Sep 17, 2016

Alluring Wonders of Sohoton Cove Natural Park



Non-stinging jelly fish of Sohoton

Surigao del Norte consist of four islands namely Bucas Grande, Guyam, Hibuson, Kabo and the world famous Siargao. Siargao is well-known for its surfing waves with a reputation for thick, hollow tubes called "Cloud 9". Bucas Grande on the other hand is slowly gaining traction as a tourist destination and draws hundreds of tourist  with its crystal clear lagoons and natural wonders. A visit to Bucas Grande  won't be complete without visiting Sohoton Cove Natural Park and Jellyfish Sanctuary.

Getting Here

From Surigao City to Hayanggabon Port ( Recommended Route)

○ Getting to Surigao City from Manila or Cebu is very easy with Cebu Pacific Air and, Philippine Airlines flying daily to Surigao Airport. After you landed, take a trike to Surigao Integrated bus terminal and take a bus bound for Tandag or take a van to Hayanggabon Port. Travel time is about 1 hour. From Hayanggabon port, charter a boat to Sohoton.

From Butuan City to Hayanggabon Port

○ From Butuan bus terminal, take a bus bound for Surigao City. Take a trike to Surigao Integrated bus terminal and take a bus bound for Tandag or take a van to Hayanggabon Port. Travel time is about 1 hour. From Hayanggabon port, charter a boat to Sohoton.

From Davao City to Hayanggabon Port

○ From Davao City Overland Terminal, take a bus bound for Surigao City. Bus frequency is every 2 hours. First trip is at 7:30 am.

From Davao City to Hayanggabon Port

○ From Davao City Overland Terminal, take a bus bound for Surigao City. Bus frequency is every 2 hours. First trip is at 7:30 am.

Private boat to Sohoton National Park cost around Php 3,500 - Php 4,000 good for 10-12 people.

TONDAN CAVE

Our first stop of the tour is Tondan Cave. Quite excited from the start but it felt short in the end.
I was not amazed and got bored after the tour. The cave is not that huge and you can spelunk it in 5 minutes or less. You might reconsider visiting Bolitas and Crystal cave instead of Tondan. Entrance fee is Php 30.00 inclusive of flashlight, helmet and tour guide.

Small cave in Sohoton

SOHOTON TOURIST CENTER

The original plan was to have our lunch at Cinnamon island but due to lack of time we head straight to Sohoton Tourist Center which is just few minutes away from Tondan. Once we docked we then transferred to a smaller boat to the tourist center. The LGU based tourist center collects fees such as Entrance fee, Environmental, Helmet and life vest usage, Guide Fee, Paddler, Pump boat and docking fee. Check the breakdown of fees below.

Entrance Fee - Php 50.00
Environmental Fee - Php 50.00 ( Local) Php 150.00 ( Foreigner)
Helmet and life vest usage - Php 80.00
Guide fee - Php 333 (165 per guide, 2 guides per boat)
Pump boat - Php 500.00 ( Shared)
Jellyfish paddler - Php 100.00
Docking fee - Php 100.00
 



Sohoton Cove

PADDLING OUR WAY TO THE JELLY LAGOON


Once our names was called we then hop into a smaller boat that can accommodate for two people. You have to paddle your way to the Jelly Lagoon along Tojoman Lake which is 20 min away from the tourist center. According to the paddler, Tojoman comes from the word Tojom that means " Toyom" or sea urchin because the lake is littered with sea urchins way back.

Padding our way to the jellyfish lagoon

DIMINISHING NUMBERS

After 30 minutes of paddle at an intensive pace we finally arrived in Toyoman Lagoon where the spotted jellies are found. They are called Spotted Lagoon Jellies which can leave up to 14 months and one of the prettiest and most recognizable species of jellyfish. They're not invasive nor harmful to humans because they have no tentacles but have oral arms and often keep as pets because of their cute appearance and constant energy. However, we spotted only few because of their diminishing numbers. I'm not sure if it's pollution related but the boatman insist that it is because of the pollution, season and sunscreen lotion. They now prohibits swimming with the jellies. Have few interactions with them including moon jellies.

Don't worry they are safe to hold

Jelly Fish Lagoon

Translucent jellyfish

SOHOTON COVE NATIONAL PARK

Sohoton Cove can only be accessible during low tide. The narrow opening will lead you to a paradise filled with trees along its cliffs and house different species of birds, underwater species, turquoise waters and caverns. The water is quite high so we have to bend down to avoid the rock ceiling from hitting your head. As soon as we got to the cove, our guide showed us the only landmark in the cove to help them navigate. They call it Horeshoe, an oversized stalactite that resembles a foot of a horse.

Sohoton Cove National Park

Horse shoe like limestone

HAGUKAN CAVE

There are 2 small caverns inside with the first being dubbed as the “hagukan” due to the snoring sound it emits as the water slams into the cavern. You can enter it by swimming carefully so your head will not touch the upper portion of the minute entrance. There is a big rock in the central portion inside the cavern where you can step on and take a rest. As light comes in through the entrance, you can witness a luminous green color of the water thereby offering the only chance for dark-skinned visitors to have a fair complexion.

Hagukan Cave  Hagukan Cave

Hagukan Cave

Magkukuob / Diving Cave

Surely, your adrenalin would rise up at the Magkukuob Cave, so named with the bending position you must have to undergo in entering the cave, as you maneuver up rocky steps utilizing stalactites and stalagmites as handrails towards a skylight leading to a wooden platform right on a cliff located 15 feet above sea level. Reminiscing my Siquijor jump.



We don’t have any choice  but to jump. As the saying does “Ladies First” I was first to jump and as I step forward,  I can feel my knees shake a bit.  I regain my composure, summon my courage and some encouraging chant, I finally leap off the platform and landed safely. A self-motivating and rewarding experience I’ve ever done.  We head back to Hayanggabon port and catch a bus bound for Tandag City.  If you have more time to spare you can visit Tiktikan lake and Cinnamon Island which is slowly gaining prominence among travelers.

Sohoton Cove Natural Park is an enchanting paradise filled with gorgeous islets , lagoons and caves .   I’m quite optimistic and hopeful that the LGU  will continue to preserve the park. Destructions is real,  the Mining town is just at Sohoton’s doorstep.

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  1. I love how beautiful the scenery of Sohoton Cove is! And sting less jellyfish! This is my first time hearing that! I never knew there was such a place I've been visiting Philippines twice now, and now, I'll make it my third trip just to see that place!

    Migration Expert Canada

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  2. Hi, id like to ask about the fees. For the boat which is 500 how many persons can share the boat? Like up to how many people? How about the guide and the paddler too?

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    Replies
    1. The boat can accommodate around 5 people excluding the guide, boat operator and assistant.

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