Published: October 18th 2006September 29th 2006
This is a map of Siargao and Bucas Grande at the wall of Ocean 101
I drew an arrow to show you the distance we travelled for 2 hours by boat.
Today, we have planned to go to Sohoton Cove, Socorro, Bucas Grande Island. It is 2 hours away from Siargao Island so we hired a double engine boat that can cover the long distance and withstand moderate waves.
Bucas Grande is a less popular island compared to the other major islands of Surigao namely, Dinagat Island and Siargao Island. I have not seen much pictures of it from the internet so I did not have a clear image of what to expect. Little did I know that it turned out to be one of my favorite places here in the province of Surigao.
Feeling small amidst a chessboard of green cliffs
We left the resort at 9:30am. On the way, we were again able to see Guyam, Dako, and Naked Islands. Within an hour’s time, we have seemed to approach a large island that did not have sandy shores. Instead, it had sprawling rocky cliffs with heavy vegetation. For another hour, we were maneuvering around small green cliffs that must have sprung out of the sea from nowhere. There were lots of them! I was feeling smaller and smaller… like Honey-I-shrank-the-kids and I was on a chessboard amidst
The clear waters of Sohoton
Photo taken by Ayeen [http://sweetsentiments.multiply.com/]
green cliffs (or my imaginary pawns). I felt smaller but, at the same time, I was feeling more peaceful inside -- stunned in awe of the beauty that surround me.
It was noon when we arrived and registered at the Sohoton Cove Visitor’s Area. Immediately, I put on my mask, snorkel and fins. I could not resist the turquoise waters that surround the many islets in this area. I plunged in and noticed that the Visitor’s Deck was constructed on top of an underwater cliff. Just a few meters off the wooden foundation is a drop off. I was seeing like an underwater valley. All the visible islets above sea level were just the peaks of these mountains. There were schools of small fish happily swimming about. I found two sea cucumbers feeding, each elongated to a size taller than I am! There were clams, lots of sea urchins (“tadjum” in Surigaonon) and angel fish. I was enjoying the water’s excellent visibility.
We ate lunch, which we took with us, then we boarded 2 smaller pump boats for all 14 of us (5 were our guides).
In 30 minutes, the guides brought us to
an island even my Ate Eunor hasn’t been to before. We trekked into a very narrow path swamped with tall grass and shrubs. In a few minutes, we found ourselves at the mouth of splitting caves:
Going left is Bolitas Cave which was named so, due to the presence of small rounded stones they call “bolitas”. The chamber is so small that only one person could pass through at a time and he has to literally crawl downwards. It was a dark chamber, they say. We did not get in this cave. (Hopefully, I may come back to Bucas Grande and enter this narrow-mouthed cave.)
Going right is the safer Crystal Cave. This is the cave we chose to get into. Since this has not been tagged yet as an official tourist destination (BTW we’re lucky they brought us here), there was no provision for flashlights unlike Kweba De Oro in Cagayan De Oro
. Somehow, we managed to get in and see crystal-like formations on its stalactites. It was getting warm as we walked further through the cave. It only took 30 minutes for us to explore the walkable chamber of this
It felt like being in a labyrinth as we turned left, turned right and turned in all sorts of directions… Till we finally saw a cove! THE Cove! Alas, it’s Sohoton Cove! Yey!
We entered through the cove without having to bend down too much. It was a small cove and it took us barely half a minute to pass through it. Inside were more very green cliffs and clear, crisp, turquoise waters. True enough, such splendid view of nature gave me a feeling of tranquility. As my mom puts it, as if she can just talk to God right there and then - because we were immersed in His wonderful creation. I do not know how it felt like for my other travel mates, but for me, it was more than just a nature trip - it was communing with the Creator’s unfathomable works of wonder. I guess I have somehow learned to shift from the been-there-done-that kind of mentality in traveling.
In my opinion, there’s more to than just seeing and being seen on some fantastic place. It’s more about how the place has affected or changed you.
Horseshoe - Sohoton Cove’s Landmark
As soon as we got through the cove, the guide showed us the only landmark that helps him (and the other locals, as
well) recognize Sohoton Cove amongst the many islets/cliffs and its crevices. It’s a rock with an oversized “stalactite” that barely touches the water. They call it Horseshoe.
Our guide said we must leave Sohoton in a span of 2 hours or else the high tide will flood the cove and we will be trapped inside. It’s the only way in and the only way out of this group of islets. I very much respect the fishermen of Bucas Grande for they know their islands like the back of their hand.
We reached a crevice by some islet and the guides jumped into the water. They say we have already reached Hagukan Cave and it’s time for us to get inside it. Weee!!! In an instant, I was wearing my gears already. I swam around the boat and then into the cave.
