Bucas Grande Island – Where Is It?
Bucas Grande Island is dubbed as all-in-one tourist destination for reasons that it does not only host a variety of tourist spots, natural attractions and world-class resorts ideal for island getaways but it is the home of people helping people. The 12,445-hectare island covering the lone municipality of Socorro is situated in the northeastern part of the Province of Surigao del Norte, Mindanao Island, Philippines with its town center openly facing the Pacific Ocean having the geographical coordinates of 9° 37′ 17″ North, 125° 58′ 0″ East.
For those who are sill unfamiliar with this province in Mindanao Island, Surigao del Norte is composed of 19 municipalities and 1 city scattered in 3 major island groups namely, the mainland, Siargao Island and Bucas Grande Island . . .
Bucas Grande Island – Why Visit It?
Tourists, local and foreign alike, kept rolling to Bucas Grande Island for 3 compelling reasons:
1. Its Variety of Natural Attractions
Being a native of the place, let me take you to a tour of the various natural attractions in Bucas Grande Island with my Nikon D 7000 DSLR camera and the HD Pro Hero wearable camera that I won in the contest sponsored by my esteemed Canadian travel blogger couple Dave and Debb Corbeil of the The Planet D in tow. Hence, relax, hold your breath and take your most precious time touring with me.
Our first stop is the Sohoton Cove, the most renowned among the tourist spots in Bucas Grande Island frequented by local and foreign tourists alike, which is accessible via a lone entry and exit point dubbed Sohoton Cave passable only during low tide. Nothing beats the thrill and excitement upon entering the 60-meter cave entrance . . .
Once inside, your eyes would surely be captivated by the islets floating like dish gardens arranged along waterways . . .
And the Dagongdong Rock Formation, named after the dagongdong plant thriving on its mid portion more than a century ago with its falling leaves being mobbed by birds while still on air and by fishes as it dropped into the water, would surely not escape your attention . . .
Your adrenalin starts to rush up as you enter the Hagukan Cave situated in one of the islets named after the snoring sound it produced while the volume of air escape out of the pinched entrance as the water starts to recede during low tide . . .
Inside the cave, you can stand on a rock platform and savor the luminous surrounding produced by the light from the narrow entrance and the sparkling stalactites and stalagmites inside . . .
But surely, your adrenalin would rise up more 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 spotlight and into the diving board. But lo and behold, the height is so deceitful as it would seem you are gazing at the ocean from the window of the plane, hence, it would take time for the less adventurous ones to recite The Lords Prayer before gaining the composure to jump into the azure waters . . .
You would really want to stay longer inside the Sohoton Cove but the thought that you might be caught with the high tide and, hence, be trapped inside would make you jump overboard the boat and heed the prodding of the tour guide that it is time for you to go out . . .
As you reached the Sohoton Tourist Assistance Center, you need to transfer to a paddle boat that would take you to the Jellyfish Kingdom and get yourself contented on swimming with the smack of Jellyfish . . .
The Tiktikan Lagoon situated within the vicinity of the Sohoton Cove is surely a must visit site . . .
But the visit to the Bolitas Cave near Tiktikan Lagoon, named after the perfectly spherical ball bearing-like objects scattered on its floor, is the most adventurous one . . .
A trip to the seaside waterfalls found on the western side of Bucas Grande Island dubbed as Magkahuyog Falls and coined from the Surigaonon term huyog which means fall, is an added attraction . . .
It is high time to go to the Socorro town center . . .
Take a quick dip or a languorous swim at the warm, crystal clear sea waters of Puyangi White Sand Beach and bathe on the cold spring situated on the seashore . . .
Capping the Bucas Grande Island tour is a visit to the Kapihan View Park, a vantage point atop the highest peak of the island and where you can savor the 360 degree view of the surrounding islands and islets dotting the Pacific Ocean, the Hinatuan Passage and Surigao Strait, a perfect venue for a sunset, moonlight and star gazing trip.
2. Its World-Class Facilities
Bucas Grande is home to magnificent resorts with amenities and services at par with international standards. Club Tara Resort in the vicinity of the Sohoton Cove is famous in this part of the Philippines as much for its inspired sceneries as for its world-class facilities and convenience-oriented, comfort-laden and pleasure-bearing amenities…
Meanwhile, the Hidden Island Resort found in Barangay Dona Helene adjacent to Barangay Sudlon, where Sohoton Cove is situated, proudly blends among the floating dish garden-like islets dotted on azure seas.. .
