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.
It was one of those things we had dreaded on a long trip and it happened on the morning we were set to go on an island-hopping tour at Romblon Island. Leo felt a stabbing pain on his lower back on our way out of the Parc Bay Mansion. Fortunately though it wasn’t as bad as we first thought and he was able to manage his condition as we boarded our boat towards the group of three islands lying off the western coast of Romblon Island. And fortunately so because it was a beautiful, sunny day.
It used to be a laidback, sleepy town in a province better known for cattle-raising and sometimes referred to as the “Rodeo Capital of the Philippines.” But once word spread around about a group of six islets with pristine white-sand beaches and stunning rock formations lying just offshore, San Pascual in Burias Island, Masbate soon burst into the tourism scene. Although we’ve first read about this town and its island gems 5 years ago it was only last March that we finally got to organize a visit along with a friend and our nephew.
From our resort at Barangay Laurente in San Pascual town, it was the farthest of all three islands in our island-hopping tour. Sombrero Island is about an hour away from the port at San Pascual town. However it is almost two hours away from the first island on our itinerary – Animasola Island – situated much farther to the northeast. Fortunately we could stop at Tinalisayan Island on our way to Sombrero – or it would have been almost two hours of a monotonous journey on the deep blue of the Ragay Gulf.
In the middle of a trip that requires a total of 7 vehicular transfers – a taxi ride starting from home, an 8-hour bus ride, a 2-hour ferry ride, 2 van rides and 2 transfers by trike – you come to a point when you begin to question the sheer absurdity of going through a self-flagellating travel schedule just to cross out an item in your bucket list. And it didn’t end there. The following day after our arrival in sleepy San Pascual town in Burias Island, Masbate we had to negotiate a not-so-calm sea on our way to the islands of Animasola, Tinalisayan and Sombrero. In a boat just big enough for the five of us. These islands had better be good or else.
We’ve already seen it from a distance the day before, as our ferry made its way from Pasacao in Camarines Sur towards the port of San Pascual in Burias Island, Masbate. It looked like a massive piece of rock, almost featureless, from afar. But now, as our rented motorized outrigger neared Animasola Island on our island-hopping jaunt, we began to realize that this place could be the most interesting piece of marine real estate in San Pascual. Continue reading Animasola Island Rocks!
Everything had gone smoothly during our visit to Guimaras. Until this time. We had just boarded a boat at Alubihod Beach for our island-hopping trip. Despite having rained the previous days – it was the southwest monsoon or habagat season – the sun was up and the waters of the Panay Gulf unusually calm. Our first destination was easily visible on the horizon and, from what we knew, just 15 minutes away. Our motorized outrigger started its engine and we waited for the boat to speed up. So far, so good. We waited… and waited… and waited. Continue reading Island-Hopping at Guimaras