Let me begin this post on the Philippines by giving you some good advice: forget the overland route to Cloud 9 if surfing is your reason for going there. It takes about 4 days from Bohol, there is nothing interesting on the way, and it ends up being much more expensive. Your best bet is to fly into Siargao (head to Cebu or Manila for this) and take the short flight.
In our case, not only did we waste all that time and money but once we got to Surigao and were on the 6am boat to the island, heavy rains made the coast guard cancel the ride because of a level 1 typhoon alert, leaving us in Surigao for yet another 24 hours.
Cloud 9 is to surfers what Moalboal is for divers. All you do is eat, surf and sleep. There are a few lonely beaches nearby but you will need a boat to get there.
Cloud 9 is a world class wave when it’s pumping. Otherwise it is a fun and easy right that breaks over a spongy reef and rocks. There are plenty of places that offer surfing lessons and rent boards, our option being Cloud 9 101 which is where we stayed at. Fan rooms have en suite bathrooms and are very clean- at 660 pesos per night they are very good value.
We were there for 3 days instead of the 8 we had planned, and I surfed as much as I could although conditions were not the best. Liza even received lessons one afternoon (enough to keep her out of the water the next to days because of fatigue and a re-occurring wrist pain) and were quite disappointed when we had to leave: it had taken us almost 5 days to get there and only had 3 remaining until our visa expired.
The Philippines have a lot to offer if you like the outdoors and the sea. With time, a little money, and no need of luxury you can get a lot back and easily enjoy yourself. Food is nothing to brag about, but it is cheap, and getting from point A to point B is an adventure all by itself. Oh and, by the way, do not think that Manila represents the whole country. If you can, get away and look for the small towns where tourism and wealth are non existant; it is there where you will find the Filipino charm that has captivated so many foreigners and now call the Philippines home and will do so for the rest of their lives.
Have you surfed Cloud 9 on a good day? How was it? And if you didn’t surf, what did you like most about Siargao?