FEATURED PHOTO: Into The Woods of Mount Pulag

COME. Let’s get into the woods of Mount Pulag…! Mount Pulag is the Philippines’ third highest mountain and Luzon’s highest. Endowed with such beauty so unimaginable and surreal, Mount Pulag is considered the “Playground of the Gods“.

"Into the Woods... of Mount Pulag!"

I chanced to have a thrill-packed weekend at Province of Benguet and conquered Mount Pulag National Park. Climbing MOUNT PULAG was my first major climb and by far, the most unforgettable climb I had in my life. Photos and words are not enough to show and describe the exquisite beauty of this SACRED MOUNTAIN.

“Into the Woods… of Mount Pulag!”
Mount Pulag National Park
Via Ambangeg Trail
Kabayan, Benguet Province

REMINISCING MUELLE DE SANTA FILOMENA

SANTA FILOMENA BEACH. Probably, the most popular beach spot in my hometown Cateel, Davao Oriental situated in Barangay Santa Filomena, a 10 minute drive from Poblacion. BARANGAY SANTA FILOMENA features an old wharf called MUELLE, a Spanish term for seaport. Long time ago when national roads and highways were merely just a dream for every Cateeleño, Muelle De Santa Filomena was the gateway to reach to coastal town of Cateel.


I, for one, was born in a time where pump boats were the only means of transportation to reach the neighboring town of Lingig, Surigao del Sur where national roads going to Davao City and other key towns were already constructed. Having played a vital role as the key wharf in the whole town, Muelle De Santa Filomena witnessed the hopes and frustrations of many Cateeleños leaving and coming back to Cateel. I grew up learning many stories about the Muelle; some were even tragic. For some, the Muelle is a place of great memories. There were love stories created around the Muelle. No one can deny that at one point Muelle became the most popular place in town. Ask those people of my age and perhaps the older than I am, we all have memories to share about Muelle De Santa Filomena. Some were good, some were sad. Those were memories that have shaped us to be who we are today.


As years gone by, Cateel was finally linked to the world. Three major national roads and highways were constructed to come in and out of the town. People come and go. Buses, private vehicles and the likes become the means to reach and travel in and outside of Cateel. Slowly, Muelle De Santa Filomena was forgotten. Slowly, its popularity faded. Its golden days were over. Its importance to the lives of Cateeleños was bit by bit forgotten. What are left are remnants of its past glory.


Every time I am home, I never missed a chance to visit the Muelle. It one of the best places in my hometown Cateel I will never get tired to see and visit. It has an innate charm until now I can never resist liking. Yes, its golden days are over but its reminiscences are there. Gaily I say, happy are those Cateeleños like me who was born witnessing the golden times of Muelle De Santa Filomena. I can truly appreciate what we have become because we have a yesteryear full of memories to cherish.

SNAPSHOTS ON CRUISING DINAGAT ISLANDS

Exploring the mystical Islands and Islets of the Province of Dinagat Islands continued. Visiting the “Mystical Island Province of Love” is not complete without romancing the many spectacular Islets and Islands of the Province. Being a large group of Islands, the Province is endowed with stunning wonders of nature worthy to be discovered and explored. This is the main reason why I braved to come to Dinagat Islands – to uncover the Secret Paradise Islands of the Province. Dinagat Group of Islands is in itself a Wonder of Nature and seeing at least few of its hidden nature’s treasure is enough for me to take pride of. This has made me excited. Together with Dinagat IslandS Provincial Tourism Officer Danilo Bulabos, I, with the company new found adventurous friends, explored the true gems of the Province – the Islands and Islets beautifully scattered by nature on the waters of Dinagat.

Two of the many stunning Islets of Dinagat Islands

Aboard the motorized boat especially made for tourists, our Island Tour started leaving the Port of San Jose. As the boat sailed, Mr. Bulabos offered a prayer for our safe Island Tour. We were lucky that the weather that day was incredibly great. We had the chance to appreciate the azure skies blending the sapphire colors of the Dinagat waters.

