Alibijaban Island (Quezon, Philippines)

Alibijaban is a small, tadpole-shaped island located off the southeastern coast of the Bondoc Peninsula in Luzon, Philippines. It is part of the coastal town of San Andres in Quezon Province. Primarily known for its pristine mangrove forest and coral reefs, the island has slowly captured the attention of adventure seekers and beach enthusiasts. Alibijaban features white sandy beaches and abundant bird life.

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It is interesting to note that the mangrove forest (which boasts at least 22 mangrove species) covered about 140 hectares of the island’s central and northern portions and protected under the National Integrated Protected Areas System as a wilderness area. At the same time, the 225 hectares surrounding water is a habitat to a rich marine life and has been declared a marine protected area as well.

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The island is most accessible from the port of San Andres via motorized boat and will only take around 30 minutes of travel time. One may opt to camp in one of its beach areas or may choose to stay at simple homestays. During our visit, we only did a day trip as we were headed to the Burias Group of Islands for an overnight stay.

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It may have been a short stay in this promising backpacker destination, but it was sure fun bumming, and snorkeling. Maybe next time I should go for an overnight stay. I’ve heard both the sunrise and sunset are also great at this part of Quezon.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Romblon, PH

It’s a pretty lazy Sunday. So I opted to go through my Facebook photos and saw this Romblon album. It brought back memories of my stolen hard drive where all of my 2005 to 2013 HD travel photos were stored. Twas one of the most heartbreaking things that happened to me.

So I am reposting here the photos from my Hambil Island, Romblon in June of 2013. The photos were just downloaded from my FB so quality may not be very good.

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San Jose is a fifth-class municipality in the province of Romblon, Philippines. It is more commonly known as Carabao Island, or Hambil Island, and is located the southern tip of Tablas Island. It is in close proximity to the world-renowned Boracay Island, separated by a narrow body of water called Hambil Channel.

In June of 2013, during a trip to Boracay, I came to see what this Romblon paradise has to offer. I stayed 2 days and 1 night in this island and I must say that it is a more serene counterpart of its neighbor, and understated in terms of its natural beauty.

Once you are in the island, you can hire a habal-habal/ motorcycle for about P300-P500 per day. You can go visit notable spots like Lanas Beach (where sunset is amazing), be brave and do cliff diving at Kuding-Kuding and Angas Cliff (with a P100 entrance fee) or just stay at Hambil Beach which can rival Boracay’s white sand beaches (plus a spectacular sunrise view). You could also rent a boat that could bring you around the island and check some hidden caves and coves.  The over-all ambiance of Hambil is pretty laid-back… Really a great way to commune with nature.

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How to Reach Hambil:

From Caticlan Port: One may charter a tricycle to take you to Tabon Baybay, it is where you can find the port of boats going to Hambil (San Jose). A passenger boat leaves for Poblacion or Lanas, daily between 8AM to 9AM. So make sure you don not miss it. The travel time is around 1 hour (depending on the waves (which by the way can be really scary. The fare is P80-P100 per passenger. The trip back to Caticlan is between 5AM to 6AM. It is pretty early so you have to be early as well so you won’t be left behind.

Another option is from Boracay. In here, one may charter a boat good for 10 people for aboutP3,000 to P4,000 round trip day tour. Make sure to practice your acting and haggling skill. The travel time is about 45 minutes to an hour. Again depending on the sea condition. The boat will either dock at Brgy Lanas or at the Port of Said in Brgy Poblacion on the eastern side where Hambil beach is.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be Juanderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Memories of Anawangin Cove: Zambales, PH

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

– Dr. Seuss

This is a flashback post. It’s been 12 years and 7 months since the first time I have set foot in Anawangin. And today, I went on to visit memory lane and put into writing the memories of this trip with a group of friends.

It was January of 2005. Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City. For most of us living in the City of Pines, this means getting out of Baguio so as not to feel the congestion of the city. You see, people would usually flock their way to witness the annual flower festival. My friends and I decided to spend a 3-day getaway in Anawangin Cove. During this time, Anawangin was barely known as a beach destination. I have heard of it from my mountaineering friends who did an exploratory climb at this side of Zambales.

