After completing a tour off Bucas Grande Island last February 18, our group took a 2-hour drive through the town of Cortes in Surigao del Sur for a side trip in Laswitan Lagoon, a household name among Mindanao travelers. We used the easier route via Carasscal, Cantila, Lanuza and Cortes before we reached the city of Tandag where we stayed overnight in Shacene Hotel. Along the way we were able to witness how mining activity ruined the mountains of Claver. I thought of it then that despite being one of the most lucrative industries, mining operations of the country should be reviewed. In it I see the motives of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez as valid and at the peak of everything because the mountains where open mining are hosted are fast depleting.
Meanwhile, Laswitan lagoon is located in Cortes, 25 kilometers from Tandag downtown and some 30 minutes ride. It is one of Cortes’ only jewel and is now being visited by people from all walks of life. What makes it really exciting is the splash created when strong waves from the other side of the rock formation approach, making it an instant waterfalls and then suddenly fade away. You need to wait for another period before the cycle appears again which define patience as a virtue for visitors in the place.
Unlike any ocean destinations where one prays for a calm weather and small waves, your prayer when you go to Laswitan is the exact opposite. The focal point of interest in the lagoon is the big waves so that the visit is worth. Laswitan is a local term which means a place where waves from the ocean touch a solid formation.
The water that splashes through the rock formations accumulates into a natural rock pool and serves as spot for visitors to dip into while waiting for series of wave squirting. The beautiful cobblestones surrounding the place added another interesting scenery which could be scaled only when waves are smaller so as not to suffer injuries.
From a broader standpoint, Laswitan is a gray structure that serves as an eye course to the Pacific Ocean. For a photographer like me, there are a lot of reasons to visit Laswitan, even without waves, because the rockscape alone is enough to illustrate a place nowhere else on earth can be found.
The locals of Cortes told me that Laswitan became a spot for tourists only in 2013. When it was featured in several national television programs more and more people are now interested in visiting the place, which allowed them to also prepare as a tourism community. The LGU is now starting to develop support mechanisms to make it more accessible like maintaining the road leading to Barangay Madrelino.