It was a perfect morning when our boat left the beach in front of Dona Choleng Resort at Cagbalete Island, Quezon. Overhead was a partly cloudy sky with the sun peeking through blue gaps in the tangle of white and gray clouds. The waves were calm and our boat easily made its way to our morning destination: the Yang-In Sandbar.
We first made it to Cagbalete three years ago. Previously unheard of before 2006, Cagbalete Island became known for its low tide phenomenon when the sea moves back up to almost a kilometer from shore exposing a vast seabed of sand adorned with remarkable ripples on its eastern side – the one facing the Pacific. But Rose, a local tourist guide who provided a boat for island-hopping suggested we also visit an unheard-of destination on the western side – the one facing Lamon Bay and Mauban town. That was how we ended up at the Yang-In Sandbar. Now, on our return trip, we were looking to show our friends and relatives the vast expanse of white sand on this part of the island that we’ve seen three years ago.
As our boat neared Yang-In on this particular morning, however, our hearts sunk. Expecting a sea of white sand we were confronted with a sea of water instead. We arrived here at about the same morning hour that we did 3 years ago but there was almost no white sand in sight, saved for a short stretch in front of the mangroves. No wonder our boatman suggested we arrive here at 6AM. Tidal variations here can wreak havoc on your best-laid plans.
The water at this section of the sandbar was just ankle to knee deep but we soon found out that it was possible to walk barefoot on the seabed. There were almost no corals or rocks here. We also noticed the proliferation of mangrove trees, something that has not changed from 3 years ago. The only difference was the presence of a small resort inland – the Villa Pilarosa – which was composed of native huts that blended seamlessly with the surroundings.
After touring the area on foot we were supposed to proceed to a snorkeling area for our second destination of the day when Leo spied a portion of the sandbar a bit further up north past the mouth of a creek and a cluster of mangroves. The waters there were a more attractive aquamarine. We asked our boatmen if we could take a look at the place before our trip to the snorkeling area.
To our surprise the waters here were crystal clear and just waist-deep at its maximum up to a few hundred meters from shore – just perfect for swimming. The Yang-In Sandbar had just turned into a huge swimming pool at high tide. Snorkeling completely forgotten, we spent most of the remaining morning swimming and having fun at this portion of the sandbar.
Needing to be back at our resort for lunch before catching the 1PM ferry back to Mauban port on the mainland, we had to choose between spending more time at Yang-In or moving on to the snorkeling area. Needless to say we opted for the former.
So while Yang-In can be a photographer’s delight during low tide, it’s also the perfect swimming destination at high tide. And the photos at high tide aren’t unseemly either.
For an island tour that includes a visit to the Yang-In sandbar you may contact Rose at 0910-4518108. Rose has two boats that she rents out for this purpose. She can also connect you with a resort at Cagbalete if you decide to stay at the island. For more about Cagbalete Island, kindly stay tuned for our next post.