Muffin-shaped mountains are scattered all over the island of Bucas Grande, providing a beautiful background against the paddle boats sailing to their first destination: the Jellyfish Sanctuary.
Sailing forward, more details of this part of the island are revealed. The mountains are limestone formations abundantly covered in untrimmed and thick vegetation.
In between mountains are tunnel-like passageways covered in canopies of protruding branches of wild plants and trees.
At the entrance the water is clear and shallow, making some marine species visible from the bottom such as “tajum” (sea urchin) that used to dominate the area when it was not yet known as the Jellyfish Sanctuary.
With only the sound of the flowing water and the rowing boat can be heard in the area, one could easily tell where this is heading to – a lagoon that is set in blissful seclusion.
Indeed, the lagoon is a wide expanse of flat turquoise calm, making the tableau of corals visible underneath. Seeing the corals from the bottom makes one feel like being able to touch them without having to dive down.
It’s amazing how everything remains unspoiled and the tranquility that envelops the area undisturbed. It is as if a thin sheet of blanket is blocking the outside noise, allowing only the chorus of various chirping birds to penetrate the invisible shield.
During off seasons, the different species of non-stinging jellyfish are nowhere to be seen. That was exactly the scenario when we visited Bucas Grande last November.
I admit it was a little disappointing. Thankfully, the lagoon is itself a thrill to see. Not to mention that passing through the maze-like waterways make the journey to the sanctuary quite like otherworldly.
For me, that part of Tojoman Lagoon, now called the Jellyfish Sanctuary, makes it an entirely unique natural gem in Surigao del Norte.
*The local government of Socorro – one of the 9 municipalities of Siargao – and the DENR must have done a good job in keeping the islands of Bucas Grande in Surigao del Norte well preserved and protected.
*According to tour guides swimming with millions of jellyfish can be experienced in the months of March until May, where they start to spring, and in the months of July until August, where they bloom into full grandeur.
photo credit: travel buddies Joann, Gin and Ely