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So, 5 days before the Panagbenga, I did the planning for this getaway. Actually, the first plan was to saunter Mount Pinatubo. But then, I was more enticed to go on a beach escapade. So with limited time, I disseminated our itinerary hoping more of our friends will come join us on this trip. Luckily, 10 friends decided to come along even if most of them didn’t really have much of an idea on what to see in Anawangin. I remember myself assuring them that the place is something they’ll like just to make sure no one would back out on the last minute. Here goes our itinerary:

Day 1 – Baguio to Zambales: Mount Pundaquit Trek

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There are no direct trips to San Antonio, Zambales from Baguio. Since we have a friend from Pampanga who is joining us, we agreed that we would meet there. So we took a bus that passes by Mabalacat (Victory Liner), from there, Gladys (together with her cousin) fetched and all together we went to Angeles to take a bus that is bound for Iba, Zambales’ capital. It was a pretty long (and tiresome trip). All in all, it took us around 9 hours to reach San Antonio town proper.

Upon arrival, we decided to buy some fresh produce in the market since there are no stores or restaurants in Anawangin. After which, we took a tricycle to reach Brgy. Pundaquit – the jump off to Anawangin. Good thing I have a prior contact with a guide, Manong Alfring a local. We were asked as to how we would like to reach Anawangin. You see, there are two possible options. One is to trek Mount Pundaquit, and the other one is to ride a boat. Of course, the boat ride was the faster means however, we opted to do the climb. Some of our stuff was taken by Manong Alfring and his companions, who are taking the boat. So they will just wait for us at the beach camp.

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And so we went on with the hike. Our guide told us it was a pretty easy climb. Having climbed Pulag before this trip, I have to agree with what the guide claimed. However, as the sun goes up, the weather became warmer that eventually made almost everyone tired. It was a mistake on our end when we didn’t bring much water. The heat was sweltering and our water supply was rapidly dwindling keeping our pace slower. We had to motivate ourselves and patience became the key for us to reach our campsite.

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After 3 hours or so, we reached the peak and its breathtaking view made up for that very weary feeling we were all experiencing. It was a 360 degrees view and Anawangin Cove was already visible from where we were. The sea view further motivated the group not to give up. Two more hours and we finally reached Anawangin with the pine trees seemingly welcoming us. A few more minutes, and we were treated with a spectacular sun down. It was lovely. It made all the weary feeling melt down.

We did set up our tents (yes, there were no resorts/ cottages before in Anawangin), and cooked our dinner with the help of our guide. We had a simple dinner by the shore while sharing stories under the full moon. Recalling that night, it was so serene and really relaxing

Day 2: Anawangin Cove Explored

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Some of us woke up early, the others stayed a little longer inside their tents as they were still feeling fatigued from the other day’s trek. I went to stroll along the beach while taking some photos. Waking up to the sound of the waves and the smell of saline water was energy revitalizing! It is such a picturesque place. Looking back, Anawangin’s picture perfect backdrop contributed to my being a photography enthusiast. We actually spent almost the entire day wandering around. The waters of Anawangin was crystal clear and really refreshing so we had a great deal of time swimming or just wading in water. We also went up a hill where we had a jaw-dropping view of the cove and the mountains. The mini pine tree forest at the foot of the mountain is unbelievably photogenic. There is even an estuary that leads to the sea. And at the end of that day, we again waited for the sunset. It was yet another spectacular sundown.

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Day 3: Capones Island

Everyone had to wake up early on Day 3 because it was time to leave Anawangin. However, before going back to mainland Pundaquit, we went on for a side trip to a nearby island called Capones. There are actually two islands near the cove, however, we have to stick to our itinerary since we still have to go back to Baguio. It was a 30-minute boat ride amidst huge waves… From afar, the island looks like a shoe. The island’s main attraction is an old lighthouse. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open when we got there so we ended up taking photos along the shore amidst huge, exquisite rocks. I had an unforgettable experience here since I had a bit of an accident. I didn’t anticipate that some of the rocks were slippery that caused me to slip off and have some bruises. Nonetheless, the happy experience overshadowed this minor incident.

Before going back to Baguio, Gladys invited us at their home in San Fernando, Pampanga for a food treat and for us to freshen up ourselves. It was yet another long and tiresome bus ride. But who cares, we just had an awesome and adventure-filled trip! I told myself I’d be back in Anawangin. (And guess what, after 5 years since that first trip to Anawangin, I was able to visit it again. Plus, I was able to visit also another cove – Nagsasa and the other island near Capones, Camara). Yay! Cheers to more travels!

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*Thank you to Kuya Jerry for sharing some of his photographs to us.

