Philippines’ Beaches: What’s Not to Love?

The Philippines, being an archipelago, is dotted with innumerable pristine, sparkling beaches. Some white, others black, a few brown, and surprisingly pink too! We have beaches that are as fine as talcum powder to gritty, sandy ones, while others are pebble lined. Majority of these tropical paradise boasts off crystal clear water that comes in azure to turquoise colors. Regardless of the color and texture of beaches’ sand and water, Philippines’ seashores will make one’s “beach escapade” memorable and fun!

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Besides the obvious aesthetics of our beaches, here are other reasons why bumming around the beaches of the Philippines is a must doPhilippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches have a laid-back vibe, especially the small-town beaches and the off-the beaten ones. They are the ultimate relaxation zones perfect for experiencing serenity and peace of mind. One can go for an afternoon walk along the shoreline or sit down under shady palm trees while reading a book. Or just lie down, let the crashing waves touch your feet and the gentle wind kiss your lips. Totally relaxing and an awesome escape to a stressful life!

Philippines’ beaches are home to various water sports and activities. From surfing, to snorkeling to SCUBA diving, kitesurfing, kayaking, island-hopping and many more. Plus, the marine life is teeming with wonders.  One will never run out of things to do. These activities can keep you fit and make your vacation more fun-filled.

Philippines’ beaches showcase some of the most jaw-dropping sunrise and sunset views. Everything turns into a picturesque, surreal nature art once the sun starts to rise. It is even more dramatic during sundown. Sunset by the beach is one thing I look forward the most.

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Philippines’ beaches are generally cheap. While some of our beaches are becoming more and more commercialized, I want to believe that majority of our beaches are still inexpensive, and some even for free. One could spend some time along the beach without worrying about spending much – paying for entrance fees or buying pricey food because again, the cost isn’t really high.

Philippines’ beaches are home to good and hospitable Filipinos. I want to think that Filipino hospitality is evident in almost all parts of the country – whether at the mountain villages, to seaside towns, and various rural areas. Most Filipinos are willing to lend a helping hand in whatever ways they could. Some families would invite you their homes, some would even cook the freshest sea catch of the day for their visitors to have a sumptuous meal.

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They say “life is a beach”. Whether you have a beach bod, dad bod or whatever kind of body figure you have, the beach is one welcoming place for you to experience life, to live life.

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

Calayan Island (Cagayan, 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

Calayan, an island municipality that make up one of the five major islands of the Babuyan Group of Islands in the province of Cagayan. It is located south of the Batanes Group of islands and north of Cagayan mainland. The island has a rough rectangular shape with rolling hills, rugged cliffs and some heavily forested areas. It is believed that the island is of volcanic origin and has rich deposits of greyish white rocks called perlite. And Calayan Island is one of the Philippines best kept treasures.

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How to Get to Calayan Island:

From Manila, there are no direct transportation going to Calayan. However, there are three points where one can take a vessel to Calayan Island: Claveria Port, and Aparri Port — both of which are in Cagayan Province. To reach these ports, you may opt for the following:

By plane: One may take the plane from Manila to Tuguegarao (Cagayan), Cauayan (Isabela) or Laoag (Ilocos Norte). From among the 3, Laoag is nearest to Claveria Port while Tuguegarao is nearest to Aparri Port. One may opt to take a bus or a van going to the three points mentioned above.

By bus: There are several bus companies in the Greater Manila Area that have direct trips to the three points mentioned above. GV Florida bus have direct trip to Claveria (P730, 13-14 hours).

Once in Cagayan:

Aparri Port: There are vessels coming from this port that usually leaves early in the morning. That’s all I can provide since I didn’t personally get the chance to see this port.

Claveria Port: This is the closest to Calayan in terms of distance and travel time (although it sometimes depends on the condition of the waves). “Lampitaw”/ vessels usually leave between 5 am to 9 am. These vessels usually contains cargo and only offer a few space for people (so it is best to have your contact in Calayan reserve you a space in the lampitaw). Travel time is between 4 to 6 hours (or more). The availability of these vessels is not assured hence it is important to ask your Calayan contact.

  • As a passenger, fare is P500 or you can hire the vessel from P8,000 – P15,000 depending on the size or your haggling skills.

NOTE: Planning a Calayan trip requires a lot of precautions. Rainy season or not, the sea condition is pretty much unpredictable, and getting stranded on the island is very much of a possibility.

