“Be careful. Once you’ve been to Siargao, you’re going to keep going back.” That was the warning from most friends when they learned about the imminent Zee Lifestyle trip. There are a variety of reasons behind the declaration: the relatively untouched beaches on the island and the others dotting the waters around it, the choice waves that are friendly to both beginners and advanced surfers, the rustic charm of the small island community. Whatever the reasons are, it always comes to the same conclusion—Siargao is captivating, and you’ll be hard-pressed to keep from falling in love with the place.
That collective opinion was enough to get us excited to find out for ourselves. Our verdict? One of us said it best while lounging on a daybed by the pool on our last morning on the island: “So when are we coming back?”
WHAT TO DO
by Shari Quimbo
No visit to Siargao Island is complete without hitting the waves. Turtle Surf Camp offers surfing packages for beginners to intermediate surfers. The 1:1 student to instructor ratio makes for optimized training, and guarantees safety especially for beginners. The camp also offers guided surf trips—advanced surfers can take a motorbike to more isolated locations or take the boat out to waves in between the islands.
With its three standard rooms with double occupancy and one family room that can take in four people, Turtle Surf Camp’s accommodations are simple yet comfortable. Cozy and intimate, the surf house invites you to treat it much like your own—spend time in the communal open-air kitchen or take a dip in the pool while mingling with fellow guests. The jumbo hammock is a great spot to relax in the afternoon, and you can even organize barbecue nights on the lawn.
Luna, Surigao del Norte
+63 939 569 2498 | website
“It looks like the saturation is turned up high here,” one of us says in awe of the sight of Naked Island, the first of the three islands we were visiting that day. The view was definitely the kind that seemed too perfect to be an actual place—the sky had barely a cloud in it, its blue dipping down to the darker gradients of the ocean, while the white island stood out in the horizon. Despite the already beautiful weather and water we witnessed while boarding the banca at Jade Star Lodge, we didn’t quite expect the island to be this picturesque.
Naked Island is the furthest of the three frequented destinations that dot the water across General Luna, and is so named for its complete lack of vegetation, save for some dried seaweed that washed up on the sand. Apparently, we had come at the right time—the early morning sun wasn’t too harsh, which was a good thing since there was absolutely no place to find shade.
After the obligatory photo ops, we head back onto the boat to Daku Island, the largest of the three. With many fishermen living on the island, it’s the perfect spot for lunch—as we dock and head to one of the cottages, someone comes up to us and offers fresh seafood. There are few things more satisfying than enjoying an ocean breeze and lunching al fresco on something that had just been swimming out in the water that morning. We spend a few more moments seeking refuge from the heat, and then explore the island’s long shoreline.
Back on the boat after lunch, we head off to Guyam. Just as the boat approaches it, our iphones go on overdrive as we capture its breathtaking sight—if you tried to imagine the perfect tropical island, your fantasies would most likely look like Guyam. The tiny atoll had a group of vividly green trees in the middle, while a ring of white sand runs along one side and an outcropping of rock formations on the other. Come low tide, the rocks turn into little tidal pools that are incredibly photogenic.
With cheeks sunburnt and skin two shades darker than it had been the night before, we head back to General Luna, where the long stretch of white beach during low tide greeted us. As our boat hits the sandy bottom and we jump off into the shallow water, someone says, “we just left, and I miss the islands already.” I didn’t have to look at anyone to know everyone totally agreed.
Jade Star Lodge
c/o Anita Quintas | +63 919 234 4367
WHERE TO EAT
by Bea Prospero
If your pizza cravings get out of hand during your island escape, the pizza gods have given Siargao Aventino’s Pizza, Pasta and Vino. The restaurant offers great thin-crust pizza that goes well with their selection of beer and reasonably priced wines. The well-lit nooks and vibrant interiors welcome guests in their three branches on the island—there’s one at Cloud 9, another in General Luna and the latest outlet in Dapa. Try the best-selling Tricia—three layers of pizza with vegetables, meat and cheese—or order the lasagna that’s rich in flavor and made with freshly rolled thin dough, perfect for a pasta fan.
General Luna, Surigao del Norte | +63 918 338 8961
Siargao’s first beach resort has the perfect beach location and an inviting rustic vibe, but it goes even further with an extensive selection of local and international dishes. Situated in General Luna, the resort’s owners Andreas and Elizabeth Mikoleiczik are dedicated to keeping the casual island feel of the resort while making sure they give their guests a memorable experience. With recipes created and perfected by Andreas himself, the restaurant features a menu that explores various international flavors—from India to England, Germany to the Philippines. The Carribean Mango Curry, in chicken or fish, is a must-try, as well as a serving of their sizable burritos. Whatever your choice, try it with a bottle of their own Yo Ho Ho Mango Rum, which they make themselves—the rum will soon be available in a number of flavors, including durian. Enjoy the meal at their large communal dining tables, or head outside to the beachside huts for a relaxing view. And with the Tree House Bar currently in the works, we’re already looking forward to visiting Patrick’s the next time we’re on the island.
