Summer is coming. You might want to enjoy and have a glimpse of some wonders of our nature with a short period of time. Well, here it is. Why not enjoy your short vacay in Bucas Grande, Socorro, Surigao del Norte, Philippines.
Bucas Grande is an island in the territory of Surigao del Norte in the Philippines. The island is touching with the district of Socorro, Surigao del Norte. Its zone is 128 square kilometers. Map here. Among them are perfect tidal ponds, ocean hollows, inlets, and lakes, some of which are still unfamiliar, while others must be gotten to in specific conditions.
When summer is coming, we always search for some beautiful places that we will be enjoying. Since I, personally, wanted to visit all wonderful places within Mindanao first_before jumping into another island or what. We accidentally found Sohoton considering the idea that we want to have a hassle free vacation. That’s why we looked for an agency that offers a tour for Sohoton and we found Explore Adventure Travel and Tours. So you better check out their FB link and inquire about it.
Anyway, we finally booked the 2D-1N tour of the said agency.
- 11 pm Meetup
- 11 pm-7 am Looooong TRAVEL from Davao going to Surigao del Norte
- 7 am Breakfast c/o agency
- 7 am-8 am Travel going to Hayanggabon Port
- 8 am-9 am Travel from Hayanggabon Port to your accommodation (Tiktikan Lagoon)
Fun begins (Day 1)
Sohoton Gamay (Tondan Cave)
After putting all the bags into your room, you need to hop yourself in the boat for the first destination which is the Tondan Cave for about 15 mins.
Since we had everything with the agency and it also a peak season, our tour guide was the one who huddled for our queue. The entrance fee costs roughly Php 20-30.00 only but if you are with the agency, you don’t need to pay ‘coz it is a part of the amount you had paid. After registering your name, you will be given a “funky” helmet. Then, hike about 100 meters going to the cave.
The cave was not too big since it was named as Sohoton Gamay which means a smaller version of the real Sohoton Cove. We were there for about 30 mins only because it was hot inside since it is an underground cave.
Back to Tiktikan Lagoon for lunch
Since you’ve been traveling like forever, you can really appreciate a well-ordered and tidy room, so as Tiktikan Lagoon. It has comfy beds and enough ventilation for recharging an exhausted body. However, we did not do the way you think we did after seeing the bed. When we saw the turquoise-colored sea water from the window, we just had to choose what side of the bed will be sleeping, put some sunblock, then swooped down to the water. SWIM. We were able to borrow some life jackets from the boat docking nearby. That’s why we were confident somehow.
So after sumptuous lunch, this is it! Sohoton Cove! Hopped into the boat and rode for about 20 mins. But before reaching the registration area, we had to hop from our boat to smaller boat due to some sea areas that were shallow. But you will really enjoy the sceneries and even the clear water. Basing from the last picture _those pinkish things under the water are actually coral reefs. See? That’s how shallow the water if it is low tide already.
Okay.. so our group was in the same boat except to our friend who needed to be with the other group. So just to give you heads up, if you want to enjoy and witness amazing things all together, you better have the number that is divisible by 6 or 8 or else there might be someone who cannot relate when you have your chit-chats later on.
Along the side of the islets, they have this landmark called Ti-il sa Kabayo (Horse Shoe). This serves as their landmark when entering and exiting the lagoon. Another thing is, our tour guide also mentioned that the reason why Sohoton is called Enchanting Sohoton because locals sometimes hear some chants around where it seems mysterious and the lagoon itself produces fish where they don’t know where it really came from. No matter how valid the reason is, one thing is for sure Sohoton is indeed enchanting.
After passing through those landmarks, you will be enjoying Hagukan Cave or the snoring cave. Hagukan Cave is based on the Cebuano or Visayan dialect “hagok” means snore. The cave creates sound because of the waves getting in in the cave. The cave has a small passage that you need to swim and if it is high tide you cannot even see the opening of the cave. Just a tip, if you are not a good swimmer like me and not confident to risk your life for a 15-meter swim, then you better borrow a life jacket or better stay on the boat and wait for any report from your friends that swim like a fish. Anyway, your tour guides will really help you to swim_like a dog and that’s what we did.
Okay, this is one of the most challenging things we did in Sohoton. Before you get inside into the cave, you need to be oriented and prepared to jump and plunge from a 10-ft platform and mind you NO TURNING BACK. Going up is not an easy task. You need to memorize the stones for grabbing and stepping for not slipping down or else stalagmites are very ready to catch you down. It was narrow, dark, and slippery. When I was checking my friends going up, I was having regrets and doubting my capacity if I can really make it through. But fortunately, I did it. Just take your time. Again, another reminder.. that was just the entrance.
When we were still in the boat, I was so confident that I can jump as high as 10-ft. “That was too easy“, I said. But I’ll tell you, it was not easy. My knees were shaking and hard as the tree clinging to the sides of the islet not to fall. But it was my turn already, my friends and some random tourists were all staring at me and I don’t wanna fail them and another motivation guys, there is no other way going out. I better jump from the platform than taking the route again as we went up. So I jumped.
That was my first time to have a close interaction with the jellyfish…of course, those are stingless jellyfish. But before that, we waited for almost an hour before hopping into a 3-seated boat. The queue was long due to the number of tourists who flocked in Sohoton.
When it was our turn to hop in, you will be having a chance to paddle going to the sanctuary for around 20 mins. According to Kuya, our bangkero and tour guide, the number of jellyfish went down due to some tourists before that were allowed to swim with the jellyfishes. Since people are very much worried about their skin, sun block or any beauty products might be the reason for the diminishing numbers of reproduction. Therefore, we did not swim with them but we were able to touch some.
Heading back to Tiktikan Lagoon
First-day tour was done. We felt hungry as well as exhausted. We better go back before the evening strikes. The sceneries captured as we headed back to Tiktikan lagoon was so mesmerizing. The sun, the clear water, the ambiance, sigh.. it was breathtaking.
Plunging into Different Beaches (Day 2)
On that day, we just toured around different beaches that the Bucas Grande has to offer. Like Turtle Island, Marka-A Island, White Sand Island and much more.
- When we were traveling from Davao to Surigao, we were seated at the back of the van. With that, you should be early so that you will be able to choose the middle part of the van. On that area, there will be minimal shaking when the van passes through a rocky road and you will be having a decent sleep.
- Bring food and water when you start your tour. Along the way, you will be hungry. Your accommodation is quite far from places that you will be visiting.
- Bring towel or shoal when having a tour.
- Place your gadget in waterproof cases.
- If you are in a group, make sure the number of pax should be divisible by 8 or 6. Even numbers.
Bucas Grande is indeed one of the nature sceneries that gives us an idea how wonderful God’s works are. Amazing and breathtaking. Hopefully, I can still see this preserved beauty for how many years from now. Even now as I am writing this blog, I can still recall the feeling when I was there. Give it a try. Witness the beauty of Bucas Grande.