Top things to do in the Philippines
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Spectacularly aquamarine even on a cloudy day, the 87-hectare Sugba Lagoon is enveloped by dense limestone hills. It is located in Caob, the most westerly island of Siargao, Surigao del Norte province. Caob is a 20-minute boat ride from Del Carmen municipality, which is itself a 45-minute drive from General Luna.
Described as a magical hideaway, the lagoon can be incredibly still, so paddle boarding, kayaking, and wading on bamboo rafts are favorite activities here. Visitors will also enjoy snorkeling, even among harmless jellyfish.
The local government built a floating pontoon house with a viewing deck for tourists. You can rent a table here for your bags. There is also the now-Instagram-famous wooden diving board perched in dominion over the lagoon.
Starting in 2019, the lagoon will be closed annually for one month for rehabilitation. A time for the lagoon to heal from tourists, the first closure launched more environmentally sustainable policies, especially since the lagoon has no direct flow of water from the sea. When they reopened, the number of visitors has been limited to 100 per day.
If staying in General Luna, you can book a tour from your accommodation. This typically includes round-trip transportation between General Luna and Del Carmen pier and the round-trip boat transfer between the pier and Sugba Lagoon.
You can also ride a scooter to Del Carmen — Waze works great in Siargao — and book a boat on your own. The longtail boat carries six people. Before you can collect this pump boat, first head up to the Del Carmen tourism center to register. Here, PHP 1,500 must be paid for the entrance fee and boat transfer.
The boat ride lazes through houses on stilts and swathes of mangroves. As you're nearing the lagoon proper, the water becomes more shallow and clear, until you can see crisply the rocks, corals, and fish underneath. Be quick to use the diving board before crowds roll in.