Sohoton National Park: Jellyfish Sanctuary

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Treasures abound in the Philippines. If Palau in Micronesia has the Jellyfish Lake where stingless jellyfish lives, the Philippines also has the Jellyfish Sanctuary located at the Sohoton Cove National Park in Bucas Grande Island, Soccoro, Surigao del Norte.

The silence of the surroundings engulfed the noise of the motor boat as we stopped at the Sohoton Visitor’s Center for registration. Our tour guide, Kuya Vincent Tamayo paid all the fees for us. The total cost for the boat rental, tour guide, paddle boat, life vest, and other entrance fees summed up to Php 3,000. So for 2 pax, we shelled out Php 1,500 each. Somehow, it was a hefty amount as compared with other tourist sites. Nonetheless, I took it positively and just thought of it as a way of helping the locals.

Kuya Vincent stayed at the Visitor’s center, which was a surprise for me, since he was our tour guide/ point person. We had new tour guides who took us on a small paddle boat. It was small that it can only fit two persons. Thus, J and I had to split boats.

I was excited. I knew I was about to see another Philippine treasure, the stingless jellyfish. The deafening silence was relaxing. We were told not to make noise so as not to disturb “the spirits” who are believed to be inhabiting the sanctuary.

Our new tour guide paddled slowly and stopped for awhile. He then pointed a school of jellyfish swimming aimlessly in the crystal clear turquoise water. The water was tempting. I would have wanted to jump and swim with the stingless jellyfish but tourists are not allowed to do so.

The crystal clear water shows the stingless jellyfish.

As part of Sohoton National Park’s conservation efforts, swimming with the stingless jellyfish has been prohibited. Though our guide allowed us to touch and feel the stingless jellyfish, he warned us not to take out the jellyfish out of the water. It would cause the tentacles to separate which would led to the death of the jellyfish.

There are two types of jellyfish in the area: the orange and the transparent one.

The transparent jellyfish, popularly known as moon jellyfish, is called scientifically as Aurelia Aurita. It can’t be easily spotted but luckily our boatman saw one and used a paddle for me to see it clearly. They were fewer in number as compared with the orange spotted jellyfish (sorry, am not familiar with the scientific name of this one).

Even if I was just watching them from the boat, I felt serenity. It was relaxing. The school of jellyfish were freely swimming. Capturing them through my underwater camera was definitely entertaining.

After 30 minutes, we bade them goodbye and returned to the Visitor’s Center, where we transferred to another boat for another adventure-filled activity.

Treasures are not gold nor silver. They are the wondrous memories that we have in this life’s journey.

 TRAVEL NOTES:

  • Stingless Jellyfish Season- March- October
  • Peak Season of stingless Jellyfish sighting- April
  • Best to travel in groups to make the cost cheaper
  • Pack your lunch before leaving Soccoro Port
  • Bring water jug with you