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Here are a few must-knows before heading there

By Kab. Johanna Lois Serohijos

ASIDE from surfing and island hopping, a staple tourist activity when visiting Siargao Island is a visit to Sugba Lagoon. The clear turquoise waters of the deceivingly deep lagoon is a well-known icon in the island, which should make its way to your itinerary. On that note, take this for safety advice: never ever trust the waters to be shallow—in any part of the lagoon, that is.

Because Sugba Lagoon is located in the heart of the second biggest mangrove system in the country, you’ll have to take a pumpboat to get to the actual lagoon. Here’s how: From General Luna, it takes about an hour to get to Del Carmen where the docking area is located, and, from there, you can rent a pump boat to get you to Sugba Lagoon.

Keep in mind that everything you use in the area has a price tag. To start, the table where you’re assigned to keep your stuff together is at PhP50. This is a given expense because there’s no other place you can leave your things at, unless you’d rather bring them along with you for the entire time. And then, you have a list of the activity equipment for rental that range from PhP300 and up. For example, the bamboo raft costs PhP300 and the standing-up paddle is also PhP300. You may split the bill with your travel mates to lessen the individual expenses.

Here are three bonus tips too that can help you around:

1. Bring a bottle of water. It is generally hot in Siargao—windy, but hot. So keep yourself refreshed and hydrated at all times by having a supply of water nearby. And remember that everything costs something here, so save your bucks and bring a 1L of mineral water, at least.

2. Slather sunblock like you mean it. Sunblock could be crazy expensive at first glance, but how it works wonders when your skin is under the brutal heat of the sun makes it worth it. Invest on a good sunblock and make sure to wear and reapply often to save your skin from burning (trust me, it is not a good sensation).

3. Eat beforehand. If memories serve me right, bringing food is not allowed in the lagoon. There’s only one eatery at the port, and the prices are so steep. So if you go there with an empty stomach and a tight budget, you’ll probably go home to your hotel with an empty wallet too. To give you a picture of how expensive the food is, a small plate of pancit guisado, which would normally cost Php20 in GL (or in Cebu if you will), costs PhP50 there. Choices of fried chicken and other viands would cost you around Php80, and you still pay seperately for rice.

Of course, there are still a lot of tips and tricks you may learn along the way or from other people’s experiences; these are just few must-knows to start the ball rolling. See Sugba Lagoon in its prime and realize that the Philippines can offer more than just pristine beaches.