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WHAT TO DO IN CALAYAN: 

  1. Go trekking. The Nagudungan Hills is a spectacular place to go for an early morning trek and wait for the sunrise.
  2. Go beach-bumming. Calayan is blessed with beautiful coves dotted with fine, white sand. From Caniwara to Cababaan to Cibang – all 3 coves are worth experiencing.
  3. Chase some waterfalls. You can do this by either trekking your way to the waterfalls or you can hire a motorized boat to see them like Malangsi Falls at Cabubadan Falls.
  4. Snorkel at Punta Magsidel, then wait for the sunset at this side of Calayan.
  5. Just walk or bike your way around the Poblacion and mingle with the locals.

*** Getting around the island: Since roads are unpaved within the island, land travel can be long and difficult so some spots are best reached by boat. Motorized boats can be hired from the port in poblacion area where the rates vary. P2000 to P3000. This works best if you are with a big group. You may also opt to rent a tricycle or a motorcycle or even a bike.

Where to Stay

There are no hotels in Calayan however, there are several homestays. My friends and I stayed at Ate Connie’s (San Jose Inn & Mini Grocery Homestay) where we paid Php250/night.  Contact Number: 0907-544-7692 or 0921-534-9231.

Another option is the TPS First Homestay of Calayan. It is considered the first homestay in Calayan owned by Tessie Pimentel Singun, a long-time kagawad and now tourism head of Calayan. Contact Numbers: 0939-9158667 or 0929-8375737.

Where to eat & other things to consider:

There are no restaurants in Calayan Island.  You can ask Ate Connie prepare your meals for a minimal fee. There are several sari-sari stores where you can buy your other needs. Please note that there are no ATMs or credit card machines in the island so it is essential to really make a budget outline for your trip.

Signal is very patchy with only Smart & Sun as available mobile networks in the island.

Since the boat ride to Calayan is long and wet, make sure that you use dry bags for your gadgets or better yet, waterproof everything in garbage bags. One may also be exposed under the sun for a long time so prepare your sunblock, cap, shades or anything that can protect your skin.

Electricity is not 24 hours. During our stay, electricity schedule is from 12:00 nn to 12:00 midnight. Some have generators but are only used during special occasions.

And as I always tell my friends who ask me about Calayan, get ready or be open with the idea that you will be stranded for several days.

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

 

Claveria (Cagayan, PH)

For those bold travelers willing to venture beyond the plush resorts and villas, the Philippines holds a startling mammon of genuine and varied beaches. With a very lengthy coastline from north to south, there are a number of out there that’s great for idyllic hideaways.

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Such place is Luzon mainland’s northernmost town, Claveria in Cagayan province — where tourism hasn’t yet concealed the local culture and its quaint beauty yet to be unraveled.

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My “wanderlusting” has led me to various sorts of discovery. My favorite are those that are tucked and unknown to many. That is why my visit to Claveria is one such happy travel. So what would one do (and see) in a town 10-12 hours away from Metro Manila? Read along.

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So there’s Taggat Lagoon, perhaps the most popular from among the locals. This is where the rock formations called Lakay-Lakay and Baket-Baket are found. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see this place up-close and even forgot to take a photo of it even from afar.

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With only a day to spend in Claveria, my friends and I decided to go on a short trek to a hill called Bantay Kalbo instead. It was a pretty easy sauntering with a lovely view of Sentinela Cove and Ubing-Ubing rock formation. Atop Bantay Kalbo, one would notice a cliff with an abandoned telecommunications tower. For a moment, the feeling is reminiscent of some of Batanes’ hills.

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After enjoying a breezy stay at Bantay Kalbo, we went down by the beach/cove area. The beach may not be of white sand, but the black, fine sand of Sentinela has its own charm. There are no resorts and only an improvised hut is found. We had a great time watching the rough waves pounding the rocks and shore of the cove. We spent some time walking, taking photographs and waited for the sundown.

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I am very much grateful that we went all the way to this place. Its location may be (very) far and away but its rugged beauty more than made up for the long travel we took. Indeed, nature has its own way of rewarding those who dared to take off-the-beaten paths.

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The following day, we woke up early and made our way to Cabicungan River where the sun rise can be viewed. It was a pretty chilly morning. We were also greeted by flocks of birds flying towards the mountains of Claveria. It was such a sight to behold.

