A planned trip to Cagabalete island was cancelled and thus opened up my long weekend. I got sold to the idea of going to Alabat island within minutes of a friend and fellow blogger Dong Ho pitching the idea.
A quick search on Google did not yield much photos, which is a good thing! That meant it had not been shot to death like most destinations. I later found out that Alabat was in Lamon Bay, same as Cagbalete, off the coast of Atimonan in Quezon province.
Getting there was breeze, you can take any bus heading to Bicol and get off at Atimonan (the jump off point to Alabat island), or take buses bound for Lucena. From Lucena there are plenty of options to get to Atimonan. It made me wonder why Alabat has made it off the radar (relatively speaking when compared to other destinations in the province) when getting there is easy, a requisite for most tourist(y) destinations. But then if you look at it on a map, you’ll see that its been bounded by more popular destinations on all sides. Still a good thing though.
We arrived in Atimonan in the wee hours of the morning (we kinda over calculated the trip time) and still got a few hours before the first ferry leaves for the island. Found benches in a tricycle terminal and caught up on some sleep.
|busy scene at the Atimonan pier|
The Atimonan pier services primarily vessels bound for Alabat. There are three towns in the ladyfinger-shaped island: Perez in the northern trip, Alabat at the center, and Quezon in the south. Our planned destination was Perez, but the first trip was 11am. Not wanting to wait for a few more hours, we instead took the 9AM trip to Alabat.
It was pure serendipity, for we never did get to Perez. Once we arrived in Alabat and saw some of the places they are promoting, we decided to stay there.
|Alabat summer bloom|
Alabat is just 40 minutes away from Atimonan, the two towns looked worlds apart. You can count with your fingers the number of 4-wheeled vehicles in the island. There were some tricycles, but these are hugely outnumbered by bicycles: surplus “granny” bikes, complete with baskets at the front.
The town was just full of them. We got a taste of the island hospitality when someone offered to lend us her bike so that we can roam around the town. If it was not for the searing heat of the midday sun, I would have taken her up on her offer.
|laid back Villa Norte|
|facing the Pacific Ocean|
Our final destination for the trip was a quaint fishing village called Villa Norte on the eastern side of the island. Villa Norte is one of the barangays of the town of Alabat and is about 20 minutes by tricycle through a snaking mountain road, mostly cemented already. You’ll see overlooking views of the island along the way.
There is a single (family) resort (La Villanueva Beach resort) there were you can get spartan accommodations (cottages for Php500/night) but they don’t serve food. The sari-sari store where we bought canned goods offered to cook for us, good old island hospitality. We ended up having our meals with a local family during our stay there (for homestay, contact
|repairing the net|
|loading the net|
The folks there are either fishermen or copra farmers (or both). What I like about places like this if that the locals treat you as visitors, not as tourists they can make a quick buck off. You can work for your meal if you want, like helping pull the net and get portion of the catch. They invited us to go crabbing at midnight (to catch our breakfast), unfortunately the sandman got the better of us :)
One may think there is absolutely nothing to do in a place like this. That’s actually the point. You can spend the whole day on a hammock, reading a book or just stare at the Pacific Ocean. Its the perfect place to do nothing all day.