The Magpupungko rock pools are natural tidal pools found in the town of Pilar, on the east coast of Siargao, Surigao del Norte province. It is a 45-minute drive from General Luna, Siargao's main hub for surfers and general tourists, and also from Del Carmen, where the equally stunning Sugba Lagoon is located.
The rock pools reveal themselves during low tide, usually between 10 am and 12 noon. When the water has gone down, a rocky path is laid bare. This frames dozens of natural jewel-toned saltwater pools scattered unevenly. The pools are deep enough for tourists to dive into from the low-lying cliffs. Best to wear reef shoes as protection from the jagged surface rocks.
On a high tide, visitors are prohibited access for safety reasons. The pools and their depths are completely obscured by the water and the waves tend to crash angrily. You can wait it out at the white-sand beach, where eateries are set up.
The Magpupungko Rock Pools require an entrance fee of PHP 50 for environmental upkeep. To get here, you can rent a scooter for about PHP 400 or a van for a bigger group. Because Magpupungko is one of Siargao's most popular attractions, you will most likely share the area with many other people. Do not be deterred; the area is large enough to accommodate its popularity.
Around the rock pools are various small caves to explore and bare hills to climb, albeit rocky.
The most famous rock formation on the coast, apart from the pools, is the large boulder that perilously rests on a flat stone. This limestone boulder resembles the shape of squatting, which in the Surigaonon dialect is "pungko".
When you wander through the Magpupungko rock pools past the boulder, you will find yourself in a different secluded beach. When dry, the sand is soft, into which the feet sink easily with every step.