Also, you might want to check my write up about other visit-worthy coves here in the Philippines.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

South Palms Resort Panglao (Bohol, PH)

Every time I stand before a beautiful beach, its waves seem to whisper to me: If you choose the simple things and find joy in nature’s simple treasures, life and living need not be so hard.

Sumptuous and Paradisiacal: Two words befitting to describe my visit at this prime Bohol resort in the island of Panglao called South Palms.

4South Palms Beach Resort is a 9.3 hectare tropical paradise within a 45-hectare spread of a beachfront property. I have to say it is one of the ultimate beach destinations in Bohol as it boasts off a beach with the longest coastline in Panglao. Unlike other beaches teeming with people, Bolod Beach of South Palms guarantees a relaxing leisure walk along its white sand-dotted shoreline, and enjoyable swimming in its azure to turquoise waters. Definitely PARADISIACAL!

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The resort rooms display local artistry, with utmost relaxation and a stunning view of the beach as footpath provides easy access to the lovely coast. Each of these tropically adorned rooms have AC system, a flat-screen TV, a personal safety cabinet, coffee-and-tea making amenities, and a private bathroom with toiletries and hot/cold shower facilities.

They also have a variety of luxurious recreational activities and facilities that range from ball games, different water activities (snorkeling, SCUBA diving), and even day tours to other Bohol spots. Truly an ideal place for family and friends!

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And, if you intend to come in group for a business meeting or a company outing, the beach resort is also a perfect venue as they also have conference rooms and function halls. While I was strolling along their beach area, I was thinking that it is a great area for team building.

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Another thing I like about South Palms is that they have their own restaurant. A seafood restaurant at that! I am a seafood lover so I may have a little bias here. Its resto is called Oceanica Seafood Restaurant that serves both local and international cuisines. It is an open restaurant meaning you have a wonderful view of the sea (and the pool) while you are eating. It is in close proximity to the resort’s pool bars (which offers a selection of refreshing drinks). Here are some of the really palatine-satiating food I have tried at Oceanica:

Manok Inato – a local dish of grilled chicken cooked in coconut milk with aromatic spices. First time to try this and my palate agrees that it is tasty! Then there is this “Gambas-al-ahilo”, a prawn delicacy that is both sweet and spicy. I am a seafood lover so yes, I love this one. Both dishes were a great match to my “inun-un” or crab meat rice. I also had a healthy and refreshing salad called “Watermelon Summer” salad made of lettuce, mango, and watermelon. I had cucumber lemonade for drinks, an all-time favorite drink of mine. So, it is safe to say that I really had a gastronomic experience at Oceanica. As I have said earlier, everything is SUMPTUOUS!

DSC_00743Other features of the resort include the following: a souvenir shop, an ATM, a spa, a gym, laundry service, and outdoor pools. Wi-Fi access is almost everywhere (even along the coastline, I love it!) There is a free public parking that doesn’t require reservation. It is good to know that they have a 24-hour front desk, a 24-hour room service, provides airport transfer and shuttle services (that is if you want to go to Alona Beach), and they even have currency exchange. I am also pleased to know that they have facilities for guests with disability.

 

South Palms Beach Resort Panglao is indeed a destination to keep in mind when in Bohol. I can even imagine it as a lovely setting for a romantic date or beach wedding

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan.

Please refer to the images below for their rates and some promos:

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Windswept Beauty of Muriwai Beach

Another thing I like to do is sit back and take in nature. To look at the birds, listen to their singing, go hiking, camping and jogging and running, walking along the beach, playing games and sometimes being alone with the great outdoors. It’s very special to me. — Larry Wilcox

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Muriwai Beach, a natural wonder on the west coast of the Auckland Region in the North Island of New Zealand, is a windswept volcanic black sand coastal wonder. The impressive waves rolling into the shore, the serrated landscape across the Maori Bay, and a fascinating colony of gannets are some of the highlights of a visit to this beach.

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This beach is just 40-minutes to an hour away from the bustling ‘City of Sails’. The ruggedly beautiful landscape and seascape are just beyond mesmerizing. A friend of mine suggested that I should visit this place for two main reasons. One, to wait for the magical sunset at this side of New Zealand; and two, be amazed at the colony of breeding gannets.

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According to what I have read, prior to my visit, between the months of October and February each year, the gannets hatch and nurse their young on the cliff tops of Otakamiro Point. This can be accessed after a short walk from the regional park’s parking area. There is a lookouts where one can view the nesting gannets and the Maori Bay. This also serves as a good vantage point during sundown.

