Chasing Sunrises At Bucas Grande Island
Penned by: Charmaine Rose Mahomoc
Have you ever chased the sunrise? – a question I once read in a Facebook friend’s post that has gotten me intrigued to the point where I stopped whatever I was working on and pondered, “How do you chase the sunrise?”
Chasing sunrises, base from what I had researched, has been synonymous to chasing new opportunities. In the literal sense, it’s when people wake up at the crack of dawn in order to seize the rays of the sun. If that is what chasing sunrises mean, you might wonder, what do we call the people who chase them? They are the ones who acknowledge and seek better opportunities not only for the benefit of themselves but also for the welfare of the people surrounding them. The same people who recognize the fact that progress and development is contextual – what worked today may not work tomorrow.
Here in the glorious island of Bucas Grande, people have been chasing sunrises. From the way our people forge bonds and partnerships in developing our land to the way we seek new opportunities for inclusive growth, we have been wholeheartedly fervent. We have preserved our culture and we have promoted the beauty of our island to local and foreign tourists. We have built industries such as our booming tourism and business ventures. How did we come this far, you ask? Well, all these are through the efforts of every Socorronhon who wakes up early in the morning, puts on a brave face, and chase the sunrise – literally chase for some. However, in order for us to further move forward to the bright future we aim to achieve, I believe, we have to appreciate the beauty God has bestowed upon this island-municipality.
Decades ago, this far-flung island, in the north eastern part of Mindanao just lurks in the shadows of its more famous neighbour – the surfing capital of the Philippines – Siargao Island. Thankfully, we have carved out our own identity today. Oh, are you asking what this identity is? What our identifier is? We are the home of the majestic Sohoton Cove National Park where one can have a romantic affair with nature and swim with the famous Jellyfishes. Worry not! They’re the stingless kind! Our island has been blessed with bountiful natural resources that can, take note, possibly rival Coron, Palawan.
You can frolic in the cool rock faces and sandy beaches of Bubon group of islets; bask in the sun in Marka-A; and feel the ocean’s caress as your eyes feast on vibrant coral formations and different species of fish in the waters along Sohoton Bay. If you are the adrenaline-junkie type, you can explore uncharted territories and go spelunking at Crystal Cave and Bolitas Cave. Inside each cave are rock formations so bizarre they almost defy logic. In this dark realm are snaking passages, never-ending abysses, and other natural marvels that are rarely seen by mankind. Or if you’re someone who believes that life is so much better when seen at a vantage point, go visit Kapihan View Park and take a flight of adventure to our “Zip to the Pacific.”
However, as what Pittucus Lore had written in his book, “I am Number Four”, which is now a motion picture by the way, “A place is only as good as the people you know in it. It’s the people that make the place.” And we the Socorronhons, are one of a kind people. We have traversed adversities through our spirit of cooperation, or Hinabangay as we call it. We are the hospitable kind, the brave kind, and the resilient kind. To quote the words of our Bb. Surigao del Norte 2014, “we have amazing people, not only physically but substantially.” These same people have been joining hands for years to build the kind of progress we are experiencing now.
Our culture is so unique it has become one of the agents that has led to the progress of our municipality. It is a culture that has been passed on to us from our forefathers, a legacy that we should always be proud of, and most importantly, uphold.
Every time friends of mine who come from different municipalities ask and inquire about this glorious island I am living in, I always face them with a proud smile – the smile that has “yes-our-place-is-a-paradise-and-you-should-come-visit” written all over it. Every time I go to all the natural beauties my island has to offer, I am always in awe with how God intricately made such marvels. Then I stop, and take pictures of these tourist spots. I upload them on my Facebook account and write a caption that goes along the lines, “Come and join me in paradise. Come and visit Bucas Grande.” This is my own little way of helping promote my island to the rest of the country and eventually to the rest of the world. How about you? What are your ways?
In my early age, I know now that with booming tourism comes new opportunities for employment. One of the easiest advantages of the tourism industry is the jobs it brings. This translates to food in the table of every home and money to send children to school. In addition to bringing prosperity to an economy, it also allows our local economy to develop a new form of income. You see, the Socorronhons are indeed, chasing sunrises.
But lo! All these could be gone in a blink of an eye. The beauty our eyes feast right now as we drop our jaws in admiration for this glorious island of Bucas Grande, can fade out in an instant if we do not create interactive cooperation strategies in protecting the kind of environment, the kind of people God has bestowed upon this island.
Let us not limit the spirit of Hinabangay to only promoting out island in order for tourists to visit it but let us forge strengthened bonds in promoting the preservation of our environment and our culture. What could possibly be the state of our natural resources when we grow old if we don’t start protecting it now? What will our children see by then? Will I only show them old has-been photos of our glorious island? Or let them only watch a video of Hinabangay festival? I refuse to accept that.
We are one people tested by time. Let us not succumb to greedy investors whose only care is to exploit our natural resources for money. Let us not let foreign tourists trample our way of life as islanders. Let us not become the kind of people who only admire sunsets – people who are unprepared for tomorrow and all of the uncertainty that a new sunrise seems to bring.
Ladies and gentlemen, let us hold hand in hand as we chase OUR SUNRISE! The sunrise that brings equal opportunities for every Socorronhon. The sunrise that gives off its light of protection and preservation for every natural resource God has given us. The sunrise that admires our unique culture. The sunrise that will lead to inclusive growth and sustainable development of this glorious island-municipality of Socorro!
Now, who among you wants to chase the sunrise with me?