Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Potipot Island

In a country with 7,101 islands, there are about over 30,000 beaches here, some more popular than others. I've ventured into the popular ones and I am not impressed with the commercialism of Boracay, Palawan or Puerto Galera. I like secluded beaches more, so I cajoled my college buddies to go with us to Potipot Island.

It was a 6-hour drive (we got trapped in Holiday Traffic) to Uacon, the mainland that faces Potipot. Uacon is a sleepy town with very modest accommodations. There isn't even cable TV within miles. And the sand is very soft and fine, though very dark as well, almost black that when you're swimming in it, it feels like you're swimming in mud.

Sandra had a great time though, she played with the sand and made "mud pies". I guess I need to be thankful for her ability to make do with what's available, since TV nor toys were not at her disposal.

But at least Potipot island is just a kilometer by boat. In fact, it's within view from this beach.

So we took a P400 (about US$10) boat ride to the island. The boat is a rickety thing made from plywood and bamboo. I didn't take any chances and insisted that Sandra wear a life vest. The vest was something I brought along. Life vests and safety gear ARE NOT AVAILABLE in this province. Case in point, we are literally hanging on the boat with our butts because there were no proper seating and we just leaned on the banca's edge.

Potipot is a stark contrast to Uacon. Take note that it's just a kilometer away, but the sand here is pristine white. On the background is the banca that we rode on, and the mainland of Uacon, Candelaria.

There is absolutely nothing in Potipot. No resorts, no electricity, not even a bathroom. It's just a secluded mushroom -shaped island of misplaced trees and white sand. It is serenely isolated, which made the 280km trip from Makati worthwhile. Unlike Boracay, no one will try to sell me stuff while I'm on the beach, and there aren't any giggly honeymooners either. Just perfect.

One of the few pictures of me and the girls together. In reality, we took a second to pose and then just ignored each other the rest of the time. Everyone had a thing. Trish wanted to bake herself in the sun. Vecs wanted to explore inside the island. Sandra wanted to build castles, catch hermit crabs or snorkel. I just wanted to breathe it all in. Oh the blue ring right at the edge of the water is where the sand disappears and one just drops to infinity.

Surprisingly, Sandra took to the water immediately. I expected her to chicken out when we saw that it was too deep, but with the vest and a wakeboard, she seemed very confident. I didn't take chances though. I was swimming close to her like a mama whale next to a calf.

Though the bad thing about playing mama whale is having this for a constant view -- Sandra's side. There's really nothing much to see down there, since I may need scuba gear and a diving torch if I really wanted to see what's in that blue abyss. Besides, in this deep water, Sandra safely swimming is a much better view to me.

I'm really glad we made that trip. But I sort of regret taking this picture. Because now, I really do wish I was there.


George said...

WOW that's a nice nice beach :) I wonder if nga trang, Vietnam, where Trang wants to spend after our wedding ceremony will be that nice..

adelphian said...

Ok potipot island wins. Nha Trang might have won out, if we hadn't gone there during a tropical storm. The storm colored up the waters, and grounded all the boats so we were not able to sail out to the desserted unpopulated islands and land mass off the coast of Nha Trang.