Mermaid Dreams in Magpopongco

An hour away from General Luna by motorbike is Pillar town. Located near the northeastern coast of Siargao, Pillar is not known to many people. Not even our resort manager, Babu, knew what was good there. But I saw a picture in the internet about a certain beach, which had natural coral pools that formed during the low tide. Without hesitation, and with a thirst for adventure, I immediately asked Babu to take me there. Welcome to Magpopongco.

This was the beach that greeted me when I arrived in Magpopongco. It is the top attraction of Pillar town, and is the venue of the International Game Fishing Tournament. President GMA already visited the place last May for the international competition. Hence, the local DOT has developed the place. I had a nice chat over bottles of beer with the tourism official there.

Well, the beach is actually not the attraction. Though wide and sandy, it is what lies beyond the rocks that has left each visitor mesmerized.

A concrete walkway was constructed leading to the rocks. I had to go under a tunnel of sorts, that made it look like I entered a whole new world - the world of the Little Mermaid.

I was greeted with this clear pool of water that was formed during the low tide. It was a risk for me to go here, not knowing when the low tide will be. But fortunately, I arrived just in time.

Apparently, Magpopongco means "to jump off" because most of the visitors here jump off the rocks and dive in these salt water pools. These are actually coral beds that have emerged because of the tide.

Underneath, a whole world of corals and marine life can be seen clearly. It was like looking down at an aquarium. You can walk further down the shore towards the the break water where waves crash wildly. Just be careful of slipping.

I was still in awe with the formations. I've never seen anything like this before. The whole coastline seemed like a home for mermaids. I walked further on, and discovered more spectacular pools. Different shades of blue and green inspired me to dream about tales of mermaids. I could see this place as a great shooting location for movies. It was just out-of-this-world.

I walked on, and landed on another sandy beach. Here, I got to swim a little bit, but I kept coming back to the pools which were mystical. It was a bit scary though, because the pools really seem they possess magic. I imagine diving under the rocks and seeing a world of fantastical creatures. I must be day dreaming already!

The water started to rise, and so I headed back. I took one last dip in the pool near the entrance already, and savored my last minutes there while the sun was preparing to set. Magpopongco is definitely a must-visit when in Siargao. I didn't expect anything. My crazy self has always taken me to places I could never have imagined.


That ends my quick and satisfying Siargao experience. The next day, I woke up at 5AM to catch the ferry back to Surigao City at 6AM. Then it was another 4 hours on the boat. I took the large barge type ferry, so the ride was quite smooth. I arrived in Surigao only to discover my flight has been delayed for 4 hours. Tough louck. Wished I stayed longer in Siargao...but then again, there will always be a next time (especially with 2 travel vouchers from Cebu Pacific from Cebu to Siargao, hehe).


  1. Hi there... I'm not totally of agreement with you with regards to why the place is called magpopongco. From what I know "Magpopongco" came from the word "Magpupungko" which has a root word of "Pungko" which is a vernacular term for "Upo or sit". If you have seen or taken a pic of a very big rock which is sitting on another rock formation, then who have seen the origin of "Magpopongco". I've been to Siargao as well and it is such a wonderful place. = )

  2. Hi,

    Nice to know that you had visited Siargao. But sad to note that you missed our place Bucas Grande Island- that island with red mountain on your right before entering the channel towards Dapa town. We have lots to offer, coves, caves, lagoons, beaches, rock formations, primary mangrove growth forests and the bayanihan culture widely practiced by the people. Hope you include our place in your next island exploring itinerary.

  3. I missed Bukas Grande, bec I want to go there on a separate occasion with more time on hand. Soon sana. It's been on my list for so long already! Ever since I started going to Surigao!

  4. you should visit Bucas Grande and TAK-TAK waterfall. Or tinuy-an, and enchanted river.. Amazing places...


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