Our visit to the Tayangban Cave Pool was one of the last activities we did on our 3-week trip to Siargao Island. Honestly, we weren’t expecting too much from it and we just wanted to check it off our list of things to do. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I’ve got to say that it actually turned out to be a wicked experience.
This adventure involves swimming, crawling and climbing through pitch black caves with just a head torch to light the way. An experienced guide will show you through the maze of caves and tunnels and make sure you come out safe on the other side. There is also a section with several different cliff jumping spots that you can throw yourself off.
We recommend visiting the caves on the way to the Magpupungko Rock Pools. A visit to these tidal pools and to Tayangban makes for an epic day of adventures.
The Tayangban Cave Pool has now been split into two separate activities. On the right hand side of the road (if you are driving north) is the caves while on the left had side is a more open swimming hole where you can cliff jump into the water.
This used to be one large combined tour, where you just paid one entrance fee to explore the entire area. It is now owned and operated by different people, meaning you have to pay two separate entrance fees.
Getting to Tayangban Cave Pool
The best way to travel around Siargao Island is to rent a scooter and drive yourself. Scooter rentals should cost around 350 PHP ($6.70 USD) per day and it is possible to get discounts for long-term rentals of a week or more.
Driving around Siargao is one of the reasons we love this island so much. The roads that wind through this palm tree paradise are spectacular. When I think back to our time on Siargao my mind jumps to riding our scooter around this amazing island.
The caves are located just a 35-minute drive from General Luna and are on the same road that leads to Magpupungko Rock Pools. The entrance to the caves are right on the highway. There is a small makeshift parking area on the side of the road where you can park your scooter.
The caves aren’t particularly well sign posted, but there is a small wooden sign with some colourful flags that make it easier to spot. There are usually a few cars and scooters parked at the entrance as well.
If you don’t feel comfortable riding a scooter, you will be able to organise private transportation through your accommodation or with the local tour companies. This will probably be more expensive than renting a scooter. However, if you can find enough people to fill a car then it may reduce the cost.
As we mentioned, the caves have now been split into two different sections so you will have to pay two separate entrance fees. The entrance fee for both the caves and the cliff jumping pools is 100 PHP ($1.93 USD) per person for each activity. Therefore, it will cost 200 PHP ($3.85 USD) per person to visit both parts of Tayangban Cave Pools.
For each activity we were required to take a guide. The entrance fee you pay does not cover the guides’ wages and they rely solely on tips as their source of income. Make sure you tip your guide after each activity. We tipped our guides 100 PHP ($1.93 USD) each.
We found that we definitely needed a guide for the caves as it was such a maze. However, there wasn’t much need for a guide in the cliff jumping section, but it is always good to support the locals and help them earn a living.
The caves were the best part of Tayangban, and if you are short on time then we recommend choosing the caves over the cliff jumping.
Before we entered the caves our guide fitted us with hard hats, a head torch and life jackets. We were wearing flip flops but it would have been much easier to wear aqua shoes or trainers to navigate through the caves.
Once we were kitted out our guide took us down to the caves. It is a short, slippery and muddy set of stairs down to the mouth of the cave. Once inside, there are some bamboo walkways, hand rails and ropes in certain parts to help you navigate through the caves. It took us around 20-minutes to swim and climb our way through the cave pools with our guide.
The caves are actually quite cool and there were tonnes of stalagmites and stalactites throughout (although I never can remember which is which). There was also a section of the cave with hundreds of bats flying around and hanging from the ceiling.
Most of the caves are half filled with water and swimming through them in the pitch black was an epic experience. Swimming through the various sections of the cave, you could feel the water temperature change drastically from one segment to the next.
We really didn’t expect much when we visited here, but we reckon it’s one of the most underrated activities you can do on Siargao Island. Having explored various caves throughout the world, we find the most fascinating ones to involve a sense of adventure – such as swimming and climbing like Tayangban.
During our visit we got really lucky as there were only a couple of other people in the caves. While we were doing our tour several bus loads of local school kids turned up and they were queuing up to enter the caves as we were finishing up. I imagine it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as fun if there were 50 other people in the caves with us.
Tayangban Natural Pool
Once we had finished exploring the caves we headed over to the other side of the road to explore the outdoor pools. We were given a guide, although we easily could have done without, as these pools were a 30-second walk from the entrance. From the highway, you walk down the slippery path 50-feet before coming to the pool.
