Our main reason for visiting Matnog – the town on the southernmost edge of the Bicol mainland in the province of Sorsogon – was to see the pinkish white sand beaches of Subic (in Calintaan Island) and Tikling Island. To get to these beaches we rented a boat at the pier in Matnog and soon learned that a private marine sanctuary in Juag Lagoon was included in the itinerary. But because the beaches were our primary destinations we considered the sanctuary a mere afterthought. We were soon to discover how wrong we were.
Matnog, Sorsogon is a sleepy little port town that serves as a jump-off point for ferries going to Northern Samar and other destinations in the Eastern Visayas. Arriving at the unassuming town late one afternoon we realized just how remote and underdeveloped the place is. There were very few tourist accommodations and no fancy cafes or restaurants, just a few dining places in the public market and at individual homes. All of which suited us fine because it offers a clue about how possibly pristine the attractions around this town are.
After a full morning of swimming with the colorful fishes at the Juag Lagoon marine sanctuary and enjoying the scenic view of Calintaan Island’s twin Subic Beaches, we were getting hungry and looking forward to lunch back in town. There was one remaining destination on this (half) day of island-hopping, however. After no more than 30 minutes of leaving Subic Beach, our final destination came into view, its verdant palms and lush shrubs gently swaying in the wind, wonderfully framed by white, talcum powder-like sand and remarkably clear cyan waters.