Two and a half hours by a pump boat and we arrive at enchanting Sohoton Caves and Bucas Grande Island. But it wasn’t all fields and roses to get there. We actually had to dig deep to find our marketing skills (and by that I mean Palengke), haggle with locals, tell our roaring appetites to wait a few more hours, deal with broken eye glasses and slippers, climb on cliffs and jump into water, survive a castaway adventure, and endure 6 hour journey on a teeny tiny boat that might break. Phew! Read on to know more about our fortunate and unfortunate adventure!
My friends and I rented a small boat that one of our surf coaches recommended. I think we were pretty much ripped off, so make sure you ask around and check the prices well before booking! We dropped by the local Market and bought some food and supplies, as there were no take out places to pack lunch for us. Sadly, none of us knew how to pick fresh ingredients, buy them or cook- so I’m pretty sure we were also ripped off here too! lol
We paid Php6000 for this teeny tiny boat to take us there. It was soooo small and cramped, and the wooden planks on the chairs were unbelievably painful on our bums! We had to sit on towels or our slippers to ease the feeling. It also took us so much longer to get to the island because the engine of the banca was really lame. And if that’s not enough, we only found out after the trip that our hotel actually offered trips to Sohoton as well- and via Speedboat!!! Oh well, at least we were able to experience “roughing it” for a while! lol
We finally arrive at Socorro, Surigao del Norte a little past lunch. We had to get down, register, pay some tourist taxes and get briefed on our agenda for the day. We also got them to cook our freshly marketed food for us, but we couldn’t eat anything yet, as the tide was slowly rising. That matters a lot because the cove is half submerged in water, so as soon as the tide rises, you can’t get in anymore! After hearing that, we rushed out to another banca and went on our way.
There were tour guides who led us through the different limestone formations, and we got to see awesome stuff like the Horseshoe formation- their only landmark in the maze of caves and cliffs; Hagukan Cave or Snoring cave- named that way because of the sound it makes when the winds and waves collide; and the Magkukob Cave where we found baby bats and started our climb.
This is the part the closes off as the tide rises- good thing we were able to make it with minutes to spare!
In Magkukob Cave, we climbed out of the water through the limestone formation and eventually found a literal light at the end of the tunnel (or in this case, cave!). I was pretty excited and equally freaked out remembering 127 hours (HATE THAT MOVIE!!! IT GIVES ME THE CREEPS!!!!) That light led to a small wooden ledge where each of us had to jump out off to get back into the water and into the boat. I was the first one to jump in and it was soooooooo scary!!! It might not look high in the photo above but it certainly felt like we were leaping out of a 50 story building!!! Totally made the long journey worth it though!
After an hour, we headed back to the orientation area and had our late lunch. We were pretty exhausted on our way home and as luck would have it, that’s precisely the time when our castaway adventure began. No photos because I was glued to my seat with my head under Mikes arm! The winds were so strong and the rain was so hard that I thought our little boat was gonna break! It kept swaying left and right and everything was soaking wet. Plus, because our boat was so lame, it took us about 4 hours to head back home!!! I have severe rain trauma from previous flood experiences, so that did it for me. But a few prayers later the rain stopped, the sun came out and we had this amazing view of the sunset guiding us home. So even with the crazy series of unfortunate events (our flight also got cancelled the next day, and we had to take a Roro to Surigao, land trip to Butuan and finally fly to Cebu from there!), I am still so thankful for this experience and for my awesome friends who went through this with me. Hope you enjoyed our little adventure, and stay tuned for the next! Siargao, you we’re awesome.