A continuation of the epic Cagbalete adventure courtesy of Typhoon Amang. Here goes!
January 17–Frankly, the rain didn’t seem like a real threat in the morning of the 17th. People still walked along the shore and did the usual beach bumming. I, on the other hand, wanted to avoid the potential catastrophe, so I packed my things and hiked to the bario.
I went to Tita Pinay’s Resort to check if I could stay in one of the smaller huts, because I could afford no more than P2,000 a night and my friend won’t make it that day. My only requirement was to stay dry and to be able to charge my phone and power bank. We didn’t negotiate much, though, and instead of giving me a bahay kubo, she pointed me to her biggest villa (complete with my own bathroom, veranda, a hammock, an attic, a huge picnic table, and a friendly resident cat named Muning) good for 10 people and gave it at 25% of the price. Whoosh!
The next challenge was to find something to eat. And the bario had a lot to offer, from cheap grocery items to fresh catch! We agreed to have a big ass squid for lunch that day so Ian took me around to shop; squid, rice, flour, some onions, a 1-liter bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen, and soft drinks. A 1-foot squid that weighed about 2 kilos cost me around P160.00. YEAH. That cheap. It was enough to keep me fed in the next two days but Tita Pinay threw in a lot of freebies like unlimited instant coffee, pandesal in the morning, and in the evening, two medium sized crabs, adobo, fried rice.
You know how it feels to actually receive something that’s more than you bargained for? On top of all the food, she offered a lot of stories about her travels. Now, Tita Pinay is a small, curly-haired woman who smokes like a chimney (yep, we tried to keep up with each other, lightning one stick after another). At first glance, you wouldn’t think that she actually stayed in Norway (for leisure and also because her daughter works there) for about a year, gone around most of Eastern Europe, and did her weekend grocery shopping at Sweden. And then she showed me photos of her Norwegian grandchildren and I was like, “Oh shit, you lucky bitch, Tita! Pwede na sila mag-artista dito sa Pilipinas”
I guess, what I’m trying to say is that I stumbled upon great company.
In the afternoon, I still managed to go boating because I pre-paid a boatman when I got to the island. But since there was no going further out into the sea, I opted to go to the river. One of the locals let me borrow a baroto. And I paddled until my shoulders ached.
The following day, it stormed like a motherfucker, so I stayed in and chilled with the Muning the cat and Jack the myna bird. I had all sorts of crazy thoughts that day, stressing out about all the work that would left to rot if I get stranded another day.
But as expected, the weather cleared out the following day, leaving me with enough time to go see the island one more time. I was told that it is best to see the beach during hibas (low tide) because that’s when the sandbar comes out. Well lucky me. We sailed away from Sabang Port at 9:30 AM and got to the famed white beach around 10:00 AM, where we waited another 30 minutes. Lo and behold, Cagbalete!At the beach, you would find a lot of seafood, mostly mollusks, and this thing called Swaki, which is a less menacing version of its cousin, the sea urchin.
Finally, we set course for Mauban. But we were on for another surprise! Halfway through the journey and we caught this huge fish!What the hell, right?! Haha. I’ve had a lot of memorable trips, but this one goes to the Super Epic bucket. If you have a long weekend to spare, I encourage you to visit the island. Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to plug the home of my very gracious host and my reliable boatmen: Tita Pinay’s Resort, Brgy. Cagbalete Uno, Mauban Quezon | +63 9485479943. If you are traveling alone and in need of a cheap private boat, you may call Ian at +63 930 864 89 28.
This blog post is part of my 2015 travel project called #epic7107 — to vist as many places within the home-country as possible and to write not just about destinations, but also, people.