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Various activities abound the area. It includes surfing, windsurfing, paragliding and hang gliding, fishing, bush walking, or just strolling along the beach. Muriwai is definitely one New Zealand beach that will make you want to be one with nature.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri”Juan”.

 

 

 

 

 

Burias Island (Masbate, PH)

Not all those who wander are lost. — J.R.R. Tolkien

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Seven thousand, one hundred seven islands (7, 107) – that is how plenty one can choose from when visiting the Philippines. Of these islands, a great number of them are undiscovered and pristine beaches. For the past months of my “wanderlusting”, I have been keen on discovering/re-discovering these “off the beaten” destinations.

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One of the greatest surprise is an island in the province of Masbate called Burias Island and its islets.An island made up of 2 municipalities (Claveria and San Pascual), it is one of the three major islands of the province. Imay not have set foot on mainland Burias during my recent visit, but, I was given the chance to see and experience the magnificent smaller islands of Burias that includes Dapa, Sombrero and Tinalisyan.

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The beauty of Burias is best travelled (and experienced) by boat and a night stay in one of the islands. There are 2 possible entries to these islands. The more common route is via Pasacao in Camarines Norte. However, our group opted to take the Quezon route (San Andres) because we also included the island of Alibijaban in our itinerary. (A separate write up will be posted soon regarding Alibijaban).

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So, after our short but awesome stop in Alibijaban Island, off we went to explore 3 of Burias’ islands. Our first stop is the oooooh sooooooo beautiful Dapa Island that boasts off its uber crystal clear turquoise water that is beyond inviting. I was as surprised as it wasn’t something I have expected to see. I really enjoyed taking photos in this island – from its rugged features, cave-like rock formations surrounding the island to its calm, beautiful water. Everything was just awesome! (Boat ride from Alibijaban to Dapa Island is around 2 hours).

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Then off we went to Sombrero Island. Sombrero means hat in English. It is called such because it features a rocky hill that looks like a large hat from afar. Unlike Dapa, it has a larger beach area. The island also has a resort with which visitors may stay for a night or so. From Dapa, Sombrero is about 45 minutes away.

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Our last stop (and the island we chose to stay for the night), is the picturesque, spectacular, lovely (insert all positive adjectives here) Tinalisayan Islet. As our boats gets nearer, my sense of exhilaration gets more intense. I was even more excited because the sun is about to set making the place more magical. Once the boat got docked, I hurriedly got out of the boat and made my way to the islets highest point. The place is beyond everything I have expected – the sandbar (that wasn’t so visible when we arrived), the coastline dotted with rust colored sand and stone, the setting sun proudly radiating its golden glow, and its over-all vibe! I quickly captured everything I could while it wasn’t totally dark yet.

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We were the only people in the islet. We did set up our tents and prepared dinner. I spent a few minutes gazing at the stars in the sky. Since I was pretty tired, I opted to hit the sack early. The following day, I woke up early to wait for the sunrise. It was pretty gloomy but the islands charm is undeniable. As the sun came out and added more warmth to the place, the islet’s sandbar also became more visible. It is even more stunning during low tide. I went to walk through it to its tip. Spent almost the entire morning taking photographs. I’m in love with this place! Really stunning!

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After lunch time, we were supposed to explore one more island – Animasola Island and Rock Formation. However, the weather suddenly became really gloomy due to a brewing typhoon. We decided to head back to mainland Quezon. The waters were rough as rain starts to set in. After 3 hours, we arrived at the port of San Andres.

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How to Get to Burias Island (by land):

As I have mentioned earlier, there are two possible routes one can take.

One, you can ride a bus (DLTB, Penafrancia Tours, Isarog Lines, RSL, Philtranco, Raymond) from the Cubao Terminal in Quezon City that is Naga City bound. Travel time will be around eight to nine hours. From there, ride a tricycle from CBD Terminal to Pasacao Van Terminal which is beside SM Naga. Ride a van headed for Pasacao Town, and once there, ride a pedicab, tell the driver to take you to the port. From the port, there are boats going to San Pascual, Masbate. The travel time is about two hours. Once in San Pascual, get a boat that will take you to the islands.