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Then, off we went to visit Claveria’s church – Saint Joseph Parish. We also got the chance to walk our way around the town passing by their municipal hall and market. We had our breakfast and also got to taste one of Cagayan’s specialty – pancit batilpatong.

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

May Bisyo Ako: Isang Pag-Amin

May Bisyo Ako…

“ May bisyo ako, ngayon ko lang napagtanto.

May bisyo ako, pano ba nagumpisa eto?

May bisyo ako, nakaka-adik eto.

May bisyo ako, may mga kontra dito.

May bisyo ako, ewan ko lang kung gusto nyo.

May bisyo ako – pero hindi alak, yosi o bato.

May bisyo ako, bisyong mahal ko.

May bisyo ako, at eto ang nilalaman ng blog ko.”

Dicasalarin Cove, baler, Aurora.
Dicasalarin Cove, baler, Aurora.

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/dicasalarin-cove-aurora-ph/

Ang mundo ay isang libro, at ang mga taong hindi marunong maglakbay – isang pahina lang ang kanilang nabasa…” – iyan ang nakaukit na sipi sa utak ko.

Alas-kwatro ng hapon. SM Megamall.

“Isa akong galang guro.” Iyan ang bigla kong nasambit sa isang kaibigang matagal ko ng hindi nakikita, nito lamang nakaraang Martes ng nasa Maynila ako. Kakagaling ko lang mula sa byahe ko sa Coron, Palawan. Bago ako umuwi ng Baguio, naisipan ko munang mag-Megamall – para kumaen at tumingin ng pwedeng mabili. Nasa Goldilocks ako nun, malapit ko ng maubos ang binili kong Lumpiang Hubad ng may biglang nagsalita:

“Wow, long time no see… Kumusta ka na?”

Iginala ko ang paningin ko para hanapin kung saan galing yung boses na sumambit ng mga katagang iyon. Napatitig lang ako sa isang lalaking magara ang suot at mejo may kasosyalan ang dating. Actually, I did not recognize him, he looks familiar pero parang nagrerewind pa ang utak ko kung saang bang bahagi ng buhay ko nakilala itong taong kasalukuyang papalapit sa akin. Inabot niya ang kanan nyang kamay para makipaghand-shake sabay sambit ng pangalan ko at tila tuwang tuwa na nakita ako…

Cagbatan Island, Coron, Palawan.
Cagbatan Island, Coron, Palawan.

“Lester… Mark Lester Romulo…”

Bago pa niya mabuo ang medyo kahabaan kong pangalan, bigla ko ng naalala kung sino ang kaharap at kakamayan ko… Isa siya sa mga kaklase ko nung nasa high-school at ngayon, isa ng bigtime na empleyado (hindi nya dinisclose ang position nya pero isa daw sya sa mga Upper ups) sa isang malaking company sa Manila.

So ayun, since I was about to finish what I was eating at paalis na rin sana ako, he asked kung pwede kaming magkuwentuhan… (Akalain nyong may taong interesadong alamin kung ano na ang mga pagbabago sa buhay ko??) Since gabi pa yung kinuha kong byahe pabalik ng Baguio at ilang oras pa ang hihintayin ko bago mag-out mula sa trabaho yung kapatid ko, eh napagpasyahan kong paunlakan ang kanyang imbitasyon na magkwentuhan kami at magkape (kahit na hindi naman talaga ako nagkakape).

Nagsasa Cove, San Antonio, Zambales
Nagsasa Cove, San Antonio, Zambales 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/nagsasa-cove/

Bago kami nagpunta sa isang coffeeshop, dumaan muna kami sa Parking Area para ihatid yung mga pinamili nya dahil hinihintay daw ito ng kanyang pinsan. Tinanong pa niya ako kung saan ko daw gustong magkape – syempre pa, since hindi naman talaga ako mahilig sa kape (nasabi ko na ata eto sa itaas na paragraph), sinabi ko na lang na kahit saan. As I have expected, sa isang kilalang coffeeshop na kinalolokohan ng maraming Pinoy kami nagtuloy… Alam nyo na iyun, di ko na babanggitin dito dahil hindi ko nais ipromote yung kapehan na’yun dahil masyadong mahal…

Aslom Island, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro.
Aslom Island, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro. 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/beauty-of-bulalacao-oriental-mindoro-ph/

