Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tambobong, Pangasinan! 4 months later!

(photo: clear waters of Tambobong, Dasol, Pangasinan April 11, 2008)
We decided to go back and revisit Tambobong 4 months after our first foray into these parts. I'm really glad we did because we weren't disappointed. Our gracious host Mr.Leon Bobis, a local fisherman/mechanic, really took time to take us around the nearby islands and beaches.

We left Manila at 11pm and arrived in the town of Osmena, beside Tambobong, at 5:30am. For those who worry about road conditions, the last 18km or so is partly rough road but manageable even with our small rear-wheel drive, 600cc suzuki carry van.

(photo: hermana mayor island map, prime beach and airstrip images courtesy of TONET)

(photo below: hermana mayor island, NNE tip resort area)
Our host, Mr.Bobis, arranged our bangka and we were able to leave for Hermana Mayor Island at around 7am. I still know little about this so-called "private" island. A lot of rumors but little facts. What I do know is that there are deer and livestock injected into the island as well as leisure facilities constructed within it. When viewed via google earth, the island resembles a foot(and probably stinks as bad as its owners). Their lapdogs, literally stinky old men and obviously uneducated, were very rude and practically told us to just get lost.

To cut the story short, we decided to visit the nearby Balaki Island near Infanta and spend the day there, then go back to Osmena to setup camp in the evening. It was a true blessing in disguise as we would not have been able to fully enjoy Tambobong, Osmena and Burgos otherwise!

(photos: on the way to balaki island, aerial shot of balaki island courtesy of TONET)

Balaki Island is about 6.5 kilometers away from Hermana Mayor Island and about 4 kilometers away from the Infanta port. There is a new facility built there which the locals call a "Resort". I was so tired from driving all night that I immediately fell asleep when my back hit the folding bed. My companions and some of the local fisherfolk went ahead and caught some fish for our lunch and BOY did they catch a bounty! The beach water was BEAUTIFUL and there was plenty of fish here. One of the students, Deo, was able to catch fish enough to feed all of us by himself. The rest of the fish was brought back to their respective families for dinner that evening.
We drank mangganog (lambanog+mangga) that evening while we feasted on a delicious moray eel and octopus we caught earlier.

(photos: nipa hut houses in burgos, strange coral beach, cool resting place, friendly folk in burgos)


The next day we went to Timapog-na-bato which is a huge rock on a beach in Sitio Iliw-Iliw, Burgos. It is a barangay beside tambobong. The beach was a solid rock of coral or lime... The locals say that the sand comes and goes with the season. We brought only some mangoes and mangganog. We met a very friendly group there who shared their lunch with us and we shared our mangganog with them as well. Some in our group caught some more fish to add to lunch and we had a great time! There was a crisis when one of our boats ran out of gas and since nobody brought any money, we exchanged some lambanog for gasoline - to which the locals were just so happy to oblige! (siempre!)

(photos: on the way to balinmanok, balinmanok wreck, fresh fish for lunch!)

On our last day in Osmena, we visited the Balinmanok Wreck which, according to the stories, was a chinese smuggling vessel shipwrecked during the Estrada Presidency in 2000 carrying 600 kilos of shabu. The chinese were apprehended but somehow the shabu caught amounted to a mere 250kilos.

The wreck has been stripped of valuables and metals. It now acts as an artificial reef for small fish. According to our guide, the locals even dynamite this from time to time in desperation.

(photo: seagull in the eye of the crocodile!)

The surrounding waters around the wreck was cool and clear and we all enjoyed jumping from the bow of the ship into the crystal clear waters below. Our companions again caught some fish for us to lunch on and we all enjoyed our freetime after lunch just sleeping or playing frisbee and boomerang. The kids played in the waters all afternoon and got severe sunburns as a result.

(photo: waters around crocodile island, kabakungan cave, cave pool)

We then proceeded to go to one of the secret hiding places in tambobong. The Kabakungan cave! At low tide the waters in this cave is a clear ,chest deep swimming pool ! PERFECT for spending hot summer days!

The unspoiled beauty of tambobong is there for those who know where to look. There is nothing so beautiful as lying on its beaches while you let the sound of the waves lull you to sleep. Eating freshly caught fish with a sip of cold mangganog or an ice cold beer in your hand. Ah! Philippine summer is simply THE BEST!

PLEASE Visit the blog of my friend Allan !
(he posted fantastic images of our trip)
>> balaki island
>> balinmanok wreck
>> timapog na bato
>> kabakungan cave

VISIT the blog of one of the locals >> TAMBOBONGBOY