Cloud9 to ride the waves. After which, they (we) will gather for a gorgeous sunset session while drinking beer. At night, it’s beer time (again) with a few shots of Jungle Juice and Tanduay Lapad. I don’t know these people but when I sit down and talk to them, we can go for hours without running out of things to say, without thinking of stories to tell. Everything comes out naturally. You will be surrounded by like-minded people who have nothing but love. People who will not ask you to be another person but you.

I really do appreciate how friendship is formed here — through love: something we always forget to do because we think we are obliged to be friends with people we don’t like. I have found that creating friendships through love makes you hate less. I am lucky to be surrounded by people who love me. I feel blessed to have made friends unexpectedly, without pushing it. I knew, in my heart that this type of friendship lasts longer.

Most of all, I learned that I already love and accept myself. Being comfortable and honest with who you are heightens happiness and love. So always remember this: empty people have nothing to give. Train yourself to have love for everything and everyone around you.

These are one of the places where you get to say, “I can live here.” I have a feeling Siargao and I will be in love with each other.

P.S. I did not bring a camera so I don’t have much pictures. However, everything is documented on a daily basis on my Snapchat. The username is psimonmyway. 😉 

Have you been to Siargao? How was the experience? If not, where is the best island in the world that you’ve been to/lived in? Would like to hear your thoughts!

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.


  • gosubilko
    April 26, 2016

    Can’t wait for your next entry!

  • April 26, 2016

    I love this, Trisha! Someday… <3

  • rob
    April 26, 2016

    Love your constant updates on your site 🙂

  • May 7, 2016

    Sounds like you are on the adventure of a lifetime! Glad you have found the secret to your own happiness – enjoy it.

  • May 7, 2016

    Travel SHOULD make you feel truly alive. This post is wonderful, I love that you documented that the wildlife isn’t crazy and that people are welcoming. Thats the best kind of island, when you can form lasting attachments, not just to people but to the place.

  • May 7, 2016

    Usually the best places are the non touristy sites! I’d much rather prefer the chill atmosphere than a party place anyway. Sounds like a great place for you to re-charge your batteries 🙂

  • May 7, 2016

    The beach looks so inviting, that slower and laid back lifestyle sounds very appealing. The relaxed experience and fresh local food being so affordable I can see why you want to stay a while.

  • Mar
    May 8, 2016

    Have been meaning to go for long but as you say, hard to reach on a corporate vacation days plan. One day I’m sure, I’ll be able to watch the cloud 9 waves too

  • May 8, 2016

    I am so happy Siargao turned out to be everything you expected and more! Lovely to read about your no-plan adventure and hope you enjoy every day you spend there.

  • Jo
    May 9, 2016

    Siargao sounds fab. I have been to Philippines and stuck the usual – El Nido, Coron and Boracay – I was surprised by Boracay and it’s actually clean white sand beach – considering its so touristy. Loved it. For me the best island was probably Koh Rong in Cambodia.

  • May 9, 2016

    There’s so much more of the Philippines that my family and I have to visit, one of them is this island of Siargao. It sounds lovely and I’m happy you’ve found a place that inspires you. Do you think it’s a good spot for family travelers as well?

  • suzanne
    May 27, 2016

    You are by far my favorite travel blogger. Thank you for doing what you do!

  • October 7, 2016

    “Are you living, or are you merely existing?” This post was a timely reminder to do a heart-check 🙂

    P.S. … where do i find that elusive Jungle Juice?!

  • January 7, 2017

    Siargao taught me contentment of living simply. Coming back there for the fourth time this April with my sisters, yay! Pretty exciteeed


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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.

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