Travel adventure

The Stingless Jellyfish of Sohoton Cove

Sohoton is found in Bucas Grande Island, part of Socorro municipality, Surigao del Norte. Bucas Grande Island is obviously not a part of the bigger Siargao Island. It’s like the island of Cebu, which consists of many cities (including Cebu City) and municipalities, beside the island of Mactan (both Cebu island and Mactan island belong to the Cebu province).

Sohoton can also refer to the general area where the jellyfish are found. The Tojoman Lagoon (also known as the “Jellyfish Sanctuary” or “Sohoton Jellyfish Sanctuary”) is part of the Sohoton Cove National Park, found in the Bucas Grande group of islands, all part of the town called Socorro. The Sohoton Cove National Park is a maze of coves, caves and lagoons.

The Jellies

There are two species of stingless jellyfish in the area. One is the Mastigias papua, a brown-spotted jelly also called the lagoon jelly, and Aurelia aurita (also called moon jellyfish, moon jelly, or saucer jelly), mostly found in warm, tropical waters.

Here’s the moon jelly (Aurelia aurita), if you can see it:

And here’s the brown-spotted lagoon jelly (Mastigias papua), which appears like a lump of real jelly that’s looks appealing to bite (no wonder those turtles love the jelly meal):

It was amazing to see the jellyfish up close, yet we can’t help feeling a tiny sting of disappointment because there was only a handful jellyfish, less than fifteen, we encountered. It’s a far cry from the swarm of jellyfish you see in photos and travel TV shows. It’s like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” discovering that the hamburger served looks different from the hamburger on the menu.

The bangkero explained that it wasn’t the season for the jellyfish. Sea turtles aren’t of much help, it turned out. These sea turtles love to eat jellyfish, we were told. It’s their happy meal (see what we did there, Jollibee?) The net or mesh at the lagoon entrance is meant to stop the sea turtles from going in the lagoon and eating the jellyfish.

Here’s an interesting thought: which one swims faster, the jellyfish or the sea turtle?


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