Monday, April 1, 2013

Bucas Grande Islands: Island, Caves, Lakes & The Jellyfish

The day started early. We were up and awake at 6:00am. Breakfast was served at 6:30. A feast.

With our tummies filled, we were ready to conquer Bucas Grande. Clear waters greeted us.

Our boatman, Kuya Jimby. Ang tunay na lalaki, hindi takot mag-suot ng pink!
Tiktikan lake. Dogs. And a pair of Pawikan is in those nets. 

The two-storey cottage has a dive pad. Try to dive. I was only able to to the first level. My knees shook at the height. No thanks.

Ang tunay na lalaki, hindi takot magsuot ng pink at mag-dive
So hanggang peace sign na lang. Tweetums shot. 

It was a short trek up to the lake. There was a kubo where you can take view shots.

A short boat ride brought us to Crystal Cave. We already saw some small jellyfish when our boat docked. Kuya Jimby said that there will be more of those in the Jellyfish Sanctuary. Excited!

The "shores" of Crystal Cave

Reminds me of Sagada, but it was not that challenging. My slippers held on the rocks just fine. The stalactites and stalagmites looked like they were sprinkled with glitters. Too bad that some of the rocks inside were vandalized. Tsktsk.

Natural glitters in the rocks

Tapos eto na, Jellyfish Sanctuary na!  

We registered our names in the tourism center. I noted that there were a lot of foreign tourists there, more than Filipino tourists. We had to transfer to smaller paddle boats. I wanted to help out my boatman paddling but I was doing more harm than good. So I did what I was good at – just take random pics.

Shallow waters. Extremely clear.

Swimming here is forbidden. Masaya sana yung swimming with the jellyfish na cover photo, pero priority syempre ang preservation ng mga jellyfish. Vanity < Nature Preservation.

Come to me my friends!

  Look Ma, no sting!

Jell-o creatures in the water.

At heto ang picture ko kasama ang mga stingless jellyfish. Kita naman sila di ba?

The purple camera case made it to Bucas Grande

Back to the tourism center. Back in the big boat with roof. Then on to Marka-a Beach. I have no decent photos during our brief stay here. My toes claimed the powdery shores. It had been six months since I set my foot on a beach, my last beach trip was in Isla Reta in Davao City. We snorkelled here for 30 minutes before heading back to the tourism center. 

We transferred to a medium-sized pumpboat with no roof. Hope you slathered some sunblock. Lots of boats involved in going around Bucas Grande. We were headed to Sohoton Cove.
That's why there's no roof

We arrived just in time in Hagukan Cave. The cave has a low ceiling entrance which is fully submerged during high tide: Just like the Secret Beach in El Nido and the Twin Lagoon in Coron. It is cold inside the cave. I had no underwater camera so I have no pics here.
Hello, I am alive!

The entrance was fully  submerged after a couple of minutes. Our boatmen guided us beneath the waters, we swam our way out, and back into the boat. It was a short ride going to Magkukuob Cave. You will have to trek a bit then exit by jumping off – walang uurong. You’ll see the height of the launch pad at before entering the cave.

There is a short quite slippery, narrow and a bit claustrophobic-inducing path going up that launch pad. Sagada-ish. At the top, there’s a bottleneck of people. It takes a while to gather some guts to jump off. When it was my turn, I understood the apprehension to jump. It was high. The height may shake your knees, it shook mine.

No turning back. Going back in the same path is just a practical option. So just gather your guts and throw yourself into the water. It will be fun. It will be fine.

The jump ate our energy. We headed back to Cinnamon Island for our lunch. Or feast, is the more appropriate word for all that food.

We packed our stuff and loaded them in our boat. Kuta Tata Bulabog bade us well wishes. It seems like the whole island is preparing for a huge number of guests in the coming days.
Bye Cinnamon Island

It was past 2:00 pm when we were ready to go to Club Tara. We were headed to the port of Socorro that afternoon, which takes around 40 minutes from Cinnamon Island. We didn’t want to encounter the huge waves again so we decided to skip one island (or was it cave) and just spend some time in Club Tara. We didn’t dock in the main port of the resort, so it was quite a feat navigating the rocky shore where we docked.

Kuya Jimby guides Jheng through the creaky wooden bridge

I learned about Club Tara from the group-buying website, Cashcashpinoy. Well... the place looks pretty in photos. In reality, well, it could use some maintenance work in the roofs of the villas.

We were allowed to check a room.

 There were still some renovations going on. I guess the service is worth the price of staying here?

 How innovative.

It was a bumpy and splashy ride going to Socorro. I couldn’t use my earphones because of the water splashing. So it was the waves and the buzzing boat motor for 40 minutes. Finally, land showed itself.

Kuya Jimby accompanied up to Island Vacation, our home for the night. He was so nice during the entire trip we gave him a nice tip. :)
Socorro port

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