The pool was busy with loads of local kids swimming in the water and cliff jumping from the rocks above. It was awesome to watch them leap into the water with no fear and they looked like they were having the time of their lives.
Seeing how much fun they were having led us to jump in after them. We had a fun little session jumping off the rocks and swimming to the end of the pool. The pool is surrounded on all sides by cliffs and it connects directly to the caves. Unfortunately, as they are now separate, this entrance has been blocked off.
Hanging out with the local kids was a cool way to finish off our tour of the Tayangban Cave Pools. Even though the caves were much more interesting, we recommend visiting both parts of Tayangban if you have the time.
Best Time to Visit Siargao
The dry season on Siargao Island runs from March until October. This is generally the peak tourist season as the weather is at its best. As it is a tropical island, you can still expect there to be rain showers and tropical thunderstorms from time to time. We experienced one huge storm during our stay here in May but otherwise the weather was great.
If you are coming to Siargao to surf, then the best time to visit is between August and November. There is much more swell hitting the island and there tends to be consistent waves at all the different surf spots. The main break at Cloud 9 seems to be a wave magnet and there are waves almost every day. However, it is a hectic wave and is for advanced surfers only.
Where to Stay in Siargao
There are a few cool areas to stay around Siargao Island, but 99% of tourists stay in General Luna and the Cloud 9 area on the Southeast Coast. It is home to some incredible hostels, hotels, restaurants, bars, shopping and nightlife. Staying in Siargao on a budget can be tricky and cheap accommodation will often be back to basics. Expect fans instead of air conditioning, poor wifi and cold showers. That being said, since the first time we went to Siargao three years ago, accommodation has improved greatly, with the quality increasing as more places and competition arise.
General Luna has loads of great restaurants where you can find local and western food as well as a couple of small supermarkets. This area is also home to some amazing shops, with surf gear, clothing, jewellery and much more available.
If you are looking to get off the beaten path, then Pacifico in the Northeast is an up and coming surf area worth checking out. But if you are only visiting for a short holiday, we would still recommend staying in General Luna to make the most of your time here.
The most popular places to stay in Siargao tend to get sold out months in advance. If you know when you will be traveling here, then we recommend you get in and book somewhere early.
Below are our recommendations for places to stay in the General Luna and Cloud 9 area.
Budget: Hiraya Surf Hostel – This place bucks the trend of cheap accommodation in the Cloud 9 area and is just a 2-minute walk from the Cloud 9 surf spots. It’s super cheap, has air conditioned dorm rooms and even has its own swimming pool. The hostel offers a relaxed and social atmosphere allowing you to meet other like minded travellers. If you are looking for a cheap bed in Siargao, this is easily the best option.
Mid-range: Lampara Siargao Boutique Hostel – Located right on the beach, Lampara offers some of the coolest accommodation on the island. Stay in one of the well decorated dorm rooms or have a unique experience and go glamping in one of their many luxury tents. As it is a hostel there is also an opportunity to enjoy a more sociable atmosphere but without sacrificing style and luxury. Lampara is rated as one of the best places to stay on Siargao and it’s easy to see why.
Luxury: Kalinaw Resort – If you are coming to Siargao and looking for a luxury escape Kalinaw has it all. There is a private beach, an infinity pool over-looking the ocean and some of the villas even have a private swimming pool. Add in the fact it is just a few minutes walk from Cloud 9 and has an incredible restaurant on site, and you have the perfect place to stay in Siargao.
*We couldn’t in good faith recommend the next resort as our luxury option on Siargao as it is obscenely expensive and we could never afford to stay there. That being said, we just had to mention it as it is so insane!
Super Luxury: Nay Palad Hideaway – If money is no option, then this is the ULTIMATE place to stay. The resort is actually ridiculously beautiful and it has shot to fame on Instagram. Enjoy the private beach and free massage service when you stay here. When we win the lottery we will be back to Siargao to stay here for a couple of nights.
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Swimming, climbing and cliff jumping around these cave pools made for a fun day of adventuring on the island. It ended up being an unreal day and we were stoked on how much better Tayangban was compared to our expectations. Add on a visit to Magpupungko Tidal Pools and you’ve got the perfect day exploring in Siargao.
Planning a trip around the Philippines? Check out our South Cebu itinerary to discover why it should be a must-visit destination for your Philippines trip.
*Please note, prices are a reflection of our experiences while traveling the Philippines in May 2019 and are subject to change. Prices quoted in PHP were the exact prices we paid and USD conversions are listed for your convenience.