Isla Aga, Town of Basilisa

As we toured around the many jaw-dropping islands and islets of Dinagat Islands, I can’t help but appreciate every single thing that my eyes saw right at where I was. The tiny group of islets so alluring to see, the thick foliage covering some big islands, the limestone wall that erected at one side, the rock formations truly so amazing and the waters so crystal clear were things I can truly say the jewels of the Province.

An Amazing Seascape Like No Other

Simply put, words are not enough to describe those wonders of nature that once lured me cruising Dinagat Islands. As a photography enthusiast, the whole place is a paradise so ideal for picture perfect snapshots. As a nature lover, the place is a haven where communing with nature is at best. As a self proclaimed “Son of the Beach”, this is undeniably – the place to be.

The Jewels of the Island Province

Here are my collection of the must visit Islets and Islands of the Province of Dinagat Islands. There are more to see, there are more to experience.

Biray Biray Rock Formation
Bitaug Beach
Some of the Islands around Basilisa, Dinagat Islands
Kabacungan Island
Island Tour Destinations

Bababu Rocks

Isla Aga
Hagkahak Island
Sondayo Beach
The Hanging Bridge of Isla Aga
Sondayo Beach, Hagakhak Island
Bitaug Beach
Huge Rocks of Bitaug
This Blogger Awed By The Beauty of Dinagat Islands
Nature at its Best
The Mystical Allure of Dinagat Islands

Stunning Charm of Island Living.

Having visited and toured the province, now I say, one must not fear in going to Dinagat Islands. One should not be hesitant in discovering the wonders of the Islands. The whole Province of Dinagat Islands is a paradise waiting to be explored, waiting to be discovered, and waiting to be enjoyed.

This Blogger Savoring the Charm and Beauty of Dinagat Islands

COME. VISIT DINAGAT ISLANDS AND EXPERIENCE THE MYSTICAL ISLAND PROVINCE OF LOVE!

I would like to end my DINAGAT ISLAND TRAVEL SERIES thanking the people who made this journey possible. To Mr. Danilo Bulabos, the Provincial Tourism Officer, my most heartfelt gratitude for your kindest accommodation, you are a gift to the Tourism Industry of the whole Islands; to MARK ACAIN, thanks for the ride; the Bahay Turista, for being my home for two days; to my new found friends in the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process, thank you for the great time, i enjoyed playing “dollar dollar how I wonder”; and to the people of Dinagat Islands, daghan salamat for letting me experience the Charm of your Island. You have the most incredible beaches in the island. Take care of it! Again, my heartfelt THANK YOU.

This is the last part of “EXPLORING CARAGA REGION: The Travel Series

  1. CATCHING SUNRISE AT CLAVER, SURIGAO DEL NORTE
  2. SOCORRO AND THE BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  3. CLUB TARA AND TIKTIKAN LAKE OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  4. SOHOTON NATIONAL PARK OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  5. THE SANDY BEACHES AND STUNNING ISLETS OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  6. THE JELLYFISH SANCTUARY OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  7. EXPERIENCING SAN JOSE AND THE PROVINCE OF DINAGAT ISLANDS
  8. THE LEGEND OF DINAGAT ISLANDS
  9. SNAPSHOTS ON CRUISING DINAGAT ISLANDS

THE JELLYFISH SANCTUARY OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS

Among the many breathtaking natural attractions that I have explored in the whole Bucas Grande Islands, there is one magical place that until now bedazzled me. This place is called Jellyfish Sanctuary.

Having toured to the key tourist spots in the whole islands, I thought I had seen enough. Truthfully, all these wonders of nature were captivating. But when our tour guide led us to the Jellyfish Sanctuary, everything seemed surreal. As if we were brought to the other world. Here’s the story.
After our island tour at Bubon Group of Islets, we sailed back to Sohoton Reception Center. It was already late afternoon. Upon reaching the Center, we were told that we will be transferring to small paddleboats in going to the Jellyfish Sanctuary. Motorized boats are strictly not allowed getting inside the whole sanctuary. The small paddleboats can carry two passengers and a boatman. In my case, I was the only passenger.
The sail going to the Jellyfish Sanctuary was out of the ordinary experience. The waters were calm. The whole environs were wrapped by tranquility I can hear the rowing of the paddles. The enigmatic chirping of various wild birds made the sail more exciting. I’ve tried boating in different places but this one was entirely surreal.

