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Bohol Islands and Beaches Philippines Travel

Bohol | Paddling through Banacon Island Mangrove Sanctuary

“We can’t find our boat!” paddling master, Buzzy Budlong, tells me after several attempts of trying to spot our convoy outrigger boat through the maze-like passageways of Banacon Island, north of Bohol. Buzzy was at the back of our double kayak as I was the one in charge to shoot. We wait for the others south of the largest man-made mangrove island in Asia. He switched places with my assigned-writer friend, Oggie, back to his favorite yellow stand-up paddle (SUP) board, Mango Float. His sight looked far to the mainland. “Let’s head to that lighthouse!” he pointed. “Is he kidding?!” I thought. That’s almost 10km away by sea and we’re passing through two sea channels and an island. But he paddled on. He’s crazy like that which also partly makes him great.

Carrying paddle boards through the shallows
Carrying paddle boards through the shallows

Paddle to Getafe

If I was not tasked to take photos for this assignment, I would gladly put it aside and paddle happily through these waters. It was obvious from the curious stares and waves of the community children to call our attention that people paddling these waters are not common. The waters, shielded by mangroves remains calm and gently stirred By the residual waves from outside. There are pockets of tranquility within these natural walls of nature.

Once we made exit south of the island, I had the chance to do some actual paddling. We paddled towards the mainland with the lighthouse as our guide. There were portions on the nearby island where the current pulls our kayak closer to shore but still, Buzzy, seemed to be remain unfazed on his paddle board While we paddled wildly back to course. Two hours later, about 8km further, we have reached the mainland of Getafe. It was a feat that seemed impossible at first but Buzzy had a certain way of motivating people. To go beyond the barriers in their mind and challenge themselves beyond their comfort zones.

At Getafe, we had ample time to rest while we wait for our transportation to arrive. The missing outrigger boat also arrived shortly when we got on shore. And just in time as our van came, a warm sunset bid us goodbye.

Kayaking through the mangroves
Kayaking through the mangroves

Essential Info

The Banacon Island Mangrove Sanctuary Paddling Tour can be booked through IslandBuzz Kayaking and Stand Up Paddle Tours. The 8km, whole-day tour is available year-round for Php 4,900 per person for a minimum of 2 persons and a maximum of 10 persons for a group.

Contact Buzzy Budlong at [email protected] or call +639275683799. Visit www.islandbuzzsupandkayak.com.

Kayaks from IslandBuzz tours
Kayaks from IslandBuzz tours
Kayak and paddle board
Kayak and paddle board
Sunset at Getafe port
Sunset at Getafe port

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