Cagbalete 2016

Summer’s over but no one can stop us from going to the beach. This year’s destination: Cagbalete island. It has been part of my “to-go” list so I was pretty hyped up when I learned that we’ll be travelling there.

From Manila, we took a bus going to Mauban, Quezon. The trip took around 4 and a half hours. Boring. Though, I just slept the whole time. There are tricycles outside the terminal so we didn’t find it hard to find our way around. The drivers allowed us to drop by a few stops – market, water stations – before taking us to the port where they talked to bangkeros to give us a private ride to the island. It wasn’t much of a hassle ’cause the tricycle drivers really know their way and have connections. We hired 2 small private boats and the ride took about an hour. It’s wavy so I guess it was longer than what it normally is. nevertheless, we arrived at the resort – Villa Noe – safe and sound.

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Since it was a Thursday, there were no other guests so we had the whole resort to ourselves. The sand was fine and clean. Sea is always in low tide mode, for which I was grateful for I don’t swim and I’m a short girl. You can actually walk far into the sea from the shore, especially in the morning. A very commendable place to unwind and just relax. It really is so serene and peaceful.

P_20160702_145721Like any other remote island, there’s no electricity during the day. They turn on their generator/s from 6 in the evening ’til 6 in the morning the following day. We stayed in a small nipa hut divided further into four smaller rooms good for 2 persons each. Caveat: you can hear everything from adjacent rooms – EVERYTHING. But it was a pretty decent room to sleep at, except for the bugs and moths.

For our food, some were brought from Manila while others were bought from the market. They have a common kitchen where guests can cook. They allow you to borrow some utensils for a small amount for 24 hours. For the first day, we grilled food but surrendered the next day and rented a stove. I saw how frustrated and exhausted they were with cooking thru coal.

P_20160702_145726We didn’t do much during our first 2 days. Some will cook, then we all eat together, wash utensils then roam around. Play cards then take a swim in the afternoon. It was way too hot and the ambiance was really relaxing.

P_20160702_151823The resort allows camping near the sea. So on our third day at the beach, we transferred to tents. Their staff set up our tents. The difficult part was finding where to put it. Ants, they’re everywhere. Looking for a spot with less ants, with a shade, within the allowed area was a challenge. Unfortunately, there’s no such place so we just accepted the fact that we’ll be sleeping with ants.

P_20160702_204554That night, there was a fire dancing performance. The group was composed of only 3 performers, each with their own props and tricks with fire. Show’s for free but they roam around for donations towards the end of the dance. It wasn’t really mandatory but the resort turned off most of the lights along the shore where most of the guests are staying. It was like their strategy to get the attention of the crowd.

P_20160702_172223On our last day, we just ate our breakfast and pack our things. Not much to do ’cause our boat will pick us up at around 11. I think it arrived on time. However, it rained so we had to wait for quite some time before getting into the boat. The way to the boat was a struggle. Since it’s low tide, we had to walk a few meters ’cause the boat can’t dock at the shore. Heavy bags, light rain, water on our feet. Nevertheless, the ride was smoother than how it was when we arrived despite the rain. The tricycles we hired were waiting for us at the other end. We just stopped by the water station then they dropped us off to the bus terminal. So another 4-5 hours of bus ride/sleep.

It was a really fun and relaxing weekend. If one just wants to do a bit of soul searching, but doesn’t mind long travel hours and not having electricity during the day, this would be a perfect place. Oh, and for those who knows how yo cook too!

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