Sugba Lagoon: Exploring Siargao’s hidden lagoon among Del Carmen’s mangrove forest

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Saturday, July 12, 2014


OVER the past few years I’ve traveled several times to Siargao Island to witness and document its world famous surfing destination. But little has been heard or seen of the less traveled spots located within the island.

One of which has captivated my imagination; the hidden splendor of Sugba Lagoon.

About 40 kilometers or an hour and a half ride from the surfing area of General Luna’s Cloud 9, the town of Del Carmen is known for its mangrove forest that covers an estimated of 4, 259 hectares of coastal marine area which is the second largest in Mindanao.

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But when I visited and explored deeper into the thick lush mangrove area on a motorized boat, the locals brought me to a hidden opening to a part of Caub Island which is almost connected to the town’s mangrove forest.

Deeper into the island’s cove brings you to the area known as Sugba Lagoon. There I was greeted by nature’s serenity; combined with perfect blue skies the sea just transforms into an amazing reflective landscape of crystal clear blue and green waters.

The lagoon area is surrounded by large limestone hills covered with a vegetation of different species of plant and trees. While being visually captivated by the overwhelming beauty of nature, you will also be entertained by the melodic sound of the different species of birds in the area.

Within Sugba Lagoon is a two story building built by the local government unit to cater visitors. The building provides a small area for visitors and a jump off point to dive and swim into the lagoons waters. The area would also be a very good spot for snorkeling since it is home to numerous marine lives.

Gina Barquilla, Municipal Environmental Natural Resources Officer (MENRO) of the town Del Carmen said the lagoon has an estimated area of 87 hectares; and it is located within the Island of Caub.

“The area is a hidden paradise for those who love to be one with nature. The clear waters of Sugba is rich with the different variety of fish especially those of the groupers family as well as lobsters and shells. The hillside is home to rich diversity of flora and fauna as well as endangered species of hard wood,” said Barquilla.

The environmental officer who is also a native of the island said folklore has it that the lagoon got its name “Sugba” from how it appeared to visitors when it is covered with fog, making it look like a smoke is coming off the lagoon. Sugba is a visayan word which in tagalog means “inihaw.”

For visitors, Sugba Lagoon is about 30 minutes motorized boat ride from the port of the town of Del Carmen. The town can be reached either by sea and air. By air, turbo prop commercial aircraft from Cebu Pacific flies to the island from Cebu City landing at the town's Sayak airport. By sea, daily 2 to 3 hours boat trips can be taken from Surigao City directly to Del Carmen or to the adjacent town of Dapa.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 13, 2014.

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