Swim with stingless jellyfish of Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande Island

Friday, January 20, 2017

I’ve been stung by jellyfish before, so the idea of getting in the water with hundreds of them freaks me out. But after seeing a blog post featuring stingless jellyfish in an island somewhere in Surigao del Norte a few years back, I was determined to swim with them one day.
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Last November, my friends and I were able to swim with the stingless jellyfish of Sohoton National Park in Bucas Grande Island, Surigao del Norte. This item on my travel bucket list was the motivating factor for my recent trip, and only a day after arriving, I was able to cross it off with a joy-filled smile! Although we went there during off season, we were still able to swim with several stingless jellyfish. It was truly a fascinating experience!
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about to board the plane from Cebu City to Siargao Island
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touch down Siargao!
Bucas Grande, an island in the province of Surigao del Norte in the Philippines, is home to Sohoton National Park and the Stingless Jellyfish. Most of the jellyfish in the world sting but in this island, you can swim with them without being harmed. I don’t really know the story how they lost their stingers. All that mattered to me was I can finally swim with these cute creatures! :) 
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our first day in Vivo Inn
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going to the market to buy food before our trip to Bucas Grande
The island was about an hour and a half boat ride from General Luna in Siargao Island, where we were staying. We arranged our tour with Kuya Nante (can be contacted at +63 909 622 7068), the boatman introduced to us by a tricycle driver, the day prior our island tour. He charged us 3,500 pesos, which was quite expensive for us since we were not a big group. 
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getting inside Sohoton Cove National Park
Once we arrived at Sohoton National Park, we were asked to pay around 550 pesos each for the environmental fee, docking fee, pump boat with tour guide and paddle boat with a paddler. Lots of fees, no? I guess it was reasonable because the island is a strictly protected area. After we registered in the center, we were introduced to our local tour guide and our boatman. Then, our pump boat took us inside the cove where the tour guide showed us some of the cove’s interesting rock formations. You may notice that I did not include a single picture of the rock formations, and I must admit, that is kind of weird. It’s because it did not impress me much :( 
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first group picture in Bucas Grande! :)
Anyhow, there are two main attractions inside Sohoton National Park - the Hagukan Cave and the Magkukuob Cave. We first went to Hagukan Cave or the “snoring” cave, which can be entered only during low tide. Our tour guide said it was named as such because as the tide rises to almost block the entrance, the waves inside the cave produces a snoring sound. 
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Jerome and I at the entrance of Magkukuob Cave :)
Our next stop was Magkukuob Cave, known for its stalactites and stalagmites. Our short spelunking inside Magkukuob Cave ended with a dive into aqua green waters. It was only a 15-feet high cliff jump but I still got scared because I don't have any idea how deep is the water in Sohoton Cove. I almost wanted to go back to the entrance, which the guide said would be extremely difficult. So, I had no choice but to jump. And it was great! Haha! Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you, something great will come of it. :)


A few minutes by boat from Magkukuob Cove is the Jellyfish Lagoon, the scene stealer (lol!). Our pump boat cannot go inside the lagoon so we were instructed to transfer to a paddle boat. Entering the lagoon is an experience in itself because you will be surrounded by a maze of natural wonders and crystal clear waters. I could not contain my excitement at this point! 
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SOLO YOLO!
Our boatman showed us a few stingless jellyfish near our paddle boat. I did freak out a bit. It took time to convince myself that these jellyfish look harmless. After several minutes, I swam around the lagoon and got addicted to the cuteness of the stingless jellyfish. Holding them with cupped hands feels like scooping up some gelatin.  It was funny and scary because it’s hard to stay calm when one delicately touches your leg when you’re not expecting it. Vince and Jerome got scared too! :)
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first photo of stingless jellyfish I captured
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another one!
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an odd looking stingless jellyfish
Vince :)
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snorkeling spot at  Sohoton Cove National Park Center
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langoy langoy tayo mga cyst! haha
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going back to General Luna in Siargao Island
So, that’s about it! I was able to check off another item in my bucket list! If I get the chance, I will definitely visit again and hopefully swim along hundreds stingless jellyfish!
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the weather was perfect!

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