A one hour ferry ride from Dapa, Siargao to Socorro Port in a jam-packed boat. A half-hour tricycle ride cutting through the bucolic landscape of Bucas Grande. Then a thrilling half hour boat ride from Barangay Sta Cruz on a small boat to Sohoton Bay. A transit that slowly swelled my excitement for visiting this emerging gem of a destination in Surigao del Norte. And my abode is at Sohoton Bay Resort. A lovely quiet cove just a stone’s throw away to the wonders of Sohoton Cove.
Scenic drives, sumptuous Ilocano cuisines, rich heritage, awe-inspiring megastructures and stunning landscape are some of the reasons which makes Ilocos Norte an all-time favorite for travelers. Memories of Ilocos Norte goes way back to my childhood road trips with family. Even if I had been here countless times, its always a welcome visit to this northern region. The recent Lakbay Norte 7 had me revisit the familiar places again with new companions this time. In just a day, we had the exciting rides at the La Paz Sand Dunes, to marveling the gigantic windmills of Bangui and a fun swim at Saud White Beach of Pagudpud.
My motorbike ride roared through the narrow ascending road hugging the side of the hills. It’s always exciting to step on a new island. In this case, my feet, finally grounded on Tablas Island, the largest of the three mjor islands in Romblon province. I flew into the island via PAL and landed in Tugdon airport. My motorbike is taking me to Aglicay Beach Resort in the neighboring town of Alcantara. My eyes were constantly peeled as I absorb the idyllic landscape of this island countryside. We got off the main road and saw a sign “4km to Aglicay Resort”. I’m glad where I’m staying is only less than half an hour from the airport. As the motorbike took its twist and turns entering the distant baranggay of Comod-on, my senses were captivated by the road side view. The ocean vista opening up its glorious view and the cove just ahead. Stunning white sand beach before us hugged by verdant hills. This is going to be an exciting escape, I thought. Aglicay Beach Resort, my home for a couple of nights in Tablas, Romblon.
If the mainland beach of Bantayan Island at Sta Fe is not enough for a true-blooded beach bum, which, mind you is already a lovely stretch based on my personal standard, visitors still have options to explore the nearby islands. Second day, mid-day of our Oceana Photo Safari, we’re still at the start of our exploration of Tañon Strait in which the Bantayan Islands is a part of. The small Virgin Island, about 45 minutes off the coast of Sta Fe by outrigger boat was our destination.
“Where is Tañon Strait?” I asked when I received an offer to do a photography coverage of a week-long expedition for Oceana Philippines. Prior to this, I have no clear knowledge of this protected seascape sandwiched between two major islands, Cebu and Negros. The itinerary was enticing enough. We’ll start our journey in Cebu, going up to Sta Fe Bantayan island, then making our way down parallel the narrow strait, crossing it from Moalboal to Negros Oriental then sail all the way down to Dumaguete. Just the thought of the trip excites me as I had never been to most of the places, along and within Tañon Strait.
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.
Being one of the “35 Clearest Waters to Swim Before You Die” from the viral list site of Daily News Dig, has placed the municipality of Linapacan, Palawan in the world map. While the main photo there is a bit misleading (since that one was from El Nido), being part of the list made people curious of this set of remote islands found in between the north Palawan mainland of El Nido and south of Calamianes Archipelago. My curiosity led me to east of El Nido where I had a chance to go island hopping to the southern islands of this famed municipality to see if the claims were true. Are the waters truly clear as they claim?