A trip to Pagbilao won't be complete without a visit to Puting Buhangin, arguably the best beach on this side of Quezon Province. To get here, it's best one takes a boat from the Silangang Nayon coastline. We, however, took the trail by land, since the waves were strong.
From Silangang Nayon, it was a 45 minute drive to the Pagbilao Power Plant. Puting Buhangin is located at the back of the power plant. We managed to get in and drive to a parking lot on the coast.
We were told we could hike to the beach, however, we took a short boat ride across the lagoon to reach the shore.
Upon reaching a rugged beach, I was already up in excitement. The tower of the hydro thermal power plant was imposing, and the view reminded me of the beach we visited near the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
The waves were indeed strong, and the current was wild. There were enigmatic swirls from the gush of water from a small waterway from the powerplant that met the sea. There was a raw charm to this place, so I expected more from our ultimate destination.
We walked up the rocky shore and found a trail that we assumed would take us to Puting Buhangin. The trail was short, but it made us pass through mud because of the recent rain. I didn't know how far the trail would go, and we didn't hear anything but the sound of crackling branches and the chirping of birds. Soon after, I began to hear something I didn't want to. A man singing on a videoke machine. Oh no. Let not this be another Canibad.
We finally bumped into a group that was headed back. We then reached a marsh and found a locked gate with a sign that says "Private Property". The name of the owners were posted as well. We were calling for someone to let us in, but no one seemed to hear us. Finally, after 5 minutes, a man showed up and told us that we couldn't get in because it was late in the afternoon already. Wow, we even mentioned that we came all the way from Manila just to see the beach. After some negotiations and more convincing, we were let in (we paid the entrance fee of P50 per person).
And this is what we saw. There were quite a lot of people considering there was a storm. Nipa hut cabanas lined up the beach and one can rent these for shelter (again, with a fee of I think P200).
Puting Buhangin wasn't as white as I pictured it to be. The sand was also not as fine. It was in fact, rocky and since there were people, there was trash. The man was still singing videoke, so imagine the look on my face. This was brewing to be another Canibad indeed.
The sun wasn't up, and the beach looked more somber. The waves were strong, which was a plus though, since swimming here meant splashing. As the afternoon went by, more and more people left, so we started to have more privacy. I moved to one end of the beach and lay there for a nap.
Puting Buhangin is not perfect, nor paradise, and I wouldn't visit it again. It is known for a cave to the right side of the beach, which I didn't enter because I was too lazy. My friends told me that it was huge, but it was nothing spectacular. Eventually, I enjoyed the place, as people left. We fought the waves and played in the hard rain that passed by. We left at around sunset, passing by the same way we went in.
All in all, Puting Buhangin was a disappointment, but I might have come at a wrong time. I wouldn't come back though. It made me more eager to search for better beaches in the Quezon Province.