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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Butuan-Surigao Del Sur-Surigao Del Norte-Butuan : Day 3 - Bucas Grande

January 11, 2014

Day 4

We checked out from Revlun Pensionne at 6AM and walked towards the market. We need to go to Hayanggabon Port where our boatman waits for us. There are vans/multicabs/bus going that way but don't know what time they'd pass. Since tricycle is always available, we hired one and paid 30 pesos each. The same fare had we chose to ride in multicab/van's. 

Hayanggabon Port.

At hayanggabon port, we waited for our boatman. Supposedly we'd be served breakfast and lunch by a caterer our boatman recommended. But since there was a low pressure area the previous days, the caterer thought tours would be cancelled and so they also cancelled their service. Therefore we are left to provide ourselves food. We asked our boatman, kuya Butet, to cook food for us. Good thing he accepted. At 6:45 AM we left the port and headed to his baranggay, Baranggay Helene, to see if there are still newly catch fish we could buy. We also picked up cooking stuff like gas, stove, plates, spoons, etc from Kuya Butet's house. We also bought ingredients like oil, salt, onion, etc.

Barangay Helene
kid playing with water

We saw a fisherman with his catch before he brings it to the market.

one of the catch - a 4-kilo fish!! 

After buying fish, we began our tour began At around 9 AM.

First stop. Tiktikan Lake. 
Entrance Fee: 20 pesos
Table Fee: 50 pesos (for using their table for our lunch)

this area is the entrance. must pay 20 pesos to the caretaker.

We climed around 75 meters of steps then upon reaching the top, we descended until we reached the foot of the lake. The experience is the same as in Kayangan Lake in Coron.

We are the only people in this lake that day. Though it was drizzling, we still managed to enjoy by taking the pedal boat.

My friend tried to swim. Whenever he steps on the mud, the water turns black and produces bad odor. We thought it could have been better if there is a platform leading to a deeper side of the lake so guests would just jump and swim and no more stepping on the smelly mud.

Well, that's just me and what we've experienced might not be the same as the others. :)

We had our lunch here. Kuya Butet prepared all his cooking stuff and began cooking in caretakers kitchen. Our lunch was awesome! Grilled fish, adobong pusit, fried bangus, tuyo and rice. Kuya got us a banana leaf and we ate boodle style!

2nd stop. Crystal cave.
Entrance Fee: 20 pesos
Guide Fee: 100 per group

We were given a flashlight each to be used inside the cave. We climbed few steps up and descended upon entering the cave.

It is so amazing to see stalactites.

Touching is prohibited. We looked up and saw holes on the ceiling. And when we pointed our flashlight towards it, we saw a couple of tiny bats sleeping in it. The cave is just small that it only took 5 minutes for us to check around. We exited where we entered earlier and that's it for the Crystal cave.

3rd Stop. Sohoton Tour.

Kuya Butet brought us to the Tourism Center for the Sohoton tour. There, we paid fees and had brief orientation of what to expect in our tour. It was explained that once we enter Sohoton, we'll do two activities. One is the Hagucan cove and Bolitas cave with cliff jumping.

Another activity is jellyfish watching but they say there are only few to none jellyfish visible because of the rain so we scrapped this activity.

We were given helmets (which I am beginning to love) and life vests. Then we hopped in our pump boat and began the tour. 

It was exciting. The feeling is reminiscent of what I felt when I was in a pumpboat going inside the Underground river in Puerto Princesa.

We headed onto Sohoton Entrance. It looks like a cave opening and when we passed through it, we need to dock so our head won't hit the rocks above us. This is where the helmet held its purpose :). 

Passing through the Sohoton entrance is like opening a door to a room of beauty. The view is great and I love the idea that we are hidden inside this park of group of islands. There are no other way out other than the the entrance we took earlier.

We headed towards Hagucan cove, our first activity. It was explained that we need to pass through the opening to get inside the cave. There is no other way. 

It is for me scary because the entrance is so small. One guide positioned outside the cave's entrance and another guide positioned inside the cave.

Being someone who doesn't know how to swim, I trusted the tour guides. So, they let me in a lying position face up. Then the guide outside pushed me inside while I kept still, closed my eyes and held my breath. The guide inside the cave got hold of me until it's okay. 

