“Your own body and mind will be the one who is going to stop you. Not time nor money”
Bucas Grande, Naked, Daku and Guyam Island Itinerary
My 8 days and 7 nights Solo Backpacking in Mindanao
Manila – Butuan City – Surigao City – Siargao Island – Bucas Grande – Surigao – Davao City – Samal Island – Davao del Norte – Davao – Manila itinerary.
Features: Bucas Grande, Bolitas Cave, Tiktikan Lagoon, Stingless Jellyfish, Sohotan Cave, Naked Island, Dako Island and Guyam Island
I can smell the refreshing air of the sea and that trance music all over the place. I woke up and I am still in Siargao Island. It is time to get up and get the day started. The Magpupungko pool and surfing gigs yesterday were one of the highlights of the trip. I initially scratched itinerary going to Bucas Grande because its too expensive for a cheap traveler like me. Boat rental to Bucas Grande from Siargao would cost me at least Php 2500.00 – 4000.00 which is actually cut my entire budget. Good thing I was able to join in with a couple traveler from Manila. Jel and Mark agreed to include me in their island hopping tour.
The usual trip is a separate tour to Bucas Grande and island hopping (Naked, Dako and Guyam). You can do it in 2 days to enjoy the entire beaches and lagoond much better. But we don’t have time to do it separately. If you will hire a boat for island hopping you can rent a boat for Php 1200 – 3000.00 depending with the number of pax. Rent a boat to Bucas Grande for Php 2500 – 6000.00. I grab the opportunity to cut the trip to Php 1333.33 for both tour which is a grand cut from my budget. Big thanks to Kuya Bebot, Jel and Mark for getting me there in cheap cost. Hurray!
Our travel agent Kuya Bebot fetch us from our hostels and proceed to the GL seashore to hop on our boat. We sail to Bucas Grande to start our trip. It will be a grueling 2 hours and 30 minutes boat ride with big waves and scenic view of each islands will welcome you. Every island have evergreens and white shores. The coral cliffs and the waves will relax your eyes. Excitement embrace me, I would never thought I will set foot in Bucas Grande. I am thrilled as we get closer to the island. The sun is brimming hot from its blue sky, it was an endless sea and big white clouds. As if the world got bigger but I came here to make is smaller.
We reach the registration area for Bolitas Cave around 0845. Entrance fee cost Php 30.00 and guide fee Php 100.00. We geared up, a hard hat and flashlight will be provided before the exploration which is actually useful thereafter. We start to explore the main cave, beautiful crystal stalagmites. White with sparkling stones are available to view inside the cave. The cave is tainted due to bat waste mining during the Japanese Period. Bat waste is usually used as fertilizers and ingredient for gun powder. The ground is hauled and severely damage which saddened me. It was decades but the cave is not yet rehabilitated. Balinsasayaw birds make and small fruit bats nest inside the cave ceiling.
Amazed by the huge cave, we explore further by spelunking in Bolitas Cave. I never thought caving will be as intense as entering Bolitas. It was full body work out, you will need all your body parts to fit into the hall. Heat and humidity combine are sure like instant day to the gym or running for a whole 1 hour. The cave is so narrow that you need to enter body flat. It was a sweaty morning for all of us. Bolitas cave caters hundreds of stalagmites that looks like phallic in different sizes. I surely had a hard time getting in and out from this spelunking activity. Full of sweat and dirt, we finally end our first tour of the day and move on to the next part of our Bucas Grande trip.
We went to Tiktikan Lagoon afterwards, the view is still spectacular. Entrace fee cost Php 20.00. It seems like I am transported to another world, out of the Philippines and went to a magical place. If
you want a quiet, calm and peaceful trip to Surigao del Norte, Bucas Grande will suit you specially when your a non-surfer person. I am falling deeply in love with Surigao. Tiktikan is famous for its 10-15 meters diving board so with knees wobbling, I ready myself and jump bravely. Everyone thinks that I don’t struggle when it comes to jumping out of high places. But the truth is I am shaking inside out. I was born with a complex poker face which hides my emotions. The water is refreshing, it washed out the dirt from the cave and made me feel that adrenaline that I am looking for. The thrill of jumping is like letting go to all the misery I had in life. I just jump and it feels so good.
