July 03, 2016

An Overnight Stay at The Island of Cagbalete

I prefer spending summer on a beach or climbing a mountain. In my mind, it's far more logical to sweat with a purpose rather than just sweat at home, in your pajamas, lying around. So when a friend asked me to go on a quick island getaway with her and some of our friends, (when I say quick I mean an overnight stay since she'll just be home for 10 days), saying no is just not an option. We could've easily drove to a nearby beach down south or up north just to quench the thirst but where's the fun and thrill in that? Plus we're too stubborn for our own good that we didn't want to just scratch off the beach itch, we wanted all of the works we see on Instagram, travel blogs and news sites come to life so we ended up picking a secluded white beach that will take us a bus ride and a ferry to reach. Welcome to our overnight trip to Cagbalete Island in Mauban, Quezon

This trip was extra memorable because I had to do all the planning and organising but do not be fooled, having my friend Rora on the other end for the decision-making made all the difference. Booking a place to stay in was easy. We listed down all the available resorts, sent out inquiries and ended up booking a 2 day trip at Nilandingan Cove. Their website is very easy to navigate and understand so we quickly had an IT ready the next day. Accommodation, instructions how to get there, food packages and reservations, even the menu for the meals we'll be having during our stay. And if you must know, their resident caterer, the manangs who were more like our adopted nanays during our stay were excellent cooks! I recommend you avail of the food package, it's not pricey and it's sulit to the bones, take my word for it. You can also message them on their Facebook page, if you want a quick response to your inquiry. They have a reservation form readily available for filling up so the transaction will be made easy from there on. Here's a quick rundown of what went down. (Naks, I try so hard to rhyme sometimes.)

At 4 in morning of April 25, we were already at the JAC Liner Bus Terminal in Cubao as we decided to catch the earliest scheduled trip which is at 5AM. Travel time is for about 4-5 hours so our estimated time of arrival in Mauban is at 930AM. The port is just 15 minutes away via a tricycle ride and you can find them lined up outside the terminal so the transfer for one place to another is as easy as it can be. So is booking your private boat, paying for the terminal fee and the actual boat ride to the island which took about an hour. So that's half of our day done, we have to maximize our stay so right after checking in, we ordered for our lunch to be served prior to heading out to the Yang-In sand bar. It will turn out to be a good call because going to and from one island to another takes more time than we thought it would be. After taking loads of photos and selfies and everything in between, we eventually disregarded the gadgets and just spent some quality time with each other, the beach and the sun. Until our attention was caught by one of the boatmen because our things are starting to be swiped off by the rising tides and waves. We thought it was also a good time to finally head out back to the resort too. It was a glorious island that we had all to ourselves, more than all the Instagram-able photos, the experience we took home with us is something out of the ordinary - you had to be there, I'm so glad I was. The rest of the day was spent winding down in one of the villas kubo, munching over a sumptuous dinner with a few cold drinks and Hawaiian chocolates on the side. It was the perfect way to cap off a good day.

We were up by 7am the next day, April 26. We changed into our swimwear at once and headed out for an early morning dip session by the beachfront. Since the tide is still high, there was no way we can go to The Magic Tree located on the further area of the mangroves just yet. We waited it out and hoped for the best and what do you know, by 10AM, after taking our turns in the shower, we were happy to discover the tides have finally gone low and we can now walk our way towards the tree. Giving us enough time to take a few snaps with it before heading out of the island for good and not before giving it a new name, The Lonely Tree just because we can. Major props to Nilandingan Cove for taking good care of us. The owners were there to welcome us with their warmth and drinks, which we appreciated after an hour long trip from the port - literally refreshing and to send us off wishing we'd return sooner rather than later. Leaving the island was a bit hard as expected, if it were up to us, we would've wanted to stay for a little longer but our happy hearts and tired sandy feet were more than grateful for the sweet and short experience. T'was good enough to last us until the next one and as good as any overnighter can get - we'll take it.

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