“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 for naming places or islands that are easy to recall like common things like – hats! In Burias Island, Masbate, another set of islands got the moniker 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 a 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?
Bohol is one of those places that so far have continued to amaze. Even if I have been to the island more than five times already, there are still areas for me that I have yet to explore. Yes, the 2013 earthquake may have sent a number of our heritage in crumbles but the good news many of the natural wonders are still intact. My recent visit to Bohol sent me about 100km east of Tagbilaran City to visit the small and charming coastal town of Anda to be dazzled by their fine white sand Quinale Beach. And I have thought I have already seen the best of Bohol already.
With the Philippines’ thousands of islands, there’s no surprise that there are still a few that are relatively untouched by development. One which has been making a buzz among backpackers and adventure travelers these recent years is the Mahabang Buhangin Beach (Long Sand Beach) in the Calaguas Group of Islands in Camarines Norte. It has even become one of the top contenders for the Philippine Gems, a campaign spearheaded by Isla Lipana & Co. (PwC Ph) to recognize the emerging destinations in the country. Despite the erratic weather, I gladly took the invitation by folks at Fleishman Hillard and PwC for an ocular trip to see why this Calaguas Islands is making waves at their campaign.
I can’t believe I thought about cheating this place. By definition of “cheating a place” is to roll in, run around, say I’ve been here and roll out through the great yonder. I must admit that there are instances I did that but stepping on the powdery white sand beach of Gumasa with my bare feet prevented me from putting on any shoes and sandals for a while. Gumasa is a place to stop, unwind and enjoy. And that’s just what we gladly did.