Cantingas River: Cleanest Inland Body of Water

Cantingas River flows
Cantingas River flows

It seems there are several title holders for the “cleanest inland body of water” in the Philippines. Good thing about this is it shows how many natural clean body of water we have. Bugang River in Pandan, Antique was the first I know to have the title through the Gawad Pangulo ng Kapaligiran. There’s also Lake Apo for Northern Mindanao. Cantingas River in San Fernando, Sibuyan Island in Romblon adds to this merry list of clean body of waters in the country.

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Cresta de Gallo: Sibuyan Island Sandbar Paradise

Sandbar stretch at Cresta de Gallo
Sandbar stretch at Cresta de Gallo

Found at the southern tip of Sibuyan Island is one of Romblon’s raw gems worth daring the often tempestuous waters of Sibuyan seas for. Cresta de Gallo, named after its shape resembling a rooster’s comb, is an island with fine white sand beach and stunning sandbar. No commercial establishments or structures. Just pure tropical island paradise.

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Waterfalls of Sibuyan Island

Top level of Dagubdob Falls
Top level of Dagubdob Falls

Sibuyan island is one of the most fascinating in the country in terms of biodiversity. Its 445 square meter area is home to more than 123 species of trees (54 are endemic), estimated 700 vascular plants species, 131 species of birds, ten fruit bats and more animals that have yet to be catalogued. A naturalist haven that it wasn’t many are calling this the “Galapagos of Asia”. But Sibuyan Island should be called by its own character, home of the world’s densest forest and rich biodiversity. I was excited to finally step on this island of MIMAROPA and glad to be able to explore the waterfalls of Sibuyan Island. There are around 44 waterfalls but only a number accessible to tourist. Check them out below.

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Sun Setting at Bonbon Beach Romblon

Bonbon beach sandbar aerial view
Bonbon beach sandbar aerial view

There is no shortage of spectacular beaches in Romblon. While “good beaches” vary to taste on a personal level, for me the qualifications comes down to the sand quality, the surrounding environment, the waters and awe factor. Strip off any establishments or fancy gimmicks, it always comes down to the bare nature of it all. That’s why I’m loving Bonbon Beach (sometimes spelled as Bon Bon) in Romblon. About 5km from Romblon Island, Poblacion. Privately owned, but open to the public. Stretches of gorgeous coastal white sand beaches leading up to a panoramic sandbar. Oh boy I envy Romblon for having this.

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Photo Essay: Biniray Festival Street Dance 2020

A young performer for the Biniray Festival
A young performer for the Biniray Festival

The day following the Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon, the Biniray Festival continues with a street dance parade. The festival re-enacts how the Señor Sto Niño was attempted to be taken away from Romblon Island en route to Madrid but was averted by storms. Only the image to be returned back to its place. A colorful parade of atis, similar to Ati-atihan adds color to the revelry. This time each baranggay trying to best each other in costume and performance.

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Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon: Opening the Biniray Festival in Romblon

The Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon
The Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon

The idyll coastal poblacion in Romblon Island, Romblon becomes festive beginning the 2nd Friday of January as revelers flock at the 400-year old St Joseph Cathedral. Devotees gather in front of the church to observe the spiritual practice of the Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon. The Tonton, a Romblomanon word meaning to lower the image of the Sto Niño down the pedestal. This practice usher’s the official opening of Biniray Festival which last for a week.

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Seco Island: Sandbar Bliss in Tibiao

Seco Island sea patterns
Seco Island sea patterns

Setting off to a distant island across rough seas and under intermittent weather in the wee hours of the morning aboard a large fishing vessel may sound like a romanticized adventure. But that’s exactly how our journey to Seco Island began. Well not exactly, it’s actually a clumsy ride on a flat boat that held everyone’s breath as we grope for balance to transfer from the shore to the big boat. I’ve only seen flat boats used here heavily in Antique, but these outrigger-less, flat surfaced geometrical boat is a challenge to balance on water especially with a number of people inside. But it did wake us up under the starry night sky and kept us alert as we boarded the shipping vessel for a 2-3 hour ride.

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