It was a bright and breezy morning as the sun rose from behind the house, revealing the beauty of the sea and the surrounding islands. I got so excited, so I planned our short island exploring trip. We hired the boat that was parked beside the house for P2,500. The rate was quite steep, considering we only used the boat for 3 hours.
Nevertheless, we were too excited. So as soon as the boat was ready, we boarded it towards the open sea, or more popularly known as the Verde Passage. This area is one of the most concentrated areas for marine biodiversity in the world. Thus, Anilao and nearby Puerto Galera in Mindoro have become top dive spots in the Philippines.
We passed through Sombrero Island, but because it looked like they had a lot of visitors, we decided to find a more secluded beach. Sombrero Island also has an entrance fee of P100 per head, since it is privately owned. I remember going here when I was still a teenager, and I remember a huge mound of white sand.
We passed by Caban Island, which was still part of Batangas. There were yachts and speedboats parked in the middle of the sea. I was amazed at the topography of these bigger islands surrounding Sombrero. I actually felt I was in Anguib in North Cagayan. That was the ambience of the place - raw and serene.
So, after nearly 30 minutes of boat travel, we decided to dock in this beach. The water was clear, and we could see the corals. I was disappointed though, that the corals near the shore were all dead already, probably because of the tide.
I've been telling everyone that my mark for a good beach is not the quality of sand anymore. It's just one part. This beach was amazing because, it really didn't make me feel I was in Batangas.
As I explored the rest of the beach, I kept wondering why people want to go to San Juan (Laiya) and Nasugbu, where the beach is crowded and starting to be unnatural. This one, in the island of Maricaban was pure and beautiful.
Of course, we were the only ones around, except for a small group at one end of the beach. There were three coves from my viewpoint, and we were just on one end. I figured the other visitors were divers. There were small nip a huts on that cove, and it looked like the divers were about to have lunch there.
This sandy part of Maricaban was quite long, as I would discover afterwards using Google maps. And I was wondering why there weren't any resorts in this island. I am not hoping there would be developments, but I wished there was one eco-friendly resort that would allow guests to stay overnight in this beach, just to escape.
We brought a kayak along, so we took turns paddling further out into the sea. We then saw more corals and fishes from our kayak. I wasn't able to bring my snorkeling mask, so I wasn't able to go down.
After kayaking, taking a nap on the sand and exploring the rest of the beach and the amazing rock formations, we began to head back to mainland. We weren't really up for more adventure, since we just want dot relax. And we had to go back to Manila by evening. But before that, we decided to go snorkeling.
I was pleased that even non-divers can experience the beauty of Anilao. I just broke down the stereotype that is Anilao. It is not just for divers. In fact, Anilao and its surrounding islands has got to be the best near Manila island escapes. Now, if I only had a boat or a yacht.