A paradise exist in the southern part of the Philippines

In this state of soul searching, I can't help walking for miles seemingly without end chasing for the light to appear in my path of darkness.  I need a moment of solitude, tranquility and soul-delighting comforts.

Then I found myself one weekend travelling with my closest friends in law school towards a haven in the southern part of the Philippines - CLUB TARA RESORT.

At Bucas Grande Islands of Socorro of Surigao Del Norte lies this resort complementing the picturesque landscape with cottages perched in stilts and immersed on the clear water.  Showcasing the natural wonders of Surigao, this is the perfect getaway for souls wandering an in search of a stress-free disposition.

Bucas Grande Island, Socorro, Surigao del Norte
847 00 Mindanao, Philippines

Phone Number: +63 917 522 5500


facade of the Surigao Airport
Getting There

Boarded on the Airphil Express flight  (1PM) to Surigao City, we arrived at Surigao Airport after almost two hours of travel time from Manila. 

Since one of our travel companions, Ms. T, is from Surigao, we were greeted by her family at the airport and they pre-arranged our transfer to Hayangabon Pier en route to Bucas Grande Island through their private vehicle. Surigao Airport is just like any ordinary airport in the country, the size though may be small still serves its purpose.  Once we set foot on the city, I  felt an adrenaline rush and couldn't believe I was already in this northern part of Mindanao, transient our stay me be but I was armed with the hope of another adventure to unfold.

We were told that it would be advisable to travel by the sea off to Bucas Grande Islands before the sun sets as the waves can be rough at times.  

From the airport, it takes an hour and a half to the Hayangabon Pier, our gateway to Club Tara Resort.  When we arrived at the port, there were several outrigger canoes/boat for rents that would take you to the island.  In our case, everything was already arranged so there's no need to haggle for the usual boatman rates. 

I came to this island as a tourist.  And so, the usual photography sessions commenced before embarking on the outrigger boat (motorized pumpboat) en route to the island, looking for a vantage point on which the silhouette of the boat over the fading rays of the sun would be captured dramatically.

view of the sunset at the Hayangabon Pier
the tourists
It took 40 minutes to reach the island.  We embarked at around 5PM and reached Club Tara Resort at 6PM, after encountering the biggest waves I've seen as of writing while on board the small outrigger boat, and witnessing how our skilled boatman effortlessly maneuver the water craft.  Our life depended on him I said to myself, and the scene was like we were lost in the vast abysses of space and time, with no other visible floating object on the vast ocean except our boat, notwithstanding the dramatic backdrop of the sun's hues slowly fading and that darkness began to envelope the surroundings.

Like a rainbow appearing after a strong rain, the stillness of the water emerged at an instant, and with the calmness on everyone's faces, we are now at a different side of the world, an enchanting and serene island of Bucas Grande right in a beautifully constructed resort.

For travelers who don't have a contact in Surigao, public transportation to the island is also within reach.  From the airport, a public van service is available to Hayangabon Pier which takes 1 hour and 30 minutes (200 pesos per way).  And another 30 to 40 minutes travel to the island via outrigger boats (motorized pumpboats), which price varies depending on the size of the boat.

Moreover, Club Tara Resort also offers pick-up and transfer to the island where reservations should be made at their office, with contact details indicated above, although at a much higher cost.

The Rooms

We were booked in a  Jacuzzi Water Cottage, designed to provide an indulgent and relaxing ambiance.  The cottage was perched on stilts right on the water, with a magnificent view of the natural wonders of Surigao.  To accommodate the four of us, there is a one queen-sized bed and two mattress pads set up on the wooden floor next to the lanai/terrace.

As to the bathroom, the toilet and the shower are separate, and so with the jacuzzi.  However, there is no concrete door leading to the bathroom, which is only covered by shell-beaded curtains.  Thus, it can be said that when the room is shared it is perfect for honeymoon or for family vacations and in our case for friends who've known each other for quite a long time and consider each other as a family.

the bathroom
I was positioned to sleep near the window and so, the following day, the view below warmly greeted me

my first view of the Bucas Grande Islands, the moment I opened my eyes on one beautiful and sunny morning at the island


the jacuzzi with a natural panoramic backdrop shown below

serving as the backdrop of the jacuzzi
The room was spacious, well-lighted and ventilated, with external walls made of glass to give a panoramic view of the marine landscape.  Notwithstanding the heat of the sun outside, the much needed recuperation and relaxation is at reach, for these cottages are intricately and delicately designed with built-in centralized air-condition units.


Truly a relaxing and complete amenities were provided by the resort, which made us experience a luxurious living during the duration of our stay.  The jacuzzi cottage includes: 

1 time special dinner (candle light dinner);
bottled water everyday;
free use of sea kayak, peddle boat, snorkeling set, etc.;
free use of swimming pool, poolside bar, yacht bar, etc.;
full board meals
free use of private beach.

With our package, we were able to avail of all those listed.  As for the special dinner, it depends when the weather permits. 

We had our candle-lit dinner at the board walk but after an hour, the waiting staff advised us that it is going to rain and so we transferred to their indoor restaurant.  The locals know when it is about to rain, notwithstanding the presence of stars that lit up the sky.  True enough, the rain poured on our first night and  so after dinner, we headed back to our cottage for the usual drinking spree.

