“Taking the plunge” challenge in Sohoton Cove

The sole opening to Sohoton Cove National Park.
The sole opening to and from Sohoton Cove National Park.

Cliff divers make a visually striking spectacle through their acrobatic feats. Their stunts display a breathtaking choreograph, leaving watchers in awe at how they can carry out such a sequence of rhythmic motions while defying gravity.

Although the sight I saw at Magkukuob Cave in Sohoton Cove was not that intense, there was something that captivated me in the way H  – one of my companions – jumped into the water from a makeshift diving platform 12-feet above sea level.

He wasn’t a professional cliff diver, neither was he a good swimmer. But his body was completely relaxed when he took the plunge challenge. His stance emanates sheer calmness like those of professionals.

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His right hand was stretched upward; his right foot pointing downward, so it can pierce through the water without incurring injury from the impact. It didn’t take long for him to touch the water, but the sight of his body so slowly and gracefully falling down the water had made him look infinite. I was so transfixed at the sight that I felt it too that very moment in time.

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DRY RUN. Practice water jumping at Tiktikan Lake in Bucas Grande Island.

I knew he did that to do the challenge properly, not to show off, or inspire anyone -as was the effect to me. But it did motivate me.

To cut it short, my hesitance was replaced with a resolve. A resolve to jump into the water without wearing a life vest. A resolve to do the challenge properly. So that I too can experience not only the invigorating rush but also the infinite feeling of being suspended in the air which very briefly takes place in between taking off and plunging into the water.

Tour guides discouraged us to wear life vest when jumping into the water because according to them it is dangerous.
Tour guides discouraged wearing a life vest when jumping into the water because, according to them, it is dangerous.

At Magkukuob Cave – one of the main attractions in Sohoton Cove – spelunking ends with a cliff diving challenge. That is, for good swimmers. But for recreational swimmers, calling it “take the plunge” challenge would be more appropriate.

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Whether it’s one or the other, one will have to do the challenge because it is the fastest way to get back to the water, where the boat is waiting nearby. The other way to exit the cave is to go back to the entrance of the cave.

In the end, it’s not about how experienced (or inexperienced) a person is that counts. It’s about managing the crazy feeling that a scary stunt like cliff diving gives that matters.

Being able to do that rewards one of an invigorating rush, a quasi-euphoria kind of feeling, telling oneself that it’s worth taking the plunge no matter how risky it sounds.

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Cliff diving practice at Tiktikan Lake

A basic but very helpful piece of advice that experts and first-timers can use is to not overthink things.

For a first-timer like me, jumping off a platform that is suspended from a cliff, 12-feet above the water, is a memorable feat.

Note: Sohoton Cove National Park is part of Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte. The park, together with the rest of Bucas Grande, forms a maze of natural wonder that can only be seen (or access) in certain conditions.

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Photo credits to my travel buddies Gin, Ely and Joann.

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