The hidden lake on Poneas Island is one of the true treasures of Siargao. Enjoy a day of island hopping from San Benito and see what you discover!
WHERE IS PONEAS ISLAND AND THE HIDDEN LAKE
Poneas Island is west of the popular surf island Siargao in the south of the Philippines. There are a number of smaller islands nearby Siargao that are popular for island hopping, the most popular route is the day-trip to Daku, Guyam, and Naked Island. However, to reach Poneas Island from Siargao, you will drive up to the small town of San Benito on the west coast and take the boat from there out to the docking point on Poneas Island. Once docking, you will follow a dirt, rock path up the hill and down towards the hidden lake inside Poneas Island. There is a map with the pin-point direction at the bottom of this blog post.
HOW TO GET TO PONEAS ISLAND
To reach Poneas Island and visit the hidden lake you will need to drive to San Benito, which is the launch off-site for tours to Poneas Island. We rode up on our mountain bikes from General Luna in just under two hours but most people, including our friends, rode their motorbikes up in under an hour.
Once at San Benito, you can visit the tourism office, which is a small building next to the basketball court at the docks. It’s smart to organize your trip the day before or several days before because it isn’t super busy like General Luna and there isn’t just a boatman and crew waiting every day for tourists. We were the only tourists at all on the day we went and there were no other boats on the water in the region all day.
To help you book in advance without having to drive down to San Benito in person, I’m going to add our tour guide’s details below. Our tour guide was Blessieann Roculas, who is a local of San Benito and Siargao, currently studying environmental science as of 2019. We were able to message her before the trip to organize times, prices and vegetarian meals (notify 1-2 days before so she can prepare depending on the size of the group. I also took a photo inside the tourism office with the different trips and prices available so you know the exact prices as of December 2019.
Blessieann Roculas Tour Guide details:
Whatsapp: +63 948 270 8838
MY EXPERIENCE AT THE HIDDEN LAKE ON PONEAS ISLAND
After our long mountain bike ride to San Benito from General Luna, we made our way into the Tourism Office. We decided to choose the Poneas Hidden Lake and Island Hopping tour for 3000 pesos (plus a few hundred in entrance fees).
On the day we went, a typhoon was scheduled to hit the next day. This meant it was pretty wavy and there was literally not another tourist in sight all day. The rain never came (but boy did it hit hard the following day), so we got lucky to enjoy all of the locations to ourselves.
We boarded onto the boat and headed off to Poneas Island first, taking advantage of the tide conditions, which are necessary to dock the boat at the small wooden wharf in the mangroves at Poneas Island. It was about a 20-minute boat trip from the San Benito docks to the Poneas Island dock.
There is a homestay out near the wharf but I can’t imagine there’s too much to do out there in the middle of nowhere. I guess that might be the point, to relax and switch off.
Anyhow, we docked the boat and then began to follow the path up the hill to the hidden lake on Poneas Island.
The trail is short but steep and sweaty in the tropical humidity. Through palm trees, rocks and dense forest, you ply your way up the hill. It will challenge many, but the reality is that it’s a 15-minute walk so slow and steady if you are out of shape and you will still have no troubles in reaching the lake.
The downhill section is quite slippery and it is definitely suggested to wear shoes as the rocks are very sharp. You can just bring flip-flops/slippers but I promise you if you are not Filipino (does everything in slippers) you will wish you had sneakers on… like us.
Once we arrived it was time for a swim to cool off. We jumped into the huge lake and swam around, refreshed from our mini-hike up and over the hill. The water was surprisingly warm and a little bit salty.
The lake is truly incredible. Hidden from the ocean and the outside world, you are truly in a secret paradise it feels. As I took to the air to get a better understanding of the region it was quite impressive to see the small mountains of Poneas Island, which had a resemblance to the terrain of the nearby Caob Island.
It seems like the lake was busy at some point in time because there is a lot of infrastructure and a lot of activities. At the hidden lake you will find:
- A rope swing
- A small diving board
- A floating hammock
- A floating hut
- Numerous rafts
- Lots of benches and seating
After Poneas Island, we visited Kangkangon Island, which was a quiet little patch of paradise in the middle of the ocean. Just one caretaker was on the island in a little hut as we played about in the sand and took a short walk around the entire island. This island-hopping experience won’t be as busy as visits to the islands near General Luna. We didn’t see any other tourists for the entire day.
The final stop of the day was Pagbasayan Island, which had a lot more going on. A number of cottages, a bar and play equipment for children were scattered amongst the several hundred coconut palms that are tightly packed onto this small island.
We sat on the beach and enjoyed a coconut before setting off to explore the rest of the island. There is one really unique feature of this island that many probably don’t know. Pagbasayan Island has its own natural, private swimming pool amidst the reef that surrounds most of the island.
