It’s funny how sometimes in travel; events lead us to unexpected places and persons. Strangers at first meeting then it come to a full circle when we suddenly realize the degree of separation from the people we know. It makes travel so interesting. These thoughts were running in my head as our boat sails back to mainland in the pitch black darkness of the sea from Hagonoy Island. With us on the boat was Aling Ambing, the former governor of Bislig and the owner of the island herself. So how did we end up with her esteemed company again?
It started when we found ourselves billeted at Hotel One Eleven, the oldest accommodation in Bislig. Mang Carding Cejoco, the owner of the hotel, allowed us to stay even if we have to fetch water since their pipes broke, which fortunately we didn’t have to do since they were able to fix it sooner. We knew that with the long weekend, people would come in droves to Tinuy-an Falls so we decided to visit Hagonoy Island first instead the next day after our arrival. “You can join us tomorrow on our boat if you want” said the voice on the other side of the line when we called the number on the mini poster stand for Hagonoy Island at the reception. It was Aling Ambing Cejoco, the brother of Carding.
Bluish hue was cast on the seaside scene of the market. We were already up by 5am joining Aling Ambing and her relative on their way to the island along with supplies since they were expecting guests that afternoon from Davao. It was interesting to watch at this time in the morning how some fishermen were already heading back to shore with some fresh catch. Soon, we got onboard our outrigger boat and sailed with the morning wind.
It takes about 30 minutes to the island and as a first timer on the waters of Bislig Bay, I was just filled with wonder on the new things I saw. One was how a lot of boats were parked on a bamboo stilt platforms way up the water. It would be interesting to see how they put it up there as well. The numerous fish cages with platforms which at night we saw were lit up with a lone bulb. Our boatman told us that people can stay at the fish cages if they want. Another was the impressive big boats carrying a fleet of smaller boats. I don’t know what they are called but it’s the first time I’ve seen sea vessels like that.
My eyes were just reveling at the sights of this unfamiliar sea. There are small boats with colorful sails passing and behind them is a subdued hue of mountains. Then we finally spot the lone island in the entire Bislig Bay. Its palmy shores make it look like a tip of a toothbrush. Its solitariness was inviting. Everyone was just excited to finally step on the island.
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.