PAGBILAO, QUEZON, PHILIPPINES — One fine afternoon, my friends and I got intrigued when the name “Borawan” surfaced. Is it really true that its beach characteristics is like a mixture of Boracay’s white sand and Palawan’s karstic rocks? To find that out, we planned for a weekend getaway to this hyped place for my birthday celebration. Aside from Borawan, we also planned to graze the nearby Kwebang Lampas & Puting Buhangin Beach and Dampalitan Island.
Puting Buhangin Beach and Kwebang Lampas
There’s no need to point out that the beach has white sand because its Tagalog name speaks for itself. And seemingly joining the trend is its karstic cavern, aptly named because the tunneling sea cave passes through on both ends. Puting Buhangin Beach and Kwebang Lampas (Cave) are located in Pagbilao Grande Island in Pagbilao, Quezon. The beach was my personal favorite among the three in the area. Entrance fee is PhP 80 for a day-tour, double that if you are planning to stay overnight.
Dampalitan may not offer you the dreamy, white sand beach but its long stretch of gray sand may make your camping worth it (in our case, because we were the only visitors that time). During the low tide, we even explored the exposed sea bed. As men and women of science, searching and identifying for unique marine fauna are enjoyable enough. Of course, alcoholic drinks and skinny dipping won’t be missing in this setting. 😉
Borawan Island Resort
Upon reaching the last destination for this birthday celebration, I honestly got my high expectations shattered. Maybe we had expected of it too much as if it would be as grandeur as Boracay and Palawan. Plus, there are annoying nets to prevent wandering jellyfishes from overtaking the swimming area. But we shouldn’t look down on the place just because it didn’t get to meet our expectations. It still has decent natural views and activities you might enjoy (if it isn’t crowded). I just got unlucky, I had a touchy moment with a jellyfish.
Borawan Island Resort is located on one side of Pagbilao Chica Island. The larger Pagbilao Grande Island hosts my personal favorite among the three, the Puting Buhangin Beach.
Our trip was during a non-peak season, so we had the three islands to our heart’s content. As would any other beaches be during summer, you might get uncomfortable when there’d be a significant case of overcrowding.
- HOW TO GET THERE. Take any provincial bus bound to Lucena and get off at Lucena Grand Terminal. Fare is around PhP 250 (~3 hours travel time). From the terminal, take a bus bound to Padre Burgos for PhP 35-40 (~1.5 hrs travel) and get-off at Basiao Junction. From there, you can rent a tricycle going to the port area where the boats are docked.
- Buy drinking water (or bring your own) prior to leaving the port. Potable water is scarce (or expensive, rather) once you are on the islands.
- Our contact for the boat was Ate Vanessa (09151067594 / 09094001022). You can also rent a tent from her.
- Boat rental fees varies depending on the islands you’d visit: PhP 800 (Borawan), PhP 1,200 (Borawan-Dampalitan), PhP 1,800 (Borawan-Dampalitan-Puting Buhangin). An additional PhP 200 would be charged whenever you will ask the boat to return to the town proper to buy for supplies.
- Bring vinegar as part of your first aid / emergency kit, in case you’d get stung by a jellyfish.
The author camped in the beaches of Padre Burgos & Pagbilao, Quezon on July 12-13, 2014.