After having my lunch during day 01 of my solo trip to Siargao, I hopped on a habal-habal in search for the town market, which I was hoping would yield a more budget-friendly dinner. On the way, I tried my luck and mentioned Magpupungko, a beach in Pilar, Siargao famous for having a natural pool during low tide that looks like this.
I really wanted to see that for myself so I asked my habal habal driver how much he would charge to get me there. I was quoted a whopping 1,000 pesos roundtrip, are you kidding me?! Well, I’ve read during my frenzied Google research about Siargao that some bloggers were able to hire a habal habal for 700 pesos only, so I tried to bargain – something I never knew I could manage. I don’t know how I did it too but I succeeded!
The habal habal driver dropped me off at a carenderia near the market (which wasn’t much) for I told him I wanted to buy my dinner first. Then he asked me he needed to go to the gasoline station first and fill his tank up for the trip. He asked me for 200 pesos in advance. Mind you, the trip from my resort to the town proper costs only 20 pesos, so obviously I was apprehensive. I mean he could just take my 200, pretend to go to the gasoline station, and not come back for me. I took a leap of faith though and handed him the money. Then instead of worrying about it, I wandered around the small market looking for potential dinner. There wasn’t much of a choice and I was getting tired, so just settled on some bread and banana, which became not only my dinner but my breakfast the next day too. I was definitely happy with my savings!
After a worried 5 minutes of waiting for my ride to come back, to my relief, the driver did return for me and off we went to Magpupungko.
Considering I did not do much research and any directional instructions would just bounce off my thick head, I really had no idea where Magpupungko was and how long it would take to get there. That turned out to be a good thing because it took 2 hours one way and we had to pass by lots of deserted under-construction roads. If I had known that, I might have chickened out. Ah, ignorance can definitely be bliss sometimes.
Anyway, those deserted roads… there were so many moments that I thought I was really crazy going off somewhere alone with a burly guy I just met and him having full control of the transportation and the direction. Truth be told, if that guy turned out to be dangerous, I would be completely defenseless. Lucky for me, my habal habal driver was really good, very courteous and understanding of my whims (asked him to help me find the natural pool as it was a bit hidden, asked him multiple times to take photos of me lol, and then told him to go and leave me alone for a while so I could enjoy the serenity of the place).
Speaking of serenity, Magpupungko was also deserted when I arrived there, something I felt really happy about this time. Happening upon that quiet beach made me appreciate once again the beauty of traveling during off-peak season. The weather might not be awesome (it was cloudy for the whole day and drizzled a bit) but the trade off is that all regular tourists are staying at home or off to sunnier places. Meaning, it is so easy to find wonderful serene places! At this point, I also realized too that the trip to get there, although can be scary if you’re doing it alone, is totally worth it!
Magpupungko has a nice beach and when I arrived there the water looked really inviting despite the cold-ish weather. As for the natural pool, it wasn’t well-defined anymore because unfortunately the tide was already high when I got there and the ring of rocks that made the natural pool ‘natural’ was already underwater. Instead of wallowing in disappointment, I just took a quick dip at the shallows and just enjoyed the nature around me. But since there was a couple enjoying themselves there too (and yes, I definitely disturbed them when I arrived), I decided I shouldn’t stay long lest I ruin their moments.
I left the natural pool area and went to the main beach where there wasn’t a single soul, which in my book is definitely awesome! After all, it is seldom you get to feel as if you own a piece of paradise. Toploading moment right here! So I just frolicked there, took timed pictures of myself, wrote my name on the sand, stare out to the open sea, you know… ^_^
After Magpupungko, I returned to my resort (took another 2 hours of habal habal ride). Again there weren’t a lot of people there. Ocean 101 had this 2 story open-air structure facing the gorgeous sea and I had it all to myself!
That night, I used a resort’s shared toilet and bath for the first time. It wasn’t as horrible as others made it out to be and I feel rather proud of myself to have done it. Then, I took my dinner in my room (bread + bananas). I wanted to sleep early considering I had an island hopping tour scheduled for the next day, but since my room was above the restaurant, which had a pool table and a TV, I wasn’t able to get some sleep until the restaurant closed for the night. So what I did was get out of the room and went to one of the huts there that had a hammock. I just chilled there listening to the sea waves as they crashed against the stones and enjoyed the overall symphony of the night. When things quieted down at 10 PM, I returned to my room and tried to have a good sleep. Considering I was alone at a place unknown to me and the fact that I can get really paranoid sometimes, I didn’t sleep peacefully. Still, I had my rest and the next day turned out to be wonderful!