Hi reader. I’m going to take you back four months ago when I was still a bum with some serious self-esteem problem. It’s good that I can actually write about it now since anyway time had passed already. Well, I can say that I am that kind of writer, I let a story develop and go through time first before I share it with anyone.
So going back, as I said, I had no job and I was in a state where I wanted to get away. I was burnt out for four years in college and I felt I needed to find inspiration first before I go through another few years of stress and hard work.
Honestly I did not know what I wanted to find and then I thought maybe I did not really want to find anything but instead, I wanted to get lost. The right opportunity came and there I went leaving everything behind.
A high school friend of my mom suddenly visited her and after a few conversations, I was already set to go with her to Polillo Island in Quezon province where she lives. Mom can’t go because of work and my siblings were too busy with some other things. It was a hasty decision but it was something I’m glad I did.
We departed the night after her visit and we rode a rented van to Real Port in Quezon where we rode a wooden passenger boat, “Lantsa,” to Polillo Island. It took us 3 hours to reach the port and during that time I can’t get to sleep with all the thoughts running in my mind. I felt nervous at first because it was the first time that I didn’t have a mother who will prepare all my travel needs for me or look after me. I also doubted if I will have fun since I didn’t have sisters or friends who I can share beautiful experiences. But I was still determined to be anywhere far from the busy life of the city.
We arrived at Real Port at 3 am but had to wait because the first travel of the boat to Polillo was at 5:30 am. On the boat, the film Around the World in 80 Days was being shown. It is about a London inventor who circumnavigated the world and engaged in an adventure that discovered the most exotic places in the world. The film brought up the exciting and adventurous vibe to my trip. I finally started to relax at that moment. The beautiful sunrise and the morning air that wildly blew my hair as our motorized boat went farther to the sea calmed my mind. That was more than enough to feel good.
After an hour, we were already in Polillo Island. Tita Myrna, my mom’s friend, is the cousin of the mayor of Polillo and so I had the privilege to live inside the house of the mayor for a week. Tita Myrna wants what’s best for me obviously. The mayor, Tita Cristina, has a resort and that’s also where her house is. I had the most comfortable and fun time there with all the fishing, kayaking, and seaside dinners that I had.
Tita Cristina and her family are really simple and down to earth. Their house looks like every normal house that you would see in Manila and they dress up like every normal resident of the island. I hope every politician in the country and their families could learn from the simplicity of the ones in small provinces and probably avoid using the people’s money on unnecessary things.
The islands in Polillo are mostly untouched which makes it a paradise for beach bums. White sands, large coral reefs, and the clear water are just some of the things you should expect when you get there. The allure of the island triggers a lot of story ideas for a writer like me. I was in awe to witness these heaven made places that it’s such a shame not to tell stories about it and share it with people. I hope modernization will never find out about places like this and will forever be a place for escape.
Burdeos, the town next to Polillo where we went island hopping, is just as pristine. Other than white sand beaches, there are also spectacular caves, underdeveloped waterfalls, mangrove forests, fish and bird sanctuaries and pearl farms resting on its islands.
Burdeos is an hour drive away from Polillo. It could have been shorter if the roads aren’t rough and bumpy. Anyway, we then arrived to Sabang Pier where island hoppers get boats and boatmen for their travel.
So our boat finally sailed to the islands of Burdeos. I imagined it like I will sail around the world and the islands will be like the continents. It was surreal. Our first destination was Pulong Buhangin. From a far, you would immediately recognize it with the coconut leaves that were put up to look like a resting area for visitors, though you could hardly rest under it. The islet disappears during high tide and looks really isolated from the others. I kind of felt at home at that small piece of land because just like it, I felt isolated from everyone at that time.
The next destination is the famous Anilon Island. This island is a must for island hoppers in Burdeos because of the scenic tunnel-like cave that has a natural beauty of a panoramic perfect arch view. It also has a long coastline of golden beach sand and a wide plain of sea bed rocks that is home to rich aquatic life. We walked through a small forest before reaching the cave and I was quite surprised to see inhabitants and a few wooden houses in an isolated island like that. If the world gets really cruel, I think I would just live there too.
We had lunch at a nearby island, Anawan. It’s just 30 minutes away from Anilon and you could actually still see the famous cave from there. Anawan is famous for its very fine white sand and it’s actually considered as the “Boracay of Burdeos.” But better be extra careful here because it is also believed to have snake inhabitants.
After Anawan, it was a long boat ride to Malaguinoan Island Grotto. I took pleasure in watching the sea bed as the boat run through it. It is such an unbelievable thought that I was actually above a world where amazing species are living and along with a classical tune by Joe Hisaishi for one of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, I felt life was so magical right there and then. Did you ever felt grateful just to be able to open your eyes and marvel at such wonders?
Going back, Malaguinoan Island Grotto features the rock formation (stalagmite) that resembles the face of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the most visited site in the town during Lenten season. I just felt sad because some of its rock formations have vandalism. My name, “Kimberly,” was also written as a vandalism but I swear I had nothing to do with it. Why do people even touch things they do not own? Nature was never ours and it will never be ours.
The last island is Binunbunan Island or what they also call, “The Burger Island.” It is a round shape island surrounded by golden sand. They say that it has the best swimming spot among the islands around. I took a walk on its long sandbar and took pleasure as the incoming high tide swallow it and at that moment, I wanted to swallow me as well, as I fear that my travel will end soon and I had to finally leave that place.
Anyway, island hopping was a success!
The night before I went back to Manila, Mayor Cristina was invited to a wedding and she tagged me along with her. It was really cool to see that this kind of wedding is still held today. It was like a fiesta. The festivity went with me to sleep until I woke up to pack my bags and head to the port.
The boat ride away from Polillo was more beautiful than the one going there. I stood on the deck at the back of the wooden passenger boat where you could see the whole Polillo and Burdeos Island while the sun is rising behind it. It was one of the most handsome sunrise I have ever seen in my life. It felt like a new beginning for me. Finally, the start of my adult life. The whole view was as if telling me, “Goodbye for now, I hope I made you happy. I hope I’ve given you joy and memories that could fuel you whenever life gets hard from now on. You’ve rested well, now go and do what you have to do, but come back the next time you have the chance. I’ll be here. Just forever here.”
I send my love to that paradise and to all the other paradise I will discover next. I’ll work hard I promise until I have enough money to stay there forever.