My journey, photography and adventure WordPress.com site

Nature Photography

Nagsasa Cove Kayaking Adventure

Just like my previous successful outdoor adventures, I’ve spent some time planning and researching for it. Nagsasa was been in my wish lists of the places I want to see with my own two eyes. And a place to paddle too….

As a nature lover, photo-collector (dyahe sabihing photographer), camper and a kayaker, Nagsasa Cove perfectly fits all in. Let me share my stories…

nagsasa-cove

No matter how hard and carefully you plan, there are really circumstances beyond your control. And for the cases like that, just leave it to God and He will do it for you. Me and my family went to Victory Liner terminal in Caloocan before midnight. Intendedly midnight to ride the last trip to San Antonio, Zambales. But to my surprise, there were a lot of passengers and all trips for that day was fully booked. It was school calendar ending and a lot of students going home. The queue was long even for the chance passengers. Since we were not able to get tickets, we decided to wait at the waiting area, for the first trip at dawn. Buses come and go, but still a lot of passengers at the departure area.

After maybe an hour there killing time, the dispatcher approached us. Asking where will be our destination. I told him, to Zambales but we were not able to get tickets. “Okay, I will help you get a bus.” Wow! We were so blessed. Thanks God, I never expected that.

We arrived at San Antonio past three am. Thanks to that kind-hearted dispatcher. If not for him, we were still there at the waiting area. The town was already alive at that early morning. A lot of local tourists, campers, mostly students and young professionals maybe.

After buying our necessary supplies from the nearby market (only a couple of stalls has opened), we took a trike going to Pundaquit beach. The jump off beach for different destinations. It’s still dark, so we rested inside the cottage, probably owned by the boat owner whom we have contracted. When the day breaks, we’re off to the water. The boat was small. Maybe just enough for the four of us. But risky for the big waves. Since it is small, it took us more or less two hours traversing along the coasts. We reached Nagsasa at past 7:00 am. As part of the plan, I have already in mind an ideal place to camp. Every time I go to a tourist destination, I always wanted to be off the crowd. (read my blog about Caramoan adventure). Another criteria, I want near the body of water. But the owner (or care taker), was charging us higher than I expected. Part of my planning was reading blogs, written by those who have been to that particular place so I know the average charging.

We moved to other area. Inside the compound of the care taker. His name was Mang Eddie and Ate Celia. They have an enclosed t&b and supply of fresh water coming from the mountain. We set up our tent, and inflated my kayak and rest. The sun was high and scorching. After our lunch, each of us found our own space for siesta. Me and my two kids slept on sand, while my wife slept on her hammock which she haggled from a vendor at San Antonio.

When the tide was high, I left my family still sleeping soundly. The sun was still high, but I thought to myself, I can’t explore the place when the tide goes low.

The feeling was overwhelming as I paddled along the creek. Before, I was only dreaming for this place. Envied the photos in the net. But now, I’m seeing it myself. Taking pictures myself. The color of the mountains was brownish. But it turns out green during rainy seasons. I think, this creek is being called by bloggers “the marlboro creek“. Because it is similar to the commercial of the said cigar. There are also agoho trees in the area, Which was started to grow only after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991.

DSC_0570a.JPG
When my wife woke up, we paddled there again and show her the place. When we got back to our camp, we were thirsty so we went to the sari-sari store by the beach. And bought the most expensive soft drink in my whole entire life hahaha. Seventy pesos lang naman ang 1.5 liter.

We stayed there by the beach for three days and 2 nights. Another dream come true. Another memorable adventure.

DSC_0300.JPG

If you are a bonsai collector, you might be tempted to hunt some materials here.

dsc_0338

I just can’t explain my feelings every time I see a view like this in reality.

DSC_0427.JPG

Our hotel and cruise ship 🙂

DSC_0679.JPG

My son enjoying his moment

DSC_0322.JPG

Creek near our camp

DSC_0340.jpg

Color of the mountains during sunset

nagsasa-cover3


Biri Rock Formations Adventure

Biri Rock Formations was been dreamed/planned for almost a year after my Caramoan adventures in summer 2012. Just like Caramoan, it was a long and tiring trip even my point of origin was only from Sorsogon. But tiredness has gone, when I saw the place.