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Second, is via San Andres in Quezon Province. From Metro Manila, Superlines Transport have 3 daily direct trip to San Andres 4:30 AM, 2:30 PM, and 5:30 PM. However, the schedule may change without notice. If you miss these schedulesm you can take a Lucena City blound bus. Bus lines from like JAC Liner, Lucena Lines and DLTB, Tritran have daily trips to Lucena. Once in Lucena, take a Barney Auto Lines bus. There are also groups of Van operators in Lucena bound for San Andres. The van terminal is at the Pacific Mall and SM Lucena. Once in San Andres, proceed to the port and charter a boat going to the islands you wish to visit.

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For boat inquiry, contact Kuya Togs @ +63 910 787 0501 .

It was an awesome weekend getaway with equally adventurous people I just met. Special shout out to Sir Jolo of Team NaeNae for organizing this awesome trip. Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Photo galore:

Punta Magsidel (Calayan Island, PH)

“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.” ― William Shakespeare

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Ruggedly beautiful.

When my friends and I learned that we are stranded for an indefinite number of days in Calayan Island (a remote, typhoon-battered island between Batanes and mainland Luzon), the thought of exploring some of the island’s not so frequented places came about. With the suggestion of our hosts, we decided to go and see the coastline of Brgy. Magsidel, known for a ruggedly beautiful seascape called Punta.

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We took a tryke ride to Punta Magsidel. We were greeted by a small, old church (that’s hardly noticeable to be one) since it does not have a cross on top. Instead, you only get to see the cross when you walk your way to the back part of the church. The church humbly stands on a cliff, and behind it is a coastline strewn with various rock formations. Some of these are coralline in nature, and a number of them are obviously basalt type – evidence that at one point, the island may have been a result of volcanic eruptions as igneous rock abound the area.

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My friends decided to take a swim in the shallow, pool like part of the area while I opted to walk along and take as many photos as I could. Despite the gloomy weather that day, the craggy beauty of the place is still indubitable. The sea, and the sky, extended from distance to horizon seem endless in this Philippine gem.

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After spending more than an hour at this side of Calayan, we went to satiate our thirst by drinking some fresh coconut juice courtesy of some locals near the place.

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Calayan is love.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan.

Nagudungan Hill (Calayan Island, PH)

Through this post, allow me to take you to the surreal Nagudungan Hill.

Nature’s work of art is something beyond remarkable. The Philippines’ landscape and seascape are authentication of nature’s spectacular creations. Our beaches are some of the best in the world, and what makes our coastline more picturesque, are amazing rock formations.

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The Babuyan Group of Islands in Northern Luzon boast off some of the most scenic seascapes in the country. One particular site that will leave you in awe is the Nagudungan Hill. I was speechless for a moment when I saw it the first time. It was like love at first sight.

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The easy trek to the windy hill is one of my most treasured experiences. Having scene several hills across the country – from the Vayang Rolling Hills of Batanes to the verdant Quitinday Hills of Albay, to the famed Chocolate Hills of Bohol (with which each of them are unique and special) – on a personal point of view, I find the hill the most beautiful and romantic, perhaps one of the most stunning, picturesque landcsape-seascape at this side of the Philippines.

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Upon reaching the top of the hills, you’ll be lost for words. You get to see a spectacular view of three white-sand dotted coves — Caniwara, Cibang and Cababaan; jaw-dropping rock formations everywhere, a simple lighthouse perched atop that adds charm to the place, and a number of Causarina/Australian Pine Trees that have withstood the strong winds that frequent the place. I am not very good with describing how beautiful a place is so I am leaving the photos in this write up to give justice to Nagudungan’s beauty.

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It felt surreal standing atop the rocks I have climbed. For a moment, I felt my heart beating triple time whenever I dare myself to walk through the edge of the beautiful cliffs of Nagudungan. I found myself at lost in finding the most appropriate superlatives. One of my favorite spot is a humongous hollow space resembling like a pit. Looking down, one will be mesmerized by some naturally formed nooks, striations and indentation. More rocks are found below with which large waves continuously batter.

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A visual spectacle indeed!

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Again, I’ll leave some of the photos I took for you my readers to get a glimpse of what this amazing place offers.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.

 

Malamawi Island (Basilan, PH)

“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.” — Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations.

During my 1st visit in the island province of Basilan wayback 2005, I was very afraid to roam around. With news about insurgents thriving in the province, I was just satiated by the thought that, at least, I was able to set my feet in one of the country’s less traveled places.

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Fastforward some 10 years after the 1st encounter: The thought of going back to Basilan and see the splendor it can offer came about after a friend invited me to go to Tawi-Tawi. We thought of squeezing in a Basilan side trip. And so during the last day of our Western Mindanao sojourn, we went to experience Basilan’s best kept secret – Malamawi Island.