We entered through the part of the crevice where the ceiling of the cave and the water level is slightly larger than the size of one’s head. We had to be careful though; there were barnacles that are sharp enough to scratch one’s face. It could be scary to enter for people with
claustrophobia and H2O-phobia combined, HEHE! It was really dark inside. Our only source of light was from the opening of this cave. Inside is a big rock to stand on. It’s a relief for the tiring challenge of treading water. Good thing my friends were all provided with PFDs or life vests. Everyone was having fun swimming in the dark.
I did not see much fish inside, though. I saw a few angel fish who didn’t mind my presence as they seemingly stare at some part of the crevice of the cave.
“Haguk” means to snore in Surigaonon dialect. They say that on the onset of high tide, the opening of Hagukan Cave almost gets flooded. The entry of splashing water plus the strong winds create the sound of a snoring giant. Thus, it was named Hagukan Cave.
We entered another cave smaller than Hagukan. It was not as dark as Hagukan, but it had more visible and beautiful rock formations inside it. The water inside was waist-level. Upon entering the cave thru the water, we climbed up into its elevated chamber of plentiful jugs (large holdings for climbing). It was a steep climb.
Inside Magkukuob Cave
We walked up this steep chamber of jugs
Most of the holds were pointed upwards, but atleast they were not sharp. We climbed up till we realized we were out of the cave and 15 feet above the water! A make-shift wooden ledge was tied to the branches and roots of some trees.
The guides challenged us to jump into the water.
Jump?! Haven’t we done enough jumping in Cagayan De Oro 4 days ago?
My heart was beating faster. Again. The last time I jumped, I was imagining rocks beneath the rapids. I am terrified by these rocks that might knock me off unconscious and eventually make me drown. This time, there were real rocks. Ackkkk!
Jump in a Parabolic Direction
The rocks (or boulders) were part of the island we were standing on and we have to jump away from it. In nerdy terms, we have to jump in a parabolic direction. We should not hit the boulders below us. Like my friends, we took our time to convince ourselves we could jump off safely. My mom was my number one cheerleader. She shouted, “Anak talon ka ha!”
(Daughter, jump… okay!) One guide even pleaded my friend, “Sige na, talon ka
Jumping off a cliff
We ended up 15 feet above the water as we exited the chamber of Magkukuob Cave
(Come on, please jump now.) The guides were hurrying us up because high tide is nearing and we have to leave the area soon. So we all jumped.
I hate to leave Bucas Grande but we have to; or else we will be trapped inside and we will have to wait till the next day for the low tide. I heard there’s still a lot to see in this island. I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Bucas Grande is still a mystery to me despite the handful of caves we've seen today.
We went back to the visitor’s deck to pay appropriate fees (about 2000 pesos all in all). Thanks to Ate Eunor for exuding Surigaonon hospitality, she paid for everything in our stay here at Bucas Grande! We left the island at 4:20pm.
Back to Siargao Island… Dropping by Guyam Island
It was already 6:00pm when we docked at Guyam Island. It was already dark. We were moon bathing instead. My mom bought freshly picked coconuts from the man in the island so we spent some more time feasting on fresh buko (“lubi” in Surigaonon) juice and white
Aerial View of Sohoton
Photo borrowed from Karlo [http://www.xanga.com/rasta_jo]
meat. Ahhh… I still have room for dinner.
The surf behaving badly…
Over dinner, Jing, my surfing tutor, told us we have missed watching the Surfing Competition. It was scheduled tomorrow morning, Sept 30, but the committee decided to hold it yesterday. What?! I was a bit disappointed. All the more I got confused will all these changes in schedules. True enough, the surf breaks in Siargao are feeble and unpredictable. I read that somewhere in the internet. Anyhow, we were told to hurry washing up because the Awarding Ceremony for the Surfing Competition will be held at 8:00pm tonight. It’s already 7:00pm so we better hurry!
’Sorry, but I am not a party person’
The van brought us to Cabuntog Lodge, which is 10 minutes away from our resort. We sat next to where the foreigners were. My travel mates did a good job of finding the right spot. We were right in front of the stage/runway! This is the most strategic location to take pictures of the hunky surfers as they grab their trophies and awards.
After the speeches of the Barbers family and after the Awarding Ceremony, was everyone’s favorite… the Bikini
Open. The crowd was enjoying the event and we partied till midnight. Beach, surfers, drinks, new found friends, loud music, PARTY!!! I said I’m not a party person but I partied hard tonight. Okay, enough already. We need to get some sleep and recharge for tomorrow’s surfing lessons! Yahooo!
There are more photos below