Surigao Travels

Sta Monica | Things To Do, What To Eat & Tips

Nestled on the northern part of the captivating Siargao Island, Sta Monica Surigao del Norte, also known as Sapao, beckons travelers with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant local culture. Let’s embark on a journey to uncover the hidden gems of this 5th-class municipality in Surigao del Norte, Philippines.

The Origins of Sapao: A Tale from the Spanish Colonizers

The tale of Sta. Monica’s original name, Sapao, is a fascinating blend of Spanish curiosity and a local fisherman’s response. Legend has it that Spanish colonizers, stranded on the shores of Siargao, encountered a native fisherman casting his net. When asked about the name of the place, the fisherman, referring to his unsuccessful catch, replied, “no Sapao ra.” The Spaniards, misunderstanding the context, recorded “Sapao” as the town’s name, immortalizing this unique origin story.

Sta Monica Surigao del Norte Map
Sta Monica Surigao del Norte Map

Geography and Barangays of Sta Monica Surigao del Norte

Sta. Monica is divided into 11 barangays, each with its own distinct charm. From the coastal beauty of Abad Santos to the historical significance of T. Arlan, these barangays collectively contribute to the municipality’s diverse appeal.

1. Abad Santos
2. Alegria
3. Bailan
4. Garcia
5. Libertad
6. Mabini
7. Mabuhay (Poblacion)
8. Magsaysay
9. Rizal
10. T. Arlan (Poblacion)
11. Tangbo

Festival and Fiesta

Santa Monica’s Sapao-Sapao Festival marks the 63rd Adlaw nan Santa Monica, a jubilant occasion celebrated with fervor and cultural exuberance. This lively festival, traditionally held during the 1st week of October, specifically on October 1, brings together locals and visitors to honor the rich history and vibrant spirit of this charming municipality in Surigao del Norte.

Tourist Attractions: A Paradise for Nature Enthusiast

Sta. Monica boasts many tourist attractions, making it a haven for adventure seekers and nature lovers.

  1. Brgy. Tangbo Surfing Area:
    • It is an undeveloped gem with coral reefs that create natural breaks for waves, perfect for backpackers seeking an authentic northern Siargao experience.
  2. Bajuhan Surfing Area:
    • Ideal for beginners looking to master the art of surfing.
  3. Bitaug Break Point:
    • Witness the biggest swells in Siargao during the Amihan season.
  4. Rizal Surfing Area:
    • Embark on the longest surfing ride on the island.
  5. Kibrada Ship Wreck Diving Spot:
    • Explore the historic site where Spanish Galleons sunk during the 1600s Philippines and Mexico Trade.
  6. Danjug Cave:
    • For adventure enthusiasts, this cave is believed to be the hiding place of a Muslim pirate named Danjug, offering an action-packed experience with nature.
  7. Florentino Das Landing:
    • Discover the historic landing area of the first Filipino who sailed from Hawaii to the Philippines.
  8. Alegria White Sand Beach:
    • A pristine stretch of powdery white sand invites beach lovers to commune with nature.
  9. Tak-Tak Waterfalls:
    • It is a hidden gem boasting crystal clear and soothing cold waters, a perfect spot for relaxation.

Food Hubs and Accommodations: A Culinary and Comfortable Escape

After a day of exploration, indulge in the local culinary scene and unwind in cozy accommodations.

Food Hubs:

  1. 3B Bar & Restaurant
  2. The Coconut Nut
  3. Concha Fried Chicken Purok -1 Rizal
  4. Premo Novu Bar & Grill
  5. Cocina


  1. 3B Resort
  2. Denaville Resort
  3. DaRosa Del Mar Beach Resort & Restaurant
  4. La Cabane Homestay Siargao
  5. Lola’s Homestay
  6. Kaha Island Stay

Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte Travel Guide:

  1. Getting There:
    By Air: The nearest airport is Siargao Airport in Sayak. From there, you can hire a van or take a public bus to Sta. Monica. Ensure to check flight availability and schedules to plan your trip efficiently.
    By Sea: If you prefer a scenic journey, you can also reach Siargao by ferry from Surigao City. Once in Siargao, local transportation options include tricycles and habal-habal (motorcycle taxis) to Sta. Monica.
  2. Best Time to Visit:
    – Sta. Monica enjoys a tropical climate, and the best time to visit is during the dry season, from December to May. This period offers pleasant weather for outdoor activities, diving, and exploring the stunning beaches and caves.
  3. Must-Visit Tourist Attractions:
    Brgy. Tangbo Surfing Area: Begin your adventure with the untamed beauty of this surfing spot. Don’t forget your surfboard for an exhilarating experience amid the coral reefs.
    Kibrada Ship Wreck Diving Spot: Dive into history and explore the underwater world where Spanish Galleons once sailed. This site offers a unique perspective on the Philippines and Mexico Trade.
  4. Adventure and Nature Activities:
    Danjug Cave: For the adventurous souls, a spelunking experience awaits. Discover the secrets of Danjug Cave, believed to be a hiding place for a notorious pirate. Remember to bring appropriate gear and a sense of curiosity.
    Tak-Tak Waterfalls: Take a break from the coastal scenes and hike to Tak-Tak Waterfalls. Enjoy the refreshing cascade and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters.

Conclusion: Sta. Monica, Where History Meets Adventure

Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte, invites you to explore its unique blend of history, adventure, and natural beauty. This travel guide provides essential information to make the most of your trip, ensuring you create lasting memories in this hidden gem of Siargao. Pack your bags, embark on this journey, and let the wonders of Sapao unfold before your eyes.


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