About > Siargao Island
Geographical and demographic situation
Siargao is an island located 800 km southeast of Manila in the province of Surigao del Norte. Its surface area is about 437 km². The island of Siargao faces the Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Trench.
There are about one hundred and sixteen thousand inhabitants on the island. The beneficiaries of the association live in different villages of the island: mainly at General Luna but also at Daku, Consuelo, Happy Valley, Union, Datu, Maasin, Cabitoonan and Catangnan.
A fragile economic context
Most families of Siargao live off fishing and coconut farming and have an average income of 7'000 PHP per month, being around 140 CHF ( 120€). Barely enough income to feed their household.
Tourism is developing more and more in Siargao. When the association was established on the island in 2010, General Luna (main tourist village) had a dozen hotels and a few restaurants. For a few years, development was gradual. In 2015, tourism expansion took a different turn with the construction of a road linking the main villages.
Tourism development has its advantages (increase in jobs, hotels and living standards) and its disadvantages (price increases, sale of land, increase in waste). The majority of businesses are owned by foreigners or mixed couples, hence the increase in land value in recent years. Many families, by necessity, decide to sell their land and thus lose the opportunity to generate income.
Some local families nevertheless operate a hotel or restaurant they have owned for many years. But with rising competition, equipment prices and rapid wear at the seaside, they are no longer able to maintain or renovate their buildings.
It is this fragile economic context that has motivated all of Siargao Masaya's actions to support local communities in their development and offer the children of Siargao the opportunity to attend school.