Thursday, October 27

Cagbalete Island's Charm


Summer has always been about going to the beach for me. And being the beach lover that I am, I have always been on the lookout for beautiful beaches to visit. But with the Philippines’ 7107 islands, there are too many places to choose from that narrowing down my search per region made it easier for me. Then I heard about Cagbalete Island. Although there are a few options available, accommodation in Mauban, Quezon are still very comfortable. Upon seeing the island’s beaches and sand ripples during low tide, I knew I had to go there. Scheduling a trip to the island was hassle free as it was in proximity where from I live.

The thought of riding in a big banca to the island made me very excited. The sun was already shining up high when our vessel sliced and diced through the dancing waves. The boat seemed to be ticklish as she jumped every now and then, the waves constantly teasing her from underneath, causing a mad dash of water being constantly thrown at the passengers sitting at the front, including me and my friend Chie. I was actually recalling before embarking on our ride if I had seen any signs at the port stating ‘Warning: You may get wet’.

The porters were not kidding and did not fail in reminding us that we will actually get wet. I am saying not just a mere shower or a slight drizzle here! About mid-way to Cagbalete Island, we were already soaked from head to foot! It was a combination of Space Shuttle and Splash Island experience!

After paying the P 40.00 fee, we transferred to a smaller boat since the larger one we rode in coming from Mauban port, Quezon couldn’t dock at the shallow waters of Sabang Port. We planned to stay at Villa Cleofas which was on the other side of the island. Other passengers opted to hire a banca but we chose to trek our way to the resort. We met a young boy who volunteered to be our guide. For those who will visit this place, the local kids are really friendly. You can call on anyone and they’d be happy to assist you.  Just give them a small tip or treat them for snack and they will reward you with their sweet, innocent smiles.
At past two in the afternoon, it was smoking hot and lying down inside our tent was the first thing we had in mind.  After setting camp beneath the trees (with a horse neighing not far from our tent) and a quick lunch, we donned on our swimwear and waited for the low tide to commence.  Cagbalete Island is famous for this.  When waters are gone, you can walk as far as a kilometer from the shore and still the water level would not even reach your waist. Or it may depend on how tall you are.

Several families and groups of friends checked-in together with us.  This island getaway is perfect for budget travelers. There are lots of trees where you can tie your hammock as well.  If you’re coming from Manila, take Lucena City buses.  From Lucena City Grand Terminal, look for buses plying the Lucena-Mauban route (NCR Lines), fare is now at P 54.00. The boat trips going to Cagbalete Island has a schedule of 10 AM and 2 PM.
While in the bus ride to Mauban, Quezon, we observed three friends wearing sunglasses, their legs hugging several recyclable bags loaded with snacks and bottled water. I guessed correctly again as I told my buddy that those guys will be going to our destination too.  We were able to confirm it since we heard one reminding the bus conductor to drop them off at the port. My friend and I exchanged secret smiles.  We even thought she was a travel blogger since she constantly wrote in her little notepad.  I could no longer resist it so I asked her if they were going to the same place as we were. It turned out they will be meeting friends who were already waiting for them at the port. It was such a nice way of gaining new acquaintance.

We enjoyed an hour taking photographs of the area and spent the warm afternoon taking a dip in the biggest kiddie pool we’ve been to.  We swam and pretended we were giants trolling around.  The water level during this time did not even reach my knees. After swimming, we just lazed around and did people-watching.   
Evening came early and the stars spread out in the almost clear evening sky. What I have noticed was that the island was constantly buffeted by the wind coming from Lamon Bay, transforming the humid afternoon into a romantic evening. A stroll along the beach, underneath the twinkling lights would be perfect. A candlelit dinner would be a great option too!

This island, I must say, has her unique beauty.  The serenity it offers, the rural environment, would definitely charm you, in her own little way.

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