Talking to some friends about where they plan to go when it’s safe to travel again, I don’t think I can keep up with the number of times I’ve gotten ‘Siargao’ as an answer. Not just a haven of beaches, rustic nightlife, and gorgeous plantations — it’s also a safe destination to visit amid the pandemic mainly because of how remote it is. Still, how to go to Siargao amid this pandemic remains a mystery to many.
As per the Department of Tourism (DOT)’s latest announcement, the surfing capital of the Philippines is officially reopening to tourism starting 23 Nov 2020. The news was confirmed by Cecilia L. Rusillon, the mayor of General Luna in Surigao del Norte.
The speculations leading to Siargao’s official reopening
On 11 Nov 2020, the news of Siargao reopening circulated in various online travel communities and pages. According to the announcement which started from a local travel agency, Siargao Airport (also Sayak Airport) will reopen on 1 Dec 2020 and that no quarantine will be required.
“Only negative PCR or Antigen test result taken 48 hours before your flight,” it added.
The same day, DXKS RPN RADIO Surigao shared the same photo. In the caption, it said that “the Provincial Government is now finalising the executive order on the reopening of our 2 domestic airports in Sayak, Del Carmen and Brgy. Luna, Surigao City this coming December 1, 2020.”
It turned out that this was announced by Provincial Spokesman Simeon Vicente Castrence via one of their radio programmes. Despite the photo carrying DOT’s logo, the agency first denied the news, until Rusillon signed the executive order verifying it.
How to go to Siargao this pandemic
Siargao tourism reopened to residents of the island, save for a few municipalities like Pilar, in September 2020. Come 1 Dec 2020, flights to Siargao will resume via Sayak Airport and tourists from all across the country can visit the island once more.
With regard to Siargao travel requirements this pandemic, all tourists from outside Surigao del Norte must prepare and complete the following prior to arrival:
- An e-Health Pass with valid ID if arriving via Surigao City and Sayak Airport
- Negative RT-PCR result taken within 48 hours. Otherwise, you must undergo and test negative on a mandatory antigen swab test upon arrival.
- Five-day confirmed booking from an accommodation with a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) or Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate (PCAO)
- Round-trip ticket
For tourists coming from within Surigao del Norte, present the following:
- An e-Health Pass with Valid ID
- Certificate from your local barangay captain confirming that you are “not a close contact”
- Confirmed booking from an accredited DOT-accommodation establishment
Curfew will be implemented and must be strictly observed from 11pm to 4am everyday.
“As Siargao reopens to travelers, subject to minimum health and safety standards, the people of the island will regain their livelihood and share their paradise to our kababayans once more with the same level of hospitality they have always been known for,” Rusillon added in an advisory.
On top of surfing, travellers can enjoy Siargao’s white-sand beaches, limestone hills, enchanting caves. Following minimum health and safety standards, you may also do popular Siargao activities like island-hopping, food crawling, and going on scenic motorbike tours around Siargao.