Many of our island-hopping trips in the last few years involved forays into deserted islands or beaches in protected marine sanctuaries with hardly a village or settlement in sight. Our recent island-hopping trip in Romblon Island, however, was different. The first two islands – Cobrador and Alad Islands – all had communities located just behind immaculate white sand beaches. The third island – Logbon – held a surprise for us.
Logbon is the nearest island to Romblon port but ironically was the last island we visited on our 3-island tour. It’s a mere 10-15 minutes away from Romblon port and lies just south of Alad Island. On our way from the latter, we noticed that the entire western coast of Logbon Island, from north to south, is one long unbroken white sand beach more than 2 kilometers long.
However, the long white beach wasn’t our destination. We were soon rounding the Nabagbagan Rocks on the island’s southwestern tip and heading towards a sandbar on the southeastern side.
Our boat dropped anchor at the sandbar and we were soon exploring the adjoining beach. In the horizon we could easily see Bonbon Beach, its sandbar and Bangug Island; this part of Logbon Island was just 15 minutes away at most from the larger island of Romblon. Beyond the sandbar and further inland is a grove of coconut palms.
The southeastern tip of the island directly faces the larger mass of Romblon Island with the port at Romblon town easily visible in the distance. Exploring the beach on this side, we noticed several small pieces of marble rock strewn all over the beach; marble was that easy to find in this province. Romblon after all has become synonymous with this crystalline limestone often used in sculpture and architecture.
After taking a dip and snorkeling in the surrounding waters we rested under the shade of the coconut palms, preparing for our next and last stop at Bonbon Beach.
Fishing and Bayanihan
The whole time we were at the sandbar there was no other soul in sight although the considerable number of boats parked on the beach indicated that a fishing community could not be far off. Then, just as we were getting ready to leave for Bonbon, a large group of people, many of them children, suddenly materialized from nowhere and descended onto the sandbar.
The group was carrying a huge net and proceeded to lay it over a big part of the waters semi-enclosed by the sandbar. The men hauled it over the water while the women and children pulled the net slowly towards land. Curious, we joined in with some of us helping drag the net along with the women and children. It was not an easy job they later commented.
After several minutes of watching the group haul the net, we saw the catch – a considerable haul of anchovies. The locals would prepare them as raw ceviche (local kinilaw) or would make them into deep fried patties (local okoy). They were actually catching their dinner. The anchovies would be equitably divided among those who helped in the effort.
In our younger years, we’ve often seen examples of bayanihan in the countryside – the local word used to describe a community working together for everyone’s common good. A classic picture of bayanihan was moving a house – actually a native bamboo hut – with men carrying the hut on their shoulders to its new location. It was a snapshot of neighbors helping each other without expecting monetary reward. Sadly, with modernization and urban living, bayanihan was somehow consigned to history, with more emphasis on individual accomplishment and advancement. It’s good to know that there are still contemporary examples of bayanihan, much of it in rural communities like the fishing village at Logbon. We would do well to emulate the way these folks work together and reap the rewards accordingly.
Logbon Island is typically included in a day-long island-hopping tour that also includes Cobrador and Alad Islands. Resorts usually help their guests to get a boat or you may simply go to a wharf in the port area for tour boats. Prices vary but a full-day island-hopping tour to Cobrador, Alad and Logbon Islands can cost P1,500 for 2 people (a small boat) and P2,700-3,000 for 4 to 5 individuals.