BIRI COVER

The Journey

A minimum of one hour bus ride from my hometown-Sorsogon City to Matnog, Sorsogon. Then another more than 1 hour trip in a ferry boat accros San Bernardino Strait (Matnog to Allen). Another 30-45 mins trike ride from Allen port to Lavesares; Another 1 hour boat trip from Lavesares to Biri Island; and lastly 15 min habal-habal ride from Poblacion Biri to Rock Formations. Just check some other blog entries if you are coming from other places like manila or southern samar.

Along the way when you ride habal-habal, you’ll stop in a tourism post for registration and pay entrance fee of 50 pesos. You will be given a flyer about the rock formations and the tourism rules and regulations. Camping was not allowed, but thanks God they allowed us by convincing them that we are responsible campers. Kayaking was not prohibited but (not mentioned in their flyer). The habal-habal drivers later told me that I was the first to bring kayak there. I’m not sure if they (tourism) were aware that inside our big duffle bag was a kayak.

It was low tide when we arrived. A little bit disappointed ‘coz we need to wade the water to reach the rock formations. After setting up my kayak, we started to wade our way to the rock formations. Our belongings were wrapped in a transparent plastic bags and tied in the kayak. But when we were at the middle between the formations and the shore, the water is only below knee level, so I decided to leave kayak behind. I just tied it between two rocks. We continue to wade our way. There are portions that the water is chest level. Watching my buddy clicking pictures as she find wer way in between rocks, I was worried my camera could submerge anytime if she lost her balance.

The explorers

We spent our morning exploring/shooting the area. We climbed the first rock formations named “Magasang”. It was easier to climb just like climbing the stairs of a stadium. It was a breath-taking view up there. I didn’t reach the peak, but it’s good enough to see other rock formations behind each other. you could also see from above the natural pools with crystal clear waters. The people swimming in the pool looks so tiny against the size of the pool. You could see the gigantic waves crushing agains the giant rocks. Watching open sea, wondering what kind of fish it could offer if I try to fish. Fishing was part of the plan before. But later realized that it’s not a good combination with photography and kayaking.

At noon time, we cooked our lunch under the canopy rock of Magsapad. First time to used my camping stove and It satisfied me. While cooking the rice, I decided to leave to take the kayak from where I left it. It was totally grounded by the low tide. I took first our belongings and returned back to take the kayak. More than 25 kilos plus a gusting wind that blows me sideways, took time to reach the rock. And need to carry it for extra meters ’cause my partner changed our camping area for lunch. She found an elevated area at eastern part of Magsapad. Luckily there was a group of teens that helped me carry the kayak. Thanks to them. After lunch, wasted no time, applied some sunblock and explored again the area. We climbed a big rock that the texture is similar to a lean concrete textured by the pouring rain. Yes it’s rough like that. I saw her capturing the big waves crushing from behind the rocks. Holding her month-old Samsung Note1 capturing the waves. I shouted at her, it might get wet. I joined her with my gopro. She sat at the edge waiting for the waves to crush behind her. With my gopro on, I videoed her having fun with the waves. But I was worried, one big wave could swallow her and take her to the open sea. We walked from Magsapad to Macadlaw. Along the way capturing, videoing anything that interests us. Macadlaw is a rock island with two coconut trees and vegetations on her top. I also noticed a fossil-like giant set of teeth. Thinking, what might archaeologist might explain about it. There is a perfect spot up there for camwhores. A rock near the cliff, almost cantilevered from the main rock island. If you’re on top, you could see the other nearby rock formations. Our kayak and our camp was not visible anymore from Macalaw. But Magsapad itself on west side is visible. On eastern side, it could be “Bel-at”, “Caranas” or whatever. Macadlaw is also ideal as camp site, but we were thinking of moving back to Magasang so that it’s near where were dropped by the habal-habal drivers. My Gopro’s battery ran out. Sad to say that I lost my chance of shooting underwater. I’ve had enough memories, but not enough energy.

