When you think of Siargao, you think of Cloud 9, local surfers with tight-ass abs—and the past years—the swimming hole named Magpupungko Rock Pool.
Magpupungko Rock Pool is definitely one of the most epic spots in Siargao. This natural pool is located in between two limestone cliffs and offers a perfect place to take a dip and cool off from the tropical heat, which is practically all year in an archipelagic country like the Philippines.
During my past three trips to Siargao, I never made it to Magpupungko Rock Pool! I know! Terrible, terrible human!
Some five years ago, the entrance fee was Php10.00, now it has ballooned to Php50.00/person. Parking fee for motorbike starts at Php20.00
But still this place is marvelous. It is best enjoyed during low tide. The water in the pool is so flat and calm, a stark contrast of the Pacific exploding nearby. If you got some snorkeling sets, bring them! This place has some vibrant fishes! And don’t forget to jump off from the rock!
Magpupungko is located in the municipality of Pilar, which is in the northeastern tip of Siargao island. I do not know exactly why it is named such. Pungko, in Bisaya, means sit. Does the outcrop overlooking the tidal pool look like a figure sitting? Who knows. Give it an extra look and let me know.
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Another great way to experience this magnificent rock formation is by booking a full-day tour.
With hundreds of five star reviews, the most popular choice for visitors are those who want an unforgettable adventure and amazing pictures as well!
This particular itinerary covers all your needs: starting off with seeing what makes coconut trees so special (the view from their heights), followed by taking some time in Magpupungko Rock Pools and then Sugba Lagoon which also happens be where you can swim
To get there, you can either take a tricycle from Cloud 9 or General Luna, or you can rent a motorbike and drive yourself. The roads are pretty well-maintained so don’t worry about getting lost!
The cost for scooter rental in General Luna anywhere between 300-400 pesos per day, but if you’re looking to go with monthly rent, it will be cheaper at around 200 – 250php daily rate!
There are four amazing stops on your way to Magpupungko Tidal Poools, including Sea Of Palm Trees Viewpoint , Palm Tree Road & Rope Swing.
The tidal pools is located in front of Magkopongko Store and Canteen. Google Maps’ tag is kinda off. From a satellite image, you can clearly see which one is the tidal pool. The rock looks like a tiny island surrounding by turquoise water. That’s the pool, not the one tagged as Magpopongko Rock Pool and Flats.
You have to wade through the rocky shores to reach the pools. It is just a short walk from the beach. I highly suggest you wear flipflops and if you want to be extra careful, swimming shoes, river trekking shoes are better especially if you intend to jump from the rock.
Siargao’s Magpupungko is best enjoyed during low tide. Its other name is Magpupungko Tidal Pools for a reason. You will be disappointed if you go there during high tide since it will be submerged in the high waters. Pilar’s waves are kinda big (hello, Siargao) during high tides, so inform yourself about the tide forecast. You can check it here. Again, go there during LOW TIDE.
Aside from the rock pools, there are also several Magpupungko flat rocks that offer a great vantage point to enjoy the scenery. The best part? You can jump off from them into the crystal-clear water below! Just be careful not to jump during high tide as the waves can be quite strong.
The past years, it has become one of the Siargao Tourist Spots to check out. So bear in mind that most likely you will not be the only one enjoying the tidal pools.
Take a leap of faith, climb the outcrop, and jump into the water. It is 3-meter deep, so you won’t hit the bottom and injure yourself.
You can also bring some snorkeling gears and observe the little marine creatures temporarily trapped in the pool. They are freed during high tide. It is also funny to see a lot of legs wiggling and struggling underwater. Hehe.
Expect it to be crowded especially if you travel during the popular seasons. It is extra peopled during weekends and during school break, which is April and May in the Philippines. It might also be best to check the holidays in the Philippines to inform yourself about peak seasons.
It is a bit tricky to climb the rock, but anyone gutsy can definitely do it. The water is refreshing and Magpupungko’s cliff-jumping will give you an adrenaline rush.
If you don’t want to jump off the cliffs, you can go snorkeling instead. The tide pools are teeming with little fish. It is a great way to relax and appreciate the pool from a different perspectives. I mean, we always see drone photos of the pool, but underwater is equally interesting.
After a few hours of Magpupungko fun, you will definitely get hungry. Worry not because there are several restaurants and food stalls by the beach. You can enjoy some fresh seafood while overlooking the beautiful ocean.
If you’re not up for any Magpupungko activity, you can just lounge on the beach and enjoy the view. It is a great place to relax and unwind. There are also several hammocks where you can take a nap.
Yep. There are three now. Back then, there was none.
Magkopongko Store & Canteen is your basic auntie, I mean basic Filipino staples.
Mama Sol Grill is your basic Filipino barbecue and seafood. If they serve grilled fish, please have some. Damn, I’m hungry writing this.
Sugar Shack serves burgers and fries. If you are a non-Filipino, this will appeal to you, most likely. Down the burger with Red Horse.
Not so far from the pools, by the main road is Resto Bar Magpupungko, which you can also check out.
To the left of the pool is a beach and to the right is a beach. If you end up getting there during high tide, most likely you will not enjoy the pool as much. But the beach is not a bad deal either.
Normally, Magpupungko is part of the day tour, DIY or otherwise. Along the way, you can drop by at other Siargao tourist spots such as Sea of Palms Viewpoint, Palm Tree Road, Palm Tree Rope Swing, and Tayangban Cave Pool.
From Magpupungko, you can even go further north and check out some beaches like Pacifico, Alegria, and Tangbo and the less popular Taktak Falls.
General Luna, for its central location and a vast restaurant choices, is the perfect base for your Siargao trip. I curated some of the best spots to stay in Siargao, that caters the luxury, midrange, and budget.
I would say that Magpupungko Rock Pools is worth the visit for the hype and vibe. It is not every day that you can experience swimming holes, like this, unless you are Mexican and experienced the gorgeous cenotes.
Some parts of Surigao has them too. Or if you make it to Samar’s Biri Islands. The point is, you are already in Siargao, might as well experience it even if you are the kind of traveler that detests popular places.