Caramoran | Palumbanes Islands and Hitoma Lake

Approaching Tignob Island of Palumbanes Islands
Approaching Tignob Island of Palumbanes Islands

Not to be mistaken by the similarly sounding Caramoan in Camarines Sur, Caramoran is a municipality, northwest of Catanduanes. The name admittedly came from the former when people would point to the former which is just on the opposite side of the strait separating the provinces. Not to be left off as a shade of its homonymic neighbor, Caramoran, one of the largest municipality in Catanduanes, boast the idyllic isles of Palumbanes Islands and languid Hitoma Lake on land. This is the second part of my return visit to the Happy Island of Catanduanes in conjunction with the 2018 Abaca Festival.

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Biliran | Sambawan Island: Scenic Hills and Rustic Beach

View from the hill at Sambawan Island
View from the hill at Sambawan Island

Purple hues enveloped the sky as I watch over the ocean greeting the sun good morning at Sambawan Island. I am mindful of the tide’s ebb and flow at the beach below, the grass swaying from the breeze, the cool air touching my skin and gently the warm light creeping in the hut where I’m seated. Such a calm morning up the highest point of the island where I have a full panoramic view of the surrounding area. The volcanic Maripipi island looms over like a big brother.

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San Vicente | Port Barton Island Hopping

Approaching an unnamed beach in Port Barton
Approaching an unnamed beach in Port Barton

There’s an advantage and disadvantage of staying in San Vicente town proper as I have learned. Advantage is that I get to stay real close to San Vicente’s Long Beach, the longest white beach in Palawan which I have immensely enjoyed combing through. Disadvantage is that Island Hopping here is costly unlike if I stay in Port Barton. The Island hopping tours (A to D) only cost Php 700 per head for a minimum of four people in a group. But since I’m travelling alone, I would have to shell out Php 2,000 to get to Port Barton by boat. The people at tourism office said if there are any groups from here that would do the tours I could always join in but from the looks of the people coming and going through this town, chances are pretty slim. I was resigned to spend my last full day in San Vicente by the beach when Ate Flor, the owner of Ursula Long Beach Travaller’s Inn called me up while having breakfast that she’s at the tourism office and managed to get me a slot to join a group doing a Port Barton Island Hopping Tour. I immediately said yes, quickly packed my camera and gear and hopped on a motorbike to take me to the port.

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El Nido | Imorigue Island, Malapari Islet Hopping and Mangrove Sidetrip

Snorkeling at Imorigue Island
Snorkeling at Imorigue Island

So you have done all the tours in El Nido Palawan from Tours A, B, C, D and E. The west side of El Nido, the Bacuit Bay in particular does have dramatic limestone karst islands and captivating beaches, but El Nido doesn’t end there. The other side, the El Nido east coast holds more islands to explore and stunning white sand beaches to bum around. Sibaltan is the jump off point for these island adventures. I have written about some of the islands of Linapacan, now discover the limestone island of Imorigue Island. From afar it looks daunting but the locals swear on how rich the marine life surrounding its waters are.

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San Pascual | Chasing the Light at Tinalisayan Islet and Sandbar

Shooting sunrise on a hill at Tinalisayan Island
Shooting sunrise on a hill at Tinalisayan Island

The day was quickly coming to a close. When I thought we were heading back to mainland we were told that we’ll visit one last island on our way back to San Pascual proper. Tinalisayan islet is only 1.5 nautical miles from mainland, roughly a 20 minute motorboat ride from town. After seeing the two islands Animasola and Sombrero Islands, I thought I wouldn’t be surprised anymore but Tinalisayan islet has a little bit of everything. A white sand beach, a scenic hill with nearby rock formations, a long sandbar off the coast and burst of sunrise and sunset colors.

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San Pascual | The Twin Sombrero Island Masbate: Quaint Island Life

An open cottage at Sombrero Island in Masbate
An open cottage at Sombrero Island in Masbate

Filipinos really have a knack in naming places or islands that’s easy to recall like common things like – hats! In Burias Island, Masbate, another set of islands got the monicker of Sombrero Island just because the island looks like the top of a cowboy hat. It’s funny though that the Sombrero Island Masbate in San Pascual is a set of two islands close together, fraternal twins I may say. The other island near the hat-like island has the gorgeous looking stretch of beach and sand bar. Sombrero Island Masbate is our second island destination in San Pascual, quaint and laid back.

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San Pascual | Animasola Island and its Exotic Rock Formations

Exotic rock formations at Animasola Island
Exotic rock formations at Animasola Island

From afar, it looks like a miniature version of the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Ilocos Norte with its shoe like formation on top and the island itself resembles the formations from the famous Biri Islands like a slightly squashed cake with lines and layers running along the sides. Animasola Island was a surprise in terms of natural wonders, much like municipality it belongs to which is San Pascual in Burias Island, Masbate. It was just the start of our three-island and didn’t expect the this first island to be a favorite among the three.

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