Bucas Grande - Sanctuary of the Lagoon Jelly

by 6:12 AM 0 comments
spotted jelly or lagoon jelly (Mastigias papua)
There's this delicate ecosystem that thrives in the lagoon that we have no control of. Millions of special species of jellyfish (Mastigias papua) are endemic to this lagoon for thousands of years with little to no disturbance from humans. They specifically thrives on Southern Pacific lagoons only and cannot migrate into the sea when their residential area is no longer habitable. They feed on plankton that's predominantly abundant on the area and minor changes on their delicate ecosystem could potentially wipe out this rare creatures off existence. Don't worry though they evolved to lose their sting because of absence of predators as compared to their ocean relatives. I could say with confidence and pride that there's very few places in the world that this jellyfish thrives and there are two places here in the Philippines that nests these jellyfish the other place is I think in Palawan.

© National Geographic
Wikipedia speaks out! The spotted jelly or lagoon jelly (Mastigias papua) is a species of jellyfish. It lives mainly in the southern Pacific Ocean. Instead of one single mouth, they appear to have several smaller mouth openings in their oral arms. These feed on zooplankton.[1] In Japan—especially along Pacific coast areas—these are sold as novelty pets, along with photoautotrophic phytoplankton, and are called takokurage (タコクラゲ), or "octopod" or "rammer" jellies.

  • Waterproof your gadgets if you bring any.
  • Don't use any chemicals on your skin like sunblock, mosquito repellant etc. because they're prohibited as it can alter their delicate ecosystem.
  • Bring an umbrella if you're too concern of being burn by the sun.
Start off point is the registration center in Sohoton National Park wherein you will take a pedal boat to sanctuary that would take around 15 minutes. I really appreciate their efforts to preserve the place. Pedal is use instead of the motor to protect those jelly from injury and so as not to disturb the peaceful habitat of those creatures. Sad to say they now prohibit swimming in the area which could heighten the experience more but it means protecting them then I would be happy to oblige. 

One person in each small pedal boat with one personnel ( navigator + guide ) and I must say that my guide has really filled me with some helpful information about the jelly. An interval o four months they're present usually during summertime and two months they're absent. We were superbly blessed by the Lord that when we got there its the season of these playful jelly because we didn't know those season info beforehand. I don't really know how these wonderful occurrence happened but I got a theory that tells me that their average life span is 4 months and before they all die out they'll leave eggs that would take two more months to incubate and hatch. That's the only logical way that this could happen.

You enter in that small opening.
Just before we enter in the sanctuary the jellyfish are already visible swimming outside but not nearly noticeable of their numbers. You have to pedal your way in to the sanctuary and it would be kind that you help your navigator to pedal also and it adds uniqueness to the experience then gives you bragging rights to brag it in social sites that 'I pedal my way into the jellyfish sanctuary!' if you're one boastful bastard who's craving for an attention just kidding lol...
I heard someone says they're like floating garbage. They could have chosen a better adjective.

Be a responsible tourist! Do's & Dont's 
  • Sorry but swimming is no longer allowed ;P you should have back then when it is still not that known.
  • Carefully hold the jellyfish with both hands cupped.
Proper way of holding the jelly demonstration.
  • Never hold it with one with their tentacles hanging as it can rip off their tentacles. It would be hard for them to swim without those tentacles. If you can't sympathize then put yourself in their stead you wouldn't want your limbs ripped out of your body.
  • Don't be a talkative noisy bastard inside the sanctuary. Though not prohibited there's a reason why such places are called sanctuaries if you won't oblige then a gigantic jellyfish will you down to the deep to shut you up  j/k.. lol...
Jelly Mania!
From what I have observed there are three varieties of the jellyfish in the area that I categorize in color. There's the white almost transparent small ones most likely are hatch-lings that my guide has to point out for me to see then the much more common dominant golden yellow jelly most likely the teens and the rare dark violet jelly that is hard to spot maybe they're the old ones.

Paddling inside a serene lagoon in the surrounded by millions of those beautiful jelly fish that feels like living lava lamps is absolutely amazing. To make the experience a little more fun I challenge my friend to race to the registration center paddling the boat and as expected I lose for a shameful couple of meters hahaa... This experience will uniquely standout that you get to carry for the rest of your life as a bragging right to your grand children or a memory that you get to treasure in the encapsulated moments of your life.

Amazing Race!

Christian Vincent Literatus

Travel Blogger

Chris just loves to travel, and for a long time now has been drifting from place to place around the Philippines. With his combined passion for travel and photography, he’s managed to find himself in the middle of some magical moments and mind blowing scenery. The Bisdak Explorer is Chris’s way of sharing his experiences with you, and showcasing not just his travel photography, but the moments and stories behind those photos.


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