Overnight Camping at Subic Beach
Subic Beach is part of Calintaan Island in Matnog, Sorsogon. And Matnog is the southern-most town in Luzon. Started our journey at Diversion Road corner of Maharlika highway of Sorsogon City. Waited for a bus to Matnog coming from Manila. Me and my two kids, my sister, and her best friend, after almost an hour of waiting, Elavil Bus arrived. Luckily, there were empty seats, so no need to ‘kalong‘ my kiddos. And I paid half fare for each of them. I was also thankful that they did not vomit inside the bus. Normally, my son always feel dizzy for a long ride. The trip from Sorsogon to Matnog takes an hour. Upon arrival there, we proceed to the back side of wet market where passenger pump boats are docked. I leave it to my sister to haggle with bangkero for I did the marketing for our food supplies and other necessities. There is a water filling station there, but they don’t have empty containers. They advised me to go to a nearby store who sells empty mineral water container. I bought 15 pesos for a 4-liter jar, and the filtered water costs 15 pesos also, a total of 30 pesos. I also bought, rice, eggs, bread, lighter, noodles etc.
My sister and the boat man agreed for a 2,500 pesos service fee. It’s kinda expensive for me thinking that we wouldn’t do island hopping. But I didn’t complain. My original plan was to camp in Tikling island. But the boat man told us that it is a private island and not allowed to camp there. (I’ll tell you later if it’s true). So we choosed Subic Beach instead.
It was my kids’ first time to ride a banca. The sound of the engine was irritating but I diverted my attention to the water. It was crystal clear, and the bottom is visible.
A few kilometers from subic beach, the boatman turned off the engine to ask me, which one we preferred, ‘subic saday’ or ‘subic daku’ (small subic or big subic)? I choosed subic saday thinking that subic daku has a lot of people. So there we are, felt the pinkish sand under our feet. First thing that impressed me was cleanliness. The care taker was there in the water, gathering the leaves that floats. He was cleaning the beach. Our boatman called him and we inquired. And told us that the cottage rental is 200 pesos for overnight. It is an open cottage built with light materials, with table at the center. We also asked permission if we could set up a tent. “Walang problema” he said. My kids were so excited to get into the water. While my sister and her friend preparing the table for lunch, the kids plunged in the water, and me? took out my cam and started shooting. Adik hehe…
Subic beach is getting famous for its pinkish beach. Actually, there are red corals in the water which was pulverized by the waves, and washed to shore that makes the beach pinkish. Since it has no electricity (by that time), no other sounds you could hear other than the waves and the swimmers and the voices from the nearby cottages. What I mean is, there were no noisy videoke… But signal on cp’s were excellent.
In the afternoon, after snapping pictures of the vicinity, I grabbed my snorkel set and checked what subic has to offer underneath. Lato (edible sea weed) is abundant in the area. There’s not much fish and sea shells but the corals are healthy. I just hope I have a submersible camera with me.
When the sun was setting down, mosquitoes started to came out. But we were prepared with OFF Lotion. But there was only a certain time. When it’s completely dark, mosquitoes were minimal. My sister and her friend gathered drift woods at day time and we made a bonfire at night. Again, my kids enjoyed it. At it was their first camp fire. We had a rechargeable lamp with us, and for additional light, the caretaker lend us their ‘gasera‘. The kids slept early inside the tent while we, oldies chat for a few more hours over the red wine which I brought along from UAE during my stopover at abu dhabi. But we hadn’t finished it off. All of them spent their night inside the tent while me, I slept on the bench of the cottage. It’s quite uncomfortable ‘coz the bamboo sticks are uneven. I woke up in the middle of the night. Sat by the beach, and contemplate. There was a light coming from a light house (i just thought). I later researched that it was coming from Capul island. (And started dreaming to visit it one day……
I rose up early next morning before the day breaks. My daughter also got out of their tent early. She joined me watching the sun rise, over a cup of coffee. When the sun was up, she plunged again in the water, while his kuya was still sleeping. I was smiling watching her. I tried to tease her commenting on her color, “you’re now a nigger Axl“. She confidently replied “ok lang…”
We had our lunch early, to get ready for our sundo. Our boatmen arrived before 11 am. We paid him his services, and we also paid the caretaker of the beach. At the corner of my eyes, I saw the caretaker handed the 100 bill to the boatman. I felt so sad. Was it referral fee? I was thinking, maybe that is the main reason why he didn’t want us to camp in Tikling Island. There are no cottages there, and he could have no commission.
But as a bonus from him, we dropped by at Juag fish sanctuary. It’s a fish pen of different speceis of first class fish. Lapu-lapu, maya-maya, etc including sea turtles. There was no entrance fee but there is a donation box. And you need to buy feeds from them to throw it inside the pen. Fishes knows it already, simultaneously snapping the foods. We bought two types of food. Four packs of fillets, and worth 30 pesos of small dead fishes.
Upon returning to Matnog port, I asked our boat man to get nearer to Tikling Island so that I could snap some pictures. I’m still hoping, to set my foot on that island someday…..