The dangerous part here is knocking your head and face on the rocks. While I was being pushed inside, I took a peek and when I opened my eyes a little, my face was few inches away from the wall. So any wrong move is seriously damaging. 

this is one of my friends as they try to maneuver out of the cave. This is also how we are brought inside the cave.

When we got inside, the water is luminescent. We took photos and swim for a little. The water is cold and so we got out immediately. Obviously, during high tide the entrance to this cave is not passable as the water covers the entire opening. It is always best to do this activity in the afternoon.

Second activity. Bolitas cave.

The entrance to this cave is bigger than the previous one. Thankfully. Once we get inside the cave, we need to climb through steep rocks around 12 feet high. Then to exit, we must jump 10 feet to the water.

This activity is not for soft-hearted. We are required to remove our life vests as it might choke us once we hit the water. So, for those who does not know how to swim like me, a guide waiting below will grab us from under water and lift us up until we could cling onto a life vest or something for support.

The guide asked who would be brave enough to do this activity. I assessed the jumping area. It looks short. I knew I could do it. So without any doubt, I said I'll jump.

With excitement and eagerness, I climbed up the rocks. The climbing wasn't hard. But when I was at the jump off, I carefully looked down the water and fear began to swallow me. Why the jump looks high, which makes it scary, from the top? And why it looks short looking at it from below? I felt I was tricked by the illusion. I tried to muster some courage but when I try to lift my feet, I just couldn't. It is freaking crazy feeling. Among the five of us, I was the 4th to jump after I don't know how long, probably 10 minutes of self-convincing. I actually had to ask the guide to push me. Lol!

Anyway, it was so much fun of an experience, jumping and conquering heights. For amateurs like me, I hope there is a practice jump, like five meters only. :)

That's the end of our Sohoton tour. To exit, we took the same route where we entered earlier.

I enjoyed our Sohoton tour so much. Both activities were my first time, cliff jumping and getting inside the cave in a lie down face up position. :) The guides were evidently trained. They are also nice and fun to be with.

We went back to the Tourism Center where Kuya Butet was waiting. We transferred back to his boat and went to our last stop, the beach, for a short visit.

Our next concern was where we could shower and change. Had it been our original plan pushed through, we could have showered in Cinnamon Island where we planned to stay overnight. But since that changed, we had no other option.

Good thing Kuya Butet and his assistant know someone from Club Tara. They asked permission and we were allowed to shower for only 50 pesos each. If not, our second option was to change in the Baranggay office. I thought this is a high end resort but I guess I just expected much. We were led into a shower room at the second floor of their main building, the one beside the massage room.

After our shower, we went back to the port where we bid goodbye to Kuya Butet and his assistant. I asked permission to post his photo, so that's him.

I highly recommend Kuya Butet Rosillo. He is nice and really took care of us the entire trip. He also offers the cheapest boat rental. Call him at 09092725355

~ o ~ o ~ o ~

Going Back to Butuan

After our Bucas Grande tour, we waited at the highway for a bus/van going to Surigao City. At 5:30 PM, we were seated in a van and waited for an hour until we we alighted at Bad-as Junction. We had a quick dinner in a carinderia then after took a bus with Davao/Butuan signage.

Travel time from Bad-as Junction to Butuan is 2 hours. We dozed off while the driver sped off the highway. When we woke up after two hours, we were already in Butuan City.

We checked in at Prince Hotel for a triple deluXe room worth 1490. There is also a hotel nearby, Embassy Hotel that's older than Prince Hotel.

Going back to the airport.

We hired a tricycle outside Prince Hotel to bring us to the airport for 150 pesos. The guard from the hotel said there are also multicabs going to the airport for only 15 pesos. Just drop off at Bancasi.

We bought pasalubong from the stores just outside the airport terminal. We noticed they sell goodies famous in Camiguin or Davao. Vendors confirmed Butuan has no sort of a "specialty" and so that's why...

We paid 100 pesos each for the terminal fee and then waited for our plane to take off after 30 minutes of our supposed departure.

It was all tiring. Imagine everyday we were always in a van or bus or multicab trying to get from point A to point B. But overall we had a great time. Another trip I surely won't forget. 

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