PONEAS ISLAND MAP LOCATION
On the map below you can see Poneas Island with a pin on it. However, the pin is just on a random spot. The lake is actually further north than the pin and is the big lake you see further north on the map.
WHERE I SUGGEST TO STAY ON SIARGAO
Budget Hostel in General Luna: The White House: The best budget option for dorm style/hostel accommodation on Siargao Island is called The White House in General Luna. For just $10 a night you can grab yourself a dorm bed.
Value Pick in General Luna: Lampara Siargao Boutique Hostel: Lampara Siargao is an oceanfront boutique hostel conveniently situated on the exotic island of Siargao.
Luxury Pick in General Luna: Nay Palad Hideaway: Nay Palad Hideaway is one of the most luxurious accommodations in the Philippines. With its beautiful outdoor pool, terrace with either garden or ocean views, comfy seating areas, and is the resort you will see featured on Instagram all the time!
WHERE I STAYED ON SIARGAO ISLAND
Siargao is pretty straightforward when it comes to picking a region to stay. 90% of people choose to stay somewhere near General Luna. All of the bars, restaurants, tours, ports, and hotels are near General Luna and Cloud 9 surf break. There are a couple of other regions you could stay in like Pacifico but unless you are purposely looking for isolation, General Luna is your spot. So what are my suggestions for where to stay in General Luna?
First, I’ll tell you where I stayed. Because I stayed for over a month, I managed to find an Airbnb. It was 4 blocks back from the beach, had wi-fi, A/C, a private bathroom, patio and inside were just two bunk beds. It was super basic and I stayed here with two mates and my sister. It was 900 USD for the entire month, which we split four ways so it was just $225 each. There’s a photo below of our sweet Airbnb pad on Siargao Island.
Best time to visit Siargao Island
The best time to visit Siargao depends on what you are looking for. Many consider the best time of year when the weather is best but that also means crowds. I will give you a few options below about when is the best month to visit Siargao Island:
September: Siargao hosts the ‘Cloud 9 Surfing Cup’ each September, an official WSL Pro event
July – November: The best time period for surfing in Siargao is July until November. The easterly Mindanao current provides the islands with waves that came from the deepest regions of the Pacific.
March-May: If you aren’t as interested in the surf but are craving that sun. March until May should bring you guaranteed sunny days. But it’s the Philippines so you can’t guarantee it.
Where is Siargao Island Located
Siargao is located in the region of Mindanao in the Philippines. Mindanao is the southern region of the Philippines.
How to get to Siargao Island
When I visited in 2017 there was only one flight a day from Manila and one from Cebu. Now there are 10-15 flights a day so the question of how to get to Siargao has become much easier. Without going into deep detail on every single option. These are the options for how to get to Siargao:
- Fly from Manila $90-$100
- Fry from Cebu $90-$100
- Ferry from Surigao City to Siargao Island $5
There are ferries that leave from Manila and Cebu but they go to Surigao City first and then Siargao Island.
ARE YOU FOLLOWING MY SIARGAO SERIES OF BLOGS
Cliff Jumps: 9 CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS IN SIARGAO
Where to Stay: WHERE TO STAY ON SIARGAO ISLAND
Island Hopping: SIARGAO ISLAND HOPPING – GUYAM, DAKU & NAKED ISLAND
Ultimate Guide: 40 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON SIARGAO
Sohoton Cove Itinerary: SOHOTON COVE NATIONAL PARK TOUR – CAVES AND LAGOONS
Visit Sugba Lagoon: SUGBA LAGOON FROM SIARGAO ISLAND
Hidden Lake on Poneas Island: DISCOVER THE HIDDEN LAKE OF PONEAS ISLAND, SIARGAO
MORE PHILIPPINES BLOGS
I have also visited many other places in the Philippines that you may want to add to your itinerary and remove one of. the locations I visited. There is no right way to travel to the Philippines. The reality is that you will miss some awesome places no matter what Philippines backpacking route you take. You can check out the links below to my other Philippines backpacking guides.
Caramoan: CARAMOAN ISLAND HOPPING
Romblon Island: ROMBLON TRAVEL GUIDE: 17 AWESOME THINGS TO DO
Tablas Island: TABLAS ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE: 20 AWESOME THINGS TO DO
Sibuyan Island: SIBUYAN ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE: 9 AWESOME THINGS TO DO
Sohoton Cove: SOHOTON COVE NATIONAL PARK TOUR – CAVES AND LAGOONS
Carabao Island: CARABAO ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE: 5 THINGS TO DO
Cebu Itinerary: CEBU 5-DAY ITINERARY – DETAILED ADVENTURE TRAVEL GUIDE
Cebu Things To Do: 16 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON CEBU
Philippines Backpacking Guide: PHILIPPINES BACKPACKING: 2019 BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE
Ultimate Philippines Itinerary: ULTIMATE PHILIPPINES TRAVEL ITINERARY FOR 3-4 WEEKS