Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sohoton, Bucas Grande: A weekend in Paradise!

This little known paradise in Mindanao should be revealed to all and sundry. Here's an account of our weekend in Sohoton, Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte last March 2013.
 Bucas Grande Island can be accessed through Claver town which is 52 mins. (57.3 km) from Surigao City, or 1 hour, 40 mins. (127.6 km) from Butuan City via the Pan-Philippine Highway and Surigao-Davao Highway. If you're coming from Davao City, it is 5 hours, 31 mins. (423.5 km) via the Pan-Philippine Highway also. We left our car at the Tourism Center next to the Hayanggabon port where we just gave a minimal donation.


We checked in this quaint resort called Club Tara. The accommodation was for three days and two nights and included transportation from Hayanggabon Port in Claver town, meals for the duration of the stay and a tour. Check this out at my post Tara na sa Club Tara.

Here are snippets of images of the resort.






We spent the second day exploring what we could in the island. Our boatman from the resort brought us to the LGU (Local Government Unit) post where we registered. Everyone who goes to Sohoton passes through the LGU. From there, we were given different boats, one person to a boat with a boatman. We got five. The boats didn't have motors so the boatman paddled across the sea. 

We were brought to the jellyfish sanctuary. It’s a cool place with clear waters, so clear that we could see the huge corals underneath! Fabulous! The place was quiet, as if no one wanted to disturb the friendly jellyfish. Why friendly? They don’t have stings! They’re huge, bigger than usual jellyfishes, with small tentacles. Most of them were brown but we were lucky to see one transparent one with a “heart.” It reminds me of jello.

I thought we could go down and take a dip but we were not allowed to do so. We went back to the LGU post and took another boat which took us to the Sohoton Cove. The boatman and an assistant also served as the tour guides.








The magnificent Sohoton Cove is accessible only through a cave-opening which also serves as the Exit. Here’s the catch, boats can only pass through that opening during low tide, thus most of the tours were done in the morning during such time.

Our guide pointed to a “horse-foot” formation suspended in one of the walls of the cove. If one can see this, that means he’s near the opening already because one can get lost in the passageways of the huge area because the scenery are almost identical.

Once inside the cove, one can feel the cathedral-like quiet, calmness and serenity and makes one marvel at how wonderful that creation of God is. The sea is surrounded by limestone formations with vegetation. The place reminded me of Coron in Palawan. The limestone formations have caves inside them. 





We went inside two caves. We first got into the Hagokan cave. It can be reached by swimming on one’s back. The boatmen had to guide us into the dark cave. But once our eyes got accustomed to the darkness, we could see that the water became luminous. Fascinating!




We were brought to another cave where we could stand inside. There was a rocky pathway that goes up amidst stalagmites which were not pointed. The thing was, to get out, one could either go down the same rocky path or go out into the side of the cave, walk down a path of slippery wall which has roots of trees to hang on to and, take this, jump off a ledge 12 feet into the sea! I did just that after I let my husband and kids jump off and after being prodded for quite some time! I almost chickened out but when my husband yelled, “Bahala na si Lord!” (“Let the Lord take care of you!”), I jumped right away! It was exhilarating for a golden girl like me!






We repeated the jumping into the water from a higher level in a hut somewhere in another part of the island near Tiktikan Lake. It looks like I was getting the hang of it because I wanted to do it again!

We also did snorkeling in the clear waters and swam in a beach with powdery white sand like Boracay’s. Then there was the unlimited kayaking when we got back to Club Tara.




 

The afternoons were capped by absolutely breathtaking sunsets that we wished that place was just near our home. Sohoton or that part of Bucas Grande Island was so clean and fresh, we hope it could be preserved to be enjoyed by many more generations to come.






No description, no photos even could aptly and perfectly describe the place. For sure nature lovers would be at home in such beauty. One needs to go there and experience everything and be able to truly say… 

“Ah, paradise!” 

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