From boom to bust to dust: how Covid-19 and typhoon wrecked Siargao, surfers’ paradise in the Philippines, and its long road back

When Typhoon Rai smashed into the Philippines in mid-December, the island of Siargao was among the hardest hit.The storm killed at least 405 people and left a trail of destruction in the eastern provinces of Surigao del Norte – which includes Siargao, a tourist hotspot – Bohol and Cebu.Among those affected have been James and Marja O’Donnell. When James, an Australian, first ventured to Siargao 13 years ago, the island of 150,000 people had just a handful of rustic guest houses catering to…


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