Breakfast was served at the terrace/lanai of our cottage, making it a more relaxing experience and truly a mark of a luxurious vacation.  The panoramic view adds comfort and appetite to our first meal of the day in Surigao.

Rural living as it is, meals were a healthy gastronomic treat.  No meat was served during our stay.  The restaurant was so comforting that I wish to stop time at an instant to meditate and just watch the locals do their routine and treat myself to an appealing view of the pristine waters and green, luscious mountains that surround us.

interior decor of the restaurant's ceiling

staple food at the resort
Surigao's local cuisine - I apologize I forgot the name, if someone is kind enough to provide the name I'll appreciate it (by the way, it tastes good as well)

captured while idly sitting at the restaurant

the panoramic boardwalk leading to the restaurant of the Resort

pool side bar
Replete with almost everything that a tourist can ask for, especially for one searching for tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis and the fast-paced life at that, the resort is the perfect answer to all qualms.

We headed to a private beach the day after, where a trek is required for only twenty to thirty minutes.  It was a good discovery.

Outdoor water recreation were also available at the resort, which includes the kayaking, peddle boating and snorkeling.  Due to limited time, we were only able to use the sea kayaks. Moreover, being photography enthusiasts as we are, it is my mission that every corner of the resort and the island in general should be captured for the memories to be visual and vivid in our minds during our lifetime.  The said mission was perfectly achieved, with no efforts at all, owing to the natural beauty of the subject.  Some of the raw pictures taken are shown below.

our cottage is the one at the farthest right
landmark of Bucas Grande Islands at dusk
Meanwhile, we were the only tourists in the said beach, making it extra exclusive and special as if we own the island.  The  clear  turquoise blue water was so inviting, that we did not wait for any second to plunge into it.  Since it was covered by verdant and luscious mountains, and we went there at 2PM, there is less worries for me of being burned directly under the heat of the sun.  Although it is still advisable to apply sunblock for preventive measures.

the trek

chilling while waiting for the coconut juice (buko juice) to be served

the beach

There were locals on the area and to quench our thirst, we requested for buko juice to be picked up directly from the towering coconut trees that surround us.  We of course gave them a minimal fee for that.  The buko juice was perfect on such a scenic and sunny afternoon.

Meanwhile, while enjoying the landscape and the swim, we were confronted with the fate that this too shall pass.  The sun began to set slowly to bid farewell to another chapter of our lives.  And the rest is history.

sunset at Bucas Grande Islands

Thank you for the experience.

Travel Period:  April 21-23, 2012

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  1. im drooling! i wish i can visit this place soon (keeping my fingers crossed! ) :)

    great pics!

  2. im drooling! i wish i can visit this place soon (keeping my fingers crossed! ) :)

    great pics!

  3. Hi, how much was the package you availed? Thanks!

    1. hi arianne! i apologize i won't be able to give exact amount as this trip was arranged by my friends. i almost forgot how much but all I know is this was taken on a promo rate maybe 10 to 15t.

  4. I am an Australian that is very easy going and takes a lot to upset me, although I booked a week at Club Tara with my friends. However unfortunately we booked on there website as I thought this would be a more secure way.
    However we were not able to make it to the resort because of bad weather and could not reschedule as all flights and boats were fully booked for the following week.
    Therefore I called Marsi (the arrogant Korean manager) and spoke to him for an hour trying to explain our situation but he still refused to refund us a single peso and also refused to contact the owners on our behalf and in general was extremely rude.
    Please, Please Please be careful with booking at this resort, as soon as you make booking and pay. That's were the customer service ends.

  5. My family and friends had booked 3 cottages for 5 nights at Club Tara, however when we arrived the Korean Manager Marsi was extremely rude, and when we saw our room it was as if it was 20 years old with no maintenance. There was no food available even though it was just 12.30pm. No Beers and the generator was turned off. The paddle boats and kayaks were half sunk in the water, they didn't know where any paddles were and there were no snorkeling gear available, the staff were doing there best but the Korean manager just really could not care and just would not even talk to us.
    In closing we left the next day and was refused a refund.

  6. My family and friends had booked 3 cottages for 5 nights at Club Tara, however when we saw our room it was as if it was 20 years old with no maintenance. There was no food available even though it was just 12.30pm. No Beers and the generator was turned off. The paddle boats and kayaks were half sunk in the water, they didn't know where any paddles were and there were no snorkeling gear available, the staff were doing there best but the manager just really could not care and just would not even talk to us.
    In closing we left the next day and was refused a refund, which is why there policy if full payment on booking as if it was only deposit there would be no way people would pay the balance after seeing the place.

  7. My wife and I and and our 11 year old daughter stayed at Club Tara late last year as a relaxation holiday to unwind from a hard year of work and to also enjoy the luxury of this resort, although this was not the case as when we were taken to our accommodation my wife and i just looked at each other.. and asked the girl surely you have better rooms than this available, she replied "yes Mam we have other rooms available but this is the best one" needless to say my wife gave the manager a mouth full which resulted in us leaving the next day without any refund as that's there policy...Because they request full payment upon booking as no one in there right mind would pay anything after they arrived there.....
    Please don't be fooled by there pictures...

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