Sohoton National Park
Socorro, Surigao del Norte
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The Philippines boasts of a cluster of islands rich in biodiversity where different species of marine organisms are endemic to this country. This is true to Sohoton, Socorro, Surigao del Norte. The area screams adventure and teems with ethereal beauty of nature.
We skirted along Sohoton Bay and finally end up at Bucas Grande Islands where activities involve spelunking and swimming. So it was just befitting that our first stop was Sohoton Gamay, the home of Crystal and Bolitas Caves.
Before entering the caves, you need to register first and pay the entrance fees (P50 for adults and P10 for kids ages 10 years old and below). It is inclusive of tour guide fees (you may opt to give a tip if you want) and protective gears (helmets) & flashlights (to be distributed once you are at the entrance of the cave). They are open daily from 5:00am to 7:00pm. Contact Person is Lorna Artigo 09501785255 / 09474807077.
The path going to the caves definitely involves trekking. Hiking through this mountainous area of Sohoton is an incredible stroll across stunning landscapes for thrill seekers. An abundance of flora and fauna embellished the entire surroundings - colorful flowers in full bloom paint the place whilst birds chirp in perfect harmony.
The first few steps inside the cave was undemanding but as you go deeper, it was already pitch black. Hence the use of the flashlight. This cave holds crystalline stalagmites & stalactites and balinsasayao birds. There were numerous holes on the ceiling resembling a secret passage but in reality they are home to countless wild bats who seemingly squirm as they are hit by the brightness of the light emitted by the flashlight.
As a reminder, you are not allowed to touch the crystals because they would tend to lose their glimmer upon contact with people.
Unfortunately the other cave (Bolitas Cave) was temporarily impenetrable while we were there due to high tide and heavy rains.
After Sohoton Gamay, we proceeded to Tiktikan Lake (derived its name from a local fish called Tiktikan) - a paradise of its own. Upon registration, you have to pay the environmental fee of P25 (8 years and above).
The lake, situated at the core of the island is hidden behind lofty mountains; blanketed by tall and towering trees. While treading the short trail towards the lake (ascend and descend), we were swaying with the breeze as the sweet smell of the mountain permeated the atmosphere. And by the time we reached the resting place, it was pure nature bliss.
You can kayak your way to the other side of the lake by paddling smoothly on the green lagoon or simply sit down and enjoy the impressive vista of the steep sided landforms.
Apart from kayaking at the lake, you can also dive and swim at a designated villa near the registration booth where a diving board awaits tourists and locals alike.
There are islands in Sohoton Bay which have shallow, submerged sandbars in between; making it difficult for the pump boat to pass, but we slowly drifted triumphantly out to sea.
We girdled our way towards Sohoton Cove and passed through an islet where the white sandy beach hollers us to stop. The place is absolutely a nirvana because of the crystal clear waters, white powdery sands and playful waves. We were enjoying a little solace while swimming at the incredible water colors of pastel blue.
Our next stop was Club Tara Resort where tranquility breathes its existence through the stillness of the sea, placid environment and exceptional villas. The serenity of the place and the mesmerizing views will forever haunt you as if begging you to come back endlessly.
Tourists are charged P20 (Day Use/Entrance fee) and free for kids aged 7 and below.
Villas are categorized into 2 types:
Family - 8-16 people P1000/head/day
Jacuzzi Type - good for 2 people P6500/day inclusive of breakfast; P1500/extra person
You may contact them via:
After the much needed dip at Club Tara Resort, we continued our journey to the main attraction - Sohoton Cove National Park.
Registration is a must before entering Sohoton Cove for the proverbial orientation and of course paying the required fees. Entrance fee is P100/person and P800 for the Sohoton Cove Eco-Tourism Tour Fee (maximum of 8 persons/banca). Paddle boating at the Jellyfish Sanctuary (formerly Tojum Lagoon) is P100/trip (single person only).
After being officially registered, we sailed our way towards the tour guide station for our protective gears and our assigned tour guides. Our quirky tour guide Rene gave us a rundown of what to expect inside the cove.
