If you missed the first part, check it here. You have to read it first before this one. You’ll see what I mean.
The day before, we were informed that we were getting transferred to the town proper or sentro. We were excited because: (a) we were getting two rooms already, and (b) there were more shops and food spots there.
But before we left for town, Kim, Franco, Ianna, Bettina, and I decided to climb up the hill to see the sunrise. That’s another 590 steps, but my fats didn’t mind.
We couldn’t settle in when we arrived, so we walked around town to kill time.
First stop: St. Michael the Archangel Church
Also, if you walk along the side streets, you’ll find residents selling halo-halo, one of the Philippines’ specialty desserts.
- Don’t be afraid to walk around town. Walking is good for the soul and bad for the fats.
When we got settled into the new inn, we set off to the port near town.
First stop: Lahos Beach
Lahos is a small beach that sits between two rock formations and disappears when the tide is high. Don’t be surprised when it seems awfully packed with people swimming or taking photos — it really is awfully small.
- Keep your slippers on when you swim. You don’t want to risk getting bit by a stonefish.
- Don’t swim too far when you’re on the other side of the beach (the side where boats don’t dock). The current is strong on that side and might sweep you away from the beach AND EVERYTHING YOU HOLD DEAR
- You might want to take pictures against the rock formations and the trees. People usually go for the beach and shore views. Take something from a different view.
Second stop: Matukad Island — hidden cove
Yeah, you read that right. Since the island was full of people and it was hard to set up, lunch was served in a small cove just alongside Matukad.
We were happily eating lunch while sitting on the small shore of the cove when suddenly… a wild walo-walo appeared.
Bettina suddenly shouted, “May snake!” (There’s a snake!) and as we jolted up from where we sat, there it was — a sea snake. A REALLY BIG SEA SNAKE ON THE OTHER END OF THE SHORE THAT WAS LESS THAN 10 METERS LONG. We were shouting at our tour guide (who was on the boat) while we watched the snake slither back to the edge of the water, raise its head as if it were looking for something floating on the water, and then went headed back to the rock formations on the other end of the cove.
“Bumalik na sa lungga,” (It went back to its nest.) said our tour guide.
How reassuring. Knowing that the sea snake was nesting somewhere nearby was very reassuring. (Insert sarcasm here.)
“Ganun po kaya yung nakita ko kahapon, nung sinabi ko sa inyo na umakyat na muna kayo sa bangka.” (That was similar to the one I saw yesterday, when I told you to get back up the boat.) He was talking to Mario now, while still looking at the part of the cove where the sea snake went.
“Yung nasa paanan niyo.” (The one beneath your feet.)
We were all all shocked, especially Mario, who we then discovered had actually planned to dive straight down that moment to see if he could reach the bottom.
If he dived down then, he would be dead. Thank God.
We scrambled to finish lunch and headed to the main shore of the island, where we weren’t going to swim.
We were going to climb.
Third stop: Matukad Island — Enchanted Lagoon
I didn’t take photos of the beach at Matukad since it was like any other beach, save for the really fine sand that reminded me of Boracay. Walk a further more, and you’ll find yourself facing a wall of rock formations and a trail of people going up and down from it without harnesses.
Beyond that wall is an enchanted lagoon with two inexplicably large milkfish — this was the main setting and they were the main subjects of a town legend.
- When climbing, always make sure your foot is anchored in place and your hands are firmly in place. You don’t want to die here.
- Be mindful of people. Don’t block anyone’s way. There’s only so little you can go to when you’re standing on top of an almost vertical wall of rock.
- Don’t throw anything into the lagoon. Just don’t.
- If you see that there’s too much people going up, don’t hesitate to tell them to pause for a bit. The trail and the lagoon can only take a handful of people at a time. It’s not like the beach.
- There’s a separate rock formation nearer the beach that you can easily climb. But that means it’s also easy to climb for others.
Fourth stop: middle of the ocean, near Gota Village exclusive villas
Yes, a lot of boats stop here, but you can ask the bangkero (boatman) to steer the boat around to get a great shot for your next display picture. We spent a good hour here just swimming around and trying to get good shots with Kim’s GoPro and dome setup.
- Stopping here depends on the shooting schedule of Survivor. Their VIPs are housed in the villas nearby, so if there is an ongoing shoot, Coast Guards are deployed within the area.
We also got near an island where pre-production work for Survivor (either France or Norway) was ongoing. We weren’t allowed to take photos, and guards were on the shores telling us off, but it kind of made me miss watching the series.
We went back to town, but we stopped by the souvenir shops on the way back to the inn.
- There’s a UCPB Savings Bank near the souvenir belt. However, it charges PHP40 as service charge. (But that’s better than not having money at all, yeah?)
There are still power interruptions in town until 10PM, but not as long as those in Tabgon. We killed time playing cards and hugot henyo (a game that needs explaining), and we went to sleep in better beds and cooler rooms.
The next day, we were heading home — but first, we had to stop at Naga.