This year, I promised myself to see the world more. To understand people more. To learn and share more. To be the person I would want and love to meet. To be better than I was before. And to attain all that, I need to go out of my comfort zone. I need to push myself out to the world. I am inspired by the life and works of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook. I am currently a part of this public group in Facebook, A Year of Travel, wherein members are encouraged to visit twelve (12) places they have never been before in one year and share these travel stories to the world. And here, I would love to share with you my first trip this 2017. This year, I hope to travel more, to immerse myself to varieties of cultures and to widen my perspective. It feels good to start the year discovering a new place and witnessing a part of the vast and beautiful creations of God.
April, my girlfriend, and her officemates organized the trip to Cagbalete. Yes, it is a company outing and I was tagged along. We were around 18-20 persons in the group. We departed Pasig City at midnight of January 14 and arrived at Mauban, Quezon at around four in the morning. Since we drove off at midnight, we reached Quezon a couple of hours earlier and waited for 7AM for the boat transfer to Cagbalete Island. We sailed from Mauban Port to Cagbalete for an hour and finally arrived at our destination.
According to what I have read, Cagbalete is already a famous tourist destination. So, when we arrived at the island, I was kind of surprised that there were no other visitors, only a few residents of Cagbalete. Little did I know that we were on the side of the island away from the known resorts, away from the other crowd of tourists. And I loved it! The island was so serene. It is one of the most tranquil and relaxing place I have ever been to. If you are looking for a beautiful and quiet place away from the city to unwind, to soul search, or to just be at peace with nature, Cagbalete would be one of the best go-to places. Electricity is shut down during day time and powered only at six in the evening until six in the morning. There were no restaurants, no shops, no commercial establishments.
We stayed in a two-story nipa house. On the ground floor was a living room space with wooden benches, two toilets and two shower rooms and a kitchen. On the second floor was one wide open space where 6-7 mattresses with pillows were arranged. The window on the second floor is huge, from there we could see the beach. Outside our nipa was a long wooden table with two long wooden benches on both sides where all the eating was held. I was not able to take a photo of our nipa house but here is a photo of one of the nipa houses in the island.
Since the sun was up and high when we arrived, my girlfriend and I decided to just rest first and find something to eat. As I’ve mentioned, there were no restaurants so we relied on the food we brought. There were locals who roam around the island selling merienda like pancit, turon, balut, and more but the time they pass by was unpredictable. Some of them also sell memorabilia like key chains, ref magnets, and shells.
So, there, we took lunch then went around the island. Unlike other beach resorts, Pansacola did not have any amenities. It’s just you and the beach. On the afternoon, we finally changed to our swim wear and took a dip on the water. It was low tide by that time, so we were able to walk on the seabed of sand ripples. It’s so beautiful. After swimming around the ocean, taking photos and all, we played beach volleyball. Yes, they have a net and you can rent a volleyball for 100 PHP per hour. You may also rent a frisbee.
The night is approaching so we cleaned ourselves out and suited ourselves into our PJs. After dinner, we spent the night talking and playing Uno, the player who will lose in the game will drink a shot of brandy. Before we go to sleep, we sat on the bench by the beach. From there, we could see a lighthouse and other lights coming from other islands and from sailing boats. It was cloudy that night, we were not able to see the stars above. You could just feel the cool breeze and listen to the crashing waves. It was peaceful and quiet. I cannot find the right word to describe the feeling, but all I can say is that, when I was in that moment, it feels as if everything is lighter. I felt that, of course, there will be times that it’ll be hard, but I know in my heart that everything will fall right into its place.
The next day, we had our coffee early in the morning – sitting on the bench by the beach again. It was such a nice spot, you know? We were just there sitting quietly, appreciating and embracing the beauty of nature. All I can think about is how marvelous God’s creations are, how blessed we are to have such heaven here on earth. I have also thought about my life, my dreams, what could happen in the future. I thought about how sometimes we take things for granted, that sometimes we are so focused on the bad that we forget that the beauty and blessings are just right in front of us. You just have to look at it, see it, and appreciate it.
After we took our breakfast, we went straight to the water for our last swim. After that, we played volleyball again then cleaned ourselves, took lunch and prepared our things. It is time to say good bye. We left the island on lunch time. It was low tide at the time when we departed, those sand ripples are so satisfying to look at and to walk on! Haha.
Going home, we made a side trip to Lucban, Quezon to buy pasalubong. Quezon is known for its delectable longganisa, as well as its sweet delicacies like uraro, broas, and puto seko.
So, there. I guess that was all. I am not good in writing travel stories just yet, but I hope you got something from this post. ☺ Just in case you are wondering, our contribution each person for this trip was 1,000 PHP – everything is included from transportation, gas, food, and all. This post was more on my experience in the island, but maybe on my future posts I will include itineraries, budget breakdowns, and other details.
Thank you for reading and happy tripping! ☺
PS: Hang on, I might post a short video for this trip. ☺