Mindanao, the second largest island of the Philippines, is an enchanting land of volcanic mountains cloaked in exotic tropical plants, leading down to squeaky white and pink sand beaches, where boldly-striped vintas ply the waters between houses perched precariously on stilts. Because wave-rich Siargao island is so close, there is little wonder that intrepid travellers like John Callahan have searched around and discovered some perfect, typhoon swell gems like Jelly's Point or Lanuza's Doot Pooktoy. Since November 2005, an international longboard contest has been held in Lanuza, attracting some big Aussie names and exposure for this budding surf town, helped by the unusual opening ceremony of the 'breaking of the board'. Some travellers from Manila have to fly to Butuan, over on the west coast and getting to Siargao may take another day. So a stop-off in Surigao Province during a decent NE swell makes a lot of sense, as it can be way less crowded than Cloud 9, and some of the waves are almost as good.