Before that photo showing a great number of tourists on Cloud 9’s boardwalk went viral, I was there in December last year and had the place pretty much to myself. Cloud 9 refers to the surfing wave with a thick hollow tube, that surfers from all over the world go to Siargao for. In the area, there is a boardwalk that leads to a view deck. I walked there all by myself, climbed all the way to the top of the viewpoint. There, I spent, in my estimation, about 30 minutes taking in the scenery and listening to the sound of the waves. There are not many surfers that day, all I had to see was the magnificent view of the sea.
There are a few restaurants in the area but I was not in the mood to check them out. I just took as many photos as I could. One of my favorite photos is that of a local man, whom I spotted walking with a fish in tow.
[Related: Solo island hopping in Siargao is not as fun as I thought]
When I went back to the side of the beach, I walked along a path lined with palm trees. There, I saw some surfboards leaning on the trees and further down the path are the surfers, resting in their respective hammocks. Some of them asked me if I wanted to surf, I just smiled and shook my head no. The first and the last time I tried surfing was in Baler years ago. It was a very challenging and exhausting activity, but not something that I found to be exhilarating. Hence, I never surfed again in other surfing destinations that I visited like La Union and Siargao. I am not sure if I will ever do surfing again, but I decided it wasn’t going to be on this trip.
Having been there, I can understand the lure of Siargao and couldn’t blame people for wanting to visit this paradise. I think though that Siargao is not yet ready to accommodate a surge of tourists, unlike Palawan or Boracay. There are not many tour operators in the area, the island tours are not as streamlined as the ones in El Nido, and the locals, not as aggressive in offering tourists to help them get around the island.
I just hope that we would all be responsible travelers when we visit not just Siargao but any other destinations. Do not leave your trash behind, don’t throw it out the sea, don’t do anything that would harm the environment. Leave with nothing but memories.
Maybe the crowd is explained by the peak season, I sure hope that is only the case. Siargao is one the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my country, it would be heartbreaking if its beauty would be ruined by the neglect of men. Tourism is good for the economy, but as all things, it should be done in moderation and with good planning. There should be some level of control from the local government and tourists should be guided accordingly.
I guess I made the right decision visiting in the time when others are busy doing something else. Being alone at the Cloud 9 view deck is one of my favorite moments in my short time in Siargao. I do hope the place will be maintained, and the beauty of Siargao retained so that more people can go visit and appreciate it.