Sohoton Again!

Entrance to another world…

My sister and I  planned for a summer trip to Sohoton Cove, we promised ourselves to once again relish the hidden splendor of this favorite spot alone.  We shall be exploring a new route via Claver to get away with the long trip through General Luna  to maximize our time.  We wanted to see more of Sohoton’s  other pride – the caves, lagoon, white beaches and  islands.  And we carefully scheduled it after the Holy Week, as we will spend the holy days at the farm – coming home – ou r tradition every year .  But surprisingly, Angel asked to join us.  I thought he would be joining the group tour we’re planning for our travel friends.  I can’t find any valid reason to say no, I just thought it wont be too bad to have someone with me and Cherry in our private get-away trip.

So after a quiet and relaxing sojourn at the farm, I rushed back to M. Calo on Easter Sunday to prepare for the trip – few chores to do for the rest of the day.  At lunchtime I called up Angel to check if he arrived already and gave him directions for M. Calo.  We talked about our trip and left him in the sanctuary of his room for awhile for a good rest – he just came from his Jomalig voyage.  Kay and I hastily went to the supermarket for our needs, then did the backyard garden until Susan called up.  I joined them at Razon’s after I dropped at Gaisano Mall for Odessa’s request.  It was kind of treat after Karin’s (my inaanak) high school graduation.  They dropped me home a little past  7pm so I could catch up for the last evening mass (in English).  Kay and Angel joined me to attend the mass.

We got back home by foot and run for few things and suggested to Angel to further explore Butuan by night.  We went to my fave café – Margie’s Kitchen – one of city’s pride. 🙂  I was thrilled to let him try our much loved cookie monster and food for the gods!  It wasn’t a mistake we went there – he love Margie’s and was sorry we have to leave before it closed at 1am.

Deep blue waters, green islets, blue skies!

We woke up early as agreed as we need to leave at 5am, we need to catch up an early bus for Surigao City.  The bus finally left at 6am and it went smooth until we got our breakfast stop at Kitcharao.  We dropped off upon reaching Bad-as to get another transpo for Claver.  It would be something new as I haven’t tried this route, we waited for awhile  for a bus to Tandag until the man I talked to suggested we took the jeepney bound for Carmen, Surigao Sur.  Our contact kept on texting and finally reached me when we were in Gigaquit.  We had a stop though at Parang where there were fresh melons on sale.  We finally arrived at the stop for Hayanggabon Port, Dodo waiting for us.

We took the boat for the  Sohoton cruise which was about thirty minutes, fortunately we were blessed with a very good weather.  We were transported to  our lodgings  in the lagoon to deposit our stuff, it was about lunch time.  We took our baon and leisurely had our lunch at the dining hall overlooking the calm waters – so beautiful!  Angel, Cherry and I enjoyed our lunch talking amidst the serenity of the lagoon – and I was lost in thoughts on our adventures for the rest of the day.

Afternoon Adventures

We didn’t want to waste our time so after putting things in order, we got to the boat and left for the Sohoton cove to start off.  It was sure on low tide and again as we got into the entrance and maneuvered through it, I had that familiar feeling of being transported into another place – so mysterious.  We toured around and swam into Hagukan Cave to view the rock formations and swam in its clear waters.  We waded inside the Magkakaub Cave, viewed its unique stalactites & stalagmites, rock climbed on it’s wall towards the exit for the big jump.  We lined up, Angel first but he wanted me to go ahead, but in the end he jumped! 🙂  Then Cherry with wobbling legs came next, then finally me but again I gathered enough courage to do so (after having done twice)… We lingered for a moment snorkeling in the clear waters, there wasn’t much fish life though.

White beach all to ourselves!

We went next to La Fortuna Beach – a secluded white beach north of Sohoton with beach huts. It was such a great spot to just laze around, we played with Spirit – a lovable spitz who stayed and put up with our antics.  We throw him into the waters and impressed by his swimming prowess! 🙂  Angel and I snorkeled viewing the wonderful and beautiful corals – the area was filled with colorful hard corals in all sizes.  We lingered longer at the spot and while waiting for the boat, we took our baon (bread, bananas) when we got famished a bit.  And when it almost got dark, we got into the boat and sailed back into the park’s reception area.  We talked with Dodo about the park, their needs and the PO’s activities. We discussed about sustainability, preservation and protection of the coastal resources – while waiting for our dinner.  And it finally came, we were so famished already but it was such romantic because they don’t have electricity – so we’re having dinner in kerosene lamp! 🙂

