I arrived in Siargao with a backpack, tent and two packs of Skyflakes. After camping out beside a public swimming pool in Bucas Grande (another story which I’ll tell you about later), I was confident I can manage just fine on another island. There were a lot of budget accommodations in the town of General Luna so I figured I didn’t have to pitch a tent this time. Camping was fun and taking a bath next to a pigpen was, uh, interesting but I also wanted to indulge in the luxury of a bed and a proper bathroom.
These are the places I was able to check out in my search of a cheap accommodation:
Travelers Beach Resort – located in the far end of town, cheapest room is P900.
Travelers Pension House – right in the town center, only accepts groups as there are multiple beds in a room, same owner as Travelers Beach Resort.
Ronaldo’s – near the town center. Cheapest room is P600, which was lowered to P500 when I started walking away. The staff I talked to was a snob so I still left despite the discount. Their redeeming value though is a restaurant that serves good chicken barbecue. I had dinner there twice.
Patrick’s on the Beach – just across Ronaldo’s. Some tricycle drivers might badger you into choosing this resort. That’s because the German owner pays them a commission for the guests they bring in.
My last stop was in Satur Honor Resort, which is right next to Patrick’s. Aling Honorina, the owner, was welcoming but apologetic when I inquired about available accommodations. The resort was fully booked, she said. They had two vacant cottages but one had part of its roof destroyed by a strong wind and the other was being renovated.
I asked if they have an open space where I could pitch my tent. Now, I know I look more like a clueless wimp than a seasoned backpacker so her incredulous response to my proposal was not surprising. I did manage to convince her that I was capable of setting up a tent and sleeping in it. She then led me to a grass-covered patch of ground where I could camp for the night and allowed me to use the bathroom in the vacant cottage. I still didn’t have a bed but at least I can now take a bath and brush my teeth with no pig nearby. (Not that I have anything against pigs. I happen to like bacon very much. It’s just a bit awkward to go about your bathroom business when a large, four-legged animal is near you and oinking to its heart’s content.)
I was happily cooped up in my tent when Aling Honorina came by, later followed by her husband, Mang Satur. (Now you know how the name of their resort came about.) Despite my previous assurances that I have sufficient camping experience to survive two nights of sleeping on the ground, they still weren’t convinced. They said I could stay in the cottage with the damaged roof since part of the ceiling above the beds was still intact. I refused at first because I didn’t want to be too much of a bother when I only offered to pay a measly P100 per night. And also because I wanted to prove I was hardcore despite looking like a clueless wimp.
They were persistent though, saying they wouldn’t be able to sleep soundly knowing I was out there alone with only a flimsy plastic sheet for shelter. They firmly believed I’d drown in the rain, be blown away by hurricane winds or get kidnapped by aliens. On my end, the resolve of wanting to be hardcore was weakening at the prospect of having a real bed. So I rolled up my sleeping bag, dismantled my tent and followed Aling Honorina to the cottage.
For the next two nights, I slept with a blanket, two pillows and a mosquito net. It rained twice and as expected, there was a leak in some parts of the ceiling but I remained warm and dry on my bed. I found shelter with a leaky roof and sincere hospitality from kindhearted people. It was way more than I could’ve hoped for when I stepped off a boat with my backpack, tent and two packs of Skyflakes.