Before sunset, we decided to transfer our camp at Magasang to spend our night there. We carried all our belongings (again) from Magsapad to Magasang. If it’s only high tide, I don’t need to carry them all including the kayak. I could have just paddled to trasnfer. It’s good that there is a plain surface at Magasang. Very ideal for setting up our tent. Maybe only two meters above the water level. Even the kayak, we ‘parked’ near our tent anticipating the hightide at night. We finished off the day with a light dinner.

Inside the tent was, was hot. Oh no, it’s not what you are thinking. It’s literally hot. Though it’s windy outside, it bounce off the rock wall behind our tent. I was thinking of getting out the tent and sleep outside. Woke up early morning to catch the sunset. And had photographed our basecamp. After breakfast, we swam and snorkeled at natural pool. there were fishes under. I was thinking to fish last night but my foot aches and got blisters. My aqua shoes was comfortable at first, but got blisters and wounded later. When the tide was high enough for paddling, we packed up our things and paddled in between mangrooves. If it was only high tide yesterday when we arrived, we could have seen the other rock formations. We paddled back, planned to dock at the foot of the stairs of the viewing deck opposite to Magasang. But when we were there, I found it difficult to hold still. The current was strong. So decided to land on shore instead. We saw two habal-habal arrived. We thought that they are our drivers yesterday. And we were right. They said, they thought they might not received our text when we will be picked up because the signal of globe in the island is poor. (but we’re using smart). I paddled a few more before I docked from were we started yesterday. We deflated our kayak and packed inside the bag and go.

There is a public bathroom at poblacion where you could wash away the sea water in your body. there is no fixed rate, only donation. There was no scheduled trip to Lavesares. The boat also bound to Matnog left early morning around 7 am. So we decided to proceed to Bgy. Sto. Nino, as suggested by our habal-habal drivers. Luckily, there was a boat there to Lavesares. But we waited for a few more passengers. After waiting for more than hour, we’re off to go. Goodbye Biri, hoping to come back someday to see other rock formations.

Me and my kayak at the port of Allen.

Ready to explore

Ready to explore

Pulling instead of riding it because it’s low tide.

Magasang , the furthest rock formation.

A view from Magasang over looking natural pool.

From the top of Magasang, you could see Macadlaw and a natural pool below.

Rock formation far ahead is Magsapad. It has two cocounut trees on its top. It's ideal also for camping because the rock is covered with grass.

Rock formation far ahead is Magsapad. It has two cocounut trees on its top. It’s ideal also for camping because the rock is covered with grass.

Giant waves coming from pacific

Giant waves coming from pacific

Paddling in the waters of Biri.

Paddling in the waters of Biri.

another natural pool behind  macadlaw rock formations

Another natural pool behind magsapad rock formations

DSC_0314a

Good morning Biri….

Our camp site

Our camp site

DSC_0197

looks like frozen waves.

Children of Biri are lucky. Having a crystal-clear water to play into. The waterfront of Poblacion.

Children of Biri are so lucky. Having a crystal-clear water to play into. The waterfront of Poblacion.

DSC_0385A

While we were at Bgy. Santo Nino, waiting for the boat to leave. This old woman catched our attention. She’s from the nearby island, crossed the sea to fetch some water from a deep well. She made several trips carrying a pail on each of her hands, and transferred the water to those containers.


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 (saday) Beach

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…”

Early morning sea. The island from afar is Capul (from the word Acapulco). I am planning to  visit it someday.

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…..

G300

Pieces of this coral makes the beach pinkish

Rocky part of the beach

Enjoying the water

Sea turtle at Juag fish santuary

Our bonfireunknown plant at the beach

unknown island vegetation

Me and my son having coffee break

unknown fruit

caged fishes at Juag fish santuary

Sunset

There’s a lot of natural shades

Bonding with my kids


MY DIY CARAMOAN KAYAK ADVENTURE

THE JOURNEY

It was already been my dream to see Caramoan with my own two eyes even before the Survivor reality show made it famous. I first saw the pictures of it since I discovered Google Earth. Since then, I became obsessed to see it. Being a nature lover, I didn’t worry of the perils might be in going to that isolated place of bicolandia (alone). I asked my ten years old son if he wants to come, he said he is afraid to ride in a boat.