After taking 2 jumps, we need to move on to our next trip which is watching the Stingless Jellyfish and Sohotan Cave. The tour is the most expensive package in my entire Mindanao trip. The package will depends on the number of pax in a group. Since we are 3 pax, we pay for Php 1450.00 for both tours. We geared up, helmet and life jacket before we hopped to our paddle boats. Going to Jellyfish Lake needs to be catered by paddles which only good for 2, guest and the guide. Taking the small boat is relaxing as you view the magnificent coral hills surrounding the entire place. Its too picturesque because of its blue green water, endless green, blue sky and refreshing sun.
Few jellyfishes are available, season is April where the entire lake is full. It is still cute to see different sizes of Jellyfishes here. They are incredible to watch as they swim. You can touch them for a few minutes, I took videos and pictures before we head back. You can help your boat man by paddling, they have extra to speed up the small boat. I would like to compare Bucas Grande to Blue Lagoon of El Nido though through pictures. I haven’t gone to El Nido yet.
We ride to another motor boat moving to our next trip, Sohotan Cave. The cave is only accessible during low tide, its the only way to enter and exit the marvelous place. Sohotan is like a secret cove which is really beautiful. Rock formation, caving activities and peace in this world. We hit the snoring cave, according to our guide the cave release noise which is comparable to snoring when its high tide. You need to swim to enter the cave, if you will dive the water have a green luminescent light. It was wonderful.
We proceed to another cave, entering the above hip water all the way up to the narrow cave stairs and ending up in the cave balcony. The twist is you need to jump from the 10-meter cliff to exit the tour. The Cove is very large, exploring the entire area is one of the extra ordinary trip in my entire traveling experience. Not everyone know this place exist, especially those who resides in the Northern part of the Philippines. The Bucas Grande trip is about to end as we went back to the tourism office. We hopped back to our boat back to Siargao for our afternoon island hopping tour.
The weather is fine but the waves are high, it seems like our boat will jump over the waves for the next 2 hours and 30 minutes. It is impossible to take a nap coming from the exhausting morning in Bucas Grande. We are all wet from the waves and rain, my butt and back are shouting numbness. We reached Naked island around 1600, it is surely imposed its named. No trees available, its just the pure white sand and the blue waters surrounding the sand island. Its extremely hot when we reached the island so it just took us 10 minutes to explore the little white beach.
Apart from taking snacks from the tourism office in Sohotan, we haven’t take our lunch. Extremely starving, we reach Dako Island which is the largest among islands. Dako mean large in Bisaya dialect. It suits its name because its large, fine white sand and coconut everywhere. A real tropical beach. Entrance fee for the 3 of us cost Php 100, cottages/tables ranges from Php 100.00 – Php 300.00. We take one of the Nipa cottages which usually cost Php 250.00, haggle price for Php 100.00 because we will just stay for an hour or two. We packed our lunches, our guide gave us scallops to be cooked and I brought my gears to cooked additional rice. Locals are serving for guest, cooking fee Php 50.00 and bring your own ingredients. They can also sell freshly catch fish which is additional fee.
I ate in my stomachs content, binging my own food and my Jel’s food. We have fresh scallop stew and fresh coconut. I was really full when we finish eating our combine lunch and early dinner. Before the sun sets, we proceed to Guyam island which is our final destination. Another white sand, tropical shore and rocks on the other side completed our day tour. Entrance fee cost Php 20.00. We swim, take pictures and videos. This will be the longest island hopping tour I’ve been to. It almost night time
when we left Guyam back to General Luna shore. It was pure fun and new experience for me. Meeting new people which also in love with traveling.
The Bucas Grande tour is a achievement unlocked for me. It was one of the best peaceful places I ever went to. I will be going back to this place to explore more. This will be my last night in Siargao Island. Together with my hostels buddies, we went out that night to check the acoustic night in Harana, know more about other people and chill like a villain. The people of Siargao, tourist, foreigns and locals give friendly vibe. You will actually love both the place and its people. I will surely go back to this happy island. It is worthy place to travel. Worth the money, exhaustion and the long ride. Two thumbs up for Siargao tourism!
Back to Mindanao main island PIRATES!
Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.