On Thursday afternoon in Dec 2015, my friend and I were planning a getaway as our first meetup. We met thru Tinder and we believed it was time for us to see each other. A cliff dive at Boracay would be great, I thought. But on second thought, Boracay is too far and it would be perfect if we could maximize our travel expenses with a few bucks.
Our impulsive craving for the waves brought our imagination to the islands of Padre Burgos, Quezon province. I knew nothing about the place. She told me about one of the islands there but that was only what she knew. She’d never been there too.
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A Lot of First Times
Overnight on a Saturday would be fine so that we could go home on Sunday evening, we decided. Only two days left before our trip and I felt very excited.
It was our first meetup
It was our first trip together
It was our first time going to Quezon province
Truth be told, I felt indecisive about our trip. I didn’t know about the island and this girl.
What if we get stranded there for weeks? What if the girl is transgender? I have nothing against transgenders but I prefer a straight woman. I told her about it and it would be too bad if she lied.
I searched about the island and it assured safety. For my travel buddy, I didn’t mind. I’ve seen her Facebook profile and she seemed feminine to me. I also haven’t found any of her social media bios saying that she’s transgender.
It was a 2d1n stay so we didn’t have the luxury of time.
There are three famous islets in Quezon province: Dampalitan, Puting Buhangin and Borawan. We were searching for the best option possible to hop around the three islands and where to spend most of our time.
Our boatman suggested having an overnight stay at Dampalitan. We’d proceed to Puting Buhangin early in the morning and head to Borawan in the afternoon. We agreed.
We arrived at Dampalitan at sunset. To say that this view is perfect is an understatement.
The island has this unspoiled beauty and it’s so tranquil. There was no electricity, hotels or mobile connectivity. You could only hear the waves, the breeze, and the birds.
I had only seen three tents fetched on the shore. You could bring your own tent or you could rent one for Php 300. We opted for the latter.
Dampalitan Island Rating
Beach and sand quality, 5/10. The shore is a bit rocky. The sand is not so white and fine as compared to Boracay. However, the sand is good enough for camping.
Tranquility, 9/10. When I was there I felt like I was lost somewhere in time. My iPhone had no connection. We had dinner on the shore under a million stars. We were only playing reggaeton and tropical house tracks with my JBL Bluetooth speaker. We sang and we danced while sipping Tanduay Ice.
Convenience, 5/10. There were no stores or sandbars there so you have to bring your own food, cook it if you must. I was a bit prepared. I bought a few chips and canned goods before we went to Quezon so that we’d be ready for our dinner. It was heavy but worth it.
Aesthetics, 6/10. My benchmark for aesthetics is El Nido – the lush green trees, limestone rock formations, and turquoise blue waters are really stunning that you would want to stay there all your life. But the main takeaway for this island is the sunrise and the sunset. It is absolutely picture-perfect.
Other Activities, 4/10. The best that you can do there is to hug your partner sitting on a huge timber while watching a bonfire. You can stroll around and take pictures. You can also go swimming although the water is really far from the shore, especially during low tide.
After a night of singing and dancing, we hopped to the next islet called Puting Buhangin. My first impression was it it is better than Dampalitan. And I wasn’t wrong.
Puting Buhangin Island Rating
Beach and sand quality, 8/10. The white sand is finer and the beach is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Unlike Dampalitan, you can run a few steps and dive into the water.
Tranquility, 6/10. There were a lot more people in the area. You can hear someone shouting or loud music. It is not child-friendly too for there was beach-goers smoking other stuff aside from cigarettes. It is getting more like a mini-beach party place.
Convenience, 7/10. We were relieved when we saw a little store. We bought food and other necessities. There were bathrooms and you could also find roofless huts for people to change. The campsite is also nice since it is under coconut trees with a Bermuda grass. There is no wonder more people are staying in Puting Buhangin.
Aesthetics, 7/10. Aside from the beach and sand quality, you can also find small caves to explore. The coconut trees looked perfect too. In fact, there were campers setting on their hammocks. Cool!
Other activities, 7/10. There are watersport activities on the island like jetski and banana boats. Or you can go spelunking to the caves. It has a lot more things to do than the former island.
Borawan Island Review
In the past months, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Borawan. Some have exaggerated the beauty of the place while others have cited the dark side.
Our last stop had come to an end on a wonderful island associated with Boracay and Palawan, hence the word BoraWan.
I couldn’t wait to get off the boat when we were approaching the island.
There were people but not too crowded. The beach and the sand are also comparable to Puting Buhangin. I fell in love with the beach.
At first, I was disappointed. The shore looked narrow. When we get off the boat I thought that was the entire Borawan but when we went around the other side I was stunned by this beauty.
The long curvature strip of the shore is surprising.
My high expectations were finally met when we took a walk on the shore. Felt like heaven. It was the best of the three islands!
Borawan Island Review + Rating
Beach and sand quality, 8/10. The beach is really good and the sand is perfect for a barefoot walk. The breeze was also frequent which complements the waves. We also stayed under the cave to protect ourselves from the sun. Awesome.
Tranquility, 8/10. My friend and I were sitting on a 15-foot limestone rock formation. We took the ukulele and there we sang Jason Mraz’s Lucky together. Imagine the sound of the waves, breeze, and hummingbirds PLUS the ukulele. My eyes felt heavy and I fell asleep. Truly relaxing.
Convenience, 8/10. Obviously, this island has more amenities than the previous two. You can buy food and other necessities in the small store, it has concrete comfort rooms and there we took a shower, finally. Oh and you can find small huts for rent too for an overnight stay! I love the place.
Aesthetics, 8/10. I love the long strip of the island. You can see lush green trees and limestone formations. I felt nostalgic on Boracay and El Nido.
Other activities, 6/10. I haven’t seen any water sports but you shouldn’t miss climbing the skyscraper rock. You can also bring your own tent if you want. The shore is perfect for camping.
Invest in experiences for it will last a lifetime. This is the best lesson I’ve learned in life.
Prior to our trip, I was thinking of buying shoes but on second thought I realized I didn’t need them. New shoes weren’t really a necessity to me at that time.
If you haven’t tried camping and backpacking, you should try it once. Two reasons: simplicity and mental refreshment. Simplicity in the sense that you don’t need to stay in luxury hotels or dine in lavish restaurants. You only bring what is essential on your trip. Travel also refreshes your mind from your job.
Mind-pressing jobs affect your well-being. Stress desensitizes as this study shows. You need to get away from your job and press that reset button.
Have you been to Borawan already? What other places are worth going to in Luzon? Share your experiences in the comments section.
P.S. It was my first time seeing falling stars at Dampalitan. It was magical!
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