Exploring Siargao and Sohoton Cove (Bucas Grande)

Sugba Lagoon - a visit in Siargao and Bucas Grande
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Did you know that this was actually our second trip to Siargao? The first was for an outreach event in a barangay in del Carmen in 2015. The thing about Siargao is that you won’t get tired going back here again and again. It has that laid-back beach vibe, pristine islands and scenic lagoons, rivers and caves. In this trip, we explored both Siargao and Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande.

We had 2 days here, and this is our itinerary:

Day 1
– Visit Magpupungko Pool, Sugba Lagoon and/or General Luna for surfing

Day 2
– Explore Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande Island
– Island hopping (Naked Island, Daku Island, Guyam Island)

If you have more time, I recommend staying at least 3-5 days in Siargao to explore each tourist and non-touristy attractions you can find here. Anyway, here are the places we visited.

Siargao

Sugba Lagoon, del Carmen

The first time that we visited Sugba Lagoon, there was literally nobody in the area — just islands and the still water. There was a house in sight, but it was empty. I remember asking our guide what the lagoon was called, and he said it didn’t have a name, just “lagoon.”

In this trip, we noticed more tourists in Sugba Lagoon. People swimming, kayaking in the distance, jumping off in the diving board. The empty house we’d seen had been developed to a two-story building with a docking area for boats and restaurants where guests guests can order fresh seafood to be cooked.

I’m the type of person who gets a little bit heartbroken over developments, but this was a rare exception. The changes we’d seen weren’t drastic and didn’t destroy the  simplicity of Sugba Lagoon. It merely allowed it to be more accessible to the public.

Sugba Lagoon in Siargao
Back in Sugba Lagoon. (Photo by Hali)
Sugba Lagoon, del Carmen, Siargao
Hali swimming gracefully. (Photo by Hali(
Sugba Lagoon, del Carmen, Siargao
Green lagoon and islets. (Photo by Hali)
Diving board in Sugba Lagoon, Siargao
Our friend Peng getting ready to jump. (Photo by Hali)

The water in Sugba Lagoon is still as clear as I remembered it. It appeared even more lively with all the people around. Small fishes and fragile jelly fishes swim around the area.

I don’t know how I can describe our second visit to the whole of del Carmen in Siargao without my heart jumping in joy. Hali and I reminisced about the resort we stayed at, how we crossed the sea during low tide to get to other islands, the Sugba Lagoon that was then quiet and mysterious.

Magpupungko Pool

Magpupungko Pool in Siargao
Magpupungko Pool from above. (Photo by Hali)

Magpupungko is a natural tidal pool located inside a resort in Pilar, Siargao. It’s best visited during low tide, where the actual pool itself is visible along with the small rocks that surround the area.

Travel guide and itinerary to Surigao and Dinagat Islands
Small pool in Magpupungko rock pool, Siargao. (Photo by Hali)

I fell in love with Magpupungko Pool 2 years ago. This seems like a fickle thing to say considering that I’d forgotten about Siargao after our trips to several other places in the Philippines, but it was the truth. I loved it again during our trip here. Magpupungko rock pool seems your run-of-the-mill swimming area, but it has its charm that effectively tugs at the heart.

Island hopping in Siargao

We arranged for a 1-day island hopping tour that will take us to Sohoton Cove and then island hopping in Siargao in the afternoon. Naked Island is a round-shaped island with literally nothing but the blue sea and soft sands. Daku Island is said to be the most beautiful of the islands in Siargao, but unfortunately we couldn’t cross to this island due to the waves. Instead, we spent the rest of the afternoon in Guyam Island. Guyam Island has a beach-sand part, but the rest are rocky. There are small pools where you can find small fishes.

Naked Island in Siargao
Sunburnt at Naked Island, Siargao. (Photo by Hali)

Naked Island in Siargao

Guyam Island in Siargao
Guyam Island. (Photo by Hali)
Guyam Island, Siargao
Hali in Guyam Island. (Photo by Hali)

I wasn’t that impressed with the 2 islands we’d been to, but it’s worth noting that I’m a beach person and had been to a lot of beautiful islands in the country so my standards are quite high.

