Saturday, July 08, 2017

See Sicogon Now

    Buaya Beach

It was summer in the Philippines and we really wanted to go to the Gigantes group of islands. But we had no desire to join the throng of beach pilgrims who wanted to take the iconic selfie from the hill above the white sand beach of Cabugao Gamay. So here we were on Buaya (crocodile) beach in Sicogon, waiting for our lunch to be served, enjoying a cool drink under the shade of this old Talisay tree and looking at the Gigantes islands from our comfortable roost.

    Tumaquin Island

We could also see our motorized outrigger bobbing in the water and behind it, Tumaquin Island. You can swim to Tumaquin or wait until low tide and walk to it. There was a group of students learning to scuba dive in the clear waters offshore. The sun was mercilessly hot so we opted to stay put. We were happy campers under the tree.

   Scallops

And just about the time we were running out of snacks (which we picked up from the market in the town of President Roxas), Melinda brought our lunch to the table! I had ordered two platters of scallops because I wanted to take some home and at P100 per platter, it was a steal! (Melinda combined the two platters into one and that's what the picture above shows.) We also ordered fish soup spiced with batuan, a tamarind like sour fruit which grows abundantly on the island. My companions told me it was very good together with a San Mig. I'm no beer drinker and in the absence of chilled sangria, I had to content myself with an apple flavored C2 drink. Cheers!

    San Fernando Beach

After lunch we were invited to see Balay Kogon, a hotel with six casas and a restaurant. It's the only hotel on the island but you can rent a tent from P150 per night and pitch it on the beach. Balay Kogon has a fabulous view of San Fernando beach. It's building more casitas which will be ready by year end.

    Mount Opao

We could have gone up to Mount Opao but we'll save that for another day. There are times when you should just relax and enjoy the view. This was one of those days. 

Don't wait too long to visit Sicogon. See it now in its pristine state. 

How to get to Sicogon:
We drove to Estancia Port from Roxas City, the closest gateway to Sicogon Island. It took us 1 1/2 hours and we had the pleasure of shopping at the market in President Roxas where we picked up kakanin (Philippine native delicacies) and bottled drinks. Buses from Roxas City to the port of Estancia cover the distance in two hours while the Iloilo City to Estancia route is 3 hours long. There is only one ferry per day to Sicogon costing P80 each way. It leaves Estancia at 1 p.m. and arrives on Buaya Beach 40 minutes later. It returns to Estancia after it has dropped off its passengers in Sicogon. It's best to hire a pumpboat for P2500 so you can travel leisurely to and from the island. 

    Estancia Port

Where to stay:
Balay Kogon: www.sicogonisland.com.ph/balaykogon

    Balay Kogon casa

Tent rental: ask for Melinda whose house is on Buaya Beach behind the Talisay tree. She also serves lunch. 

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie


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