Siargao is currently the hottest attraction of the Philippines. What was once a well hidden secret among surfers has become the destination for those looking for a new Bali. Moreover, the island is already full of hotels, bungalows and resorts. The busy General Luna already feels a bit saturated. Luckily there’s a small neighboring island, Socorro. Also known as Bucas Grande. There flows the magical ‘Enchanted River’. No network, no internet, just pearly blue water, good food and friendly jellyfish that want to float with you in the sunshine.
Siargao & Socorro
While everyone rushes to Siargao and stays on the island of palm trees, Siargao encompasses much more than that. South of Siargao lies Socorro or Bucas Grande. This exotic place hardly gets any visitors and includes the most beautiful archipelagos. Moreover, it’s there that you’ll find the ‘Enchanted River’. Because of the islands, the power of the ocean is vastly weakened. Which in turn creates calm waters and an ideal environment for floating around. There are only a handful of accommodations, most of them are unaffordable. One of them is the Enchanted Cove Resort where we stayed…
However, to get to this location, you have to make an effort.
Protip! The Philippines is a Third World country without a reliable network. In principle, timetables, schedules and times aren’t neatly followed. After hours of research online it has become clear to us to contact the company personally to check departure and arrival times. It’s for this reason that I didn’t include links, schedules or timetables in this blog post. In short, personal contact is the best way!
Airplane (expensive and fast)
From Manila, Cebu, Palawan, Bohol you can take a direct flight to Del Carmen, Siargao. After that you have a ferry from Dapa, Siargao that will take you to the port of Socorro. From there they will pick you up with a ‘longtail’ boat.
Boat (cheap and slow)
From Cebu you can take the ferry to Surigao. Then you have another ferry that goes straight to Socorro. From there they’ll pick you up with a ‘longtail’ boat.
I’ve got a shortage of superlatives to describe this place. The energy you have to spend to get here definitely gets rewarded. After you check in, just throw your mobile phone in a random corner of your room and plunge into a hammock, rubber band or boat. The location is beautiful and wonderfully basic. It makes you realize that a person really doesn’t need much to be happy. The activities on the spot are jumping off a rock, swimming, sunbathing, reading a good book and good food. We have come to the scientific conclusion that all these activities never get boring.
Although the Enchanted Cove Resort has two bamboo huts that are classified as dorms, as a couple you can still book a double room. If you book this, the dormitory will be furnished with a double bed in the middle of the room, the beds around can then be used as a wardrobe. Don’t expect frills and luxury, the room is the definition of basic. Despite the lack of air conditioning, we didn’t get too hot during our nights. Moreover, the view from your balcony is perhaps the best view you’ll ever experience in your life.
Enchanted River Offering
In addition to being a great place to completely unwind, the Enchanted Cove Resort also offers a day tour. From 8.30am to around 7pm you’ll be on your way from peak to peak. In the morning you get in the boat and there’s a whole day schedule waiting for you. In the afternoon you return and enjoy a delicious lunch à la carte. For more information about the Bucas Grande Tour you can read more here.
The Enchanted Cove Resort is an isolated place and you depend on their kitchen to get your food. Sometimes this can be a huge disadvantage as you’re stripped of any choices. Despite this limitation, the menu is an absolute stunner. We were pleasantly surprised by the delicious food that can come out of such a basic kitchen. Here are some examples:
Furthermore, you can spend your day watching the coral slowly recover in the ‘cove’. Do you want to explore on your own? That’s possible. Jump in the boat and explore by yourself! You only have to row for ten minutes and you’re on a private island. Besides, this location is drone paradise, no matter where you take off of from, the view is amazing! You can discover a different beach every day and feel like Robinson Crusoe.
If you really can’t do without mobile internet, you can also row to a nearby beach and secretly enjoy being connected to the outside world. If you’re interested in the area you can book the tour with the owner who will gladly help you.
The magic of the Enchanted River
Do you think this all sounds too good to be true? Well, it gets even better! When there’s no moon and it’s pitch dark, there’s even more magic to be seen here.
The first small miracle are the fireflies dancing in between the branches of the trees. When the sun sets, the show starts. You can watch them for hours without losing any enthusiasm. Unfortunately we couldn’t really capture this on camera. All the more reason to visit the Enchanted River!
As if this isn’t enough, there’s a cherry on the cake. During a moonless night you can put on your snorkel and jump into the water. What you see there is hard to explain in words. With every move you make, the micro-plankton lights up. The plankton presents you a true light show that would put Vegas to shame. That particular evening will be engraved in our memories forever. Underwater photography is not a skill of mine, let alone night photography, so I had absolutely no idea how to capture it. I’ll leave it to the professionals to give you an image:
You can safely conclude that this place is truly magical. Most of the visitors we met there had only booked for one or two nights. Eventually they stayed four or five. It’s a place that is difficult to explain and that you have to experience to understand. For more information about the Enchanted Cove Resort you can visit here.