Islands and Beaches
Sohoton Cove and Lagoon: Take Two!
Surigao del Norte
Ida Damo | Mar 26, 2014
Sohoton is part of the Bucas Grande Islands in Socorro, Surigao del Norte. No matter how many times I visit Sohoton, I always find myself enchanted by it. Sohoton has cast a permanent spell on me.
Its blue green crystal clear water allows you to catch a glimpse of the lush coral gardens in its bed. As your boat glide on the water, the sight of different shades of green from the surrounding forests on the isles soothes your eyes and calms your soul.
Sohoton is a sanctuary -- for the two species of hornbills, green sea turtles, fishes, corals, stingless jellyfishes, as well as the tired human.
Yet in this serene sanctuary lies adventure.
Hagukan Cave got its name from the snoring sound ("hagok" in Visayan) it makes when the water goes in and out of the cave. You swim your way in and wonder at the stalactites and stalagmites.
A big rock formation at its center serves as a perch for non-swimmers. Make sure that you go there when it's low tide or you won’t be able to gain entrance to the cave.
Still another caving adventure awaits you. Magkokoob Cavern’s stalactites and stalagmites riddle its entrance, making the climb to its diving platform a challenge.
The sight of how the diving platform towers over the water might turn your knees to jelly. But jumping into the water is a must: it’s the easier exit rather than going through to the cave and back from where you came in.
Just jump in, swim, and enjoy the cool water. Go back to your boat with your thirst for adrenaline satisfied. Then it's back to communing with Sohoton’s peaceful environment.
On my take two, it was sad that we weren't able to visit its jellyfish sanctuary because it was off-season. But I did get to see them the first time I was there. (Read our related article.)
Sohoton Park is a protected area. Let's do our share in protecting and nurturing this incredible yet fragile environment by simply following the dictum: Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.
Until then, there’s going to be Sohoton Takes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and more for me.
Photo credits: Aerial photo of Bucas Grande Islands by Esteban Creus, rest of the photos by Len Marcelo Jingco and Ida Nanette Damo.
What To Expect and Bring:
Head gear and life vest is provided for by the park. Bring sunblock/sunscreen with SPF 100.
Bottled water is a must but don't throw them anywhere.
Coffee and snack food is available at the Park Rangers station. So are souvenir shirts.
Lunch is to be arranged with the park rangers ahead of time because the wet market is 30 minutes away by boat.
If you're planning on staying overnight at the park rangers station, inform them immediately. Bring your own beddings.
The nearest resort is Club Tara and the rangers can help you arrange your accommodation with the resort.
Boat rental in and around the park is Php 500 which includes two park guides. Maximum heads per boat is 10.
How to Get There:
The Sohoton Lagoon is in Bucas Grande Islands, Surigao del Norte. It's an 8-hour road trip from Davao City.
Philippine Airlines flies daily to Davao from Manila and Cebu. Others may opt to fly from Manila to Surigao City or Butuan City to get to the port of Hayanggabon in Claver, Surigao del Norte.
Bus fare is Php 500 from Davao City to Butuan, and from Butuan City to Surigao City is Php 195.
It takes 45 minutes to an hour from Hayanggabon to Sohoton Lagoon by boat.