The Entrance of the Jellyfish Sanctuary

Nearing the mouth of the Sanctuary, my boatman named Richmond began narrating the story behind the mystical beauty of the Jellyfish Sanctuary. I learned from him that some years ago the whole place was originally inhabited by multitude of sea urchins locally known as “Tujom” hence they formerly called the place Tujoman. One day, for some unknown reason, this huge number of sea urchin dwelling at Tujoman began disappearing until none of them was left. As days gone by, a smack of jellyfishes began congregating the place. It was becoming a larger group and local folks began noticing. Soon, the locals found out that these jellyfishes dwelling in the waters of Tujoman were non-stinging. The smack of jellyfishes grew into a great number. It even multiplied to millions of jellyfishes permanently dwelling in the place. Soon after, they called the place “The Jellyfish Sanctuary”. They later opened the place for tourists but intense protection and preservation of the Sanctuary were maintained.

Limestone forests abounds inside the Jellyfish Sanctuary

As we enter the opening of the Jellyfish Sanctuary, there was one thing I instantly noticed about the place. There was a profound tranquility that enveloped the whole environs. Everything that I see there was filled with calmness and peace. It was a very contagious serenity I can feel it inside me.

The first jelly fish that i saw made me shout in amazement.

Sailing forward, jellyfishes began to appear in the waters. I shouted in amazement seeing the very first jellyfish that appeared in the waters. Another smack of jellyfishes we passed by. And then another. And another. As we moved towards the very heart of sanctuary, multitude of jellyfishes surrounded our boats. Again, I felt I was on another planet. This was surreal. Slowly, I was beginning to get emotional. Teary-eyed, I looked around praising and admiring such a spectacular body of water fully inhabited by millions of stunning jellyfishes.

Sitting at the edge of the boat, I noticed a smack of jellyfish flocking around out tiny vessel. I learned from Richmond that jellyfishes here are naturally friendly. They even come closer when boats are coming in. Since these creatures are non-stinging, I excitedly caught one jellyfish out of the water and held it in my hands. As soon as I felt its texture and seen its form, I let go of it. Richmond told me jellyfishes can only last for ten seconds out of the water. So, I had to put it back.

I had to admit I fear jellyfishes. They are noted to be stingingly perilous. But the jellyfishes of the Bucas Grande Islands are non-stinging and friendly. They even came closer towards us. It seemed they wanted play around with us. They were so welcoming. I put my hands in the waters at once and they came nearer. They were like wonderful pets. Amazing creatures.

Before the sundown, the group started to leave the Sanctuary. All of us left the place charmed and amazed by what we saw. In my case, I felt overly joyous having experienced such tremendous encounter with the jellyfish. I was very lucky too that my boatman Richmond was kind and smart enough to tell me everything I want to know about the Sanctuary. After all, it is one of their prides.

This is ME with a non-stinging jellyfish in my hands.

Having gone and experienced this unique adventure with the Jellyfishes of Bucas Grande Islands, I felt another dream of mine has realized. I used to dream of going to the island nation of Palau and swim with the jellyfishes at the Jellyfish Lake of Eil Malk but now I need not to go out of the country to fulfill this bizarre experience. My beautiful island of the Philippines now boasts the Jellyfish Sanctuary of Bucas Grande Islands that is undeniably a world-class natural attraction that can definitely put all tourists, local and foreign alike, in so much awe and amazement like those in Palau.

Me and travel buddies amazed by the enchanting Charms of the Jellyfish Sanctuary.

My closest encounter with jellyfish at the Sanctuary is the highlight of my Bucas Grande Island Exploration. Other natural wonders of the Island are indisputably attractions to behold. But experiencing Jellyfish Sanctuary is absolutely an exceptional experience. It is commendable and worth to experience again. If given a chance, I shall back there and swim and play with the jellyfishes again.

Meet Richmond, my gracious boatman. Many thanks.

