Every two years, the Roque family (with the kids’ nannies in tow), embarks on a trip outside Bukidnon. Our history of family trips began in 2005. Before that, we usually had outings here at the farm (where we live) during Holy Week. However, in 2005, Grama and Grampa decided to bring us all for a trip to Boracay. That started the tradition of our family trips. These are the places our family has been to since this “tradition” started: 1) 2005 – Boracay, 2) 2007 – Palawan, 3) 2009 – Camiguin, 4) 2011 – Pampanga & Subic (where we held a reunion with your Grampa’s siblings), and 5) 2013 – Surigao.
During this trip, among the breath-taking sights of the Bucas Grande Islands, we explored and enjoyed three noteworthy places: Sohoton Cove, the Jellyfish Sanctuary, and the Hidden Garden Resort.
Bucas Grande Islands - Bucas Grande Island is worthy to be called a tropical paradise. Thriving with crystal clear waters, hardwood trees (with ironwood in abundance), ornamental flowers, untouched vegetation and bounded by fine white sands, and offshore islets dotting its surrounding waters, Bucas Grande Island is a natural wonder in itself. Its rocky islets, stalagmites and stalactites strewn caves, inland lakes, rock stacks, and pristine waters only illuminate this landscape that will surely transport you to another world.
Sohoton Cove - Sohoton cove is situated in Bucas Grande Island, and is part of Siargao Island. The half submerged entrance is the only entrance and exit point in this blue lagoon and is only accessible during low tide. The cove is home to the Hagukan Sea-Cave, Magkuku-ob Cavern, and the Dagongdong Wall. Hagukan (snoring) sea-cave is a cave which has a half-submerged, small entrance that is adorned with rock -oysters and whose ceiling is decorated with awe-inspiring stalactites. The Magkuku-ob Cavern offers a stunning display of mineral-encrusted stalactites and stalagmites. Once inside, a short climb brings you to a small make-shift platform where the brave of heart jump off 5-meters into the clear, blue waters below.
Jellyfish Sanctuary - The Jellyfish Sanctuary is a landlocked region of the Bucas Grande group of islands. This placid lagoon, surrounded by islets is home to a huge population of non-stinging jellyfish called the Spotted Jellyfish or Lagoon Jellyfish whose scientific name is Matigias papua. To visit the jellyfish, tourists – only two people – ride on a small paddle boat (banca), paddled by a boat man who also acts as the guide. The bancas paddle some 10 minutes into the lagoon to be able to see these exquisite creatures. For several years, swimming with the jellyfish was a popular attraction among tourists. However this year, swimming with the jellies has been prohibited due to the decreasing number of jellyfish. It was later observed that injuries from getting snagged on life jackets or getting hit by paddling feet or hands, and the chemicals from sunscreen or sunblock lotion that tourists applied on their skin, was killing the jellyfish. This year, the Department of Tourism decided that tourists only be allowed to handle or touch the jellyfish for a few seconds so their delicate skin is not injured or affected by chemicals from sunscreen lotion. This proved to be the best and most unforgettable part of our trip.
Hidden Garden Resort - The Hidden Island Resort at Bucas Grande is apt;y named. If you don’t know the place, it would be difficult to find as it is hidden behind a small island at the south western part of Bucas Grande Island in Siargao, Surigao. The resort was constructed at the side of an island with most of the buildings sitting on top of the water, forming an inverted letter C with both ends jutting out into the water. At one end is the Karaoke bar and the other end is a floating wharf with four covered kiosks at the edge. The waterfront teems with ocean wildlife and one is greeted by the different sea creatures that roams its depths as soon as you leave your room. Located between some of the walkways are huge fenced off “aquariums” that are home to some huge fishes, sharks and a giant sea turtle.
Apart from these attractions, we also went island hopping, snorkelling and the ubiquitous past-time, swimming and shell hunting.
This trip was a chance for us to experience the greatness of God’s creation and to teach RD about taking care of what God has created. We were also able to emphasize the importance of family and relationships. A bonus for the homeschooler is that these jaunts count as a field trip! :-)