San Jose: Island Hopping in San Jose
Originally Posted on 2007
I was invited by Allen, one of the flocks, to San Jose for a computer project. It was done in a short time so we still have days to spare. As there is not much interesting place to go here we were suggested that we do island hopping.
From the town, we took a tricycle to a small port of Caminawit. Here we met with Allan, the boatman and who also served as our guide. We anticipated that our voyage will last until the next day we bought needed supplies. The seas are calm as we started our trip but later on, rains started to pour.
Our first stop is Manadi Island, also known as the White Island. It is so called because of its white sands that can be seen at the distance. Because of its short travel time from Caminauit at 15 minutes, it has become a popular destination for both locals and the tourists. There are some houses here and its residents are maintaining the cleanliness of the island. Some part of the island is too rocky for us to dock. And because it is raining hard, I was unable to take photos.
We’re at the middle of the sea when nature unleashed her raging fury. The strong winds and high waves make me think our boat might capsize. For our safer trip, Allan just took us to the shallow side part of Ilin island. Ilin is one of the largest islands of San Jose, and it is where some locals from nearby islands source their drinking waters.
After more than thirty minutes of rage, the weather finally calmed down as we are about to cross Ilin strait leading to Ambulong Island. And because it is low tide and rocky we are unable to dock at the shore. We just went down from the boat and walked along the shallow waters. We walked along the sides where some parts are full of fine sand. From here we can see the Lininob Rock, an islet that serves as a landmark here.
The 3,000-hectare island is known in the tourism industry for its white sands, coral garden, and caves. It is also the jump-off point of the popular diving spots nearby, like Ilin Point, Baniaga Reef, Ambulong Bank, Dungan Reef, Sardines Reef, Manadi Island and Apo Reef. These dive spots are one hour away from Caminawit Port in San Jose. From the word “bulong” that meant “medicine”, it is believed by locals as an “island of healing.” A community of fishermen can also be seen in a hidden part of the island.
Our last island hopping point. Like the other islands, it is also blessed with white sands. It is named after a herbal plant called Buri which can abundantly be seen here. There are two houses standing on opposite ends. The island is shaped like a crab and it surrounds a large part of Ambulong, thereby serving as a natural breakwater. This makes a perfect place to build a floating cottage where one of them is Allan’s resthouse. We stayed here for a night.
The environment here is very relaxing. The seas are very calm while the winds gently rock the cottage. The breeze is so cool as the winds come from all directions. I felt so refreshed that I temporarily forgot all of my problems. All that I can hear are whispers of the wind and the sounds of insects on the island.
This also makes a perfect spot for reflection. Here we prayed and thanked the Lord for his deeds especially for the safety of our trip.
Because we slept early, we also woke up early. We went to the hilltop to witness the sunrise. After that, we have breakfast with fresh, newly-caught fish that were bought from a neighbor. After a while we decided to go home, wishing that we would be returning here someday.
From San Jose town proper, take a tricycle going to Caminawit. From here you can talk to a boatman who will take you to the islands.
Price will depend on the distance and the duration of the trip.
- It is advisable to have at least four or five members to maximize the fare.
- Buy supplies from the town center before sailing for your convenience.
- While waters coming from the well can be used for drinking, it is recommended to bring bottled water.
- Bring plastic bags to cover your digital/electronic devices while at sea (Sea water and even its mist can damage electronic devices)
- Alternative: You can talk to a boatman who has a boat docked at the shore or in Aroma Beach (remember San Jose is a coastal town)
DASH OF HISTORY
- It is in San Jose beach that General Douglas MacArthur made his so-called “second landing” (the famous first landing being in Leyte) on December 15, 1944, as part of the campaign to retake the Philippine Islands from the Japanese.
- The island bore witness to the so-called “Battle of Mindoro” where the Allied forces secured San Jose to eventually recapture Manila and defeat the entire Japanese Imperial Army.
Some Japanese shipwrecks can be found at the seabeds near San Jose.