Quezon – Padre Burgos/Pagbilao

June 2014 – My friends love camping and beach-bumming, but I don’t. I’m scared of tiny critters in waters and sand, especially jellyfish and similar coelenterates. Anyway, I love summer and my friends, so I joined them on an overnight trip to Quezon.

Based on several blogs and this Rappler article, Borawan and its nearby beaches are among the most beautiful undeveloped beaches in the country. After checking the reviews on TripAdvisor, though, I was very much prepared to be underwhelmed. In hindsight, I’m glad that I did not expect too much from the destination. It wasn’t as spectacular as advertised by the other blogs, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

We rented a van and drove from EDSA to Padre Burgos, Quezon. My friends have contacted a resident from one of the fishing villages ahead of time, so when we got off the van, there were already boats waiting for us. We rode the boat for less than an hour, if I recall correctly, and went straight to Dampalitan Island (see picture above). We pitched camp here as it has a better camping site (according to my friends) and cheaper than the other beaches.

There was no potable water on the island (not even clean water for washing up), no 3G signal, no ice, and no clean bathrooms. (I don’t know if that’s usually the case, but our stay had been very uncomfortable.) There were lots of mosquitoes on the beach and jellyfish in the swimming area. Good thing I was with my closest friends so I still had a great time.

We started early on the following day and headed to Puting Buhangin (also called Lukang Cove), a gorgeous small beach with an unobstructed through cave called Kuwebang Lampas. Then we had lunch and spent a fraction of the afternoon in Borawan Island (known to locals as Lipata Island). I was thankful to all the old gods and the new that we decided to stop over here before returning to Manila as this was the only beach with water clean enough for a shower. There’s a sari-sari store, too, that sold halo-halo and some ulam with rice.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind going back there again. But while these places are not entirely disappointing, I think that there are hundreds of other beaches in Luzon that I’d rather go to. So if you’re thinking of going there, I’d say wait a few more months and see if the water supply and jellyfish conditions in these areas improve, especially in Dampalitan. I heard that some of the nearby towns are already cleaning their beaches, so I guess we can wait for that, too.

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