April 28, 2012, it was past six in the morning when the Queen bus line left Sorsogon. One hour passed, and I was there in Daraga, Albay waiting for a bus to Naga. At past 7am, I boarded  Ibea bus line bounded to Manila. But most of the passengers were only as far as Naga City. And the bus was frequently stopping,  picking up passengers. I was sure to myself that I will reach Pili, Camarines Sur by noon. Will surely be missing Raymond Bus from Manila bounded directly to Caramoan.

As I was expected, it was almost 12 noon when I dropped at the crossing of Anayan Pili. I boarded again a bus (JC Liner) and dropped at central terminal of Goa, Camarines Sur. From there, I boarded a jeep bound to Sabang. Upon reaching Sabang, porters calls for passengers going to Caramoan. I let the porter carry my duffle bag (my inflatable kayak) to the waiting area at the beach. There were already passengers waiting for the 2 pm trip. Some of them, a group of Taiwanese tourists. A big passenger boat was anchored a few distance from the shore. But it left for unknown reason. And later before 2pm, it was announced that the boat was not able to cruise. So the passengers will be divided in two smaller boats waiting by the river of Sabang behind the wet market.

This is the boat supposedly will take us to Caramoan

It took two and a half hours to reach Guijalo port in Caramoan with that boat. And it was  already 4:30 pm.  I asked one tricycle driver who has a passenger, if I could join the ride going to sentro ng Caramoan. Thanks God he agreed together with two other passengers. The sceneries along the way to Caramoan proper was nice but was not able to grab may camera ‘coz my right hand was gripping the hand bar (I was at the back of the driver) and the other hand was holding my back pack. But the road was far better than my tricycle ride from Bulusan proper to Bulusan Lake.

I bought three liters of mineral water, 2 cans of sardines, 2 instant noodles and worth ten pesos of bread. I didn’t starved much because I bought puto (rice cake) and baduya (fried banana) on my bus ride. It was getting dark already when I decided to proceed to the beach. I asked the tricycle drivers if how much if they will take me to Paniman Beach. They said, since it’s getting dark already, and will be no more passengers going back, they will charge 150 pesos. But they are not greedy ‘coz they suggested me to take habal-habal  (single motorcycle) instead. So I rented two habal-habal. One for my self and one for my duffle bag. Fifty pesos each, so I saved fifty pesos. We let the motorcycle with my bag to lead the way so that we could keep an eye with my bag if it’s about to fall. It’s already dark when I set my foot at Paniman beach. I found myself just in front of Breezes and Waves Resort. But since I don’t have a plan to check in a hotel, I asked the caretaker if I could set up a tent there at the beach. The old man was very kind to me. And he assured me that nobody will harm me if I wished to camp there. So I started setting up my ‘hotel’.  I brought a sleeping bag with me but it’s too hot to sleep in it. So I just used it as my sleeping mat.

Just camped in front of a resort to spend the first night.

I woke up early morning. My sleep was not as comfortable as sleeping at home but I could say “I survived the night”. I used my handmade camping stove (out of tin can) to boil water for my coffee. Which I partnered with the bread I bought  from sentro yesterday. After breakfast, I started to prepare my first day exploration. The caretaker stayed around and watched me inflated my kayak. When everything was set, he assisted me putting my boat in the water. Caramoan here I come!!

I have printed copy of google map inside my duffle bag, but didn’t took it out ‘coz I already familiarized it. I asked the old man if that island we saw from a distance is Matukad, and he said yes. My orientation was correct hehe.

I passed by this rock on my way to Matukad Island

My first aimed Island was Matukad but did not paddle directly there. I paddled in between islets, literally exploring the place. Thanks God the water was calm and crystal clear. I constantly  checking the depth of the water, not getting in too shallow where there might be protruding sharp rocks that could rip off my boat.  I placed my snorkel set in front of me ready to grab just in case my kayak capsized.  I also wrapped my camera in a plastic bag and placed it behind me, taking it out from time to time to capture the view.  It’s a wonderful place and you could really appreciate how great God is, by His creations. Since it is still early, there are less sounds of bancas in the area. It’s so peaceful out there.