Experiencing Jellyfish Sanctuary of the Bucas Grande Islands is the final stop of my Bucas Grande Island Exploration.

FOR GUIDED TOUR, you may call contact:

VINCENT ADLAO TAMAYO
Accredited Tour Guide of Socorro Tourism Office
0930.802.8704 

This is the sixth part of “EXPLORING CARAGA REGION: The Travel Series

  1. CATCHING SUNRISE AT CLAVER, SURIGAO DEL NORTE
  2. SOCORRO AND THE BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  3. CLUB TARA AND TIKTIKAN LAKE OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  4. SOHOTON NATIONAL PARK OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  5. THE SANDY BEACHES AND STUNNING ISLETS OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  6. THE JELLYFISH SANCTUARY OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  7. EXPERIENCING SAN JOSE AND THE PROVINCE OF DINAGAT ISLANDS
  8. THE LEGEND OF DINAGAT ISLANDS

SOCORRO AND THE BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS

It was the glorious sunrise that welcomed us upon arrivals at the Port of Hayanggabon in Claver, Surigao Del Norte, the jump off point going to the Bucas Grande Islands. From the harbor, the view of the Islands can already be seen. In less than an hour, my dream to see the famed Islands of Bucas Grande was about to come true. Just the thought it thrilled me.

One of Islands of Bucas Grande

Aboard the motorized boat going to the Islands, I learned that Bucas Grande is part of the Municipality of Socorro and belongs to the Province of Surigao Del Norte. What I didn’t know that surprised me is that Socorro is actually one of tChe nine municipalities that comprise the famous Siargao Islands, the famed surfing capital of the Philippines. It was so amazing to know that we were actually sailing the blue waters of Siargao.

Club Tara Resort

While the main island of Siargao is home to world-class surfing areas, touristy resorts and other natural attractions, the Bucas Grande Islands of Socorro features amazing different wonders of nature that are incredibly best for a remarkable relaxation and communing with nature.

Sohoton Reception Center

Approaching the Bucas Grande Islands, we were told that we were about to experience a pristine island adventure at its best. Our gracious tour guide explained that some parts of the islands are proclaimed National Park and conservation of its natural beauty is maintained. I looked around the whole environs, indeed, everything is unspoiled – a rare beauty so immaculate and magnificent. Seeing those, I began to drown myself to full admiration.

Inside Sohoton National Park

When God created the 7,107 Islands of the Philippines, He chose the town of Socorro to be one home of the country’s most mystical gifts of nature. These are gifts Socorro can truly claim one of the finest in the entire country. The group of beautiful islands and islets are beautifully scattered in the tranquil clear blue waters of Siargao. The abundant verdant vegetations that cover the mountains are thick and untrimmed. The coves are mystical and enchantingly mesmerizing. The serene exquisiteness of the lakes is truly magical. All that comprise the Bucas Grande Islands are glorious natural wonders.

The Jelly Fish Sanctuary

These were among the many mystical things that Bucas Grande Islands of Socorro let me experienced. It gave me an exceptional experience communing with Mother Nature at its full glory. Everything I that experienced there was truly special. It is like traveling to another dimension – a place of enchantment.

This Blogger Holding a Non-Stinging Jelly Fish

Having gone to these islands and experienced its mystical wonders, I can say that paradise exists in this part of the world. I now call it the “Paradise Islands of Bucas Grande”. I have been there and I experienced that true paradise!

Me and my travel buddies at Club Tara Resort

This is the second part of “EXPLORING CARAGA REGION: The Travel Series

  1. CATCHING SUNRISE AT CLAVER, SURIGAO DEL NORTE
  2. SOCORRO AND THE BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  3. CLUB TARA AND TIKTIKAN LAKE OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  4. SOHOTON NATIONAL PARK OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  5. THE SANDY BEACHES AND STUNNING ISLETS OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  6. THE JELLYFISH SANCTUARY OF BUCAS GRANDE ISLANDS
  7. EXPERIENCING SAN JOSE AND THE PROVINCE OF DINAGAT ISLANDS
  8. THE LEGEND OF DINAGAT ISLANDS