General Luna, Surigao del Norte | +63 918 481 6483
Just minutes away from Cloud 9 is La Luna Resort’s Café and Restaurant, a cozy al fresco-dining establishment with various cuisine selections on its menu. Owned and managed by Filipino-German couple Lino and Susi Agudo, La Luna is all about a laid-back ambiance— guests, in fact, are required to take off their shoes and slippers while inside the restaurant; a pair of hammocks hangs on one end to relax in while waiting for your food. The restaurant ranks third of 21 restaurants on TripAdvisor, and rightfully so, with their delicious offering of local and authentic international dishes. Try the delectably spicy curry, a generous serving of pork schnitzel or their spicy pork chop.
General Luna, Surigao del Norte | +63 910 752 1262
The Pleasure Point Cafe
Good coffee is a hard find in Siargao Island. Thankfully, The Pleasure Point Cafe offers one of the best tasting coffees, with beans made and roasted in the Philippines, which are then freshly milled before each serving. Besides great coffee, Pleasure Point also serves healthy food, drinks, and desserts. The caramel cheesecake is a must try. Enjoy a cup of coffee and a taste of heavenly cheesecake in a laid back cafe only here at Pleasure Point. (by Mayan Benedicto)
Purok V, General Luna, Surigao del Norte
+63 917 760 3837 | Facebook
WHERE TO STAY
by Patty Taboada
A passionate duo of French designers pays a fitting tribute to the beauty of Siargao through Kalinaw Resort, which sets the bar high for luxury accommodations in this island paradise.
Stretched out on more than a hectare of land, Kalinaw Resort has five villas, a restaurant and a swimming pool. It’s also the only resort in the island that has a beachfront, with the iconic Siargao waves visible from a distance. It’s a charming yet intimate getaway for people who, according to owners Fred De Backer and Pierre Zappavigna, enjoy beauty and good food with a little touch of adventure. “When we arrived in Siargao ten years ago, the existing resorts catered mostly to backpackers,” explains Fred. “The concept of Kalinaw Resort is to offer the experience of privacy and comfort in a nice and polished environment.”
The villas, lined up in a row and all nestled within greenery, looked like luxurious beach cottages. Each one had a trail of sand leading to a wooden boardwalk, which takes you to the roomy al fresco area decorated with a couch, a chaise and a coffee table. Glass doors open up to a spacious bedroom, with an invitingly large bed flanked by two equally enticing couches on each side of the room. It looked every inch the honeymoon paradise.
While four of the villas look more or less the same with the exception of a few little decorative details, the fifth villa stands out from the rest. A recent addition to Kalinaw Resort, the last villa is twice the size of the deluxe villa, and boasts of an indoor living room, a mezzanine area with a massage bed in the bathroom, and a lap pool in its al fresco area.
A private pool may have its appeal, but the resort’s main pool is tempting in itself. The infinity lagoon gives off a stunning effect, reflecting the nearby palm trees and seamlessly merging with the Pacific Ocean over the horizon. It’s also the perfect venue for cocktails after a long day of soaking up the Siargao sun.
The other dining establishment in the resort is the main restaurant, known for it’s authentic thin crust pizzas, cooked in an Italian-made wood-fire oven. It also serves its homemade French baguette for breakfast—a perfect mix with fresh fruits, crepes, and eggs served in various styles.
Since it opened in 2007, Fred believes that after all this time, Kalinaw Resort has become an example of a well-made resort in terms of design, quality food, and service. “We have increased the standard of Siargao providing luxury accommodations,” he says. The resort has seen continuous improvements over the years, with the latest addition being six Dedon Dala couches along the beachfront, perfect for curling up on a lazy afternoon with a book.
With the numerous things you can do on Siargao Island, you’d be hard-pressed to find a place that will never make you want to go out and explore. As it is, Kalinaw Resort tempted us to do just that.
General Luna, Surigao del Norte | website
HOW TO GET THERE
Cebu Pacific Air flies to Siargao Island once a day. Visit www.cebupacificair.com for flight schedules.
photography John Ong
Read more about Siargao on Zee Lifestyle‘s March 2015 Travel issue.
