Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A non-surfers guide to Siargao


6/29/11 - Flight to Siargao by Cebu Pacific Air was at 10:40 a.m. Upon the invitation of close friend Bingo Matugas, I was looking forward to this trip since our TV crew would be filming outside Cloud 9 and we were developing a story from a non-surfer’s perspective.

Cebu Pacific is the only domestic airline that flies to Siargao airport, one of the smallest airports I’ve been to so far. Well then again, most of the time, we just land our small plane on a small strip anyway.

Arriving around lunchtime, we grabbed a quick meal and headed off to our first few stops of the day - the towns of Pilar and Del Carmen.

Magpupungko is actually part of a beach in Pilar in the Island of Siargao. It is one of those rare places that if described as a period of time rather than a physical place, I wouldn’t disagree. Others may, but I won’t. You see, Magpupungko only appears whenever it’s low tide in Pilar.

It is quite small, temporal (it only exists for a couple of hours), and it is absolutely fantastic! It’s like some magnificent being created this place for creatures who only have a couple of hours to live. You can never say that the water is dirty or tepid, nature does the cleaning here so everything is sparkling and clear and awesome.

Seeing the sun shine bright always makes a film maker’s day. We woke up early on our second day, packed our bags at 6 a.m. and headed for General Luna port where a boat waited to take us to the other side of the island. But before our trip to the other side, we explored the three islets fronting the town of General Luna.

It is best to experience the “three-island boat adventure,” for those who prefer swimming and walking leisurely by the beach.

Our first stop was the farthest island called “Naked Island”. It called this because it is a dome of sand in the middle of the lagoon with no vegetation, not even coconut trees and no inhabitants. One can walk around the island where one will find many washed up shells of different shapes and types. The local name of this sandbar is Pansukian.

Next, take a 15-minute boat ride towards “Daku Island”, whose name in Visayan means ‘big’. It is ideal for picnics and locals sell fresh buko juice for only P15. In December, the island is not recommended for swimming because of the big waves and deep waters. The sand here is powdery-white and the island is teeming with coconut trees that provide good shade.

Perfect for swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling is the beautiful “Guyam Islet”, a typical uninhabited tropical island with a white sandy beach and coconut trees around it. Locals also called the isle “chill and grill”.

We were then off to Sohoton Cove in Socorro on Bucas Grande Island. Two hours away from Siargao Island, Bucas Grande is lesser known compared to the other major islands of Surigao namely, Dinagat and Siargao. Prior to the visit, I had not seen pictures of the place, so I did not have a clear image of what to expect. Little did I know that it would turn out to be one of my favorite places in the province of Surigao.

Upon arrival, it felt like we were in a labyrinth as we turned left, right and in all sorts of directions till we finally reached Sohoton Cove. We entered the cove without having to bend down too much. It was small and it took us barely half a minute to pass through. Inside were green cliffs and clear, crisp, turquoise waters. True enough, such a splendid view of nature gave me a feeling of tranquility. As my travel buddy Odys Suarez put it, it is one of those places where one feels like talking to God right there and then while being immersed in His wonderful creation. We swam in the beautiful green water for about 30 minutes before heading back to our boat.

I do not know how it felt like for my other travel mates, but for me, it was more than just a nature trip - it was communing with the Creator’s unfathomable works of wonder.

I guess somehow this trip taught me to shift away from the been-there-done-that kind of mentality while traveling. (sunstar)

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