The cove can only be entered during low tide due to its very low opening and narrow entrance. In fact you have to lower your head so as not to hit any of the stalactites once you step into this tunnel-like passage.
As you navigate through the islets, there is a single landmark that one has to be mindful of - the “horse shoe” which is a rock formation barely touching the water inside Sohoton Cove. It serves as the guiding “rock” to not get lost inside the maze-like routes.
There is also an enchanted cliff where fishermen said to have heard a church-bell like sound echoing throughout the cove between 1am to 2am thus given the name.
The cove is said to be home of the country’s most durable and hard wood which is “Magkono” - aptly called as the ironwood tree. Cutting of the said tree is strictly prohibited though most of the times these trees are being cut secretly while authorities are said to be “not looking”.
You will also find pitcher plants here which according to our guide is a carnivorous plant because it preys on insects and closed in for the kill. It resembles a pitcher hence the name.
He mentioned that the cove is composed of seven islets with two fascinating caves: the “Hagukan” or snoring cave (haguk is a local term of snoring) and the “Magkukuob” which is the diving cave.
It was said to be named “Hagukan” because as the water and air collides inside the underground chamber, it creates a sound resembling a man’s snore - loud and eerily noisy. It can only be reach if you dive and submerge yourself (hold breath for 8 seconds) towards the cave. Rene added that the prominent character that separates this cave from other caves is the brackish water that is said to be luminous - making one’s skin glow underwater like neon light sticks. He even joked that since I am dark skinned, I must come inside so I can have a fair skin for a few moments. But nah I bailed out. Laughs.
Magkukuob cave is not for the faint hearted as well. It involves wading yourself towards the narrow entrance of the cave where you have to walk like a duck and stand breast-high in the water. Inside the cave are stalagmites forming human figures that our guide referred to as “rebulto,” or religious statues.There are also fruit bats on the ceiling of the cave.
Our guide mentioned that supposedly the only way out is through an opening above the cave floor where you have to climb your way towards the exit. Just outside the cave opening at the top is a diving board perched on a cliff. It is where tourists have to jump back to the waters. But it was under construction so we wade back from where we entered. And yes I did breathe a sigh of relief. Thank you very much! Chuckles.
Unfortunately, it was not the season for stingless jellyfish so we opted out of this activity. (July and August are the best months to visit)
However, we’re still lucky because outside the sanctuary while we were striding down shorelines, we were able to get hold of a different type of stingless jellyfish (transparent). It has been known that Sohoton is home to 2 types of stingless jellyfish: the golden brown / orange translucent ones called “spotted jelly” (jellyfish sanctuary) and the transparent “moon jelly” (wild and roaming freely within Sohoton bay).
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What a stunning view! I enjoyed our tour of Sohoton. There's a lot of surprises in store. The tours are well organized and the guides were all helpful and friendly. Kudos to the tourism office for taking care of this gem and maintaining the order and cleanliness.
The water is so unbelievably clear! Very calm too.
This is where we saw and swam with the non-sting jellyfish. What an experience! 🏻
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"NGA-NGA" that was my first reaction when I saw this enchanting place. I rented a boat for 4,000 just to tour me here. The bangkero told me to bring food kasi wala nagbebenta doon. I brought my waterproof dry bag with some food enough to survive like jellyace, sandwich, and biko; one of their delicacies. I had a short chat which I usually do everytime I travel to different places. He shared some stories about the place. He said that he met his FOREVER in Sohoton. I was intrigued so I probe haha so,dito mo natagpuan forever mo? He said Yes, sir turista din sya tapos nasiraan yung bangka na sinakyan nila ako nag rescue. And I replied "Wow! so this place is very significant for the both of you. "Oo sir, pinangalan namin ang lugar na ito sa panganay namin". I was really touched and moved by their stories. On our way, I saw some rock formations. The Torquise water got my attention. I did cliff Jumping, Snorkeling in our two hour stay here. So guys, if you are looking for your "FOREVER" maybe this is the right place you to search for happiness. I didn't eat the packed lunch kasi nabusog na ako sa istorya nila. Kakakilig lang hahaha.#MAYFOREVERPALA
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The Sohoton Cove tour is something that should be included in everyone's IT when in Surigao. Winner sa ganda!
