Surigao del Norte, Philippines

BUCAS GRANDE & SOHOTON COVE, SURIGAO DEL NORTE TRAVEL GUIDE (DIY ITINERARY + BUDGET)

8/26/2018


SOHOTON COVE
1:00 AM - TANDAG TO CLAVER
We traveled to Claver with no sleep at all. Which is why we missed the stop headed to Hayanggabon Port, the port of Claver where tours for Sohoton Cove are available. Instead, we were dropped at Claver Bus Terminal. So we had to travel back to the same old route and ride a habal-habal to Hayanggabon Port.


5:45 AM - HAYANGGABON PORT
The port was filled with pump boats. Our plan was to get on a boat to Socorro, because based on my research, Bucas Grande tours cost less coming from that town rather than in Surigao and Hayanggabon— and it’s one hour away from Siargao. Our budget for the day was roughly 3000PHP per person, exclusive of food. Yes, this day was the most expensive in the trip. (A back story: I contacted one tour that offers Bucas Grande & Sohoton Tour. according to him, it would cost us 3650PHP per person— for just a day trip, because we were paying for the whole boat good for ten people. So I looked for a cheaper alternative which was the tour from Socorro) The local boatmen were offering us 3500PHP for the tour. I was negotiating for 15 minutes, trying to lower their rates. After a long conversation, the boatmen clarified that it costs 3500PHP per boat, exclusive of Sohoton Tour, which will only cost us 1750PHP per person. (A LOT CHEAPER) So we took it.




Sohoton Cove would be the prime jewel of Bucas Grande. In my opinion, it can be associated with Palawan’s Underground River. It has this effect as if you’re traveling into a different place, a different part of the ocean, somewhere secluded and untouched.

The whole scenery was relaxing to the eyes— rock mountains covered with green trees and lush blue water. Aside from the whole ‘underground river’ experience, there are other activities you can do in Sohoton: diving and snorkeling through the coral reefs, swimming with non-sting jellyfish in the Jellyfish Sanctuary of Tojoman Lagoon, hike and visit the Tiktikan Lake or Blue Lagoon, cliff-diving at Magkukuob Cave (you head inside the cave, rock-climb you way up the cliff, and jump to the open water of the cove), and cave swimming with a stalactite ceiling inside of Hagukan Cave.


THE STINGLESS JELLYFISH

Another attraction in Bucas Grande is its no-sting jellyfish. The whole area is surrounded with millions of this specie. Aside from Jellyfish Lagoon in Sohoton, the open water near the caves are filled with jellyfish of all sizes. Our boatman, Kuya Max, told us that area is one of the spots wherein a lot of jellyfish go up. That saved us money rather than go inside Jellyfish Lagoon in Sohoton and pay 100PHP per person!


THE CAVES
Our first stop were the caves. There are a total of three caves in Sohoton. All three shared the same entrance. The Crystal Cave, has a wide floor to ceiling adjustment, composing of large crystal, thus became its name. The second, The Bolitas Cave, requires crawling into small holes. Aside from difficulty of moving, the lack of oxygen would cause discomfort. Although once you’ve reached the end, there is this a large crystal that when flashed with light, can illuminate the whole area.



The caves were interesting especially when the crystal shines. This caves were also a home of the Balinsasayaw bird. It is popular in Chinese cuisine yet one of their expensive food.


ISLAND-HOPPING
The island-hopping originally compose of the Bubon Group of Islets, Tiktikan Lake, Mark-A Island and Isla Noah. The Bubon Group of Islets has 8 islands. These were rock islands with trees growing out of them. Tiktikan Lake involves a 10-minute easy hike with an established trail. If you’re into diving and snorkeling, Mark-A Island is the perfect spot because of its corals and crystal clear waters. Isla Noah is known as another home of non-sting jellyfish.


CLUB TARA
Resorts are also included in the Bucas Grande tour. Tourists may visit the resort for a day-trip fee. Since the tour can be a little jammed-packed for some people, they have provided these resort and tours that would offer an overnight accommodation and a two-day tour. Some of the accommodations are Tiktikan Lake, with the lowest rate of 500PHP per person, depending on the room rate, Kanlunes Resort with room rates starting at 1000PHP, Cinnamon Island Cottages, Hidden Island Resort, and a high-end accommodation, Club Tara.


Club Tara is located outside Sohoton Cove. It is considered as a luxury place to get the relaxing feeling. From afar, the cottages built on stilts with the green background of the trees gave a picturesque scenery and ambiance to the the resort. The notable amenity Club Tara: each room has its own lanai overlooking the sea, and a jacuzzi, again, with a sea-view.

We spent half a day with the tour, and went straight to Surigao City before nightfall.


ITINERARY:
Surigao Del Norte's Sohoton Cove and Bucas Grande is part of our 6D5N Backpacking Surigao del Norte & Surigao del Sur. Click here for the complete itinerary.

DAY 1: BUTUAN-SURIGAO DEL SUR
DAY 2: SURIGAO DEL SUR'S ENCHANTED RIVER & BRITANIA GROUP OF ISLETS
DAY 3: SURIGAO DEL SUR'S TINUY-AN FALLS

DAY 4: Bucas Grande and Sohoton Cove (TANDAG-CLAVER-SOCORRO-SURIGAO CITY)
↠Breakfast: prices ranges from 50-100PHP
Accommodation to Tandag Terminal: 10 minutes via tricycle | 20PHP
Tandag, Surigao del Sur to Claver, Surigao del Norte: 3-4 hours via van | 200PHP | Earliest van leaves at 1AM and the last one leaves at 4PM
Claver terminal to Hayanggabon Port: 40 minutes via tricycle | 80PHP | We overslept. Tell the conductor to drop you off near Hayanggabon port, not Claver terminal.
Bucas Grande Island Hopping and Sohoton Cove: Times may vary depending on your pacing, via boat | 4000PHP | The island hopping costs 3500PHP, if you schedule a Sohoton Cove tour, you need to pay an additional 1000PHP going to Sohoton Cove, we got ours for 500PHP only. Tip: Get the island hopping tour from Siargao. It is much cheaper, and the island hopping (Daku, Naked Island, etc.) are worth your money. 09469898985 - Kuya Max, Boatmant, offeres Socorro/Bucas Grande tours.
Cave entrances: 50PHP | good for three caves.
Hayanggabon Port to Surigao city: 2-3 hours via van | 120PHP | There were vans waiting outsite the port heading to Surigao City.
Surigao Terminal to Accommodations: 20 minutes via multicab | 20PHP | there were multicabs going from terminal to the city proper, we booked a room near the port. Ride one with a signage 'Terminal' or you can hire a tricycle for 50PHP.
↠Dinner: prices ranges from 50-100PHP
Accommodation: ranges from 700-1500PHP | we booked a room at RXY Pension House for 725PHP

DAY 4: 5415PHP for Solo; 2992.50PHP/pax for 2

DAY 5: SIARGAO
DAY 6: SIARGAO-BUTUAN
Click here for the full itinerary.



FOOTNOTES:
Photos taken with Canon EOS 1100D DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm Lens, Samsung S3 GT-I9300 and GoPro Hero 4 Silver. Shot by Cheloi Marasigan & Rae Argallon | Socorro, Surigao Del Norte | June 2016 | Updated August 2018

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