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Surf with Locals in Burgos, Siargao

If you haven't been to Siargao yet, chances are you are curious about the huge waves at Cloud 9, the most popular surfing spot frequented by travelers. If you google the place, you will see photos of surfers proudly riding the world, seemingly one with nature, and absorbed in the power of now. Of course, the long boardwalk with amateur or professional surfers carrying boards will also pop on the screen.

Cloud 9, Siargao

When we visited the place last December, Cloud 9 was exactly how I imagined it. Oh well, the waves weren't as huge as those in September and there weren't a lot of surfers around as it was a non-peak season, but basically the scene was pretty the same thing.

"I wish I could see locals surfing out of their love for the swelling waters," I silently told myself as I remember the skimboarders of Mati. Most of the instructors in Cloud 9 are Filipinos, but they're always together with newbies trying to master the waves.

Burgos, Siargao

As luck would have it, Shal, our Siargao-based friend introduced us to Raul and Rey Cursat, our surfing and spelunking guides from Burgos, a community in the northern part of the island. After visiting a couple of caves one day, we had lunch in their house and chilled at the naturally bermuda-covered beach afterwards. While Dan was teaching Raul a few guitar chords, I noticed a group of kids giddily surfing about 250 meters away from us.

"It's the locals who usually surf in Burgos and Pacifico. Foreigners occasionally come here but often times it's the kids who play with the waves," remarked Rey. That was music to my ears. I wanted to see Siargaonons developing their skills and taking advantage of their own resources. Please don't get me wrong, tourism brings the money in and I'm super thankful for that, but I dream of more Filipinos excelling in this water sport.

I left Dan with the guides to take some photos of the local surfers. They seemed to enjoy the wave waiting, fast paddling and thrilling riding. They've become acquainted with the spot, not minding the pain when their skin hits the rocky seabed. I wasn't the only one watching them; the adults in the nearby huts also observed the action. There were also little kids playing around; they ran away from huge waves that touch the shore. They reminded me of my cowardice.

It was a lovely afternoon. I felt I was truly in Siargao.

If I won the lottery, I would buy each Siargaonon kid a surfboard.

Surf in Burgos, Siargao

Surfing in Burgos Siargao

If you want to surf in Burgos, Siargao, you may contact Raul Cursat through his Facebook account. He's a Lonely Planet travel guide and has a lot of experience dealing with tourists. If he doesn't reply to your message, just take a habal-habal (motorcyle public transport) to Burgos and ask anyone where he lives. It's just a small town; everybody knows each other. Below are his rates as of December 2013:

  • Guided surfing lesson = Php 750.00 per day with surfboard (In General Luna, it's Php 500.00 per hour)
  • Board rental only = Php 500.00 per day
  • Motorbike rental with board rack = Php 500.00 per day without gasoline

Purchase a Surfboard in Burgos, Siargao

Surfboard maker in Burgos Siargao

If you want to order a surfboard in Siargao, you may order from Innertube Surfshop, just behind Luci Surf Board and School. It's located a few meters away from Burgos Catholic church. The shop owner, Jason Osares a.k.a "Pido" learned shaping boards from an Australian who used to live in the community when he was still a teenager, but he has been on his own since 2008. He can also handle surfing lessons with rates almost the same as Raul's. Below are his rates for the surfboards as of December 2013:  

  • Longboard - Php 12,000.00
  • Shortboard - Php 10,000.00
  • Skimboard (foam) - P3,500.00
  • Skimboard (plywood) - Php 1,500.00

Happy surfing! 


  1. Watch wear you go in Burgos surf is not constant but it works. There's no sand breaks it's all reef and most are very far out and must be ridden at the correct tides usually the high one. The roads to Burgos are bad when dry and extremely hazardous when wet. The locals also love to puncture your motor bike tyres when your outta sight in the that will cost you. More time and money.

    1. It's sad to hear you had a not-so-good experience with your motorcycle in Burgos. It's good you shared it here so other readers would be aware, too.


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