Nagumpisa ang kwentuhan sa tanungan kung saan na si ganito – si ganyan, pinagkwentuhan ang ilan sa mga kaklase namin noon. Andami nyang kwento, noon ko lang narealize na madaldal din pala siya. Hindi kasi sya ganun nung high-school kami. Isa kasi siya sa mga taong napapanis ang laway sa classroom dahil di mo to kakakitaan na dumadaldal. Nagumpisa na rin syang magkwento tungkol sa sarili nya – mula nung college sya hanggang sa kanyang mga experiences sa pakikipagsapalaran sa trabaho at ang mabilis na pag-unlad sa kanyang buhay. From being a plain company worker to a big boss in a large firm in Manila; from someone who rents a cheap apartment into becoming an elite condo-dweller; ipinagmalaki din nya na X00,000.00 ang sweldo nya kada-buwan, at syempre pa, ang bagong bago nyang tsekot na kanina lang ay nakita kong nakaparke. (Medyo nayabangan ako sa kanya nung una pero napagtanto ko na okay lang kasi talaga namang may maipagyayabang sya, kahit na unti-unti na akong nanliliit at na-iinggit sa mga oras na iyon).  Gusto ko din kasi iyong mga na-achieve nya. Magandang tirahan, malaking sweldo, magarang kotse, magarang buhay. Pero wala pa ako ng mga iyon.

Boracay island, Malay, Aklan.
Boracay island, Malay, Aklan. 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/boracay-aklan-philippines/

Akala ko hindi na siya matatapos sa kanyang talumpati tungkol sa sarili niya ng bigla siyang magtanong. “Ikaw naman Lester, kuwento ka naman… Anong bago bukod sa medyo pagkadagdag mo ng konting laman?” Pangiti nitong sabi.

Halos pagpawisan ako sa kinauupuan ko. Hindi dahil sa mainit yung kapeng iniinom ko, kundi dahil sa nakakatakot nyang tanong. Isang lagok ko pa sa mapait na kape tsaka taas-noo kong sinabi na “ako ay isang galang guro” —  isang accidental educator (kung tawagin ng ilang propesyonal) sa isang unibersidad sa Baguio na nahuhumaling sa paglalakbay.

Skycyce Adventure, Eden Nature Park, Toril, Davao City.
Skycyce Adventure, Eden Nature Park, Toril, Davao City. 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/skycycling-101-davao-city-ph/

Mukha syang puzzled at parang napapailing sa narinig nya mula sa akin. Naisip nya siguro na ang weird ko naman. Iyon kasi yung mababasa mo sa noo nya. Kaya ayun, ako naman ang nag-umpisang magkwento.

Isa ako sa mga Pilipinong nagtatrabaho sa isa sa mga private academic institutions na lumalagare ng ikabubuhay 6 days in a week at sinuswelduhan ng sakto lamang para sa pansariling gastos. No car, no condo unit o apartment man lang. May mga savings din naman ako, but then, most of the time, napupunta ito sa one and only na bisyo ko – ang gumala o maglakbay sa mas magandang salita. Nakahiligan kong pumunta kung saan saan. Ibinahagi ko sa kanya ang pagbisita ko sa iba’t ibang lugar dito sa Pilipinas. Buong galak kong kinwento ang mga bundok na naakyat ko at yung mga di malilimutang moments sa mga lugar na ito. Dahil sa pambihirang talent ko sa paggagala, nararating ko ang mga nakakamanghang lugar na dati rati eh sa mga libro ko lang nakikita o kaya sa mga Travelogue magazines ko langnasisilayan.

Calaguas Island, Vinzons, Camarines Norte
Calaguas Island, Vinzons, Camarines Norte

Mas naging madaldal din ako sa pagkwento ko, naibahagi ko sa kanya kung paano ako nagumpisang mawili sa ganitong klaseng bisyo at kung ano iyong mga dahilan kung bakit ninanais kong pagkagastusan ang ganitong bagay. Sinabi ko sa kanya na masaya sa pakiramdam kung may bagong kakilala, o angmakakita ng magandang tanawin, ang malaman ang kultura ng iba at syempre pa – yung exhilarating feeling na hindi mo alam kung ano ang susunod na mangyayari… Wika ko nga, travelling has been a great teacher… Andami kong natutunan sa paglalakbay ko… Para bang nagbabasa ka ng isang libro na punong puno ng kwento…

Maniwaya Island, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque
Maniwaya Island, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/marinduque-the-heart-of-the-philippines/

At times, napapansin ko na napapakagat na lang siya ng labi at napapakunot ng noo. Pakiwari ko nga O.A na ako sa paningin nya. I was not so certain if naintindihan ba nya o naabsorb pa ba nya mga sinasabi ko tungkol sa sarili ko; o baka napipilitan na lang siyang makinig para lang hindi ako mapahiya.

