The super star island of Siargao in the Philippines has a surprisingly good food scene. Known mostly as being the surf capital of the southeast Asian country, the island’s popularity is exploding as of late, not only due to its sterling reputation with international wave riders but also beach combers, nature lovers, and plenty of local and foreign tourists. It seems like along with the uber-healthy focus of surfing and playing in the sun, sand, and sea all day came a focus on healthy food, too. Or maybe it’s the heavy foreigner influence, as there are now plenty of Germans, French and Spaniards, Australians, a few Americans, Aussies, and Scandinavians who came here for a week or two to surf at first and end up staying, then opening up their own restaurants. It’s true that most of the resorts and surf camps now are foreign owned, and with them come plenty of restaurants, cafes, and other eateries not far behind.
This special emphasis on healthy food is also pretty damn rare in the Philippines, which has one of the worst diets in all of Asia. Most food is friend, fatty, processed, sugary, or even heavily processed. But Siarago’s surfer food scene – and in particular in the area of General Luna – features plenty of fish, seafood, vegetables, curries, hummus, yogurt, fruit bowls and smoothies, etc.
Why Loka is the Best Restaurant in the Philippines
But Loka stands out as one of the best of the best I the Philippines to me for three reasons.
Number one is the location, as it’s situated right smack dab on a white sand beach beneath a grove of palm trees besides Cloud 9, the iconic surf break that is Siargao’s most picturesque and memorable feature. You’ll find Loka on a path, amid surfers getting some shade and resting their boards against trees, bamboo hammocks, and even a tightrope line strung between two palms. Sitting in the indoor/outdoor eating area of Loka, you have a truly amazing view that will make you want to stay and chill all day.
Number two is the venue. The place is seriously cool, mixing the simplicity of a sewn plank wood floor and Spartan wooden tables and chairs with vibing music (they were playing Ben Harper and Citizen Cope when we were there) and some incredible artwork. An intricate and colorful mural of a tree covered the whole top half of two walls, and the food counter/bar is decorated with a sick mural of a fish skeleton. There are even some awesome dogs that belong to the restaurant or its owner that will circulate and keep you company (and maybe hop in your lap looking for a handout).
Number thee is the food. I ordered one of their most popular items, a yogurt bowl that also had blended fruit mixed in, as well as chia and sunflower seeds and other organic staples. They have plenty of these, as well as mixed fruit and vegetables smoothies and juices, hummus, fish burghers and burritos, and even big traditional breakfasts, complete with pancakes with happy faces on them. My friend even ordered an organic yogurt cheesecake to top off our breakfast at Loka!
Definitely give it a visit when you’re on Siargao, as it’s one of the coolest spots in the Philippines!