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Siargao Island Adventures III

Dako Island

Two friendly Australian couples from Hong Kong were also staying at the resort. We all got along well from the start and decided to explore the area together. The next morning, we congregated in the hotel lobby, rented a boat, and ventured off to visit the nearby islands.

Our first stop was a small pristine island called “Dako Island.” It was inhabited by a small community who lived off of coconut plantations and canoe manufacturing. While the men were busy carving canoes out of trees, the children played on the sandy beaches with home-made wake boards.

Dako Island Beach

On of Dako Island’s pristine beaches

As we approached the village, we were welcomed by several boisterous islanders. Since it is a local tradition to treat visitors to a fresh coconut, a young man graciously slipped away to scale a nearby palm tree on our behalf. He zipped up to the top with his bare hands, extracted several coconuts, and then sliced them open with a big machete. He carved out wooden spoons so that we could scoop out the white meat from inside. I must say, I’ve had many coconuts throughout my travels, but there is something about a freshly plucked coconut that never ceases to delight me.

Fresh Coconut at Dako Island

Our next stop was a place called ‘Sohoton Caves’. The highlight of this trip was a deep, dank cave in a remote corner of the island. It had two entrances: one that was roughly at water level and one about five meters from the ground. We entered the cave from the lower entrance and began our exploration. After a short hike over the sharp and slippery rocks, we reached the upper entrance. Looking down at the water, I wasn’t particularly motivated to lunge off the platform. I’m The Traveling Dutchman, not the Flying Dutchman.

Moreover, I do not plan on changing my name to the Broken Leg Because I Jumped Out of a Cave Dutchman. However, heading downhill seemed significantly more treacherous than uphill. Okay, new plan… the Flying Dutchman it is! I leapt off of the platform and landed perfectly in the crystal blue water below. I knew I should have been an Olympic diver.

Diving Sohoton Caves

Flying Dutchman 🙂

On our way back to the resort, we were exchanging life stories with our new friends when the engine of the Banca (traditional Philipino boat) sputtered to a halt. The two Filipino boatmen hastily tried to repair it. After a half an hour at sea, I began to panic. We were in the Pacific Ocean on a small wooden boat with no means of communication and no working engine. To make matters worse, the sun was setting and we had no flashlights. As I looked around, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one feeling uneasy.

Boat trip to Sohoton Caves

Not aware up upcoming engine problems, we were all enjoying the trip!

I thought about all the episodes of my favorite Discovery show “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” The show tells the stories of people who had lucky escapes from seemingly hopeless survival situations. Several of these stories follow men and women who are stranded at sea for days in small boats such as ours. Just as I imagined us being on the next episode, or worse, not being able to re-tell the story, I heard a beautiful noise. The engine made a cough like sound. It was soft and subtle, but hopeful nonetheless.

The boatmen began to work more vigorously, sensing that they were on the verge of success. I could feel the tension as everyone’s eyes were on the engine. I wanted to look away to relieve the pressure from the boatmen, but I was too entranced. No drinking water, no supplies, no nothing. I know it sounds like I was being over dramatic, but just a day or two at sea without proper supplies can wreak havoc on the human body. We tensely stared at the engine in silence for what seemed like days. It was beautiful and scary at all at once. And then it came. A loud BOOM ripped across the warm air. The engine roared back to life, and the entire boat came alive with cheerful applause.

After that, our boat skipped across the sea without any further troubles and soon General Luna Harbor came into sight. We were all happy to make it back alive. After setting foot on land we enjoyed a cold beer on the boulevard and headed back to the resort with plenty of time to enjoy a delicious dinner. My debut appearance on “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” will have to wait.

Comment Section

12 thoughts on “Siargao Island Adventures III

By Ema Schenz on 17 February 2013

Admiring the dedication you put into your blog and detailed information you provide. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

By Joy on 13 September 2013

Enjoying reading your blog, particularly your visits in Siargao, just makes me want to be there now, definitely next year if not sooner though for me!

By Jasper Ribbers on 15 September 2013

Hey Joy, thanks for stopping by and good to hear you enjoyed this story :). I definitely want to go back as well!!!

By divina on 28 May 2014

Hi..Im enjoying your blogs about Siargao trip! thanks for sharing your stories.I love reading blogs becoz from there I could imagine how beautiful the world is, unfortunately I travelled the world through reading blogs as if I went to the place they were all taking since Im not capable to travel..(budget) hahaha..looking forward for more of your stories..God bless!!

By Jasper Ribbers on 29 May 2014

Thanks for the kind words Divina and I’m happy to hear you enjoy reading my posts!

By melissa on 13 October 2013

awesome! im currently at this place thanks for the bits info 🙂

By Jasper Ribbers on 13 October 2013

Hey Melissa! That’s great, I’m jealous! How are you enjoying it so far?

Please stop by Kalinaw Resort and say hi to Fred for me :). And try the wood-oven pizza’s, they are the best!

By james on 13 April 2014

Hey, Planning to go to siargao first week of may, I was just wondering if the day trips you have done, are pre-arranged by your resort? and if you can still remember can you give me a ball park of the prices! Thanks, Awesome blog!

By Jasper Ribbers on 13 April 2014

Hey James, yes the trips were arranged by Kalinaw Resort, they have their own boats. I think it’s probably the same for other resorts. If I recall correctly, it was around 2000 pesos per person ($45), I’ll double check.

By Hannah S. on 3 October 2016

Okay, I really enjoyed the sense of humour in your posts! Is there gonna be a Part IV?!

By Jasper on 22 December 2016

Thanks Hannah, maybe if I go back I’ll write up another one 🙂

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