Friday, March 30, 2012

journey to Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande, Surigao: how to get there and other secrets

The howling of the waves last night and the thought of a tsunami after an earthquake jolted Siargao (magnitude of 5 in the richter scale earlier that day) left me sleepless. I couldn't wait to run away from the island. 

gameplan: quickest way out of Siargao possible!
habal-habal from Cloud 9 to Dapa (Siargao). Then, motorboat to Socorro en route to Sohoton Cove (Bucas Grande Islands)

google earth shot of Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande Island
I was ready to go and left Cloud 9, Gen. Luna, Siargao at 7:00am to catch the 8:30am boat to Socorro. Thirty minutes later, I arrived in the port of Dapa. I paid Php150.00 (after I haggled in Cloud 9 the initial public offering of Php300.00 by the manong habal-habal driver. hahaha. ang mahal oist! ). The fare was fine with him since I was his first passenger of the day. Unsa ko, lucky charm? ahak. haha

the unique habal-habal of the island. the roof as sun and rain cover that doubles as a rack for surfboards
a circus act! another version of habal-habal! scary potter! haha

With an hour to burn before departure, I did a quick photo walk in the pier. The kids were game enough to pose for me.

The hard knock life.

A local approached me and asked If I was a Japanese national to which I replied "Ne. Ohayo gosaimasu! Onamae wa nan desuka." Seriously, I said no. haha. That was the beginning of my friendship with Bimbo--the man about town in this part of Surigao.

The hundred peso motorboat ride to Socorro took an hour, passing through beautiful islands, a narrow channel before hitting the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.

the very narrow channel. there were two back hoes dredging the area. it appeared to be a widening project.

I headed to the place reserved for me by a good friend and spent the rest of the day catching some sleep. Late in the afternoon, Bimbo hollered from the roadside and invited me for a spin around town.We headed out to the swimming pool then to a nice and quiet beach at the far end of town. It started to rain so we quickly dashed to town just in time for dinner.

For some excellent reasons (which deserve another post. clue: a waterfalls that meets the sea) it took me a couple of days before I finally arrived in Sohoton Cove. Where to sleep in Socorro? Click here.

It was during my third day in Socorro that the trip to Sohoton Cove was finally pushed through. The sea was rough that day but the water became calm as soon as the small banca we were riding entered a beautiful bay with an equally beautiful floating village.

the quaint barangay called Dona Helen

We stopped by two fancy resorts (with snooty caretakers) before we headed to Lake Tiktikan and waited for the rain to stop. But the water was so tempting we jumped at the slightest signal of riot in the water!

Lunch was nothing but the freshest catch of the day! Yum! As soon as the rain stopped, we set out for Sohoton Cove which is just a few minutes boat ride from Lake Tiktikan. Getting a knowledgeable local is very important in this part of the journey because getting stuck inside the cove is the last thing you want to happen.

This is the only access to Sohoton Cove. The current moving outside was very strong one wrong turn of the boatman would mean danger.

Getting there was a maze I stopped making mental notes on which way to pass on the way out. Instead, I just sit steady in the banca and enjoyed the mind-blowing view! I had my camera ready in anticipation of an explosive sight once we get inside the cove! (there was one explosive event too. it's an inside joke. only the group knows. hahaha)

Once inside, pardon the cliche but the silence was deafening. Thick iron wood forest carpets the terrain. The water was calm and clear and blue. But if you ask if I want to live here: NO! it's too eerily beautiful a place.

We checked out Hagukan Cavern--named as such because of the snoring sound inside the cavern during low tide.

My most favorite part of this adventure, cliff diving!

I was actually scared at first so I turned my two travel buddies into guinea pigs. When they popped out alive in the makeshift jumping board, I knew I was ready to go! haha

We entered a cave with amazing stalagmites and stalactites and climbed up the slippery boulder before reaching the other mouth of the cave.

From there, we found the wooden platform where we could jump into the deep blue water.

I couldn't get enough so I had to do the jump a couple of times.

No word can ever contain the beauty of Sohoton Cove. I declared right there and then, Sohoton Cove is more beautiful than Puerto Princesa Underground River primarily because one can swim, jump and shout in Sohoton unlike in the underground river.

We had to go out quickly before the tide turns. Otherwise, we would have to spend the night inside and that would mean no bed, no light, no nothing for the night. Sleeping with crocodiles and pythons was never a part of the itinerary.

stingless jellyfish 

We moved to the cove of the stingless jellyfish. And because it was not their season, only a few made guest appearances.

As it was getting dark, we moved back to Lake Tiktikan where we would spend the evening at the nipa hut (Php250.00/per person/night) by the lake. Tomorrow, at sunrise, we will head to Hayang-gabon (Php200.00) en route to Cantilan (Php80.00).

photos without watermarks are courtesy: James Abogada :)


  1. lovely set Rvs! did you check Crystal & Bolitas Cave? I soo love Sohoton... for me it's the combination of El Nido & Coron Palawan... plus more (adventure and greener back ground).

    1. thanks Nat. wala na. sayang. next time pohon :)

  2. Ahhhhhh the place looks fantastic! I love the part with the rocks under the water clearing.

    Interesting habal-habals. I would love to ride both for experience. Wahahaha. And ang mahal ng 300!!! Kalokah!

    I might be going to Surigao in May but strictly work-related so I don't think I'll have the time to check this out.

    1. sayang naman if missed it. possible ang day trip lang via hayang gabon.
      looking forward to you levitate photos. in a habal habal this time :D

  3. the waters very much remind me of enchanted river in hinatuan.

    1. i'd have to say that this is as mind blowing as enchanted river in hinatuan but way bigger in scale :)

  4. We are planning to go to Sohoton on April/May.
    Do you have contact numbers of the guides during your trip?

    1. so sorry, Tere. i lost my contact information. finding a nice guide in the island should be easy. just coordinate with socorro municipal tourism office


What's your two-cents about this travel adventure and/or misadventure? Do leave a comment here. Thank you.