My own private island
Bulata Travel Blog› entry 10 of 31 › view all entries
Take two: Danjungan Island. On my way back to Barangay Bulata, I hoped to take another picture of the coastal road, but the Ceres Bus was full this time and I spent most of the trip standing up. At the terminal, two fully-armed soldiers (rifle, side-arm, ammo) had boarded the bus. I was intimidated at first, and wanted to be as far away from them as possible, but then I felt sorry that our soldiers had to take public transportation and not their own. They were probably traveling to guard an election precinct as election day was just around the corner.
At the crossing, Duane wasn't there but his brother was, who eventually flagged another trike for me. There were also two young Korean girls who were waiting for the Bacolod City bus, having stayed at the Punta Bulata resort.
Finally, the boat from Danjungan was waiting for me at the pier as expected and I was excited to be finally on my way. The boat passed by tiny, private Antulang Island with its own white beach. Upon approaching Danjungan's Typhoon Bay, I noticed at once the reefs beneath its clear blue-green waters. I finally stepped into the white shore, rubbly with coral, and was greeted by the warden, the cook and his other staff. I was late and lunch was already prepared. As I sat down to eat, the warden tells me that I'm the only visitor there that day, and the cook says I'm the boss.
Danjungan is a private marine reserve and sanctuary, so fishing is not allowed except in designated areas. The island used to be free to the public and the fishermen then used dynamite with no scruples. When the island was bought with the help of Coral Cay and a U.K. bank, they "re-planted" corals and giant clams. The rubble of what was once coral graveyard could still be seen on the beach and in the seabed. The island also has several mangrove lagoons. My guide, Tikyo, and I followed a trail (sometimes clear, sometimes broken) to at least two lagoons and a bat cave. On the way, we passed by Turtle Beach; so named because sea turtles lay their eggs there.
After the trek, we took a kayak to visit First Lagoon, that was open to the sea and accessible from Typhoon Bay. That lagoon is best explored in the afternoon, because by then it would be in the shade and more serene. We also saw sea grass and see urchins through the water, and heard a lot of birds, though none I could identify. As night fell, only our island (which faced the open sea) had any light and all the stars and constellations you can think of become clearly visible. Surely stargazers would've loved to be in my shoes.