Sunday, March 26, 2006

(Part 3, Dos Palmas)

Pop quiz: The Philippines is an archipelago comprising how many islands in total?

If you're a smart aleck like me, you'd ask first, "High tide or low tide??"

So, here we were on this glorious day, ready to check out a few of the 7,107 islands, of which around 15 or 16 were set in Honda Bay. First stop was Islang Puting Buhangin (Island with White Sand), which is normally inhabited only by a caretaker. The Dos Palmas staff had arranged a picnic lunch for us here, which turned out very well. The food was delicious (the unicorn fish, in particular, was quite succulent!), and the scorching sun was tempered by the strong breeze. And best of all, this island has a long winding sandbar, so you could walk out to the open sea all the way to its end, at which the water is approximately waist-deep.

Then we took the motorized banca to Snake Island, which had a very long shoreline (3.6 km, if memory serves me right. By way of comparison, Boracay is around 1.7 km). The sand was on the brownish side, but the water was very clear.

Next was Pandan Island, which has this charm which i'm unfortunately not quite able to describe. A resort is being built on this island, so i guess Dos Palmas will have stiff competition in a few years' time. We sat inside a nipa hut and just took in the breeze. Then feeling thirsty, we ordered one buko each from the locals. Talk about freshness! They climbed the tree, fetched our coconuts, and split them open with a bolo right before our eyes.
All for just PHP20 each (Dos Palmas charges PHP70 per).

Last stop was Starfish Island, so named because of the numerous starfish lying around. Unfortunately, that was its only selling point, as this place looks like a dump; and to add insult, it even has a billboard charging PHP30 entrance fee! To whoever owns this island, get real, man.

(Note: We had assumed all along that the national government owns all these islands. Not true, after all. According to our boatmen, some are privately-owned)

Photos: (top) Pandan Island
(bottom) Islang Puting Buhangin

No comments: