It took more than a decade but I finally found my way back to the northwestern tip of Cagayan Valley. So much has happened the last decade or so in Palaui island. Admittedly, it’s the biggest tourist draw in Santa Ana, Cagayan. It has hosted 2 seasons of America’s Survivor series back in 2013. There are other Survivors from other countries that followed. But the most significant development for me is the designation of the island as a “National Park” due to the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System (ENIPAS) act signed by President Duterte in June 22, 2018.
Culion is a fascinating destination for those who enjoy off-beat natural tourist attractions and rich heritage. This former leper colony in Calamianes island is usually explored by those who go for an extended stay in Coron. But it doesn’t have to be another option. Sunlight Ecotourism island Resort offers a luxury nature getaway in the region while still keeping close to the heritage now in the running as an internationally recognized documentary heritage for UNESCO.
Traveling to the beach has been rare these days. The pandemic made it more complicated and costly especially if you live in the city. Not to mention the threat of contracting the COVID19 virus in transit. That’s why when I got invited to by group from our yoga community to join for a day trip to Stilts Calatagan, Batangas I decided to join. It would be my second beach trip this year after Coron and couldn’t spend it much better than with people passionate about yoga.
A visit to the Calauit Safari Park is usually packaged with a Busuanga island hopping tour. Since they are basically in the same area, the tour is clumped together to maximize the time spent in Busuanga. With the safari tour completed by noon, our afternoon was spent on the islands of Malajon, Debotunay and North Cay islands. These islands in the west are also part of the Calamianes group of islands. Each island has unique characters of its own.
After 9-10 months since our community quarantine started, destinations have started to slowly and carefully ease up restrictions. To jumpstart our travel industry, major destinations like Boracay, Baguio and Bohol served as a model for safety protocols and procedures for travel. Last December 2020, world-class tourist destination, Palawan opened its doors to outsiders, particularly for those coming from Manila. Coron, Palawan, ushered in welcoming tourist. In company with DOT-MIMAROPA, we were able to experience how it is like to travel safely to Coron, Palawan. An exciting invitation to see how travel has changed during the pandemic. Also to check the state of Coron island’s, beaches and other attractions.
I’m sure there was a time in one of your trips when the weather was all gloom and rain then became bright and sunny when you’re about to leave. That was on repeat on my trip in Dinagat Islands. I was already at the port, about to buy my ferry ticket back to Surigao while feeling regretful seeing the sun out in all its glory. “Sir, pwede natin ituloy yung Basilisa, maganda na panahon (sir, we can continue with our Basilisa, the weather’s better)” the text I suddenly received from one of the boatman I was referred to for island hopping. I mean, I already have my baggage with me. All my stuff are packed in and organized already. Will I still have a chance to go back to Surigao within the day? To heck with this. I took one of the bao-bao (local transport) ride back to Don Ruben port. Let’s go island hopping under the sun!
Coming from the Divine Master’s Shrine and Islander’s Castle, we continued south, hugging the coast of Dinagat Municipality. In half an hour, we reached the tip of the finger-like westward protrusion of land to find Bijasong Beach. It looked like a nice beach from a picture I saw on a tarp at the inn. After a scenic drive descending a winding road, we found a beach battered by waves brought by the habagat under drab sky. We spent a few minutes at one of the cottages for snacks before continuing southeast for Cagdianao. It looked like the trip was turning bleak as the weather at this point on.