I reached Matukad Island before 7 am. And feeling proud that I was the first visitor on that day. There were no traces of footprints at the beach, except on higher grounds where had not reached by the waves during high tide. I tied my boat on a rock and submerged myself on its water. So refreshing…..

After a few minutes of snorkeling in the area, I climbed the huge boulder. It looks like a puzzle rock, stacked on top of each other that forms one boulder. The view on top was breath taking. You could see how clear the water is. On the eastern part from where I was standing, I could see the beach of Lahus Island (as per my familiarization of the place via Google Earth). A few minutes later, here comes the visitors. First boat….. second boat. A visitor from manila approached and asked if he could have a picture of himself with my kayak. In return, I asked him to snap me too. (I didn’t bring a tripod). . I left the island before the third boat came. (I shall return.)

LAHUS ISLAND

Next stop over is Lahus or Naglahus Island. Some call it Bichara Island. It’s an island with two beach fronts (east and west side). And luckily again, I was the first visitor of the day.  I anchored my boat and took some pictures of the island.  The rocks of Lahus are very sharp.

I was also surveying for a good place to camp when the night comes. And there was an ideal place. And I told myself, I shall return…. A few minutes later, the first motorized boat arrived. I chit-chat with the bankero.  He said they came straight from Guijalo port, and his visitor will pay him 2,500 for the island hopping. I have seen them yesterday at the waiting shed. One female, and two male.  And I think they were siblings.  I asked the bangkero if he knows where Tinago Cove is, and he said it’s too far from here. I said no, it’s just somewhere here. I didn’t argue with him because I am sure with myself. I’ve planned and researched for this trip for years. Maybe he was referring to different ‘tinago’ because he came from Guijalo. I joked to myself, how could I found it if is hidden. And he offered his services, “if you want, I could tow you going there….” Oh really… how nice of you…. But thanks anyway, what is the used of my paddle if you will tow me.

An island with two beach front. I’ve been dreaming for years to see this island.

TINAGO

Tinago, tinago, sino ang nagtago? I paddled toward south-east near the coast line. If you are far from the coastline, you will not notice that there are islets and coves before the shore or coast. I found a passage in between two huge rocks. I slowly paddled in, stop, look, and listen…. (paran tren lang ano.) And then I saw a short strip of white line. A small beach. I continued paddling in until I saw an opening channel on my left. Voila!! This is it. I found the Tinago. As I get nearer to the beach, I smell something like a cologne.  Does God sprayed cologne on this place? I asked myself. Maybe it’s a fragrance from the wild flowers in the area. Once on the beach, I texted someone (yes there was signal on cp). “ I found Tinago. But I would like to call this “paradise”.  The color and texture of the sand is like washed sugar. One thing that saddened me was the traces of bonfire right at the foot of a tree. The tree is already dying. Irresponsible campers are destroying the place. There were also empty cans of beers. It’s a good thing that bangkeros were the one collecting the garbage of their clients. I asked one bangkero who arrived later to take my empty can of sardines.

I call this place “Paradise”

I was about to snorkel when I heard the sound of a motor boat. Alone no more! So instead, I cooked my lunch even if it’s still past 10 am I think. I’ve positioned my DIY camping stove between the crevice. Then more boats came. They even had pictorials with my kayak. After I had my lunch, I decided to leave the place because it’s getting crowded already. Although there were beautiful girls on their swimsuits,  some kababayans and some foreigners, I didn’t dare to take snap on them. I might get in trouble.

