Carabao Island Hambil
We Found No Carabao in Carabao Island - Only Awesome Beaches (and a Carabao Dung)Thursday, May 03, 2012Ryan Mach
"This place was once home to several carabaos," he told us. "Funny, I don't see any carabao here," I intoned, chuckling. Kuya Darwin gave me a non-committal grunt. I was ready to torment him with questions regarding the whereabouts of the carabaos on the island - why they were gone, or where can we see them - but all inquiries I had formed in mind vanished in thin air when the motorcycle revved up toward a craggy and narrow road, prompting me to hold on to the motorcycle pretty tight. The vehicle swayed and jolted as it trod on bumps and rocks. With such distraction, I have completely forgotten to take snapshots of the grassy fields along the way. I could have probably spotted a carabao if I looked very hard.
Carabao Island is known as Hambil among the locals. Its official name is San Jose, a small town at the southern-most part of Romblon, quite close to Boracay. In fact, one can get to Carabao Island from Boracay in no more than 45 minute. Tagged as the jewel of Romblon, Carabao Island boasts of white sand beaches scattered around its shores. It's no wonder why proposed developments and tourism plans are underway. I had to see its natural beauty before it becomes a tourist destination.
Our first stop was Said Beach located in downtown San Jose. It's about a two-kilometer stretch of white sand beach, split in two by a wharf that's not even used. The longer stretch on the left side has a cleaner shore and is ideal for beach combing. We hadn't tried swimming on the other part of the beach because we didn't think that competing against boats for space was a good idea. It's high tide when we got to Said Beach, and the water almost ate up the shore close to the main road, if it had the same ground level, that is. That's the problem I see with Said Beach - there's not much shore to frolic around unless it's low tide. The beach's proximity to the main road makes it accessible but is also a distraction.
After what seemed like an hour, we hopped on the motorcycle and headed north, to Nausa. From fine sandy road, the path gradually changed to rocky terrains. Nausa, Kuya Darwin told us, is one of least improved villages as far as roads are concerned. That explains the uncemented lane leading to another white sand beach.
The beach in Nausa is different from Said. In Said Beach, you can swim as far as 5 meters from the shore and will still touch the sandy bottom when you stand. It's not the case with Nausa's - a few tread and you'll no longer feel the sand underneath. That's one of the reasons we hardly frolicked in the water. Instead, we busied ourselves taking photos, of ourselves and of the young local kids playing under the hot April sun.
Before night fell, we were taken to another beach in Lanas, which is located on the other side of the island. To get there, we had to pass through hills of grassland and semi-thick forests beside the road. The scenery reminded me of Camiguin. It also had the friendly charm and enchantment that Camiguin exudes. The road leading to Lanas is narrow but safe and cemented.
I was ready to call Carabao Island as the best island I've been to when I spotted a Carabao dung splayed on the shore about 50 meters from the beach. Instead of feeling grossed out, I actually savored the sight (well not literally) and looked around with a fervent hope to find the owner of the crap. But alas, carabaos in Carabao Island remained as elusive as ever. The presence of that dry manure displayed near the pristine beach of Lanas was a testament to the fact that this island is undeveloped, unspoiled and yes, undiscovered.
I hope that it remains in that state for as long as it can.
|Sunset in Lanas Beach|
This post is part of my Rediscovering My Hometown, Romblon 2012 Series
| Tablas Fun Resort | Buenavista Beach | Local Circumcision | Travel Guide: Carabao Island | Carabao Island - Romblon's Jewel | Looc Sanctuary