Experience authentic Korean Barbeque at Da-In Restaurant
Filipinos are crazy for Korean barbecue. As such, there are a lot of places that are offering Korean barbecue. But Da-In restaurant isn’t just one of those restaurants.
Located in Salinas Drive in Lahug, Cebu, Da-in restaurant is a joint project between the Creative Cuisine Group and Da-Won restaurant. With state-of-the-art grilling stations in each table and various Korean cuisines ready to be served, Da-In would surely sate your Korean barbecue cravings without any hassle.
Visit Da-In restaurant today!
Head Up North, Where A Relaxing Escapade is in Store at Maayo San Remigio
On your next trip out of the city, head up North to Maayo San Remigio, where a relaxing escapade awaits.
Oftentimes, when it comes to deciding the next travel destination, the Northern part
of Cebu is overlooked in favour of its Southern end. The South boasts of sunny beaches,
cascading waterfalls and the popular whale sharks who have made its waters their home.
While these are beautiful aspects that the South has to offer, the North is just as—if not
more—abundant in offerings. The North’s natural scenery is relatively untouched, and on top
of that, it’s less likely to be flocked by tourists.
This means more opportunities for a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the
city. The roads heading North are long and winding, yet the beauty that lies at the end of the
journey proves that the trip is worth it. Knowing that, where does one go in the North?
Hidden away in the northern part of Cebu, Maayo San Remigio is a haven for those
who seek peace and serenity, making it an alluring abode for a sojourn on the island.
Approximately a 3-hour drive from the city, the resort grants access to a tropical
retreat with a captivating beachfront setting—a charming destination away from the daily
hustle. Whether on its fine white sands and blue waters or inside the cozy rooms, Maayo
San Remigio is a delight to local and foreign tourists alike.
A newly-opened resort under Maayo Hotels flagship, Maayo San Remigio is a
destination that guarantees a refreshing, laidback experience, sure to wash away the worries
you brought with you from the city.
It’s equipped with a mix of luxurious relaxation and wellness, fun and entertainment,
and enticing wining and dining options. This Caribbean-inspired resort is a serene hideaway
on a lush slice of tropical paradise with emphasis on ultimate comfort and exclusivity.
The resort’s location makes it doubly precious; scattered throughout the resort
grounds are viewing areas that grant you access to the sunset. Watch the sun sink down the
horizon by the infinity pool, on the beach’s shoreline, or atop the cliffside with the waves
crashing below. When night falls, the stars come out to dance across the clear skies, making
for an unparalleled stargazing experience.
Maayo San Remigio blends authentic Cebuano hospitality with its tranquil
atmosphere and exceptional design. Its well-appointed rooms and villas ensure a relaxing staycation, while its thoughtful amenities and facilities evoke a feeling of belonging in
paradise. The resorts brings the culinary excellence that is found in the Maayo Hotels brand,
creating palate-pleasing Filipino dishes with a modern twist. Complemented by the resort’s
wide menu of drinks—from juices to cocktails to shakes—one will truly enjoy a stay here.
So on your next trip out of the city, head up North to Maayo San Remigio, where a
relaxing escapade awaits.
Restaurateur Kate Anzani Shares Her Food & Wine Journey in Italy
No one has heard of vineyards and beaches within 30 minutes distance, but it exists in Rimini. Kate Anzani shares her itinerary from her recent Italy trip. f
by Kate Anzani
The Emilia Romagna region in Italy is the Capital of Food and D.O.P (Dominazione di Origin Protteta) This goes for wine, Parmesan, Balsalmic and Olive Oil (They take it very seriously).
We chose RIMINI which is by The Spiaggia for the beach vibe and summer fun. Rimini is the base for 7 days. You’ll be surprised at the terrain of Rimini – no one has heard of vineyards and beaches within 30 minutes distance. But in Rimini it exists. As days ahead form into a journey of stomping and strolling vineyards, Olive Oil haciendas , Boat Safaris , long “Spiaggia” walks, Parmesan Caves, Balsamic Bottegas, Cheese Pits and Truffle bunting & where you stumble upon the true meaning of “Artiginale” . Only found in the region ; the Food and Wine Journey of Anzani will stay active for the season between June to September yearly .
Rimini is a fun base to set the tone for a week of extraordinary pleasures. The goal is not to indulge, but to awaken a sense of palate that has been inhibited. We promise an unearthing of happiness, love and a sense of pleasure that the Italians have lived for years. We needed to share it with you. The Love for Food & La Dolce Vita.
