After spending a week hanging around Manila, it was finally time to travel to the island. I was most excited for this part of the trip, just because there is nothing more relaxing than hanging out at the beach. This beach trip had a bit more in store for us, but we weathered the storm just fine. More about that later…
To start, we flew from Manila to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, via Cebu Pacific. Once in San Jose, we hopped in the private van that my BIL had booked, and took off for Sablayan. This involved an incredibly bumpy two hour ride on a road that was only paved in parts, with construction going on sometimes for 30 minutes. Thankfully we had a private van, since I don’t know how long a public bus would have taken. However, this was a wonderful opportunity to experience Filipino life in the province, and we got to view incredible scenery of mountains, rice fields, and local animals along the way.
Once in Sablayan, we took a 1/2 hour boat ride over to North Pandan Island. The boat was a traditional boat called a banca boat, equipped with a motor and the out-riggers on each side. I’m sure it seemed like everyday life to the boat operators, but I fully admit to being a bit apprehensive about this part of the trip. In the picture below, the island on the right is the one we where headed to.
We arrived to the island just fine (of course), got checked in to the Pandan Island Resort and promptly went exploring. The island is small and the bungalow was literally right next to the beach. Can’t beat that! We booked into the Superior Bungalow, but the resort has other price points, and ways to stay on the island. The below picture was taken from the front porch of the bungalow. See the water?
I’m glad he got to do it the first couple of days while we were there because Typhoon Melor (Nona) moved in on the third day of our stay. Fortunately, the island didn’t sustain a direct hit by the typhoon due to the mountains on the main island pushing it away from us. Unfortunately, it did rain quite a lot, and made everything incredibly soggy for two days, which meant they couldn’t go back out to scuba dive because of poor water visibility. I can now say I’ve lived through a typhoon:)
That did put a damper on things for a while, but then the sun came out, and it was gorgeous again. While we were there, they did find a turtle nest that was hatching. Double D got to see the turtles emerge, but I was still asleep, so I missed it:( They gather them up, keep them for two months to give their shells a chance to harden and then release them off the coast of the island. I visited them later, and even got to hold one of the 135.
Here are some pictures from around the island.
Our days were finally up at the island and so we did the trip all over again to arrive back in Manila. We took one final shot of Manila from the 53rd floor of a tower, and it was time to say goodbye to the Philippines.
I do want to thank Double D’s family for giving us a place to stay, to play tour guide, and for planning the island trip. I’m glad I got to experience the Philippines, and everything that went with this trip.
To read about our Manila experience in the Philippines, read Part 1.
Thanks for looking!