So I  traced my way out of the cove. But stopped in the middle to take some pictures of the cove before returning to open water. Tracing the coastlines eastward.  My next quest was to find the Tayak Lake. I did found the beach that serves as the entrance to hidden lake. But before I reached the shoreline I was met by a shirtless man with a hand held radio and a jungle bolo on his side. He said they will not allowed visitors to get in because Suvivor will shoot. I know he was lying because the caretaker of the resort where I camped told me that the cast of survivors are on 10-day vacation. Bu I did not insists. Frustrated, I turned away and paddled back to Lahus Island where I spent my siyesta and watched the tourists came and go. I was surprised by the volume of visitors on that island alone. Sometimes three were twelve bancas docked at the same time. Squeezing each other on the beach. I talked with bankeros while waiting for their passengers. We where there at the foot of the rocks hiding from the sun. They said, the rental of the boat ranging from 2, 500 to 3,500 pesos depending on the number of passengers and depending on how many islands they will visit. Some tourists hired tour guides so that will be an additional expenses. If you’re about to go, you could save by not hiring a tour guide because boat men themselves knows the place and they will be your tour guides. However these boatmen don’t have access to internet so you can’t book or negotiate with them prior to your trip.

When I feel bored watching the people on the island, I decided to leave and headed back to Matukad Island. I found more interesting views of the island. On the east side of the island, there was a huge rock that looks like it was placed on top of rocks. Just like a canopy. I paddled to the other side of the island looking for the small beach that I remembered from google map. I found it but it was creepy. I mean I feel being enchanted. I was there floating on the water for more than an hour figuring out how to get to the beach without being slammed by the rocks by the waves. I could see the beach behind the tower rock that seems like guarding the beach. This rock has holes that serves as nests to birds. I really want to get to that beach but was afraid, my boat could be ripped off by the sharp rocks. I wish I have a company with me to take care of my kayak so that I could snorkel in between those rocks to the beach. Ant that is the thought of coming back some time. Would you dare coming with me? 🙂

It feels like some eyes are watching me…

My kayak on matukad island

View from the top of a rock in Matukad island

Lahus Island

Tinago Cove

While on search for Tinago Cove

Behind this beach is the Tayak Lake. Unfortunately I was not allowed to get in by the guard.

My first morning in Caramoan

My kayak

My DIY camping stove

My kayak, deflated


Pinaculan and the Sea Shore of Bitan-o

Pinaculan island as seen from Rompeolas

Pinaculan is a tiny island situated between the Rompeolas  and the shore of Bitan-o. It was an idle land some years ago. But my mother once told me that there was an observation structure there. It was one of my option for my thesis proposal before I graduated from college. The island is very interesting for a site development planning and design proposal for architectural students. During my elementary years, we used to gather from there boulders and sand to patch into the holes of the pathway going to our school-Bitan-o Elementary School.

 Foot bridge to Pinaculan Island

The suba of Bitan-o

Two decades had passed since I last stepped foot in the island, I discovered that it is not an idle land anymore. I revisited it last February 2011, and found out that there are more or less twenty households occupies the islet. Though they are illegal settlers, they had made the land productive. If it was full of cogon before, now it is like a banana plantation. There are bananas everywhere. I’ve spotted also a pili tree, coconut trees and some pineapple plants. One house I passed by has a backyard pig pen. I just followed the trail, and it brought me to the other side of the island. On the east side facing Rompeolas and the new break water.

Though Bacon Beach has a very nice water to plunge in, there were times that we swim at Bitan-o. Just a walking distance from our house and will not cost you a single centavo. When the moon is big, it means the tide is high and is good for swimming.  And when the tide is low, it is good to gather some tagunhas (sea shells). We usually went there before the sun rise.

The fisher folks of Pinaculan island

This is the area where we collect tagunhas (sea shells) when we were kids.

Pili tree in the island
 side

Rompeolas as seen from the east side of Pinaculan

Fresh water well in the island

A young beach comber found a coconut.

When the Sorsogon Bay was not yet contaminated by red tide, we frequently went there to collect sea shells. Punaw, kagot, barisara, piyong, talaba and kasag are the common take home. Sometimes you could find baluko and badoy too. Talaba (oister) could be sometimes un-noticed because it is attached to a rock.  And you thought it’s just a rock. Sometimes I cracked a shell of talaba and eat the content right there. It’s very tasty. You could find also crab or tambagoy (talimusak in tagalog) underneath the rock if you upturned it.

Now that red tide is not being raised down, and the coast line of Bitan-o is being occupied by migrated residents, you couldn’t see people combing the shore line of Bitan-o and Cambulaga (adjacent baranggay) even if the tide is low. A beach combing which my children’s generation might never experience.


