On the road…
for the past days, we had been on the road… cheaply.
budget travel in a new light- moonlight, airport flourescent lights. heck, were giving those poorpackers a run for their
one night we slept in a restaurant. since, not a single touristy soul was on the beach, the store personnel let us in in her bar for 50 pesos and that included a pillow, a bench and a goodnight sleep( with the help of Red Horse). another night, we spent 35pesos for the four of us in the airport( thanks to the uneven bleachers of NAIA 3, hard sleep).
the road to Mauban was a chill 3-hour drive from Manila. smooth as evident by the sound sleep of Ton. or should i say soundful? i mean, the relentless snores(haha) has got be a dead giveaway, right? ok, smooth it is.
the roads are neatly paved and clean. and since we’re cruising on an early sunday morning, highway was mostly empty. so our ever-smooth-operator-driver Nic had a leisure drive. well, almost, if not for the curvy road from the town of Sampaloc to Mauban. those short and nasty blind curves will give anyone a dizzying ride. its like a rollercoaster without the 360’s.
Nic made sure we reached Mauban port at 7am. thats the time were told the boats to Cagbalete leaves Mauban port. it was a mistake though, passenger boat leaves at around 11am daily. 180pesos for a roundtrip fare Mauban-Cagbalete-Mauban. we killed time with pansit habhab and some morning nap which could have been longer if not for the giggling kolehiyalas.
around 11am, the boat left the pier packed with locals and some touristy tourists. the roughly one hour sail was uneventful. there werent much impressive scenery both outside and inside the boat. lol.
Cagbalete island’s shoreline facing mainland Quezon is charming. nothing imposing but undeniably, can steal some second glances.
the coast is clean, water is cyan, sand is (almost)white under a cerulean sky, yeah, it could be more than your average Luzon beach.
we had our late lunch in our hut, which happens to be our home for the night, which during high tide water would sweep the sand below. fresh fish even when fried taste good =) . nothing beats fresh catch.
instead of opting for the more expensive Pansacola resort, we chose to go homestay immediately upon learning that there are, uhh, homestays in the island. and also in light of the travelling cheaper meme which our friend, Nic, vows to do more of.
in the afternoon we ventured to the opposite side of the island, the part that faces the pacific. during this season, seaweeds tend to mildly swarm this area.
we checked out some of the resorts. lots of small ones are sprouting in the area. walked the entire stretch from DM to Villa Cleofas to Pansacola. catched the sunset at the latter over some cold beer.
apparently, everything gets better with cold beer, i guess.
night swimming or dip was fitting, uhm, obligatory for the night. stars were out, sea was calm and cool, air was crisp and fresh, and the moon just glowed. i just floated on the still waters and bathe under the moon’s glorious glares for a few good minutes. while humming Moonriver, not that it has anything to do with Cagbalete. it just happens to be a favorite.
dinner was a feast. Nic was surely craving for crabs and our friendly hosts gladly delivered steamed sea crabs much to his liking. his swift driving skills surely helped make him this fast-eating-crab-man. meat in all the nooks and crannies of this succulent crustacean was devoured. spared, none. our feast was completed with tinolang isda, squid and more fried fish. filling would be an understatement.
and what better way to wash all these down? awyeah, cold beer!
and for dessert? a laughing frenzy care of our host, Rose. the firecracker that she is, candidly shared stories that left us in guffaw and she wasnt even trying. very funny.
she calls her husband “pre”, like “pare”. we just bursted into laughters until the electricity went out. that definitely was the hardest i laughed for a long while. and it was always the simplest stories told in her candidly charming way.
Nic and me chose to spend the night on the benches in the hut by the beach while Ton and Ian opted to sleep in the room upstairs.
our only concern that night was the 4am wake up call of the fishermen. when they all gather to the shore at dawn before they head-out for a day of fishing, they get rowdy and noisy as we were warned by Rose and William.
either we’re stoked from the day’s activities or the couple-of-days roadtripping was finally taking its toll that we barely noticed the whole shenanigan. we woke up past 6.
after breakfast, we scoured more of the island. sand bars. coral island. etc. we left the island that noon.
Cagbalete’s charm lies not only to its white sand beaches or sand bars, or to its blue green waters, surely, those made me smile, but the candor of the people made me laugh.
im all for that.
passenger boats 180/head roundtrip.
get a massage from the best masseuse in the island, Rose; must do.
tour around the island or island hopping by Rose’s husband… William yata pangalan…
most of the must see places appear only during low tide..
Red Horse at 70 =)