Surf Cloud 9, General Luna, The Greenhouse Siargao, Philippines (stayed at the Greenhouse Siargao)
February 23, 2014
My first trip to Surf Cloud 9, General Luna, The Greenhouse Siargao Island, Philippines was amazing. If you have the time you must go.
It was one of those random meetings with Mr Ewan Cairns, in Dubai. Ewan and Maria had just returned from visiting her family in the Philippines and in Ewan’s normal super positive way, he spent the evening extoling the virtues of the islands and the people. Specifically Sairgao a small island off the coast with a surf break rated in the world’s top 10 Cloud 9 Surfing.
To be honest, I did not take much persuading to visit, because of all the great Filipino’s I was working with in Saudi Arabia. Having agreed the plan, unfortunately work got in the way for Ewan, so he did not join me.
I booked flights from Riyadh, directly to Manila on Philippine Airlines. The flight was clean, on time and inexpensive, now if you are used to flying Emirates Business class, maybe this is not the airline for you….
Upon arrival in the Philippines, I had one evening in Manila, so I stayed in the Shangri-La hotel Makati. What a place or Palace. There appears to be 5 staff just to check you in and make sure to make sure you get to your room. I pre-booked the airport pickup through the hotel (my flight arrived at 05:30) I would not do that again, it was 10 times the price a luxury limousine. When I arrived at the hotel my luggage was check by security dogs, checking for bombs. Things we don’t think of some much in Europe.
I spent the day in the shopping centres Greenbelt Makati and walking around the streets. It’s my first real experience of being in a relatively poor Asian country. What I would spend on lunch and a coffee, people worked all day for.
The other thing with Manila it never appears to stop. There are a lot of call centres around the city working European and US business ours. The rush hour appears to start about 4am. I left the hotel the about 5am to get to the old international terminal to check in for the flight to Siargao, with Cebu Pacific. They are a bit like Flybe, but with a more Caribbean working style. My fight out from Manila was about 8am with a connection in Cebu, all uneventful, just great friendly local people.
Travel from the airport to The Greenhouse was via local minibus; there was a welcome beer or coke as you got on board. How could you not like that welcome.
Arriving to warm welcome from Andrew Russo & Keiko Tsukamoto rounded off the travel day and the view was amazing.
The two double bedroomed chalet/beach house was amazing, coconut trees between you and the water. All you hear is nature at its finest, the waves and birds. I was lucky and had no mosquitoes.
The bar/fridge works on an honour system and it’s not expensive. Greenhouse private chefs make all the food and use only market fresh produce and vegetables. The food is served family style (for sharing) this is harder when you travel on your own. It’s was both healthy and delicious, I’m now a convert to fresh mango and coconut.
Complete with fresh coconut water, still in the husk.
There is WIFI, but there are no TV’s for me it was a great place to relax and chill out. There are lots of things to do; I managed to surf most days with Sunny, I’ll never be a world champion. But it was great fun. I also managed to kitesurf and Stand Up Paddleboard.
When to visit for Cloud 9 Surfing:
Peak swell season is September – November and the current continues to push strong swell into the coming rainy season.
December – February: This season can also get great swell but can push a lot of wind and rain along with it. Knowing your wind direction will always allow you to find a few clean waves around the island.
March – May the winds and rain will fade out and although there is consistent swell, the size is generally smaller.
May – August boasts the best weather of the year and a great time for families, longboarders or beginners looking to take lessons. With predominantly small clean/offshore days, it’s a great time to hit the flat water/surf on a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) in the lagoon out front.
There are waves most times of the year on Siargao, and usually somewhere in the neighborhood something is happening. Siargao doesn’t boast Bali consistency and everyday perfection, but we go from GOOD to EPIC plenty throughout the year with world class waves. If you score, then you’ll be sure to remember it!
Other places to see
I wanted to see a little more of the island, so Andrew was kind enough to arrange local transport. A great little ATV from just down the road..
This gave me the freedom to tour some of the island, below are some of the photos from this trip.