Alcaraz Farm

I was inspired by their hard work. When I was young, I used to come here during summer or weekend. All they have at that time were dozens of chickens and bountiful of corn in which we cook can full and take it to suba where we swim.

During my vacation in april 2010, I’ve visited my Auntie (first cousin of my mother) who was just a few kilometers from the city center of Sorsogon (Bgy. Cabid-an). During my childhood days, I used to come here especially during harvest time of their corn. During those days, ‘di pa gaanong develop ang lugar nila. Her children developed the area as they grow old. Hindi nagkakalayo sa edad ko ang mga anak nya that’s why we are closed to each other. I’m so thankful that I bring along my camera when I visited her. (she had already poor vision due to catarata.) Here are the pictures taken from their place which I want to share with you.

“The fruit of their labor.”

They open this during high tide to let the brackish water in. But of course there is a net so that their cultured bangus will not swim out.

Ang sarap seguro dito mag siesta.

Balsang Kawayan


Gallery

Quimontod memories

During my pre-school years, we were living in the sub-urb  called (Sitio) Quimontod. Some called it Quimontod Saday. Don’t know where Quimontod Daku is. It is more or less half hectar land. At the center of the land is hill where our house was located. Two grand mothers were with us. My mother’s mother, May Paui and my mother’s Auntie, Nay Tinay who was an old maid. She was very industrious, and religous. She built an altar herself from boulders around the area. She also makes wine from balig-ang fruits.

Quimontod has a lot of fruit bearing trees and ornamental plants. There were balig-ang-which is delicious to shake with sugar (linu-go), makopa (with beautiful pink flowers), tambis, hagis -with a mouth-watering colors when riped, kayumito (star apple),tapayas (papaya), gumihan, pili nuts, biriran (balimbing) and of course lots of lumbod (buko). One makopa tree was cut down for I had fallen from it. I’ve over-heard my brothers talking about salag and piso (nest and birdlings) of palago. Out of their sight, i climbed the makopa to see the birdlings they were talking about. I did saw it, but when I was going down, I stepped on a dead branch that caused me to land on a rock head first. Luckily I survived. But the memories are clear even I was 6 years old at that time.

Pathways were lined up with different ornamental plants. Our house was standing at the highest part of the land. On the eastern part, lies our small rice paddies. Very small compared to neighboring paddies but until now, it is still an additional source of living for my brother who tills the land.

There was a portion near the rice paddies planted with palawan. A root crop that grows in mudland. But since it is frequently being harvested by intruders, we stopped replanting it until it’s gone. Me and brother J-are made a pond on it. But same thing, tilapia was being fished out by some intruders. But I liked it being a pond ’cause I enjoy seeing the things that grows in it. Like the kurakding (mushrooms) that grows on a log (check the photos). And the pink color eggs of golden kuhol that are attached to the stems of gabi. On the eastern part of the paddies, there is a small creek. We used to fish on that deep portion of the creek we called Libtong. We catch dalag and puyo. On rainy days, my brothers used to make a raft out of banana trunk.

Copra is also a major product of that small parcel of land. But it’s a long hard work before you convert it into cash. Starts from picking the fruits (niyog) by climbing or by kalawit, bringing it to the work area near the agunan (cooking flatform), removing the husk, removing the juice (bat-ak), layering (kamada), cooking (agon), removing the shell (tingkal), compressing it to sack, and finally bringing it to comprada to sell.

These are my memories of Quimontod. Below are the photos randomly taken in april 2010.

Sagpan

We also have a small pond where the water never runs dry. This used to be planted with palawan in my younger years.

Kurakding-an edible mushroom

Another kind of mushroom on the log. Not sure if it is edible.

Lubi-lubi-dilicious for ginataan with tinapa or sardines.

Copra after removing the coconut shell.

My two brothers Bildo and J-are doing “tingkal” (romoving the cocomeat from its shell.)

Our small paddies

A snail and a mushroom

He was busy eating grass when i disturbed him (or her) for a shot.

A palawan leaf