Paglaon, nabanggit din nya na gusto nya rin daw magtravel kung saan-saan. Gusto niya daw makita ang mga vinta ng Zamboanga o kaya eh makatungtung ng ruruk ng isang bundok gaya ng mga nakwento ko na sa kanya. Muli nyang ipinagmalaki na marami siyang pwedeng gastusin na pera pero dahil nga sa mataas nyang posisyon sa company kung saan sya nagtatrabaho, eh wala daw siyang oras para sa sarili nya at sa ganitong klaseng bisyo.

Racuh A Payaman, Mahatao, Batanes
Racuh A Payaman, Mahatao, Batanes 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/breathtaking-batanes-sabtang-island-philippines/

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/breathtaking-batanes-basco-philippines/

Biglang nawala lahat ng panliliit at pagkainggit na naramdaman ko. Naisip ko na lang sa sarili ko – marami nga siyang pera, hindi naman niya nakukuhang maenjoy yung sinasabi nyang desire to travel kung saan saan.

Sabi pa nya – noon daw, nung naguumpisa pa lang siyang magtrabaho, naisip na nyang maglakbay. Eh ang kaso, wala daw siyang pera. Pero ngayon namang marami na siyang pera, wala naman daw siyang oras.  Pagkarinig ko pa lang sa mga sinabi nya, sobrang nalungkot ako para sa kanya.

Mount Apo, Davao - North Cotabato Border
Mount Apo, Davao – North Cotabato Border 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/mount-apo-king-of-philippine-peaks/

Nagflashback tuloy sa utak ko yung nabasa kong article sa isang magazine about a man who have been dreaming to travel before he dies. Actually, nasa bucket list ng taong ito na makita ang pag-labas ng araw sa Mount Pulag at ang paglubog ng araw sa mala-paraisong dagat ng Palawan. This man was so pre-occupied with his work, and most of the time, ended up doing more work kaya hindi niya magawa-gawa yung matagal nya ng nais gawin – ang maglakbay. He would usually reason out that “money is more important than anything else”.  Hindi nya narealize na hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon eh aayon sa kanya ang panahon. Kaya ayun, namatay siya na di man lang nakakamit yung matagal nya ng ninanais.

Ika nga ng isa sa mga nakasama ko sa climb — “I think if you love doing something, you’ll find the time and place for it…”

My 1st Mount Pulag climb, and the main reason why my wanderlust spirit was ignited.
My 1st Mount Pulag climb, and the main reason why my wanderlust spirit was ignited.

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/mount-pulag/

Most of the time, there are a lot of things that we like postponing because we don’t have much time for these things. And it is sad to note na madalas, itong mga bagay na lagi nating ipinagpapaliban ay iyong mga bagay na mahalaga sa atin. Things that we instantly trade for bigger opportunities that involves more money. Most of the time nga, pera ang nagiging basis natin to gauge success. More money, the more successful a person is.

But I beg to disagree… hindi kasi ganun ang pananaw ko sa buhay.  Hindi ako naniniwala na pera ang batayan ng tagumpay. If that’s the case, then, masaya sana lahat ng mga mayayamang tao dahil sila yung may maraming pera. Pero hindi eh. They may have all the riches in this world, but they don’t have the time to enjoy it –they don’t know how to enjoy their lives.

Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao
Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/batad-rice-terraces/

Bago ko tapusin itong medyo napahabang blog na ito, bakit di nyo pagisipan tong mga iiwan kong tanong?

Bakit ka ba nag-iipon ng pera? Para saan ba ang mga iniipon mong pera sa bangko?