Day 1 Arrivals
Because of trans-Atlantic and International flights, day of Arrival/pick up from Milan into Rimini. Pace yourself as you arrive in your chosen hotel
Day 2 Enio Ottaviani Winery & Nona’s Kitchen Cantina
The WINERY of ENIO OTTAVIANIFirst impressions of the vineyard is truly a sense of HOME. It is a small artisan Vineyard, (14hectares 🥰) where you allow yourself to breathe it all in. Life is slower and more delicate. Stroll vineyards by the River. You will understand the vineyard lies on the Rubicone River where the earths minerals transfer to the grape. To result in such a unique flavor in the mouth.
You start meeting Massimo, Davide, the cousins & the family who welcome you in their home vineyard for over four generations. Prepare to allow surprises and Life to happen. Tastings, Chemistry, Viticulture, Life talk, & unique Stories.
Wear slip on’s as you leave the Hotel to mark the real beginning of leisure. Groggily grab Italian espresso “Un cafe” & Cornetto Italian style and get whisked to the Marina Port of Rimini to step into a 16 foot catamaran. The state of luxury and ease of this boat sets all expectations out the window as one peels the layers of stress, anxiety and worry out the water. Prosecco and Olives are a staple for water landings.
Followed by a degustatory LUNCH IN one of the seaside restaurants in the Spiaggia. You find yourself lost in the Italian Life. We finished dessert at 4. So lounging in The Beach is The alternative. And then by 5. It’s happy hour time.
Day 4 Bottega Artiginale , Parmesan, Balsalmic , Ferrari , Spritz
Prepare your palate to begin the morning with a stop at an old pastry house that leaves you staring at their pastry counter. Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe. The choices will leave you with a foot in toe!
You head to the town of Modena (1.5hours) and arrive at the Parmesan Vault. See how all the Cheese is made. Then cross over to meet Fredericka to experience Food Alchemy with Balsalmic Vinegars. It’s so interesting, we’ve wondered if this was the true aphrodisiac.
Lunch is served silver service in the cellar with a tasting lunch of Artisan curation . Lunch ends at 3:30. And you gather up the energy to head to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello. This short stop revs up the speed in you and the muscles in the man. A quick pit stop in one of the towns shops to bring home a souvenir or drive one in the test courts.
Day 5 STAMPI & Agriturismo
Arrive in a unique small village so artiginale and quaint, extremely amazing creativity. We ended up buying soaps and unique ouds while others got lost in their pictures .
The village leads you to small alleys and walkways until you stop in a real Bottega STAMPI . A 4th generation , unique Leonardo da Vinci printing on everything. From tablecloth, towels, napkins, pillows. So unique and a lost art in the new culture of technology. A worthwhile stop.
12:30/ Meet MILENA and Marina
Two cooking laughing Italian Mama turned goddess of wine. They will lead you to create with them 3 dishes. Their specialty is Piadina and will teach you real tagliatelle with stroprezzi.
Allow the surprise of the day to unravel. As you sparkle with sparkling wine, find the legs of the red and muster your flexibility in pasta flexing. And go around the Agriturismo, learn about their jams, wines and passito. Day will end so happy you won’t be walking straight
Day 6 Fossa Cheese Casefico & Olive Oil Agriturismo
The day starts at 3:30. Choose to lay out in the beach of the hotel in the morning and do nothing but touch the sand, walk the beach, some chose to exercise by the beach with this Italian instructors urging you to move.
Afternoon cafe, come-walk to the old village where the Casefico Pitt is housed. A very interesting affair with cheese and how they store it in the PITT. Cheese tastings. And shopping stops over honey, cherry jam, walnut liquor, passito or pistachio liqueur. Just unimaginable display of creative food display.
Head to the sprawling hacienda of Cleto. The Olive oil visionary explodes with dignified pride as he walks you to the olive groves urging you to hug or sit under a tree to purify your soul. It’s magic the olives. He walks you through a proper olive tasting , to distinguish grade.
You finish your day on a sunset overlooking what looks like Tuscany. The breathtaking view takes your words as you sit on this bliss of a beautiful life. Dinner is served. Clerks wife cooks and comes out with dishes that roll of the tongue but found in their garden. And on their farm
Day 7 Truffle hunts and tastings
Truffle hunts. Need we say more? Follow the nose or follow your palate as the day translates to epicure to engulf a sense of strong flavor to only come from the truffle.
A beautiful tasting over oil, honey, a simple risotto or a white cheese takes tastings to another level.
This journey is available until September 2019. We find our journey is wholesome with minimum of 10 people & maximum of 12 people only
EU 1,250 per person
* Please email the tastemakers team firstname.lastname@example.org for suggested hotels and any questions for the itinerary. *