Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Travel Bug: Caohagan Island

mr. sun is out and about. who can imagine that very same day we will relive The Perfect Storm in technicolor detail?

saturday evening me and ron got an invite from ma'am nits to join them for a day trip to gilotongan the following day. i was a bit apprehensive because of the bratty weather the past few days. it doesn't help that the tail end of a storm is just leaving visayas for mindanao. but i can hear the lechon calling out to me and by ten am we were pushing off the Mactan Olango wharf.

we got an ominous warning from the boatman that hilutungan (marine sanctuary)may not be the best destination given the strong winds and suggested that we try out olango (bird sanctuary). how do i tell the dear peach that bird watching is really NOT "The Plan"? i hardly call snorkels and swim fins accessories to avian observation.

after wasting 30 minutes debating where and what to do, i felt i had to butt in despite the fact that i was just a "guest". i suggested that we proceed to Caohagan island so we can just enjoy the white sand beach and get ourselves some fresh seafood.

from afar, the island stood out like an emerald in the aquamarine sea. i was surprised to see a lot of boats docked pretty near the shore, i can hardly see the white sand bar. mr. peach advised us that we probably don't want to dock by the beach as they are now charging Php 75 pesos per head.

what da heck? it was just a year ago that i visited the place and there was definitely no entrance fee. anyways we docked a pretty good distance from the shore and had a blast jumping into the clear water. i am pretty sure that philippine maritime laws prohibit owning a piece of the ocean.

on the side, the island is celebrating a fiesta of some sort. they took the image of the sto. nino on a small boat and had a fluvial parade that went around the island. couldn't help observing that they are using the same sinulog beat.

jump about two hours around four pm, we were docked by the floating restaurant where mr. peaches dropped anchor so we can do some snorkeling. except that the place he chose is nothing spectacular. the corals are dying and there are hardly any fishes around.

helllllooooo? a floating restaurant nearby that serves fresh seafood? why the hell would fish stay on this part of the island? i forced a smile, knowing that hilutungan is just an island hop away. there, fishes know they have a town ordinance that protect them from being barbecued. they are so fat and friendly that they literally flock to your hand expecting to be fed. i repeat to myself: i am just a guest.

heading back to the wharf, we met strong winds and waves that buffeted the boat front left and center. everyone who harbored fantasies of a leisurely boat trip without having to take a swim ended up salted, pickled and soaked to the skin. through it all, the kids were whooping it up. who can blame them? it's like riding the rollercoaster.

today i caught an article in the newspaper that a boat capsized off Caohagan at around the same time we were navigating the rough waters. and to think that the day started with mr. sun out and about.

an unsolicited tip: try to schedule your trip when there's no storm brewing, cooking or just about done skipping visayas. the best months would be march and april. insist on hilutungan and caohagan. bring your own food, caohagan is EXTREMELY overpriced.

if you don't waste time arguing about pit stops and other nonsensical issues, you can reach caohagan in about an hour and a half, inclusive of the trip from cebu city, negotiating for a boat in olango mactan wharf and loading yourselves on the boat. prices vary.

smile, you're on camera!

no animal was hurt in the filming of this trip, except for the pig that got lechoned. oh add to that the delicious hala-an shells in soup. and the crabs we boiled: alive.

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