I was asking Dodo if we could go to the posh Club Tara – to inquire about their diving (there’s no other available diveshop in the area) and of course to see the place. The boat took us – we ended up boating in the dark night. What about boating with the fireflies around?  It was simply majestic!  We were ushered when we got to the resort, they have security protocols – we need to have IDs before getting into the premises.  It was an exclusive and luxurious place.  And we were aghast that it will cost $80 per site to dive with them, and the DM warned us that there isn’t much fish life – only corals, wonderful as it is.  He was asking about our previous destinations, feeling sorry that we would only be disappointed as the fishes around the area are juveniles.  After some pleasantries we bid our byes with them.  We sailed back to the park with the moon shining – glorious!  🙂  Finally we were brought to the guest house – it has been a long day… We took turns at the bath, Angel inside the room while Cherry and I went upstairs for another room.   We finally got unto our bed.  You can hear the cicadas in the silence of the night.  It was dark…

New Adventures!

I was up early and after my prayers got out side to take early morning photos in the lagoon, it was down cast and started to rain. We packed our things as it was getting late already with our schedule, the rain wasn’t stopping after all. We took our boat and went to the reception area for our breakfast.  We discussed again with Dodo about Sohoton’s needs. I told him the spots we have planned for the day.

Waiting boat…

Our first adventure is exploring the Tojoman Lake – lagoon filled with friendly stingless jellyfish.  We were early so the lake was all to ourselves. We got down to swim and snorkel, playing with the brownish jelly fish – in different sizes – thousands & thousands of them!  Angel was just too excited swimming with them. I swim with them looking at them closely – they’re pulsating as if breathing or maybe shouting!  🙂  The boatman motioned for our return but I still wanted to stay, Angel gave me another 15 minutes…  Swimming with the jellyfish is my favorite in Sohoton!

When we returned at the reception area, we got into the pumpboat with Dodo for Tiktikan Lake. Fortunately the rain had stopped, and we enjoyed our boating at the lake viewing the old mangroves and the elusive resident mother bangus. They have huts and a coop store maintained by the PO.   We trekked the trail up and down and get back into our boat, we need to get away with the low tide or we will get stuck in the lagoon.  We got next to  Bolitas Cave and Crystal Cave – I have been wanting to explore these caves long before.  We got first to Crystal – viewing the white rock formations that sparkles, with lighted candles it’s even more sparkling. Now getting into Bolitas is more challenging, it had a small entrance and so you got to lie flat and maneuver your body to get through. I need to be careful or I could get scratches and bruises from the sharp stones, it was bit difficult but we all made it.  We lighted our candles again, and went through – white round pebbles abound inside – it’s a wonder how it got there.  Then a balinsasayaw keeps on flying darting back and again, our guide tried to catch one and Angel took some photos of the illustrious bird that emits saliva for their nest for a very expensive bird’s nest soup at Chinese restos.  The guide told us that the other end of the cave is another barangay with the mangrove plantation – it will take about 2 hours to go through the whole stretch – maybe next time we can do it, I thought. We went out and going through again the small entrance was a test of patience, agility and strength.  All of us were laughing as we tried our way out – I felt so dirty  when I finally got out.  I quickly washed myself in the lake waters.

The placid Tiktikan lake…

We got into the boat again and Dodo led us to Lim-ao Island where another secluded white beach welcomed us. I needed to swim to wash off all the dirt.  The waters were bit choppy but we went to snorkel again and viewed the colorful corals in different sizes. We lazed in the white beach, swam and snorkeled,  and finally got into the boat when we felt pangs of hunger.  We took our leisure lunch at the reception area and got back into the guest house for a quick bath.  Again, we were at the reception area to bid byes to the staff and of course to settle our bills!  🙂

Noon fishers on our way…

We cruised for Hayanggabon Port with Dodo and Reggie beaming and grateful for the wonderful time at the cove.  When we got to the port, we waited almost an hour for the bus to Surigao.   We decided to go down the city so Angel could catch glimpse around. I called up Gay who promised to pick us up at the terminal.  As Gay didn’t know of any coffee shop in town, we went to the Tavern Hotel instead, to have our dinner there.  We talked and talked – you know Gay!  🙂  We had a leisure walk at the Boulevard to get the Surigao City by night experience, before we finally left for the bus terminal.  We boarded the 10pm last trip bus for Butuan feeling so tired.

We arrived home past 1am already, thankful for a safe trip.  It was good to have Angel with us, he wasn’t an intrusion after all – he put up with Kay’s & my chatter, shrieks, loud laughter and silence as well.  We have shared much during the two-day trip, we had a great time and promised to be back again.  There’s still so much to explore at Sohoton…

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