Just like any other families out there, my family’s most awaited part of the year is summer as this is when we get a break from a long school year and enjoy a great holiday getaway with the whole family. Since everyone in the family anticipated for it all year long, we wanted it to be as enjoyable and rewarding as it could be.
So, during our summer holiday and even though my son had school we still managed to escape for a few days to a secluded island, away from our daily schedules and responsibilities. This island escape was the ultimate family holiday idea that we looked forward to. We decided to visit Bucas Grande Islands in Socorro, Surigao del Norte, Philippines. Bucas Grande Island is a group of islands and islets beautifully scattered in a tranquil clear turquoise waters. It is endowed with such untainted magnificence and it is groomed today to become one of the finest eco-tourism destinations in the country.
We traveled about three hours by a private car from Tandag City to Hiyanggabon, Surigao del Norte where we embarked in our boat to the small slice of tropical paradise. All the glorious natural wonders abound: blue lagoon, cobalt-blue water teeming with marine life, wooden seafront beach houses, pure white sand beaches, bountiful jungle, beautiful tropical forest in the hinterlands, lush vegetation on craggy islands, several caves and lakes which are mystical and enchantingly mesmerizing, non-sting jellyfish kingdom, and superb stargazing. For families seeking a totally relaxing and pleasurable holiday experience, Bucas Grande Island is one of my most favorite family destinations.
During the trip, we celebrated my sister’s birthday. We prepared food from home such as: 1 roasted pig, a chocolate cake, spaghetti bolognese, pork adobo, paklay, fruits and drinks and brought it there. We invited the boat men and the staff in tourism office as our guests. It was a happy birthday indeed!
Bucas Grande Island offers many activities that both kids and adults enjoy. Here are the list of activities we did:
1. Exploring Sohoton Cove – Sohoton cove is the masterpiece of Bucas Grande Island. It is only accessible during low tide, as high tide closes the entrance/exit of the cove. We paddleboard in the cove and it took our breath away as we entered in the only entrance and exit of the cove.
Before we reached the entrance of Sohoton Cove, we were greeted with naturally crafted rock formations. They were all beautiful sightseeing. The water is cold and crystal clear. We saw beautiful coral formations and colorful fishes below our boats and made us feel nature at its finest. While we were exploring the cove, our guide showed us the horse-shoe rock, which is the landmark inside the Sohoton Cove. He also showed us the islet with white rock formation. He said that some people believed that it is a place for “not like ours” as they could hear strange sound during the Holy Week season.
Inside the Sohoton, we first stopped in the Hagukan Cave. It is an underground river with very cold water. According to our guide this cave is named from a Visayan dialect Haguk which means to snore and hear a snoring sound while inside the cave.
Our second stop was in the Magkuku-ob Cave. It is also an underground river. Our guide told us that the most exciting part of this cave adventure is the trail up to its exit on the top of the small mountain with a diving platform at the edge. He told us that the only way to exit and get back in the boat is by jumping off the cliff straight to the clear blue water.
We had a beautiful experience exploring the Sohoton Cove.
2. Jellyfish Sanctuary– We hired 4 small boats which were good for 2 to 3 persons, each boat going to the Jellyfish Sanctuary to watch the non-sting jellyfish swimming in gleaming, emerald green water. The sanctuary was surrounded by calm water and virgin forests. We were all fascinated and stunned looking at these lovely sting-less jelly fish swimming and the beautiful coral formations below us. My son really wanted to swim with the jellyfish, but my dad didn’t allow him. He got the chance to hold one of them, anyway. I was amazed by awe-inspiring nature. It was a marvelous and exhilarating adventure!
3. Caving at Crystal Cave – Since I love caves, caving at Crystal Cave was included in our itinerary before we left home. I have been to Hang Sung Sot Cave in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and I’ve been spelunking at the Cave of Kampong Trach in Cambodia. However, this crystal cave gave us so much thrill and we all enjoyed it. We climbed for about 5 minutes uphill and then about 3 minutes downhill to see the crystal cave. It was an extraordinary experience.
4. Boating, island hopping and swimming on a blue lagoon – We enjoyed boating, island hopping and swimming on a blue lagoon. The never-ending turquoise-clear water and the transcending serenity of the entire environment was so enchanting that I felt like I was in a magical beautiful world. It is pristine and it is a paradise! The feeling was surreal and inspiring. I would say, just the lagoon itself is worth the trip.
We stayed at the Hidden Island Resort to make sure that we had a totally restful and quality time with the family. The staff was friendly and accommodating. It has an absolutely welcoming and warm ambiance. It features a dormitory type of room, which can accommodate a family of ten. You can bring your own food there or you can also order food from their restaurant. You can enjoy your dinner or lunch just like at home by gathering and sharing your homemade meals in their kitchen and barbecue facilities. Hidden Island Resort will sweep you off your feet as your view of the resort gets wider and nearer.
I would say, the call to visit Bucas Grande Island once again is irresistible. It is one of the magical places, truly an untouched paradise on Earth which promises truly memorable island hideaways.
Little Lilly Travel Tip:
- There are many other things to do while you are in Bucas Grande Island such as visit the Titikan Lake and explore other caves.
- There is one area in Bucas Grande Island (near the Hidden Island Resort) where you can see loads of non-sting jellyfish when compared to the area near the Tourism office. You can visit this area for free and see plenty of sting-less jellyfish. Just ask the driver of the pump boat and he will bring you there.