We woke up about 3:30am to prepare for our trip to Gaspar island. It’s great to have fellow photographers like Oggie and Allan on a trip since they understand the importance of capturing the best light in a scenery. Most locals would have wondered why we would want to sail to the island at 4am in the morning not understanding the photographer’s view of things. Maybe one reason why our boatman missed our target departure of 4am. Or he just probably overslept a bit. Still we managed to arrive before the sun rises on Gaspar Island, Marinduque.
Gaspar Island is one of the three islands south west of Marinduque Island named after the three kings, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar. Of the three islands, Gaspar is the largest and the only one inhabited. It is also rich in history since off its coast waters between the mainland, a sunken Chinese Junk was discovered. Other old artifacts were also discovered at caves found on the island. Artifacts are now property of the National Museum.
Travel time from the mainland of Barangay Pinggan to the island is about 30 minutes by outrigger boat. Rates usually goes from Php 1000 if you only visit Gaspar or one of the island, Php 1500 for island hopping on the three islands of the Tres Reyes Islands.
The moon was shining really bright that morning illuminating the island shores beautifully. The fishing village of Gaspar island was still asleep that morning. We ventured around the island shorelines to see what its landscape offers. It’s actually a very varied landscape. There’s a nice long sandbar in the middle where the waves meet. On the western side are calm waters and nice crushed coral beach ideal for swimming. The eastern side is more rugged with impressive rock formations being battered by stronger waves. On the eastern side you could see Mt Malindig and the deluxe Elephant Island which Japanese company are developing.
In the middle of the island is a fishing community. There is no water and electricity on the island. Water is being fetched from the mainland and electricity is through gas. There is however some sheds, urinal facilities and a small store to buy provisions for island visitors.
Tres Reyes islands is a protected marine sanctuary. Expect lots of fresh catch early morning. We bought a couple of those haba or balo fishes to be cooked for lunch. Grilled and fried. Very cheap as well. Aside from fishing, tourism is also a main livelihood. Children gather shells early morning and they make beads from them to sell.
We enjoyed our time in Gaspar island very much. The island has very nice landscapes and is also ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The weather was also very cooperative that time as well. I think waking up that early was worth it on this island.
We headed back shortly at the mainland for breakfast. After which we’ll do a few last stops around Marinduque before we leave that afternoon.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.