Easter Chronicles|Fish Tales: Day 3&4

Day 3: April 11, 2006

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We ventured down to Bucas Grande for a day cruise. Lush mushroom shaped limestone rocks sprout from shimmering aquamarine, turquoise and emerald waters. I truly wasn't prepared for the unimaginable splendour beyond.

They are very similar to the Rock Islands of Palau, Micronesia but what makes Sohoton Ecotourism Park a protected landscape and seascape are its sandy coves, islets and lagoons, long stretches of sugar fine beaches, exotic flora, fauna, and wildlife that inhabit the area. These include tarsiers, two kinds of hornbills, the serpent and white-breasted eagles, green sea turtles, and 19 kinds of fruit bats.
The park has 13 inland lakes but
the pièce de résistance is Sohoton Cove.
Entry to the hidden lagoon is ONLY
during low tide and by paddleboat.
Our guide took us in and out of this cove.
Each visit is only limited to two hours
or the entry is flooded when the tide comes in.
There is no other way out in this particular area of the park.
time's telltale signs
The Horseshoe, a stalactite landmark,
is the only way to recognize the Cove
among the many identical ragged cliffs and islets.
couldn't help but marvel and luxuriate in its beauty

There was so much to absorb, interesting characteristics only nature can pull off. 
My photos don't even do it justice.

 Here are a couple of images from the Philippine tourism website:

My reverie was interrupted by a swift whoosh and a cry of pain that strongly echoed.
The FBF accidentally hooked himself with a fishing lure.
On tenterhooks, I frantically searched our first aid kit for something to macgyverize with. The hospital is in Socorro, 40 minutes away, by water. Thankfully, Steve Brown (bless him!) , had a 'trout hook remover' in his kit that he didn't even know he had. I conveniently moved away and let the men handle the 'situation'. I was only useful for hydrogen peroxide and neosporin dabbing.
After that little episode,  we took it easy in the afternoon 
and explored the outline of Bucas Grande as we trolled.
a precociously sweet boy
Play a film fantasy and you'll find the perfect setting...

Blue Lagoon
Lord of the Flies
From Here to Eternity
The Beach
Combed the shore and put these together
over some Pinot Grigio.
On our way back, we refueled at Dapa before heading home to Pilar.
Unforgettable smiles that tug at your heart strings.

Day 4: April 12, 2006
We started out at 9ish and trolled the ocean again. We spotted Junior Gonzales on his Kingfisher. Junior is Pilar's living fishing legend and he was playing guide that day to the famed jeweller Hans Brumann. It was fascinating to see him fight and reel in his dream catch and first sailfish. He struggled with it for about half an hour until it landed. Junior must possess the secret language of the sea since he was with us too when I caught my only two sailfish.

On this bright and beautiful day, I soaked up more sun while waiting for some fish to come around. Got antsy so I mindlessly read Sophie Kinsella's, Can You Keep A Secret? as we trolled and trolled....and trolled.
We stopped by Daco Island to say hello to Bong Castillo's son, Shoji and his friend, Michael, who were with the other men. They left very early in the morning and stopped here for lunch and siesta before another afternoon fishing run.

Sayo, Shoji, Michael and Co.
Sayo and his lovely family
I met Sayo on my first visit to Siargao. He has accompanied us a good number of times out in the ocean. We went drift fishing together once. Drift fishing takes place from a boat that is not anchored but is drifting with the wind and current. There were 4 of us on this outrigger boat from sundown to sunrise. Let me digress a bit here.
Drift fishing the way the locals do was in my bucket list. The FBF and Bong didn't think I would survive and kept asking me right before we left if I was sure since there was no turning back until the next morning. Ever since we visited Siargao, I was charmed and intrigued by the simple life of fishing folk. I felt that if they do it everyday, at least, I could try and see what it was like. We found a spot in an hour, got settled, ate a simple dinner of rice and fish by the glow of the kerosene lamp. We chatted, sat in silence, smoked, and took turns catnapping. Lulled by the sea and darkness and a slight chill, it was meditative. The liberating suspension of not knowing where we were once it got dark, where we were headed, and what was under the deep allowed a sweet surrender that I've never experienced. It was like that for many hours except for the frenetic squid fishing when we realized not a single fish was biting. As the sun slowly crept up in the morning, the men instinctively knew where we were and immediately pointed to the direction of Pilar, our base. How they do it without a GPS amazes me when it's all a sea of blue. We didn't catch some tuna but we had pounds and pounds of squid that Sayo happily sold at the market. The experience strengthened one of the lessons that my yoga guru, Tulsi, has been trying to impress upon me. That it's ok to detach, let go, not take control, and go with the flow. Words that are always easier said than done.
Sayo's dear wife served us these freshly picked coconuts
with makeshift scoops.

While at Daco, we did a quick house tour of our friends, Billy and Marlene Mondoñedo's, gorgeous contemporary island home. Designed by top Philippine architect Ed Calma, it took about two years to build the house partly due to the logistical challenge.

My favorite part of the house is this bamboo loggia hung with
antique Japanese glass fishing floats/buoys.
We stopped by Pansukian Resort to get some wine.
When one can't catch any fish,
might as well drink like a fish!
Later that night after dinner, we went on a moonlit cruise along the mangroves.

to be continued....

Day 1&2 here