Friday, June 17, 2016

A hundred and one adventures at the 100 Islands

While living in exile in Dagupan city in 1988, our neighbor who ran a salt business invited me to join them on their outing to the Hundred Islands. The next day, their boat picked us up at Pantal River and we road off all 40 of us to one of the best natural wonders in our country. Upon arriving we immediately went down on the only island allowed to have some people which was the Quezon Island. It was fun eating and swimming on that Island and as the day ended we commuted back to Dagupan city.

In 1993 I went back with my High school friends and lo and behold we were also led to the Quezon Island to have some R&R. Nothing much has changed but back then it was more of enjoying nature and the pristine beach in that island. I am not a tourism consultant but being there you dream of Island hopping and dropping by other Islands.

Twenty years after my dream was realized when I came back to these Islands. First thing that caught my eye was how organized they were in accepting tourists since there was a center being built where you can rent a boat. Everything was centralized, impressive. Next, I discovered that not only can you drop by Quezon Island, but the boatman has an itinerary to tour you around until 5pm or go on specific islands of your choice. Lastly, not only can you swim and eat but there are other activities you can enjoy as well like riding the zip line, snorkeling and many more. We rented a boat for P 1,400 which can fit 5 people. The bigger one is P 1,800 for 6 to 10 people. I think its better now because you don’t have to haggle with boatmen on boat prices like before.

I am happy that the Department of Tourism has finally thought of a way to “sell” the Hundred Island to tourists by way of having a great experience in these islands. Much of the things that you can experience here is now similar to the beach activities in Boracay.

Our tour was quite simple, we alighted at the Governor’s Island which is a must for photographers since it gives you most probably the best view of the Islands from atop. Going up 150 steep flight of stairs for me is enough to see the majestic view from above.

Since there were many people in the other islands we managed to just take a peak at the other islands namely the Marcos Island, Romulo Island, a Children Island. One of the more intriguing islands is the Devil’s Island which had so many trees and I believe more than a thousand bats resting on those trees.

My buddies and I settled for a dip at the Old Scout Island. It’s quite small but had less than a hundred people on it. One thing nice though was that the place is ideal for snorkeling. Unfortunately, there were lots of boats passing by that was why viewing the corals was quite dangerous. Like an old scout, we went on to get our food, placed some used newspapers on the sands and had our lunch old style under the rocks.

We eventually went back after seeing the dark clouds going towards our direction. It was unfortunate for us to get wet because of the strong rains that we braved but luckily we survived it and went back ashore trying to dry up. Good thing there was a shower room for rent at the park where washed off the sticky feeling coming from a rain.

For now the 100 Islands impressed me considering the fact that a national treasure has been reborn. I hope a few years from now I would be able to blog again on new experiences on this fantastic Philippine wonder.

Thanks to Ian Siongco and RJ Marasigan for their wonderful pictures

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