Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Clouds, Sun and Sand (Camotes Island) Part 2

The new resort we stayed in for the next 24 hours was Mangodlong Rock Resort. There was no prior reservations made since we were not really planning on staying for another night. We actually tried calling the resort from our previous location but our efforts were to no avail. A staff told us that the communications tower was down. So be warned, when we got there we had limited ways of interacting with people outside the island. You'll get to see cellphone signals however you'll never receive or send any messages. It may be a drawback for highly interactive people but for those who wants peace away from the busy other end of their cellular phones, then this is the place for you. But who knows maybe they'll get the tower fixed soon.

So no reservations were made. All the cheaper rooms were occupied when we got there. It seemed like we needed to find another place or maybe just catch the last boat home. But we made arrangements with Kuya Michael and Sanders the other day for an island tour that afternoon. It seemed like a waste getting there without knowing more about what the island has to offer.  Luckily, there was indeed a silver lining to all these. The lady from the front desk offered us one of the available family rooms which was a bit expensive for our budget, however she gave it to us for the same rate as the cheaper ones. And that's what put us back in the game. They sure do value their customers and for that I give them a thumbs up.

Finally, we can now go through with the island tour! We've met up with Kuya Michael and Sander. We were each handed helmets for our protection. Yes, the island is almost the definition of a barrio like community but they do follow common road safety rules. So I don't understand why other cities I know just can't adhere, anyway, enough about that.

First on the island map was Lake Danao Park! I personally haven't seen a lake yet in my life. How dull, right? In the town I live back in Negros Oriental, there is an astonishing lake called Twin Lake Balinsasayao. I haven't been there yet but hopefully soon I'll get to check it out. The irony of not seeing what's in our own backyard, and now here I am heading to another lake. It was roughly a 20-minute ride from the resort. Here's what we captured with our lenses:

Jed posing but look at that stork begging to poke his head! :P

Boardwalk ladies?

It was breath of fresh air..

No dipping, water  is cold.

The skateboard jumpshot

The star jumpshot

 The floating jumpshot

The lake was a breath of fresh air. There were a lot of surrounding trees that helped this become possible. You can actually ride on a small boat for P500 good for 10 people to see  the entire lake. We just enjoyed the lake by sitting on the boardwalk. While we were making our traditional jumpshots, dark clouds started looming in. Before we left the city, we did a little rain check for the weeked. It was going to be partly cloudy with 80% of rain. I guess we were really betting on the 20% chance of sun.

We exited the boardwalk, passed through a picnic grove and followed a pathway beside the lake to see more of it. As you can see the place is really well preserved and maintained. The trail was short for a walk but quite long when you have camera with you, because once in a while, you need to stop and capture an exquisite scene before it disappears. 

A family chillin' on a floating native version of a gazebo

There is a monkey too. In fact, there are two of them.

He's not the other monkey I was referring to in previous photo. Seriously?  Hahaha

This was the end of the cemented pathway., a cue to head back.

A short nature trek: check! Our second destination on the island map was Tumibo Cave. It was another 15-minute drive from Danao Lake Park. It got bumpy on our way to the cave. Again, I didn't know what to expect. I haven't had any cave experience as well. 

There was a mention that aside from the rock formation inside the cave, there was also water in it where tourist and visitors are welcome to dip. We weren't able to bring a change of clothes because we didn't think we would need it. I personally wasn't contemplating on taking a swim again because we had enough of it in the morning. But surely, we were wrong. The cave wasn't too deep. The length was enough to ignite more curiosity rather than anxiety and before you know it we were at the end of it. The end meant, we finally saw the pool of water inside the cave.What we saw was magnificent. It was like a little paradise at the heart of the cave. The water was so inviting. Never have I seen water as crystal clear as that. We were all at awe. The best part was a group of visitors were already on their way to leave which means we can revel on its magnificence and silence after everyone had gone. We just couldn't repel the call of the water. That's how we had our fourth bath of the day. The first was the infinity pool, second was the beach and third was the bathroom shower.

floating bodies

We decided to dry off first before going to the next island attraction. So for the mean time, I bought myself a souvenir. I had it customized with my name. 

The next place was Buho Rock. In order to get there we need to pass through a man made land bridge between the first Camotes island to the next. The joining road was surrounded by mangroves. According to kuya Michael's memory, the two islands were originally separate, but the local's initiative bridged the gap using mangroves, sand and soil. It was the longest stretch of mangroves I have seen. Unfortunately, we weren't able to take pictures so feel free to imagine.

Soon enough, we were at Buho Rock. It was cliff. It was definite sight to see that must not be missed out on your Camotes checklist. If you're into great heights and being on the edge, this is the place for you. 

Perfect for meditation.

Tell me to jump and I won't! haha

Standing on the edge.

Kuya  Sander (left) and Kuya Michael (right)

Flower girls.

After Buho Rock, we were still scheduled to head to another cave and as much as we would want to, there seemed to be a gathering of dark clouds on top of our heads. We'll pass on this one for now, but we'll definitely comeback and this time it will be first on the list. We were a bit exhausted anyway so it was time to head back to the resort. 

On our way back, we made a stopover to grab some snacks since we were starving.We took sanctuary at the Bayview, another local attraction in the island.  It stretches a half kilometer harbor facing the eastern coast of Camotes Sea and the man made land bridge swarmed by green mangroves.

Siomai sa tisa for snack!

Soon, we were back on the road. But then it started drizzling, then showering and eventually it rained!  And that my friends was our 5th bath of the day. We took shelter beside the road but it's no use. We were already soaked so we decided to go back no matter what. It seemed like an eternity before we got back to the resort. I didn't realize that we have traveled so far because my sense of time and distance has been numbed by this new brand of visual morphine.

Once we got back to the resort, we took showers again! In conclusion, this day broke  my record in bathing. I was drenched in water 6 times just for this day. Can you believe that? Well, it was all part of the adventure so I don't regret a thing. 

This blog is actually taking a little longer than I planned. I was hoping to wrap everything into 2 parts but I guess an exciting experience can't be summed up right away. So that being said, there will still be a Part 3 of our Camotes Islands retreat. We'll show you everything from our last night in the island, to our game of lights, and to the explosive night sky arrayed with stars and wonders, so hang in there guys. ;)

To be continued..

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  1. waaaa ngkatawa ko s 2 k monkey hihi.. mkasuya your adventure! :)

  2. haha. btw.. duha jud ang monkey .. anyway,, must visit jud ang camotes.