The island of Siargao in the Philippines is immensely popular. The island is world famous among surfers and gradually the foodies and the ‘Eat, Love, Pray’ population are also finding their way to Siargao. The range of activities on Siargao is a long list that can be found everywhere on Google. I’m going to talk about the Bucas Grande Tour which goes a bit beyond most commercial trips.
Bucas Grande in Socorro
What to bring?
You’re basically out for a whole day. From morning to evening you’ll find yourself mostly on a boat with a gnawing engine sound that sails between the Bucas Grande islands of Siargao. I advise you to bring earplugs if you want to survive Asia without permanent hearing damage. Furthermore, water shoes are highly advisable to bring on your trip. You visit places that can only be reached in high tide. Once in a while you will be asked to get out of the boat and help the boatsmen, so you’re going to be standing in the water close to sharp coral. Although water, coffee, tea and small snacks are included, we always bring our own drinks and snacks. You never know what will happen and being ‘over-prepared’ is better than being ‘under-prepared’ in Socorro.
During the day you will go in and out of the water a lot. Make sure you bring a good quick-drying towel. When you have your own snorkel, it’s better to bring it with you. We have done too many snorkel trips with the cheap and bad equipment of the organizations. In the evening after sunset it can cool down quickly and a cool breeze will give you goosebumps. Be sure to bring a sweater or vest to wear around nighttime. You also have to take the boat back to your resort in the chilly dark.
In terms of gear, it’s best to bring a camera that is waterproof. A waterproof backpack is needed because you’re going in and out of the boat and several times your backpack will be very close to the water surface.
- Water shoes
- Drinks and snacks
- Microfibre towel
- Sweater or hoodie
- Waterproof camera
- Waterproof backpack
Bucas Grande Tour
Caves in Socorro
The Bucas Grande tour starts early in the morning in Siargao and takes you to a bay that can only be reached during high tide. Here you will be met by your guide who will take you to some caves. Make your way through the humid environment and stare at the stalagmites and stalagtites. Keep your attention because little bats can zoom past your head. When you get back from the cave, take the time to admire the surroundings. You are in one of the most beautiful destinations in the Philippines!
Your boatsman will probably put some pressure on your group to move on as soon as possible. Because the captain only has a small time window to take you to Tiktikan Lake. Here you can swim in clear blue water, check your balance on the ropes or seek out the adrenaline on the six-metre high plank from which you can dive into the water.
Protip! Ask your skipper if there’s time to walk to the neighbouring lake. About five minutes further you will find a beautiful lake where there are hardly any people. Take the time to dive into the beautiful water on your own!
One of the highlights of the tour is undoubtedly the Sohoton Cove. Upon arrival it immediately becomes clear that this is a tourist attraction. In the middle of nature there’s a pontoon built with a homemade lobby where you have to register. Afterwards, your group will be expertly escorted to your boat where a boatsman and two guides will accompany you.
Besides a ride through beautiful nature you will also get the chance to swim under rocks after which you will reach a cave. Once you’re there you’ll soon find out why this cave is so famous. When you let some water move, it is as if the water radiates a green bright color!
Just like your previous destination, there’s a tight schedule here. Your next schedule is only about five minutes away. Again the boat stops in front of a cave. This time you need your water shoes! Glide right in to them and jump into the water because you’re going for a little walk through the water and into a cave. Only your guide has a flashlight so create a straight line with your other group friends to minimize the risk of accidents. At the end of the short walk you also have to climb a little. According to the instructions of your guide, you will climb about five meters up in the dark. Be careful and take your time! As a reward you may jump six meters down into the clear water!
Protip! Afraid of height? Stay in the boat until your group returns.
After your return, you may swap to a smaller boat. In pairs you will be guided to a closed lake that’s only accessible at high tide. We were a bit behind schedule and as a result we had to help our own boat into the remote lake because the tide was too low. The ride with the boat is in itself a very peaceful experience. No engine, just your boatsman and an paddle. Upon arrival the total peace and quiet takes over. A clear blue lake with little yellow boats of other tourists and of course…. the yellow jellyfish!
Too bad we had cloudy weather, but the child inside of us appeared when we jumped into the water to play with the yellow jellyfish. They don’t hurt you, they don’t sting you and they are rather curious who you are. A bit like the quokka but underwater! As you may see below, I had a great time.
An exotic afternoon
After a nice lunch at the Enchanted Cove Resort, the tour continues. Your next activity is snorkeling about five minutes from the resort. It’s important to know that they used to fish here with dynamite. This means that you can still see the damage. Bleached coral is lying upside down in places where it shouldn’t be etc. Still, while snorkeling you can see some species that you can’t see everywhere! We saw sea snakes during our swim and had a chat with a lost jellyfish.
Time flies when you’re going from one place to another. The sun will probably be a bit lower and it’s time to end the day. To celebrate the dipping sun you’ll go to an uninhabited island where you have a spectacular view of the sunset. You dock and the crew will immediately go to work to get everyone a fresh coconut. While you and your partner get to know the rest of the group on the beach, the first preparations are made for the campfire.
Despite the primitive location, you’re sitting on a bounty beach with a fresh coconut and a view of the sunset. The only thing you will hear is the sea taking back the beach inch by inch and the crackling of the campfire. As evening entertainment, the boys make upright figures from the palm leaves which they then set on fire. With the help of the wind you get some fire sparks for free!
With a little luck you can see the fireflies dancing in the crests of the trees and later, on a moonless night, the phenomenon of the luminous plankton can occur. This is not a certainty and all depends on the weather conditions. For more information click here.