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September 3, 2015

camotes: beautiful sights around pacijan island



Although Camotes is made up three islands: Pacijan, Poro, and Ponson, much of the attractions in Camotes seemed to be concentrated in Pacijan. The beach resorts are found mostly on the western side of the island. The town of San Francisco (the only town in Pacijan Island) looked like the most progressive of the towns in Camotes as well.

Related post: Finding tropical bliss in Santiago White Beach


From our "base" in Santiago White Beach, my friends and I set out to explore Pacijan one fine day. A good way to go around the island is to rent a "multicab" or a van (this can be expensive) as public transportation is scarce and virtually non existent in some parts. A better way, if you know how to ride a motorcycle, is to rent one (Php 500 per day, exclusive of the gasoline).

We made a general plan on which attractions to visit, but the order of the day was simply to follow the back roads and get lost, hoping we'd stumble on a hidden gem or two. We skipped the obvious and well established resorts like Mangodlong Rock Resort, primarily due to the entrance fee (which we feel is ridiculous for a quick look inside their premises).

So here are some of the beautiful sights we saw:

Sitio Unyon Laguban

Unyon Laguban

Stumbled upon this beautiful rocky coast just after Consuelo wharf.  Its one of those "hey let's see where this road leads to" thing.

Fishing at Laguban

One of my friends wasted no time and whipped out his fishing rod. He made some "close" ones, caught no fish in the end. But that's not really the main point, he said.

Heaven Cave

Heaven Cave

Not yet officially listed in Camotes' tourism guide. At the time of our visit, they were finishing the stairs going down to the cave, putting up a sign and clearing an area for the parking lot.  The locals used to get their water from this cave at the time when filtered bottled water is not yet available. With tourism starting to pick up, the owners hoped to exploit develop this into another attraction.  We gave them some tips on how to manage garbage (we already saw some plastic wrappers inside the cave) before driving on. Entrance fee: they have not decided how much to charge visitors at the time of our visit.

Bakhaw Beach

Bakhaw Beach

Still on the western side of Pacijan, we finally made our way to Bakhaw Beach.  Its a favorite beach hangout for the locals and its not very hard to see why: entrance is free, sand is white and fine, and the water is amazingly clear.

Bakhaw beach cottages

Bakhaw acrobat

Bakhaw Beach

Esperanza

Esperanza

We headed further north along the western coast and passed by Esperanza, a quaint fishing village, on the way to Tulang. Stopped for a few photos and moved on. The main destination is the village of Tulang and the beautiful island just off the coast.

Tulang

Approaching Tulang

We descended a steep hill as we approach Tulang, and the first I noticed was the crystal clear waters and glistening white sand beach of Tulang Diot ("small Tulang").

Tulang laundry day

Tulang is a fishing village at the northern tip of Pacijan. The locals' main livelihood is harvesting the bounty from the sea and fresh catch is delivered to the town of San Francisco daily. Its micro economy is thriving during the good weather months, but sometimes they have to completely stop fishing during the typhoon season.

Under the shade

Tulang Diot

Tulang Diot bangka

Tulang Diot is just a 10-minute crossing. If boat fare is Php 20.00 one way for regular passengers. You can rent the whole boat for Php 300-500 pesos (depending on your haggling skills) if you want to go around the island (its a very small one!) and explore its snorkeling area.

Tulang Diot

The beach facing Tulang is nice, but the water goes deep just a few meters from shore.

Tulang Diot midday

My friend who brought his fishing rod tried his luck on the other side of the island with fresh bait he got in Tulang. He came back still empty handed, but he said the fishes are much fatter now for they ate all his fresh bait.

Lake Danao

Kayaks at Lake Danao

After Tulang, we headed to Lake Danao to cool down a bit (Entrance fee: Php 20.00).  Its tree covered hiking trail that traces the shore offers a refreshing walk. There is a restaurant there and several food stalls selling local delicacies.  We picked a table under the shade of a huge mangrove, ordered some fruit shakes and enjoyed the scenery.

Boating at Lake Danao

Sunset in Consuelo

Consuelo lowtide sunset

After checking out several sites along the coast, we decided to head back to Consuelo wharf for the sunset. The tide was low and there were lots of interesting stuff to shoot. It was a perfect way to end our Pacijan island tour.

You might want to check out this short video as well:


What we missed 

There were a couple of attractions we missed:
  • Timubo Cave - this is actually very near Tulang. However at that time, the attraction is closed. There were some conflict between the owner of the property where the cave is on and the adjacent property where the road going to the cave passes (road right of way issue). 
  • Crystal Cave - we passed by the cave on our way to Nonok beach to scout a location for shooting sunset. This is a true crystal cave with beautiful formations and several levels to explore. Unfortunately we did not have time to take photos. (Entrance fee is free, but you can donate for the upkeep of the cave) 
  • Paraiso Cave - Relatively new attraction and we saw several direction signs as we criss-crossed the inner roads. We thought we would eventually pass by it, but we never did :)
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Lantaw
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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog except you need to spread your wings more on Camotes. You mention Santiago as "the only town" and there are 3 towns the largest is San Francisco which has a hospital, college and shopping mall. You just showing a small side of the island.

Lantaw said...

I meant to say San Francisco is the only town in Pacijan, but I did not say its the only town in Camotes. Read the first part carefully again. I also.did not say that these are the only sights you can see in Camotes, read the title again. But this pretty much covers most of what you can see in Pacijan in a day. And yes I have gone through the other two towns. Come back soon for more posts on Camotes ;)

Ishmael F. Ahab said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. It reminded me of my visit to Camotes Island a very long time ago. I want to go back and explore the places that you featured here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for visiting Heaven Cave and for your sharing some tips to improve our cave.

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