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A Travel Guide: This Is The Siargao That Jasmine Curtis Smith Wants You To Get To Know—And Fall In Love With

Because no photos, clips, or films of the Philippine island can ever take the place of the real thing. 



Almost a year ago, this 23-year-old actress was given the pleasure and privilege of making the island her home for a month as she and her team produced multi-awarded film, Siargao. In that time, she explored Siargao's hidden gems to her heart's content, riding not only the waves of sea, but also mastering the current of the island's life and soul.

"Locals don't want you to leave feeling like you didn't get to see how it was meant to be seen, or feel what you were meant to feel while being here," she shares.



Each moment spent on her own or in the company of locals, every discovery both big and small, and the full immersion left her with a permanently changed outlook on life as she knows it. The island, as it seems, allows visitors to reflect and look inwards while they take in crystal clear vistas as far as the eye can see—here, paradise is everywhere, inside and out.

Overall, Jasmine's Siargao experience is something that all travelers deserve to have. To bring it closer to dreamers and adventurers like her, read on and check out this nifty Siargao travel guide put together by Jasmine herself.




Where to go:



  • Cloud9, heaven on earth for more experienced local and international surfers. The Siargao Cup, a highly-anticipated surfing competition, is held here.


  • Quicksilver, the place to be for the aspiring beach bum and surfer. While it can often become crowded at peak season with many tourists gathering here, its warm waters and more gentle waves invite the casual swimmer and surfer-in-training alike.


  • Hawaiian Jack, Jasmine's favorite Siargao surfing spot. It's one of the less-visited surfing hotspots on the island, and where new surfers congregate to practice and train. Surfing lessons are available here, and the shore is a mere five-minute walk from surrounding resorts.


  • Sugba Lagoon, where rocky cliffs protect aquamarine waters and the delicate ecosystems that live within them. This lagoon is exactly what you'd imagine one to be like—still waters, and great for cliff diving and a bit of snorkeling.


  • Magpupungko, home to unique natural formations like little tidal pools. You won't find any surf spots here, but instead, you'll revel at shallow saltwater pools that collect in naturally-formed rock basins. Feel free to take a dip or lounge about to work on your tan.



Where to eat:



  • Kermit, a delicious destination for satisfying Italian grub.


  • Kalinaw, a fine dining restaurant that hit the spot for those whose taste buds are tickled by a fusion of regional Filipino cuisine and broad strokes of French flavors.


  • Harana, the best place to sample local delights and munch on bar chow.


  • Bravo, to satisfy any and all Spanish food cravings and enjoy reasonably priced drinks in the evening.



What to do:



  • Surf, surf surf! Because the whole Siargao experience is built on the ultimate surfing experience.


  • Visit the mangroves, for those who prefer to explore Siargao in a more relaxed way. Jasmine particularly recommends the patch leading up to Sugba Lagoon, as local guides will be more than happy to entertain you with myths and legends about the area.


  • Hang out with locals, because, according to Jasmine, "Walang turista (There are no tourists); everyone is really all friends and they talk to you like you've been friends for the longest time. I think that's what people look for when they come here; the feeling of being at home and the warmth of the locals."



What to have in your bag:



  • Bring a canvas or abaca bag to start, because you don't want to ruin beloved accessories when setting them down on the sand, a boat's surface, or other outdoor spots.


  • A bottle of water, but bring a reusable one. It's imperative to hydrate in tropical island heat, but also help minimize non-biodegradable waste by being an environmentally-friendly traveler.


  • Sun screen, and lots of it! Jasmine suggests bringing a separate product for your body, and another more concentrated one for your face that's formulized to protect delicate facial skin.


  • Sunglasses, as they're functional, and not just an accessory when in the sun.


  • Lip balm, as extra protection for extra-sensitive lips.


  • Moisturizer, because ocean spray, salty air, and prolonged sun exposure can wreak havoc on ill-prepared skin. (Yes, it's okay to wear moisturizer with sunscreen!)



General insider's tips:



  • Airport transfers are a must for you to figure out, for both departures and arrivals.


  • Rent a motorbike if you can afford to or know how to ride one, as this is the best way to get around, or, have at least one companion who can take you with him or her on one.


  • Go for a habal-habal, for those who really can't make motorbikes an option, rent a habal-habal that lets you relax in the backseat while an experienced local guide transports you around the island


  • Have cash on hand, as there are very few ATMs around the island. But worry not, as you won't have to break the bank since Siargao's sights and activities are all relatively pocket-friendly.


This is Siargao, according to Jasmine Curtis Smith, and one she definitely wants you to visit yourself. Summer's already here, and now that you're armed and ready with this travel guide, the only thing left to do is pack your bags.


Catch the replay of the Siargao episode on Beached, only on Metro Channel (Sky Cable Channel 52 and Channel 174 on HD): Tuesday, 3PM and 9PM and Thursday, 12NN and 6PM.


Photographs courtesy of Metro