Sunday, May 01, 2011


A regular feature of the Annual National Convention of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines which is held in a different diocese every year is a visit to the tourist spots of the host diocese. This year’s convention was held in Surigao City. Bishop Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao spared no efforts in making the whole convention memorable. The place selected for the tour after the convention was the Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande with overnight stay at the Hidden Island Resort and a tour to Siargao to see the Cloud 9 surfing area.

Bucas Grande island is part of the Siargao islands. The whole island is composed of one municipality called Socorro and it is famous for its Sohoton Cove. Sohoton cove is a lagoon which has only one entrance and exit and is accessible only during low tides. One has to pass through a cave entrance about forty meters long with stalactites hanging low on its ceiling that one has to be careful not to get hit while passing through it on a motorboat. Inside the cove are islets about nine of them, I heard the tourist guide say, with rocky forests, wild orchids and pitcher plants abounding. Once you get inside the cove, the place looks so tranquil that the hills surrounding the cove are clearly reflected on the placid waters. One is just awed by the sheer beauty and peacefulness of the place.

At the Visitors Center near the entrance of the cove, we had to register and pay the mandatory fees. We also had to take smaller bancas since our service boat could not even get near the Visitor Center since it was just big.
We have two stops inside the cove: the Hagukan and the Magkukuob caves. The entrance to the Hagukan cove was from the sea. On really low tides there is a space just enough that your head could pass through without diving into the water. This time, we had to dive down in order to get inside the cave. Since it was pitch dark, I did not know how far I had to dive before getting inside the cave. I was pulled up by the guide just in time that I was almost losing my breath. We had to find a rock inside the cave where we could stand to take a rest. Facing the entrance of the cave we could see a silhouette of green light which after some time of adjustment helped us to make out the contours of the cave. There were just a few of us who dared to get inside the cave.
The second stop was the Magkukuob cave. The entrance was also by the side of the sea. This time we didn’t have to dive into the water to get inside. The water was just above our waistline at the entrance. But then we have to dock as the passage was narrow. We then had to climb out through the rocks and come out by the side of the hill facing the sea where the only way to get out was to jump into the water. Looking down at the water, it looked so high and the water so deep that I felt afraid. But the prospect of retracing our steps back inside the dark cave and climbing down the rocks was more formidable. So I had to gather my courage to jump down to the water. Bishop Cabajog who also went through it experienced cold feet upon seeing the height. He was the last one to make the plunge but not until the guide grabbed him by the side and both of them jumped into the water.
The guide though pointed us to the jellyfish sanctuary where one can find millions of non stinging jellyfishes but we did not go there anymore.
For back packers or small groups, the best way to go to Sohoton Cove is by way of Hayanggabon, Claver, Surigao del Norte which is one and a half hour ride by bus from Surigao City. From there one can rent a boat to Sohoton Cave. The boat rental for a whole day tour is 2,500 for maximum capacity of 10 persons. Rate for the tour guide is 300 per day and about 850 mandatory fees good for 10 persons. Call Dodo Hinzon Ajoc of the Sohoton National Park at 09394235793 for arrangements. If you stay at the Hidden Island Resort they can arrange also for a day tour to Sohoton Cove. If one is coming from Siargao, you may also arrange for a boat to bring you to Sohoton.

Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande

Getting on board the boat that would bring us to Bucas Grande.

Members of the CLSP inside the boat which was made available for us by one of mining companies operating in Surigao.

Members and Marriage Tribunal having a fun day on board with host Bp. Yiet Cabajog (right)

The waters were so serene during our trip to Bucas Grande.

Another pose with Bp. Yiet.

The Visitor Center of Sohoton Cove

Going to the entrance of the Sohoton Cove.

Navigating through the entrance of the cove or lagoon.

Very peaceful sights inside the lagoon.

At the entrance of the Hagukan Cave.

At the exit of the Magkukuob cave where one has to jump into the water.

Bishop Yiet was helped by the guide to jump to the water after some period of hesitation.

Sunset at Bucas Grande

Approaching the port of Dapa in Siargao.

There was a Gamefishing Tournament going on in Siargao when we visited the place.

The parish church of Dapa.

Inside the church of Dapa.

We were treated for snacks upon arrival at the convent of Dapa but which was already a heavy meal.

At the Cloud 9 Surfing area in General Luna

A posterity pose at the surfers lookout area

The waves at the surfing were mild at this time of the year.

The facade of the parish church of General Luna.

The altar of the church of General Luna.

The original facade of the church of General Luna has just become a part of the wing of the church as they have expanded the church.


Islandvacations said...

Glad to know that you had visited Bucas Grande-my island home and visited our flagship tourist attraction, the Sohoton Cove.

Patricio Pantheleon said...

Your adventure was quite the trip. I bet it will be better if you're cruising it with your very own motor boat in the philippines. The possibilities are endless and the fun is just the same or maybe even better.