Louie and I’s anniversary was on its way and the summer season was almost over so we decided to celebrate our anniversary at the beach. (We don’t really like fancy food and restaurants so we opt to spend our anniversary in the sun.)
We were torn between Cagbalete and Borawan Island but after lots and lots of research, we’ve decided to go to Cagbalete Island. Apparently it was jellyfish season in Borawan and there were some bad reviews about the place.
With our tent and camping gear, we took a bus from Cubao going to Lucena Grand Terminal. After that, we took an ordinary bus to Mauban, Quezon. I really enjoyed the commute to Mauban since the air was cool and the view was spectacular. It reminded me of why I enjoy travelling to the rural parts of the country. We stopped by the public market to buy some supplies and to ask for direction. The shop owners were quite entertaining and didn’t mind being asked for directions. A few of them even offered to take us to the port where we can catch the boat to the island.
First look at Cagbalete Island.
I was expecting to ride on fishing boat to the island but I was surprised when I saw the boat that we’ll aboard. It was a huge passengers boat that can accommodate 80-100 people and their load easily. There were many children at the port and they are quite fond of asking people to throw coins in the water so that they can retrieve it from the sea bed. I gotta say, they are pretty good swimmers.
The boat ride can be a little bit bumpy and there’s a great chance that you will get wet because of the waves crashing to the boat. I was really looking forward to talk to the locals in the island so when I saw this kid looking at me, I decided to have a little chat with him. The kids name is Rogerick and he was quite a charmer. He was shy at first but after a while he started telling me stories about his friends, family and his town. When we got off the boat, porters (mostly kids) started talking to us and asked us where we would like to stay. Rogerick was actually protective of us. He told the other kids that Louie and I was him. We really didn’t need help but this kid was so charming, we cant just say no. He helped us carry some of the items we bought in the market. He also guided us to Donya Choleng Resort. The kid was so helpful and lovely we gave him extra tip. He left as we arrived at resort. He said he needed to earn more money but will come back for us later that day.
I recommend Donya Choleng Resort if you need a place to stay in the Island.
We set up our tent under a tree to give us some shade. The staffs were so helpful they provided a charcoal stove and a recliner without me even asking for it. They were the happiest people I’ve seen in a while. Louie made loomband bracelets for the kids while I dove for sea urchins for me and Rogerick to snack on. I finally found someone who share my appetite for these sea critters. ☺
Edible sea urchins known locally as swaki. Mmmm.
It rained heavily during our first night in the island. Our tents weren’t that good during that time and water seeped in the tent. Both Louie and I did not get much sleep that night but it was okay since we had the whole day to spend.
That starfish is as big as my face.
such a beauty
The sun was shining and the sea was calm. A perfect opportunity to take pictures, go island hopping and go snorkeling. We went to this island were we found this sole mangrove tree. The tide was low so we also had the opportunity to see the marine life on the shallow water. There were lots of starfish, small crabs and snails which I was more than happy to cook. Just be sure you know which ones are edible though.
The lone mangrove tree on one of the islands we visited.
Our boat man also took us to the coral reefs where we went snorkeling. There were lots of different colored fish and some creatures that I am not quite familiar with. We almost lost P1000 as I forgot to remove the money from my pockets. Good thing our boatman had a good eye. It was definitely quite a scare as we did not have extra cash.
Our very helpful and generous boatman.
This type of starfish normally dwells near the coral reefs.
It was already noon time when we got back to our campsite. We were also starving so went to the nearby town to buy some seafood. We were not familiar with the place so I asked for directions. The locals there were so friendly they went out of their way to take us to the fish vendor’s house with smiles on their faces. The way they treat visitors is just so different from other places we have been to.
Our lunch for the day, fresh squid.
Everything in the Island was so wonderful. The fine sand, the crystal clear water and most of all, the locals who treated us like one of their own. Of all the places we’ve been to, this will always be our favorite. Everyone is so helpful and nice. 🙂 A perfect way to say goodbye to the summer and an amazing way to celebrate love.
Cagbalete Island, we will see each other again very soon. Not as a tourist, but as friend.