Sohoton Cove, Bucas Grande

If you’re like me, you’ve heard about Sohoton Cove as the place where you can find a stingless jellyfish lagoon. The internet is abound with photos of people gliding smoothly in the water and posing with these creatures.

I wanted to see and experience that for myself, although I realized that Sohoton Cove is bigger than expected and there’s more to it than this lagoon.

Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande
Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande. (Photo by Hali)

Basically, Sohoton Cove is a jungle of waterways where people can easily get lost. Tour guides have adapted a marking system to avoid this — a horseshoe-shaped rock formation marks the entrance to Sohoton Cove, for instance. Obviously, that means there are more places to visit here than just the jellyfish lagoon.

Entrance to Hagukan Cave, Sohoton Cove
Entering Hagukan Cave requires diving underneath this tunnel. This is me getting pulled by the guides. (Photo by Hali)
Inside of Hagukan Cave, Sohoton Cove
The inside of Hagukan Cave is dimly lit by a greenish glow from the entrance. (Photo by Hali)

During our trip, our boat passed by a low cave to get to Sohoton Cove. During high tide, the cave becomes inaccessible. We were lucky that the weather cleared a bit that morning, so the water level was down. We first stopped at Hagukan Cave, where we had to swim underneath to get inside. It reminded me of the novel The Beach. Anyway, I wasn’t a good swimmer so the guides had to pull me. Inside, it was dark and the water glowed with a luminous green.

We then stopped by Magkokoob Cave, where tourists had  to go inside and come outside to a cliff, where a diving board awaits. This is how people get back to the boat. Sounds exciting? Hali thought so. Guess who stayed in the boat and volunteered to take photos.

Small paddle boat to jellyfish lagoon, Sohoton Cove
Small paddle boat to jellyfish lagoon. (Photo by Hali)
Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande
Off to see the stingless jellyfishes in Sohoton Cove.
Stingless jellyfish, Sohoton Cove
Stingless jellyfish! (Photo by Hali)

Our last destination was the stingless jellyfish lagoon. We had to transfer into small boats and paddle our way into the lagoon. The boats can only fit 2 people. The view on the way to the lagoon was as grand as everything else in Sohoton Cove. Lots of clear, green-tinted water and undisturbed flora. We’d reached the lagoon and watched the jellyfishes swimming underneath. Tourists aren’t allowed to swim in the lagoon anymore, but we were allowed to touch the jellyfishes when they come near the surface. They feel like gelatin.

I wasn’t able to swim with the jellyfishes and take some fun photos in the water, but Sohoton Cove definitely exceeded any expectations I had before coming here.

I enjoyed this half of our island hopping trip and would like to go back here again for a longer period.

Island hopping tour rates + other expenses

Here are the island hopping rates (updated as of 2017):

  • Boat rental in Sugba Lagoon – P1600 for 6 people + P200 for every additional person
  • Island hopping in Siargao (Naked, Daku and Guyam Island) – P1500 / island hopping in Siargao + Sohoton Cove – P4000-5000

Aside from these, there are miscellaneous fees for Sohoton Cove for tour guides and use of small paddle boats, which are used to get to the stingless jellyfish lagoon. Prepare at least P350-400 per person for the miscellaneous fees.

If you’re going to surf in Siargao, the usual rate for a surfing lesson is P500 per hour and surfboard rental is P450-600 per day.

Navigating around Siargao costs a few hundreds via a tricycle. It depends on your negotiation skills. If you’re in a group, it’s better to charter a private van.

For complete information about our trip, head on to our 5 days itinerary to Barobo, Dinagat Island and Siargao.

Contact details

  • Kuya Mulo, boat for island hopping in Siargao Island: 0929 467 0505
  • Soccoro Tourism Office (Sohoton Cove): Facebook page/Aga Galanida, officer: 0909 366 1517

 

Do you have other questions? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

What to read next:

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7 Comments

  1. Hi, thank you for sharing this. We are planning to go to Siargao soon. I thought your pictures came out awesome. Could you please tell me what camera you used? Salamat!

  2. HI DO YOU KNOW CHEAPEST HOTEL IN SIARGAO ITS MY FIRST TIME I DONT HAVE ANY IDEA ABOUT IT,, YOU BLOG HELPS ME ALOT THANKS

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