We took the earliest ferry ride to Isabela City (Basilan’s capital) from Zamboanga City port and arrived after an hour. The feeling is pretty much different compared to my 1st visit. This time, it is much more peaceful and I , myself is more  confident to walk around (unlike before that I was too afraid of bringing out my camera to take a snap)..

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From mainland Basilan, we rode an outrigger boat that took us only around 5-10 minutes to reach Malamawi Island. Upon docking, our group (together with a tourism officer, Ate YanYan) chartered 3 motorcycles for us to reach Malamawi’s white sand beaches.

The trip to the other side of Malamawi had us passing through a dirt path and some bucolic rural scenes. After 15 minutes or so, the sight of aquamarine, inviting waters flashed before our very eyes. I remember running towards the beach excitingly like a kid.

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Before I started taking photos of the place, I had to spend a few minutes marveling at its beauty. At the back of my head, I was silently uttering – “how could anyone think there is something soooooo spectacular in a terror-laiden place like Basilan?” Somehow, the bad image of the province has suffered through the years somewhat helped in the preservation of its tourist destinations like that of Malamawi.

The cove like beach dotted with fine white sand, hugged by crystal clear waters, empty wooden cottages and few visitors, was beyond perfect. And as soon as the sun came out of the clouds, the beach and its water further glimmered in its beauty. The vista made my sense of sight more than satiated. It was just so peaceful and serene and really captivating!

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We only spent a few hours in the island, and I felt kinda sad when we were leaving. All the negative things thrown on Basilan started to fade. It made me further realize that the Philippines is really a place so much endowed with immense natural splendor. As a travel enthusiast, I think we should learn how to appreciate the beauty of every place we have and should stop from tainting its reputation.

How to Get to Malamawi:

From Manila, fly to Zamboanga City. Once in Zamboanga City, ride a tricycle to the Zamboanga City port. There are several ferries bound for Isabela City in  Basilan. Once in Isabela City, walk towards the right side of Isabela Port. Boats to Malamawi are found just before you reach the fish market. Once in Malamawi mainland, ride a motorcycle to its white beach.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Mararison Island (Antique, PH)

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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It was in 2012 when I had the chance to first set foot in the province of Antique. I have always wanted to go try out Tibiao’s cauldron “kawa” bath. Little did I know that besides this famed bathing style, the province also has some best-kept secrets (no more). One of which is the scenic Mararison Island (others spell it Malalison).

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Mararison or Malalison is a 55-hectare island off the shores of Culasi town. This hoop-looking island boasts off picturesque rolling hills (ala Batanes) and crystal clear waters rich in aquatic flora and fauna. The island also has few fisher huts and small rice fields inland. There are neither hotels, resorts nor restaurants, no electricity even. So if you wish to stay overnight, either bring your tent or maybe knock on the door of some locals who have opted to live on the island for its seclusion.

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So what can one do in such a tiny island? Well there’s the island’s sandbar that is known to shift in shape depending on how strong the waves can get. Then there is the crystal-clear blue waters surrounding the island that is good for swimming, snorkelling, and even fishing. One can cross over a nearby islet called Nablag Rock and some small caves to be explored. My favourite part during my visit was the trek to in Tuyong-tuyong Hill (the highest hill in the island). Once you reach the top, you’ll get to see the magnificence of the entire island. The highest peak in the province of Antique, Mount Madjaas, serves as a stunning backdrop to the island. Everything is just lovely!

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How to Reach Mararison Island:

From Manila, you can either fly to the following airports in Panay – Kalibo, Caticlan, Roxas and Iloilo with Caticlan and Kalibo airports being the nearest to Culasi town. Once you reach these airports, make your way to the  bus terminal and look for a bus bound for Antique (San Jose).

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Ask to be dropped at Culasi town. Once in Culasi, walk your way to its boulevard or the market where outrigger/fisherman’s boats san be found. Negotiate with them. During our visit, we were able to hire a boat for only Php500. There were no registration fees whatsoever then. I have read some recent blogs that if you intend to visit Mararison now, one has to visit the town’s tourism office and register. One also has to obtain a Safety and Conduct Pass, pay the environmental fee (PhP10 for locals, PhP40 for foreigners) and a diving fee (PhP200) if you’re a diver before getting on a boat to Mararison Island.

The boat ride to Mararison Island is only around 20-30 minutes.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust.