Clear Waters, Clear Mind

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

I spent the weekend with my high school friends in Cagbalete Island, Quezon province. One thing for sure is that I was determined to soak all the nature up. To lose my sense of time, and just be.

I'll say it out here at the onset, but I think this is my favorite beach trip so far this year. We were a small intimate group for this one, and none of us had any idea on what to expect. I could say it was loosely planned, as we booked our accommodation right before the weekend, and we didn't have any solid itinerary prepared. All we wanted was to be on the beach and have a good time, and I guess this entry is more of me recounting everything (or most of it) so I won't forget. I'm a sentimental person and proud!!

I woke up at 3AM then met up with my friends at 4AM then left Manila at 5AM. We were obviously quite lethargic because we all lacked sleep. But still, to wake ourselves up, we played lots of Kpop playlists, sang to them, and napped in between. The road going to Quezon province was a winding one with many zigzags, but I liked it because we were surrounded by so much greenery.

Full on rap music because we need to stay awaaaake

Green is definitely the color that calms me down. Green for me is full of life and energy, but in a fresh and serene way. Nothing too fancy, nothing too loud. It's definitely a great change of view from my usual concrete jungle. Next to green would probably by blue:

Once we arrived at the Mauban port, we then went off to the marketplace first to buy everything we needed: ingredients for dinner and fruits. We wanted to challenge ourselves and save up (since we are all young professionals on a budget), so we bought all the ingredients and planned to cook everything when we get to the resort. We were mindful that since we were going to an island, everything that was sold there would surely be marked up since supplies are limited.

We then went off a little distance to the tourist center where we had to pay the environmental fees, and also booked a boat. They take the environment seriously here! Plastic is banned, and it was evident with how they wrapped all our purchases in newspaper instead of placing them in plastic bags. We were also given a bottle which costs 100 pesos but if you're able to fill it up with your own trash by the time you get back to Mauban, you'll be able to get your money back. In a way they were instilling in us that we needed to be mindful of our trash throughout this trip.

Here also is a great guide on how to get to Mauban if you're coming from Manila!

After paying, we bought some more additional things, like water and lunch before going to our boat. It took us 1 hour to get to our resort because it was located at the east side of the island, however the scenery was great. I used to be scared of boat rides because I get seasick easily, but this time around it was just a pleasant 1 hour of just looking at the horizon, seeing how the colors of the water changed from dark to light blue.

I cried a bit inside seeing this. The sea here is crystal clear no doubt

The only thing I had to worry about for the weekend

Upon arriving at the island, we were greeted by towering coconut trees. We all knew it meant we would be able to drink fresh coconut juice, which is one of the most refreshing things in this world! We then eventually settled in our nipa huts and ate our lunch. The resort is as simple as can be, it was open, and there was a retro radio of some sort playing old songs from way back; it definitely made me feel like we were living in another time.

We stayed at MTV Sto Nino Resort

We chit chatted with the staff for a while, and found out that there weren't much tenants at this time. What a delight! It definitely felt like we had the beach all to ourselves. People must've thought that since summer season is already over, it wouldn't be ideal to go to the beach anymore, but I can say we were fortunate enough to have the sun shining all throughout our stay. The only downside was that they didn't have much food in stock, and everything had to be paid for (e.g. bottled water), so it was a good thing that we bought ingredients and water before going to the island. Right after lunch, we rented another boat which would take us around the island for the sand bar which appears from 11AM - 3PM, and then also for snorkeling.

One thing to note about this island is that there are lots of sandbars. I remember my first experience of setting foot on a sandbar back in my Bohol trip. I was utterly amazed, because we were at the middle of the sea and there's a long stretch of sand you can freely run around in. The feeling was the same here at Cagbalete. The sand was fine and light, and the shallow waters could go on for miles, no kidding. So if you have no patience with walking and just want to jump in to the water, it might take a while to get to the deeper parts. During this time, we didn't get to swim; we just took lots of photos and hoped for the best that we wouldn't get too dark from the scorching heat of the sun.

My high school friends and I ♡♡♡♡ I cherish my long term friendships the most

Then we headed off to where the corals were. I didn't have photos for this time, so I'm going to describe it as much as I can through words, hoping that you dear reader can somehow visualize. I jumped off from the boat (with a life vest of course... but eventually I took it off just so I could test my swimming skills and voila, I'm still alive and writing this!) with goggles on so I could see what was down there at the ocean bed. I saw corals, yes, but they were lifeless. It made me sad. I knew that if they were alive and well, they would be colorful and vibrant, but I didn't see any colors at all. I still did get to see a lot of fish, mostly striped, yellow and blue, and also lots of huge sea urchins!

The boatmen got some of our bread to feed the fish and so they would swim towards us. One of my friends told me that they shouldn't be doing that, since the fish would then prefer bread over feeding on the corals. This could explain why they're left lifeless now, but I'm somehow hopeful that they would be restored eventually. Overall, it was a nice time of swimming, and actually the only time we got to legitimately swim because we were already at the deep part and being on the shore meant walking miles just to get to a deeper part for swimming.

After snorkeling, we went back to our beach front. We drank buko juice, rested a bit, then started preparing dinner. We borrowed the resort's kitchen, and truly it was a nice bonding experience of making dinner together, each one being assigned a specific task. We were systematic in this manner, but I loved it! Over dinner we chit chatted some more, then washed the dishes together too. What started out as a loosely planned trip suddenly we felt a bit more responsible as the day went on.

Then we spent time at the beach front yet again, laying out a blanket, playing cards, drinking, and watching the stars. We saw a total of three shooting stars. Actually I only saw one.... I wasn't paying attention during the first two. The moon was out as well, and it was nice to see its reflection upon the water.

We managed to get back to our resort before midnight. I went back and stayed by the beach for a longer time, however, and spent more time watching the stars.

And one of the things I loved about having our resort facing the east was of course, knowing that I would get to see the sunrise the following morning.

I woke up earlier than everyone else, and I think even the staff were still asleep. I went to the beach front and sat on the sand, just near the water where my feet could be reached by the calm morning waves. There were sand bars near me although I knew they would disappear quickly. The sun wasn't visible all throughout, as it was hiding behind the clouds. It was still beautiful nonetheless, magical if I can say so myself. What I like about the sunrise is that there's a peace that comes with it. I like seeing the skies soften from dark to light, and it's always nice to feel the earth from which I'm standing on which was slowly awakening.

I took deep breaths and just listened to my thoughts, to my beating heart, to the calm waves reaching my toes, to the birds chirping from a near distance; I was listening to life itself.

I eventually stood up, dipped my feet entirely into the water since it was only until my ankles, and felt the cold morning water. I knew I had to wake my friends up for one last swim before going back home.

I will end with this scene I saw of children playing on a makeshift boat:


I was thinking about how I would write this entry, if I was going to share about the specific prices, much like a thorough itinerary. But I figured I wanted to tell a story more. I wanted to focus on my own meaningful experiences, so I won't forget. 

If you're wanting to have a small private intimate getaway, then I would say this island could be just the place you're looking for. Only make sure to book a resort that's facing east, because that way you'll really feel like you've got the beach all for yourself.

Dear reader, I hope you're well. Take care of yourself always, don't forget to take deep breaths and know that all things will eventually work out for your own good. ♡♡♡



  1. WOW! Such a beautiful place!! The water, the palms - awww! Amazing photos =) Thank you for sharing! I'd love to go there one day ♡
    Ann xx

    1. I'm definitely proud of the pristine beaches found here in the Philippines! ♡♡ every beach trip makes me realize how beautiful my country actually is. Thanks for dropping by, Ann!