I just came back from my first ever yoga retreat, held in one of the east-most islands of the Philippines, Siargao. Also known as one of the prime surfing destinations in the country, Siargao is a cluster of islands and islets located in the province of Surigao Del Norte.Thanks to our amazing teacher, Nancy Siy, a.k.a. Manila Jiva we didn’t only get the chance to deepen our yoga practice, but we also got to experience the paradise that is Siargao.
Lotus Shores Siargao
“Be Present: A Jivamukti Yoga Retreat” took place at Lotus Shores Siargao. I loved the friendly community and the untouched nature surrounding the resort. It’s also the perfect getaway for yogis, surfers, and conscious adventurers travelling to the area. Their meals strictly adhere to a vegan diet, but though I’m not a vegan myself, I’m happy to report that I enjoyed the food, and look forward to incorporating some of the dishes in my regular cuisine back at home. For more information on Lotus Shores and their upcoming yoga events check them out on Facebook.
It was fun sharing a room with two of my good friends. Hilarious friends. All of us being moms, our conversations shifted from how much fun we were having, to hoping our kids back home have eaten, taken their naps, etc. Despite missing my boys (it was my first time away from my son!), I’m grateful to have spent time with such an inspiring and like-minded group of people on this retreat.
Apart from practicing yoga, we took time off the mat to explore the island. The beauty of Siargao is overwhelming, and it would have been a pity not to explore.
Sugba LagoonOur first stop was Sugba Lagoon, about a 30-minute motorboat ride away from the port of the town of Del Carmen. The scenery getting there is visually captivating and breathtaking. Unfortunately, it was low tide during our visit, so at some point we had to get off our boat. We stopped by a tiny village with houses on stilts as we were waiting for our boat to cross over, and it was a priceless opportunity to get a glimpse of the way of life of the islanders.The picturesque lagoon area is surrounded by what looks like limestone hills. It is tranquil yet full of life, exuding nothing but serenity. Visitors come here to swim, snorkel, and paddle board.
The best way to take in every inch of this lagoon is by paddle boarding around the area. Unfortunately, that’s a skill some of us lack. But thanks to my patient teacher—whom I almost hit with my paddle, sorry!—I was able to get on the board for the perfect shot.
Magpupungko Beach and Tidal PoolsWe also head to a popular spot for both tourists and locals, Magpupungko Beach and Tidal Pools. The tidal pools are a natural wonder and a must-see. I recommend visiting during low tide, as this is the only time you’ll get to see these infinity tidal pools and actually take a dip in them while you bask in the beauty of the exquisite rock formations.
Disclosure: Kindly note the above two images belong to Iryna Farria Photography taken at Magpupungko Tidal Pools. Click the link to check out her full album.
Cloud 9Of course, it would’ve been a crime to visit Siargao without at least setting foot in its legendary surfing haven. On our way back to Lotus Shores, we stopped by Cloud 9. If you’re a surfing enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of this epic spot. Cloud 9 is known for its splendid, thick, and hollow waves. Its popularity owes its credit to surfing photographer John Seaton Callahan, who featured the island in a United States-based surfing magazine in the 90s. How I would love to come back and attend one of the annual surfing contests that features both local and international competitors!
All in all, our retreat was a well-deserved break from the city. Not only did I enjoy our yoga sessions, and stay at Lotus Shores, but I also had the amazing opportunity to discover and explore the island of glorious waves, infinite coconut trees, and delightful sandy beaches.The theme of our Jivamukti yoga retreat was “Be present”. I know that’s easier said than done, with our ever busy “monkey minds”. But I’d like to think that with this experience, I’m at least one step closer to realizing the importance of focusing only on the here and now. As Joshua Becker said in his 10 Tips to Start Living in the Present, “If you can only live one moment at a time, you might as well make it the present’’. Our yoga practice and Siargao’s wonders were timely reminders of the rewards of living fully in the moment. What a beautiful present it was!