We were already staying in General Luna in Siargao Island so we just decided to rent a boat to bring us there. It wasn't cheap at malayo ha! 3.5k or 4.5k ata yun at 2 hours each way. Bongga! Pero kasama na yung island hopping sa Siargao. Our other option was to go to Dapa, ride a public boat to Socorro then hire another boat that'll take us to Sohoton Cove. Mas hassle kaya dun na kami sa una.
Pag dating sa Sohoton meron tourism office. Meron discussion kung ano meron sa lugar na yun at magkano ang tour. We knew that unlike in other places tour rates here are not fixed/standardized kaya super pa-cute este paawa kami para makatawad to the point na napapakamot na si kuya sa ulo nya. Hahahahaha! Ayun P900++ daw kaya gora na!
We were asked to transfer to a smaller boat for the tour proper. You'll see beautiful rock formations, lush greenery & crystal clear water all throughout. The Horse Foot rock formation is the marker that we're near the cave's entrance. Kaya pala Sohoton kasi susuot ka sa butas para makapasok sa loob, as in yuyuko talaga para di mauntog sa bato. At yung lang ang daanan papunta at palabas ng cave. So pag high tide walang tour na nagaganap.
First stop is Hagukan Cave. "Haguk" means to snore. Yan ang sabi ni kuya guide ayaw nya ng hilik snore daw. Spokeneng dollar sila dun eh! Hehehehe! So yun nga meron daw snoring sound pag humahampas yung tubig sa mga bato dun sa cave na yun. Sobrang liit ng entrance kaya dapat nakahiga (floating) tapos tutulak na lang kami papasok sa cave. Parang patay lang ang peg! Okay naman mag-swimming dun kasi maligamgam ang tubig at walang araw kasi nasa loob nga ng cave di ba! Ahahahahaha!
Magkuku-ob Cave is next. Not paying attention na naman ako kaya di ko alam bakit yun name ng cave. Pero eto na yung pinaka-exciting part, CLIFF JUMPING! Woohoo! Pangarap ko talaga mag-cliff jump after manood ng Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Parang ang saya lang! Before going inside the cave, our guide asked us if we're really gonna jump coz if not, we can just move on to the next activity. Aba, minamaliit ni kuya ang kakayahan namin ah. Lol! Kaya sabi namin OO TATALON KAMI! Tapos pag dating namin dun meron na kami nakita isang girlet hindi na tumuloy di daw nya kaya. Waaahhhhh! Nakakaloka! Go pa rin kami. Para makapunta sa platform may spelunking-trekking-hiking munang magaganap. Sakto lang naman ang difficulty level. Hindi super dali pero hindi rin naman sobrang hirap. Eto na lang tatalon na lang ako sa cliff kesa bumalik ako pababa sa parehong daanan. Ganun! Gets nyo? Mga 15 mins. lang naman yung trek. Eto na nasa platform na kami, pag tingin sa baba SHET NAKAKATAKOT AYOKO NA!!! From the boat it looks super easy but it was really a different story when we were up there. Good thing we were the only people there at that time, coz it took us forever before we finally jumped. If only you can see the videos & pictures we took, maiiyak kayo sa katatawa! Pero ayun nakatalon din! Di ko akalain kinaya ko ang 12 feet! Sobrang saya! Sarap sana mag take two kaso kapagod ang spelunking so wag na lang.
Third & last stop would've been the jelly fish sanctuary pero ayaw na namin kasi 1) sobrang tagal namin sa cliff tinanghali na kami 2) takot kami sa jelly fish kahit pa stingless daw yun. Nakakita nman na kami nun sa aquarium. Hahahaha! 3) gutom na gutom na gutom na kami!
Walang makakainan sa Sohoton kaya magbaon kayo, okay?! Saging at tubig lang ang dala namin kamusta naman diba!? 11am na kami natapos then 2 hours pabalik ng Gen Luna derecho island hopping pa. Hectic pero ENJOY! ️
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