Long weekends in a country of 7,107 islands leaves the adventure traveler with a lot of choices as to where to go and what to do. Siargao gained popularity as a surfer's paradise but there is much more to it than that.
Aside from surfing, tourists can also indulge in other activities such as spelunking, cliff-diving and watersports such as kayaking and wake and paddle boarding. One can arrange for day tours of the Magpungko Rock Pools and the Tayangban Cave Pools which are the main attraction for spelunkers. Watersports shops are aplenty in General Luna where one can rent equipment and beginners can get lessons.
Exploring the islands is another activity and island hopping trips between Guyam, Daku and Naked Islands are available for individuals and groups inclusive of lunch. In between one can take a dip in the pristine blue-green waters or explore the inland attractions Siargao has to offer. You can go paddle-boarding at the Sugba Lagoon or swim and sunbathe in the Magpupungko Tidal Pool. A short trek will bring you to Taktak Falls whose beauty will leave you with a relaxed and refreshed feeling while you stretch along the rock formations which dot it. There is also the Togoman Lagoon with its stingless jellyfish and spelunking in the Hagukan and Magkukuob Sea Caves. Magkukuob is also the spot which allows you to jump off 60 feet into the sea from its highest point. At the end of an adventurous day, you can relax and enjoy the sunset by the Cloud 9 Pier or rent a hut along Pacifico Beach.
If you're a party animal, Siargao is one endless beach party every day of the week. Parties are held nightly in General Luna. Bars are featured with a specific theme each night which is proof of the island's strong sense of community. You can dance or sing the night away depending on the latest innovation the bar owners have to offer guests.
Food is both native and Western fare among the numerous bars and restos that dot General Luna. Drinks are the same with local and imported beers and liquors along with the native island creations by its creative mixologists. Siargao's advantage over Boracay is it is still relatively undeveloped and both the natives and the expats have banded together to keep the island clean with regular beach cleanups which everyone can participate in both residents and tourists alike.
One can fly directly to Siargao from Manila via Phillipine Airlines Cebu Pacific or Skyjet. If there are no direct flights on the day you intend to travel, there is the option of flying to Surigao and traveling to Siargao by ferry. Flight schedules and fares are available on the websites of the airlines. Accommodations are aplenty and run the whole price points from budget to high-end.
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Among the Indonesian Christian community, Sidney and Etha Mohede are extremely popular. Sidney is best known as an award-winning gospel singer-songwriter and one of the pastors of a Jakarta-based megachurch, while Etha is a social media influencer. This Christmas season, we had the opportunity to talk with The Mohedes about their Christmas tradition, how they're going to spend this year's Christmas, and the importance of photography for their family.
We think our family's Christmas is just like any other family's. When we're in Jakarta, on Christmas morning we'd wake up and open our Christmas presents. But, since these couple of years we spent our Christmases traveling overseas, we'd open the presents before we fly off.
Also, we like to think that the trip itself is the present for the entire family, and we are happy to enjoy the trip together, just us and our three children.
Our family's Christmas dinner usually happens on the Christmas Eve, with simple dishes and no special table decorations. We always like to finish up all the hassle before Christmas Day itself. On Christmas Day we'd usually just eat simple take outs and just enjoy our time together.
However, we think that our family's dinners–be it Christmas or not–is a tradition in itself. We want to make sure that every family member sit around the table at dinner time. We see nowadays in modern families, at dinner time everybody's still busy with their own things; the kids watching videos on their tables, the parents still busy with their gadgets... We don't want that in our family. We make sure that everyone sits around the table and really enjoy our time together, including on Christmas dinners.
This year we'll be going to Europe, namely Italy and the Netherlands. This would be our first time in Italy, and it's a 3-families trip. We're flying off to Dusseldorf, then we'll travel to Milan and meet the other 2 families there. Then we'd spend 7 days in Italy and 7 days in Netherlands, so in total it would be a 14 days trip.
As for the detailed itinerary, we honestly have no clue, but we've already booked a car to drive around. We want to try a road trip-style holiday this time around, and we think it would be fun! It's going to be an adventure!
Of course! For me (Sidney) personally, I love photography because it is a way I can express my passion easily. I was an art major in university, and my first passion was drawing and painting. But drawing something takes a lot of time. With a camera, I can capture the beauty of what I was seeing wherever I go with a single snap. I can still use my brain and eye for the compositions and colours, and I can express my visual arts passion in an easy way, without having to spend more than 30 minutes to draw one picture.
Which is why, we also love SweetEscape very much, because the idea of not being the one who takes the photographs and actually being photographed once in a while is really fun! Honestly, I'm (Sidney) not a big fan of being photographed, like most guys, I believe. But for a family photo, it's always nice to have, since most of the times we'd have to take turns taking pictures with the kids, or resort to selfies. With SweetEscape, we don't have to worry about this, and all five of us can be in the picture together!
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