Pilar, Siargao Island — It’s 7 a.m. and we’re excitedly waiting for our tour guide/driver to bring us to the famous beach with cool tidal pools called “Magpupungko”. According to the locals, the name was derived from the root word “pungko” meaning “to sit or squat”.
It took us an hour to get there by habal-habal (a modified motorcycle to seat more than two persons). From General Luna to Magpupungko Island, the ride was nice and smooth. The cool breezy air was brushing through my skin as he drove fast down the road. We have nothing to worry about because he drives like a pro.
They said that it’s best to go there during low tide so you can swim in the fun tide pools and walk around the rock formations with crystal clear turquoise water.
Jumping off rocks
Slowly dipping my foot into the tide pool, I scan the water for a school of needlefish gliding under the surface.
A group of kids from ages 8-12 started jumping off rocks into the water, one wrong move could do some serious damage.
I studied the jumpers on how they would land into the tidal pool. Feet together, one hand covering nose and mouth. It looks so easy but it’s not, especially when there’s a lot of obstacles in the water.
“I want to jump too!” my energetic friend shouted. “Okay go for it! I will record it on my action cam.”
The kids gave way as she climbed up the rock. She jumped off and hit the water hard. “Isa pa! Isa pa!” (one more! one more!)
Tourists taking selfies with this popular rock formation that looks like a man sitting down. Look closely and you will see a demon’s face on the surface of the rock. I didn’t really notice that until the tour guide told me to analyze it.
Wearing aqua shoes is a must. I strongly recommend that you buy a strong and flexible pair because some rocks are pointy (or deadly) and slippery.
High definition corals are in plain sight when it’s low tide. Tiny starfish are everywhere so please be careful not to step on them. Weird looking sea creatures would pop up when you accidentally hit some rocks so be vigilant, it could be poisonous.
How to get there
Magpupungko can be reached by internal flight from Cebu to Siargao.
Ferries run from Surigao port to Dapa port every 6:15 a.m. The last ferry from Surigao is 12 p.m. An adult fare is PHP250 ($5) It’s best to go early so you can see the beautiful sunrise.
From Dapa port, take a habal habal (motorbike taxi) to General Luna. One-way cost PHP200 ($4)
The charge for the motorbike service from General Luna to Magpupungko is between PHP800-1000. ($16-20) Maximum of two passengers.
The beach is being maintained by the locals, entrance fee is only PHP50 ($1)
Where to stay in Siargao
Boardwalk Cloud 9 Surf Resort
Ocean 101 Cloud 9 Beach Resort
La Luna Island Resort