Daytrips, long time I spent only one night in Surigao, before I traveled to Siargao. But you can do also daytrips to interesting islands just from Surigao.
Basul lies in the middle of the Surigao Strait, Entrance-fee: 100 Peso, beach on the south side, snorkeling there is ok - but you have to swim a little outside. Much better
is the northside (status: 8/2008), you can find a good mix of soft- and hardcorals and quite a lot of colored fish.
Danawan, lies further north, at the eastside you will find a village, again the northern part is quite good for snorkeling, the southern side is disappointing.
An info-brochure for more daytrips you can get at the tourist office in the Lunetapark(beaches, waterfalls, wooden bridge, ... )
Boat rental: Try it behind the bridge in the San Juan-district and don`t forget to bargain.
Surigao del Norte is situated in the northeastern part of Mindanao. So - some people will hear already the alarmbell ringing - and think, all over Mindanao are rebelgroups and attacks! But I can reassure, I never heard about attacks in the area. The region is culturally oriented at the Visayas and Visaya (Cebuano) is also spoken there.
Surigao is a small cosy provincial town, in the surrounding islands you will find some ore mining (mostly nickel).
Ok, there been recently some attacks from the NPA against mining companies. But tourists are not in danger! The NPA don't hostage tourists, like some muslim rebels downside the Sulu Islands!
On the eastern lying island Siargao the tourism develops increasingly, most guests are Australian surfers. In addition, there are also plenty of beautiful islands and beaches!
Surigao should be the heaviest-rainfall place on the Philippines, so far as I remember it really rains a lot, but not all the time. The most rainfall is expected from November until February. From March to October the region is regulary good for travel, during the rain season at the west coast (June - October) it is a good alternative. 2006 to 2008 I visit the area in August and I had predominantly good weather!
Favorable accommodations: SLB Pension House, Amat Str., Aircon and TV,
starts at 450 Peso
Jannex Pension, Capitol Road, Aircon and TV,
starts at 400 Peso
Peng-U Grill, Narciso Street, lots of seafood, middlepriced.
Aircon bbq-Restaurant, Navarro Street/Ecke Borromeo Str., favorable, good for a lunch on hot days.
Restaurant in the Tavern Hotel, Aircon and garden, livemusik in the evening, also international food, not so cheap.
Siargao, no ATM machines - bring enough cash from Surigao!
Usually one will arrive at Dapa, after arrival of the ferry, jeepneys go to several villages. To General Luna you can rent also a trike.
Dapa is not a big tourist place, but the business center of Siargao.
From here you have also a boat connection to Socorro on Bucas Grande.
I memorize, there was a good pension with aircon and TV, starting from 500 Peso, but i forgot the name.
One can also fly to Siargao - from Cebu, partly with an intermediate stop, not so cheap.
Favorable accommodation by Manilao (4 km west of GL):
L & B Resort, simple and cheap fanrooms in untouched nature, directly at the beach. To the island in front you can walk by lowtide and do some snorkeling on the other side. The corals are mostly destroyed, but sometimes you can see sea-eagles, how they fly circles. The staff cooking if you like. It is a good idea to bring the mobile number of a motorbike-taxi from Malinao, so you have sometimes the occasion to go in the evening to GL or other places.
Trips to the north:
You can looking for a motorbike driver, who likes to bring you to places in the north of Siargao. Even better would be, you rent a motorbike for 3 or 4 days and go yourself. Let the most luggage in your resort or pension house in GL. On the way you can find accommodations for stay overnight. I think in 2008 there was no official rental business in GL, however you will surely find someone, who earn itself gladly a few peso!
For planning the trip you can look to the google map upside, scroll east to Siargao and zoom in. First, one must drive 2/3 the street back to Dapa, then take the road north to Pilar. Some km later the road will become very bad and you have to cross some mountains, a off road bike would be an advantage!
Pilar lies in the middle of a mangrove area. At the end of the village a Swiss guy built the nice Lucod Beach Resort, which includes also a restaurant. It`s a good place to have lunch, the accommodations are a little expensive.
Favorable accommodations in GL:
Jade Star: lies around 1 1/2 km west from the village, Fanrooms start at 500 Peso, they cook for you if you like (good local food), boat rental is not very cheap.
In the center you will find some simple philippine pensions.
At Cloud 9, jungle reef surf resort, starts at 600 Peso.
General Luna (GL), is the name of the main tourist destination, situated at the south- eastern side of Siargao. Usually you can hear from the village the breaking waves from far outside. 2 km northeast one will find the Tuason Point and the most busy surfspot Cloud9. In the last years many new resorts and restaurants were started.
Once in the year an international surfcompetition (usually in October) brings plenty of people in the remote place. Okay - meanwhile there are also a lot of national competitions for men and women in different categories!
The Australians dominate, but the pinoys learned surfing already and win prizes too.
There are boards for rental and also courses for beginners!
Restaurants: Around the peer one can find some simple and favorable pinoy restaurants and bbqs.
Similar at the mainroad by cloud 9.
Payag Cafe, quite good food.
Dajon Restaurant, likewise.
Flying Fox, some km outside in the direction of Dapa, take a lift with a motorbike and arrange a backtrip, good food, some german specialities. When the bavarian owner Victor is personel at the location, ask him for some storys from his interesting life as former treasurehunter and globetrotter!
Trips: Guyam Island, lies2 km south of GL, long time ago a good island for playing Robinson. Nowadays already to busy, small entrance-fee, good for a beach-day, snorkeling there is not a big adventure.
Daco Island, very nice white sand beaches, some snorkeling in front of the northeastern part or more outside at the western coastline - but don`t expect to much.
Bring some food or ask the locals for preparing you grilled fish and rice.
If you want using a beachhut, you have to pay. But one can stay also at the eastside of the village under coconut trees (caution: coconuts!). At the westside you will find also some shady trees.
Snorkeling by Cloud 9, north of the boardwalk (for visiting the surfers), walk on the beach around the corner, from there you would have to swim around 400 meter in the northeastern direction. There you can find some corals and fish.
Going to: Flights from Cebu and Manila, boats from Cebu.
Ferryboat from Leyte to Lipata (10 km outside, several times daily).
The bus needs approximately 10 hours from Davao, 6 hours from Cagayan de Oro, 4 1/2 hours from Balingoan (Camiguin), 2 hours from Butuan.
Onward journey: Siargao, mainroute to Dapa, small boats to Del Carmen und Sapao. Bucas Grande, small boats to Socorro.
Around 3 km in the north, a small path is going right side to the Magpoponko rock pools. You should come on low tide to see the pools. Go the bay outside at the northern part, then you will find some beautiful natural sea-swimmingpools, including a few corals. The waves break further outside at low tide - on rare windless days, very good swimmers(!) can also try to snorkel in the sea. A walk further northward on the dry-fallen reef stones is always possible!
Driving further north brings you to San Isidro. Some km behind the village you find again very nice and remote beaches, good for a break.
Burgos is the next bigger village in the north, if you arrive over the moutain from the south, you get a wonderful view over the bay. In Burgos you find simple and cheap accommodations - maybe a good base for further trips.
The last village in the north is Alegria, again a destination with very good beaches. For snorkeling maybe not, because you need a boat to come to deeper water.
Not so far from Alegria, on the street at the west side to Del Carmen, you can stop at a small waterfall (including a natural pool). Ask the locals for the way.
On the further way to Del Carmen you will passing plenty of ricefields. Around Del Carmen is a huge area of mangroves, one can discover them by renting a boat.