Nevertheless, if you are a budget traveler like me, you may opt to stay at the Island Vacations Country Inn situated near the Socorro Port. Not only does it have very affordable rooms with first class toilet and bath facilities, but it offers free Wifi wireless internet connection, the only tourist-related facility offering such service in Bucas Grande Island . Moreover, its proprietor also operates the Island Vacations Travel And Tours.
3. Its People Helping People
The populace of Bucas Grande Island are noted for nurturing the Filipino tradition of bayanihan or helping one another. If you happen to visit the place by July, you can observe each and every able-bodied Socorronhon leaving the privacy of their lives and offer their services for a period of 30 straight days in the construction of houses and collective farming activities with the house and farm owners shouldering only the food and materials costs while the labor is offered free. But what makes the Bayanihan or Tinabangay in Socorro extra ordinary is the fact that it was not born out of mere tradition but as an offshoot of the 1924 Colorum Uprising, the details of which shall be the subject of my future post. All the facets of the month-long Tinabangay activities are being depicted by dancers with colorful costumes participating in the annual Tinabangay Festival held every 22nd day of February in time for the Socorro Day Celebration . . .
Bucas Grande Island – Who Went There?
Despite the bad publicity about Mindanao Island as a bandits’ lair but local and foreign tourists continue to visit Bucas Grande Island for the reason that it is found in the northeastern most tip of Mindanao while the not-so-peaceful places portrayed in the media are situated on the southern most part of the 94,631 square kilometer-island considered as the 19th largest in the world. In fact, the nimble expedition ship MV Clipper Odyssey had docked at Sohoton Bay with its European tourist-passengers savoring the beauty of Sohoton Cove.
Moreover, Sohoton Cove was chosen as a filming location of the episode of Asian Treasure, the popular GMA 7 teleserye . . .
And the most recent show business personality visiting Bucas Grande Island was no less than the beauteous Jessa Zaragoza who serenaded his fans with vocal renditions during the June 19, 2011 Socorro Annual Town Fiesta Celebration . . .
Bucas Grande Island – How To Get There?
Bucas Grande Island can be reached through a combination of air, land and sea transportation.
Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific Air has direct flights from Manila to Surigao City. There is also a Cebu Pacific Air flight from Cebu to Siargao Island.
From Surigao City airport, you may take a multicab ride for the Surigao City center, drop by at the Public Market and walk towards Pier 2 where mororized passenger bancas for Socorro are available. Otherwise, from the airport, you can walk your way to the Integrated Terminal, take a bus or van bound for Tandag or Cantilan and drop at the Hayangabon Port within the jurisdiction of the town of Claver. If you come from places in the Mindanao mainland, you can drop at the junction in Barangay Bad-as, Placer and take a ride to Barangay Hayangabon.
Meanwhile, after landing at the Siargao Airport, you may opt to take passenger vans or tricycles to the Port of Dapa where motorized passenger boat for Socorro are docked.
Fom the Port of Surigao, you can ride the motorized banca bound for Socorro leaving Surigao City at 12:00 noon at 2.5 hours, more or less, travel time with the fare of PhP 200.00. Meanwhile, there are 2 motorized boat trips per day in Hayangabon Port leaving for Socorro at 11:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon. On the other hand, there are also 2 trips available per day from the port of Dapa to Socorro, the first being at 7:30 in the morning and the 2nd at 4:00 in the afternoon. The boat fares from either Hayangabon or Dapa Ports to Socorro is Php 100.00 and travel time for both destinations is 1 hour, more or less. You may also opt to hire special boat trips to the various tourist destinations in Bucas Grande Island straight from the ports of Surigao City, Hayangabon and Dapa.
Bucas Grande Island – Final Thoughts
Tourists, especially the urbanites who want to have a reprieve from the hustles and bustles of city life,
flock to areas possessing a beautiful amalgamation of natural grandeur and man-made majesty. Most of them prefer to visit a variety of attractions but the time and cost involved in doing so hampered their desires.This is due to the fact that, more often than not, a certain kind of attraction is found in one locality while attractions of another type are situated in places far away from the first destination, hence, most of the vacation expenses are eaten by traveling costs. As an offshoot, visitors tend to look for areas that would certainly qualify as all-in-one tourist destination. In this regard, Bucas Grande Island has steadily become a by-word and must-visit area among seekers of best vacation spots in this part of Mindanao Island, Philippines.