UPDATED: FEBRUARY 2018
I bet most of you haven’t tried this yet, or have you heard of this sleeping or staying over on Guyam Island on Siargao islands. Can you stay on an island where it’s completely different from your bed, room or your nightly accommodation?
It looks like the image you always see on a postcard: fine sand, blue waters, bright sunny sky. You always daydream about the place and you think you will never be able to go there. Well, come on! Make the dream come true!
Postcard ready. No filter needed. Til next time my favorite island. You're extraordinary 💋
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Siargao sounds familiar to a lot of people. Aside from the fact that it has the same exact description you have pictured in your mind, it is also known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines and is now considered the best in southern Philippines.
When you go to Siargao, you will experience the usual activities you do on the beach like grilling steak or seafood, biking, partying late into the night with reggae music, and mastering yoga, among others. But one thing you must try doing this time is staying overnight on Guyam Island. Well, it sounds common, too, but doing it on one of the islands in Siargao makes the experience extraordinary.
Guyam is one the three islands that you can hop on in Siargao. But if you’re not interested in surfing, I strongly suggest you try this special and amazingly insane fun activity!
Here’s why you should go and experience it
It’s a great momentary escape from the congested city especially when people start to leave to end their day tour. Usually, Guyam Island is the last stop of most travelers. Surprisingly, only five of us decided to stay overnight. It’s insane I could think at first because I have never experienced to sleep at a very remote place on a stranger island I have not even known.
Finally, I’ve made up my mind to join the four people and stay.
The water is calm. Gust of winds caressing my skin. Will spend the night here with 4 strangers. 🌠☁ .
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It was getting dark. We were all sitting down on a bench facing the beach waiting to get really dark, having an awesome chat. Honestly, before saying yes to this adventure, I was having second thoughts, because I needed to catch my flight to Cebu the next day and I was worried that I might miss it. ( Luckily I didn’t)
Activities and Experiences
It was not something you’d get to experience every day. You can go camping on an island or on the beach and that’s pretty typical. However on this experience that I had. I met strangers and made new friends. The group I was with was composed of a Swiss guy I met at the hostel where I stayed in Bohol, an American guy, and two nice girls from the Netherlands whom I met at the hostel. We watched the beautiful sunset and sunrise that was reflected in the crystalline water.
There was no internet, so we had all the time in the world to chat with one another. Indeed, nothing beats striking conversations with new found friends.
Before leaving us, the caretaker told us to gather dried leaves and twigs for the bonfire. We had a lot of fun that night. We tried skinny dipping with planktons in the dark—they were glowing! And then we went stargazing while lying on the sand. We were blessed to catch a glimpse of a shooting star!
If you haven’t experienced skinny dipping, swimming with planktons in the dark, watching shooting stars, and spending the most unforgettable night with four incredible people on Earth yet, then now’s your chance. Trust me, you will enjoy camping on an island together with four strangers whom you could mingle with. It’s like what you see in the movies.
What to eat and what to bring
Make sure to bring food. If you really plan to stay for the night, make sure to pack lots of food, plenty of water, and of course, toilet paper. ( Don’t worry, there’s a toilet ) Moreover, don’t forget your mosquito repellant lotion either. As you can imagine, this island is surrounded by trees so expect mosquitoes everywhere. You might be one eaten alive. ( kidding aside 😛 ) The camping was not planned for and we were unsure whether to proceed with it or not. Good thing, our leftover food from the island hopping that day was enough to fill our stomachs.
Reminders and tips
Don’t forget to ask for tips from your friends who have already gone there or some locals. A Dutch friend of mine whom I met during one of my trips told me that there was a party on the island every Wednesday, but only 20 people were allowed to join, as the the town people wanted to maintain the island’s serenity. There’s a small house built on the island but not made for sleeping. Please don’t try to sleep there or fit yourself in. The caretaker stays the whole day on the island to take charge and watch over the tourists but leaves before it gets dark.
Be a responsible traveler. Leave nothing but footprints.
Please collect all your trash before leaving. Also, ensure to make arrangements with the boatman to pick you up the next morning. It’s only a 5-minute boat ride to the city which we paid for at PHP100 each.
Savor each moment that you have on the island. There are some people who don’t see the sunrise romantic. They consider it a normal phenomenon of their everyday life—the sun rises, and sets. The sunrise on Guyam Island is one of the best I’ve ever seen so far.
Slept at a hammock. Woke up with a beautiful sunrise.No internet and was with 4 strangers that became friends. An extraordinary experience at guyam island. One thing you shouldn't miss when you visit siargao islands. .
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Waking up to this view? What else can you ask for?
The memories I had on Guyam Island are greater than the number of trees that had grown in the soft sand. I wish I could plant a palm tree the next time I visit the island to leave, somehow, a sign that I had a great time when I was there. You can never go wrong on this island. It’s absolutely worth it and every spot is a picturesque view that can be put on post card.
Where to stay
Again, this is a remote island. There are no cottages to sleep on, so you will have to bring tents, or sleeping bags, or hammocks. There’s no electricity either, don’t expect a wifi for heavens’ sake. This is a good chance for you to disconnect yourself from the social media world. You will need to brush up your skills in building a bonfire if you don’t want to be engulfed by darkness. While the sun is up, collect driftwood and coconut leaves—make sure they’re enough and will last through the night.
This is Sanne, she’s one of the Dutch girls and she’s really cool. She just put and tied up her hamock on the two coconut trees and she has a pretty smile!
How to get there
Some hostels organize island hopping that includes Guyam in the itinerary. Make sure to inform the organizer that you’re interested to stay overnight. When we went there, it was already part of the package that we availed of from Sanne Sevig, the Swedish owner of Paglaom Hostel. Island hopping costs PHP750 for a three-island itinerary, activity gears such as paddle board and life saver (salbabida), foods and fruits, alcoholic and non alcoholic drink.
Experience a once in a lifetime event you will never forget. Everything in Siargao is lovely. The experience was really worth it. It made my heart melt and it brought the wanderlust in me. Guyam Island is truly insanely amazing!
Have you been here? What are your thoughts about sleeping on Guyam island? How was your experience? Let me know on the comment box below! Would love to hear from you! Xx
Photos credit to my Dutch friend Sanne Tokens