Well I am not saying that saving our money is bad. Pero para saan ba at nag-iipon tayo? Future. Oo naman. Para sa future. Pero sana, wag din nating kalimutan yung present – yung mga gusto mong gawin ngayon na tingin mo eh makakapagpasaya sayo. Baka naman, uugod-ugod ka na eh yung pangarap mong magbunjee jumping eh nabaon na sa limot dahil nga hindi mo na kaya kahit na marami ka pang pera…

With friends at Salagdoong Beach, Maria, Siquijor
With friends at Salagdoong Beach, Maria, Siquijor 

https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/salagdoong-beach-siquijor-philippines/

Sa mahigit 2 oras na nakaupo ako sa bangkang patungong Banana Island, napagtanto ko na every person isn’t given the chance to do the things I am capable of doing. So, kung may pwede kang gawin na sa tingin mo eh makakapagpasaya sayo, aba! Don’t wait too long.. Do what makes you happy. Travel. Explore the World. Tandaan – Lahat ng tao, gustong maging masaya, eh ano pa ba ang silbi ng buhay kung hindi mo rin lang ito ma-achieve.

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https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/bud-bongao/

And as I always, always say — Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust’… take it easy ebri’juan’…

Lester out —

Originally written on February 11, 2009 (22:35). Baguio City.

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’.

 

Palaui Island (Cagayan, PH)

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere. – Vincent Van Gogh

How much are you willing to undergo just to see a piece of paradise? For an adventure junkie like me, nothing can stand my way to see something that will satiate my wanderlust.

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Palaui Island – a sliver of delight in the Babuyan Channel Northeastern Luzon, seemingly awaits any travel-enthusiast for it to be explored.

This 2,439-hectare island offers nearly unscathed landscape of verdant meadows and farm lands; lush stifling forests, strewn with stretches of white, coralline beaches, mangroves and toothed volcanic rockscapes. The entire island is an epitome of nature’s raw beauty indeed.

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Palaui Island of Santa Ana town in the province of Cagayan has also been chosen by the reality TV series as a location shoot. This is not very surprising as the island has alot to offer. Several islets abound the surrounding shores of Palaui. This includes the small islet of Escucha, the rocky yet picturesque Dos Hermanos, the Gran Laja Island – a low rock islet surrounded by breakers; and the reptile shaped, Crocodile Island. The waters around the island boast off about 50 hectares of undisturbed corals.

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The most visited part of the island is its northern point called Cape Engaño. The luxuriant hill in this area is reminiscent of the rolling hills of Batanes. Perched atop the highest point of the hill is the ruins of the of Cape Engaño Lighthouse – the island main attraction. There is an easy trail plus a 229-step staircase from the Engaño Cove that leads the visitors to the lighthouse. From here, allow yourself to be mesmerized by Palaui’s beauty as a 360-degrees view can be seen.

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Other interesting spots in the island besides the mentioned islets include Siwangag Cove, the Baratubot Falls and the beach of Punta Verde (ideal for swimming, snorkelling and viewing both the sunrise and the sunet).

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Due to the island’s seclusion, it has become the home to more than a hundred species of rattan (Calamus spp) and related commercially important timber producing wood species; and is a shelter for various migratory birds

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The best way to experience the island is to stay their overnight. The accommodations offered are simple and modest. There are no luxurious hotels or resorts. At the moment, the Nature Village – a 2,100-square-meter open space in Punta Verde, is open for people who desire to spend a night or 2 in the island. The place served as the Survivor series’crew hub while shooting the reality show in the island. There are four cottages in the village. It was then donated to the islanders by the producers of “Survivor.” During my stay in the island in 2010, my friends and I pitched tents in the same area surrounded by coconut tree, with the beach a stone throw away.

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How to Reach Palaui Island:

The fastest way to reach Palaui Island from manila is to take a commercial flight to Tuguegarao City (capital of Cagayan Province). Another way (long way) is for you to endure a 14-16 hours bus ride to Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. Recommended Bus Companies are Victory Liner, Dalin Bus and Florida Bus Liner. (Terminal of these bus lines can be found in Sampaloc and Cubao).

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From there, take a three-hour van or bus ride to the fishing town of Santa Ana. From the town of Santa Ana, you need to ride a tricyle (P15 per passenger) to reach the port of San Vicente. Hire an outrigger boat that usually costs around Php1000 for 6 pax (larger boats are also available). Depending on how rough the waves are, the boat ride to the island may take 30 minutes to 2 hours.

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Tourists are required to visit Punta Verde to register and pay P50 for the environmental fee.

If one decides to have an overnight stay in mainland Santa Ana, the following are your possible accommodations:

Accomoodation Contact Number
Avalon Beach Club 09163944095
Balai Cagayano 09175922138
Jerolinda White Beach 09341195897, 09068648227
Jotay’s Resort 0906 478 1270
Lordwin’s Beach Resort 09197010036, 09283904518

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