Friday, May 11, 2018

Tacloban to Siargao the Cheapest Way - Land Trip Travel Guide

While looking at the Philippine map, I noticed that Surigao City is just across Southern Leyte and it made me realize that travelling to Siargao from Tacloban would be possible. Since then, I wanted to go there alone even before the Siargao movie but I was hesitant because I was worried about my safety. Until one day I got an invite from two of my cebu-based friends. The plane ticket was expensive at that time so I just decided to go there via land trip. Little did I know that this would be the best trip I'd ever have (despite all the challenges I've faced on my way going there).

Today, I want to share this travel guide to everyone especially to people from Leyte and Samar but if you're not used to long trips, then this route might not be for you. This is more suitable for backpackers than tourists (there's a big difference).

How to go to Siargao from Tacloban:

 1.) From New Bus Terminal, ride a van going to Sogod. They don't have a fixed schedule so I suggest you go there early in the morning and expect to wait for a few hours since the driver will wait for the van to get full before leaving. 

2.) In Sogod terminal, ride a jeepney going to Liloan. Another option is to ride a van or bus going to Benit. This is closer to Surigao City but the bus was really crowded so I just opted to go to Liloan. 

3.) Tell the driver or conductor to drop you off in Liloan Ferry Terminal. This is just along the road but you might not be able to notice it right away. If you pass by the Liloan bridge, then you're already near. 

Another option to reach Liloan is to get into a Bachelor bus en route to Davao. This will pass by Liloan and Surigao City but it's more costly (P370 to Liloan). If you do my 'hassle-full' route, you'll save 170pesos. The summary of the costs is shown in the table below.

4.) Pay for your boat ticket in Liloan Port terminal and wait for the departure. The boat will arrive in Lipata (Surigao) after 3 hours. *See boat trip schedule below.

5.) From Lipata Port, ride a habal-habal going to Eva M. Macapagal Passenger Terminal in Surigao City. This is already your gateway to Siargao Island. Travel time is 30 minutes. There are many habal-habal drivers waiting outside the terminal even at night time.

It was already 10:50pm when I finally arrived in Eva Macapagal Port and while riding the habal-habal, I was a little bit scared because the driver seemed drunk (or maybe he used redhorse as his perfume haha) and the road looked deserted and dark. I can't help but think about worst case scenarios but I just kept my cool and took my time appreciating the beauty of Surigao City. We passed by the road beside the sea under the shiny bright stars - and it was amazing! I was just praying and holding on to my monopod just incase.

6.) In Eva M. Macapagal terminal, you can buy your ticket going to Siargao. I arrived here at around 10:50pm and luckily, the ticket booth of Yohan Express was still open (or maybe they are 24hrs open). I got in and stayed in the terminal for the night until my boat departure time at 6am the next day.

7.) At 9am, I am finally in Siargao! I've met my friends and boom, it was the start of my fun-filled vacation.

Travel time
Tacloban to Sogod (Van)
3 hours
Sogod to Liloan (Jeepney)
1 hour
Liloan to Lipata (Boat)
2-3 hours
Lipata to Eva M. Macapagal Terminal (Habal-habal)
30 mins
Eva M. Terminal to Siargao (Dapa)
3 hours

For boat trip schedule, you can check out these sites:
Fastcat Boat Schedule Liloan to Lipata Surigao City
Surigao City to Siargao Boat Schedule

Basically, you have to arrive in Surigao City before 11AM because there are no boat schedule anymore in the afternoon from Surigao to Siargao.

Inside the Eva M. Macapagal Terminal. It looks nice. 

The best thing about the Eva M. Macapagal Terminal is the normal retail prices of their food and apparel items.

Check out my travel guide in this link --> Siargao Travel Guide 2018 - Suggested Itinerary and Expenses

How to go back to Tacloban from Siargao:

1.) Book your ticket in Dapa Port going back to Surigao City. My scheduled trip was at 11am because I didn't want to leave yet. You can also book an early schedule so you can arrive in Tacloban earlier.

2.) From Surigao City, ride a habal-habal going to Lipata Port.

3.) Just outside the port, you can buy boat tickets going to either Benit or Liloan. I chose Benit (San Ricardo) because it was already night time and there are lesser vehicles travelling to Tacloban from Liloan at night.

4.) Just outside the port of Benit, there was a bus waiting for passengers going to Tacloban. I'm not sure if this is always the case but I think I got lucky that night.

5.) At nearly 12am, I arrived home and had a good night sleep.

Travel time
Siargao to Surigao City (boat)
3 hours
Surigao City to Lipata Port (habal-habal)
30 mins
Lipata Port to Benit (boat)
1 hour
Benit to Tacloban (bus)
5 hours

For boat trip schedule, you can check these sites:
Fastcar Boat Schedule Liloan to Lipata Surigao City
Lipata Surigao to Liloan Southern Leyte
Surigao City to Siargao Boat Schedule

For booking, you can call these numbers

Inside Dapa Port

Feel free to charge your gadgets here in Lipata Port

This is inside the boat from Lipata to Benit

Photo courtesy of website / Fast Cat

Photo courtesy of website

Overall, it was a really loooong travel but surprisingly, I wasn't exhausted at all. I enjoyed the long bus trip, uncomfortable jeepney ride and lengthy waiting time in every port/terminal. 

If you have any other suggestions or information that you can share, please free to comment down below. Thanks! :)

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