When in Siargao: Magpupungko Beach and Tidal Pools

They say it’s more fun to travel in the Philippines and if you’re looking for a perfect destination, Siargao should be on top of your list.  Hailed as the surfing mecca of the Philippines, Siargao boasts its huge waves as it faces the biggest ocean in the world.  Aside from being the surfing capital of the country, this place treasures its white sand beaches, crystal clear blue waters, mystical and natural caves. If you’re planing a vacation during the rainy season, Siargao is the best place to be. Ideal travel period here will be August to November because its weather is opposite with the usual tourist spots like Boracay.  Amidst the many tropical storms reported in this time frame, in contrast, it feels summer and it’s sunny all day, everyday during this period.

Even if you’re short on time, never miss an opportunity to go to Magpupungko Pools.  You’ll be surprised of how amazing nature can be of how the Pacific Ocean envelopes the pools and the flat beaches surrounding the area and as the rock formations border the ocean.  If you’re looking for a very cheap place to spend here in Siargao, a fifty peso entrance fee would be worth it for the freaking priceless view.  You can already enjoy for half day but if you don’t want your skin burnt, you can stay and eat here for about two hours.

When you arrive at the entrance, at first you would think that this place is just normal and barren like a stony dessert but when you advance at the edge of the terrain and rock formations, you will be in awe at what lies ahead.  The pools were inviting that you need not have second thoughts to dive in it.  You just had to. Trust me.

Things to do:

1. Swimming

Ever dream about swimming at a pool with abundant corals? Make it a dream come true when you try to plunge yourself at not only one but of the many pools of Magpupungko.  Each pool is situated adjacent to the cliffs and all are facing the Pacific Ocean.  Just imagine having your own private and natural infinity pool.  The clarity of the waters is surreal and magical.  The enticement of lounging yourself and seeing your own reflection with its transparent vision is decadent in its own way.

2. Cliff Jumping

The most memorable cliff jumps I have ever had in my life happened in Siargao for there are numerous spots for this kind of adventure.  If you’re scared of heights, this is the place to desensitize with the cliff being only ten feet high and about eight meters deep.  It’s a shorter jump compared to the famous ones.  It’s a little struggle on the way up because the cliff is mainly made up of corals and it’s very painful to step on if you’re on barefoot.  However, it is safer if you don’t wear any footwear.  You have to be really careful on the way up because there are no railings and you have to have your balance and hard grip to stay alive.  But when you arrive at the top, the view is just to die for.  To be honest, it took us almost thirty minutes to decide to jump from the top.  I don’t know what got into us but we just froze there.  I guess we had no choice since going back   is more dangerous than facing our fear of heights.

3. Pool Hopping

Many of the tourists tend to swim at the first natural pool formation you’ll encounter in your stroll but as you advance and explore the beach, the other three are equally beautiful and enchanting pools.  The nearest pool from the entrance is the biggest and the deepest.  The spot for cliff jumping is also found here.  However, if you want something serene and for tourists not to photobum in your pictures then you can settle in other pools.  They were more untouched in my opinion, a little scary but in an alluring kind of way.  The view is more magnificent since the marine life is richer and tempting than the first tidal pool.

4. See Magpupungko Rock

As you continue your stride on the long stretch of the beach, you can witness the famous tourist spot which is the Magpupungko Rock.  Magpupungko means “patong” or “sit on top” which justifies the huge rock positioned on top of the flat surface and remains immovable amidst the storms and unforgivable waves of the ocean.

5. Eat seafood

Siargao mainly profits from coconut products, rice and seafood so there’s no doubt that seafood can get really cheap here.  As low as fifty pesos per kilo of tuna can be bought here during the summer but from July onwards, prices of tuna can spike up to one hundred and twenty pesos.  There are carinderias near the entrance that you can eat in or you can buy from the nearest market and cook your own food.  Since we’re so lazy to do that, we just opted to order our lunch and it was very delish.  We weren’t even able to finish it due to its large servings.  So if you want to binge on seafood, this is the definite place to be.

How to get here:

  • From General Luna : 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • From Sayak : 20 minutes

Habal Habal to Pilar: fare depends on where you are from

  • GL (one way) – 500
  • Dapa – 350
  • Sayak – 400
  • Santa Monica – 350
  • One Day Tour Package – 1500

Tips:

  • Only go here when it’s low tide.  Google the schedule ahead of time.  In our case, we went there around 1pm.  You cannot appreciate the magnificent view of the pools and its natural formation if it’s overlapped by the ocean during high tide.
  • You can leave your valuable things with the staff.  They’re very accommodating.
  • There is an available dressing room but there are no showers.
  • Apply sunblock generously.
  • Bring underwater camera to view the waters and corals.
  • Explore.
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