San Jose: Finding Solitude in Grace Island
I promised myself to return to this blessed island (please read the blog about my previous journey here). That’s why when I was again given the opportunity to return to San Jose I strived to go here. I contacted Allan and he said that there had been large changes to the island.
As I arrived at the island I was amazed to the extent of changes. I was happy that development is very rapid in just a short time.
Grace Island Resort is located in Buri Island of Bgy Ambulong in San Jose. This unique resort has an array of floating cottages where one can feel the soothing breeze of the sea and a one of a kind experience of becoming one with nature. Going to one of the cottages by a narrow bamboo bridge that connects them is a thrilling experience, just be careful.
The place used to be full of sea plants, but as they removed them the white sands at the bottom of the sea were uncovered. According to Mam Jinky, while they removed the sea grasses, they left the rocks and the corals untouched thus making the place still abundant with variety of fish.
The resort is very appropriate to adopt the name Grace Island because it is blessed with abundant marine life, pristine and clear waters, and unparalleled landscape and scenery. There are also different activities perfect for individuals, families and other group gatherings. I also observed that the resort preserved its serenity even with being crowded with people. The island is surrounded by a walkway that freely allows strolling or biking by visitors.
Because this is designed to be a retreat center there is a chapel at the hilltop to those who want to meditate. There are also cottages at the hilltop to those who were not used to be in floating cottages. The resort also offers various activities for those who want to be active and adventuorus, like jetski, boat, kayak and other water activities that adds to the fun.
Like my previous experience, I just want to be in solitude and to relax. And I was never disappointed. Though there are other visitors you still feel being isolated because of the way the cottages were placed as well as the ambiance. No wonder why they want this place to also become a retreat center.
- By Air
Take a 45-minute flight from Manila to San Jose. From San Jose Airport there is a 5-minute ride to Aroma Beach Booking Office where the boat awaits.
- By Land and Sea (Roro)
From Cubao, take the bus bound for San Jose, Occidental Mindoro via Batangas Port either to Abra de Ilog or to Calapan City pier. Both ports are linked by their respective provincial highway to San Jose. Bus ride takes 12 hours of travel.
Note: The shallow waters of San Jose make its port unsuitable for docking of large ships. Instead, ships dock at the ports of Abra de Ilog and Calapan.
Visit their website for more info: http://www.grace-island-resort.com
- Because the drums that serve as the base of the floating cottages were submerged to the sea for a very long time, there are already sharp shells attached to it so it’s not advisable to swim near it. If you want to do island hopping you can talk to some boatmen to bring you to nearby islands.
- Try to swim inside a large cage near the floating cottages to see various colorful fish such as lion fish, puffer fish, clown fish and others which can accompany you in swimming.
At the hilltop you can see a Bantay-Dagat billboard. The resort is cooperating with the Coast Guard to protect its surroundings as dynamite fishing used to be rampant here.