[Bulubadiangan Island, Concepcion] ~ Camp on a Sandbar Island

A first to kill every time of day in a sandbar island – 05.02-03.15

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Having spent the previous night in ILOILO CITY, took an early commute trip to CONCEPCION TOWN where I was suddenly an adopted member of family of four who I had to share boat with. (I was prepared for a thousand-peso damage with a solo boat ride to the sandbar but the helpful tourist office managed to score me a ride with other guests to island).

I was at the sandbar midday and from then on walked around finding good spots for sitting and ‘swimming’. When tide was low, I was given a treat of a resident little tour guide walking me through anything exposed with no water on, and quite forcibly encouraging me to play with their dogs whose version of play is quite brutal and involves biting, which was their kind of play as he said so. It was then time for sunset and hours of sleep so near the sea.

In the morning had an attempt to read but ended up finishing only one story, randomly picked one that involved boxing (timely for Pacman’s fight that day). Remaining hours in BULUBADIANGAN spent on the shifting sandbar –  called such because it apparently shifts depending on wind direction –  which finally, I was able to have by myself.

It was already gloomy while in Guimaras but it was while I was on a jeepney on my way to my inn in Iloilo City did it start to rain big time. It was a hassle as I had all of my stuff with me – disorganized at that because I was just randomly placing stuff in and out while I was on tour the whole day.

The driver of the jeepney I was in also had no idea where my hostel was. I was then just told that I would be dropped off at the nearest police station where I could ask around. The station could be nearby but I was actually dropped off at an Andok’s where fortunately, finally a word of light on my inn’s whereabouts from one of the crew members there.

I had to wait for the rain to stop a bit before crossing the street. As instructed, I rode a pedicab from the side of the church to where I was supposed to stay. The area was in a busy area and for some reason, seemingly a not-so-safe one. The room was quite gloomy as well. Hmm, I guess that is what I paid for really so no room for too much whining then.

IMG_0693Waiting for the rain to stop

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I could not afford to stay longer in the room (yep, it was that gloomy) that when my phone got some reasonable battery life, I went out to see this street called CALLE REAL which had its historical significance as it was built in the Spanish era, survived the second World War and was Iloilo’s bustling commercial and entertainment area.

It still is seemingly a commercial district but personally, it was hard for me to feel that old vibe – quite different of course with how it feels when one was in Vigan which could be what I was expecting. Nonetheless, I spent hours walking around the area, looking for a place where I could spend some quiet time drinking.

At the end of the street, I spotted this stall with all sorts of grilled food. It looks like a place where locals like to hang out to eat and drink. I just thought, however, that drinking alone there is not a good idea as most were drinking in groups. I decided then to continue my search for someplace else.

I did not find a place to drink but had interesting discoveries along the way – like how drinking is common in convenience stores and how I find enjoyment in shopping at local/provincial retail outlets (for this trip, I got myself a 73-peso goggles!)

20150501_185839Calle Real, a portion of which called J.M. Basa Street

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20150501_190342At the end of Calle Real is this street food heaven

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20150501_192728“Artista” (celebrity) notebooks in one of the retail stores I visited !

(These two make up one of most popular loveteams in the Philippines today as they topbill a primetime show called Forevermore)

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20150501_204306Wow ! That statue did scare me

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I left the city as early as it there was light of day as I wanted to spend as much time in the next destination – BULUBADIANGAN ISLAND in Concepcion.

IMG_0695“Sari sari store” it is usually called. But this, a breadstore

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20150502_064735Goodbye for now, Iloilo City!

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Ride to Concepcion was a good mix of awake and asleep that I did not grow impatient even for a second. Before I knew it, I have reached the town’s public market.

I spent some time looking for some essentials in the market. It was just unfortunate that they only sell beer in cases so I was forced to trust in leap of faith that the resort has it for sale.

After some ‘shopping’, my contact from the resort told me to first drop by the tourism office which was quite challenge to find, especially in the heat for the almost-noon sun.

There was some confusion at the tourism office because while I thought that the boat has been arranged for me, I was told that since a group of four is about to leave soon, I could share the ride with them so I can save. I agreed of course but what the officer and I did not know was that the group I would join is the group is a Guimaras-based family who are visiting relatives to one of the community’s leaders and that the boat was made on special arrangement. The next hours would be awkward as I had to join them on a side trip to another island to chat (in a language foreign to me) and have lunch with their relative/s.  Food was superb! It was my first even to try goat caldereta with mangoes. Happy tummy – thanks to that accommodating family.

IMG_0701The finger

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IMG_0704Idyllic

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IMG_0709At the Concepcion pier / public market

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20150502_104347While waiting for our boat

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20150502_124018Deep sea fishing boat at Sanggutan Island (which was apparently also hit badly by Yolanda)

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It was a little over lunch when we arrived at the sandbar island  -which to me was unexpectedly crowded based on what I have read in blogs. When I told one of the staff that I thought there were less people, I was told place gets secluded on weekdays only. At times too, it is even possible to have the entire place to very few.

Place was so busy that the person in charge of reservation was not able to accommodate me soonest and there was some wait time before I had my tent set up which I just spent testing its various portions of the water.

I guess the island’s charm lies in the feeling of it being on a small piece of land in the middle of the sea. Personally, it felt similar to being in Potipot island, except that in latter I actually did manage to walk around the island. Sea is similarly calm but there are fewer options to find shade and sand not as fine. The view, however, is more lovely with all the nearby islands (including Pan de Azucar which has that steep and tall Mount Manaphag) from all sides.

IMG_0725Finally at Bulubadiangan!

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IMG_0728View of the sandbar

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20150502_133308Busy on this right side. That prominent cone is Mt. Manaphag

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IMG_0730From the less busy left side

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IMG_0737How many steps to there

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20150502_133312Where I would later set up

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20150502_133402And there is my spot

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IMG_0747Hmm. The finger 2.

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20150502_134128Flag of cloud

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20150502_134443Immanuel’s spot

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20150502_142821Beach dog life

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20150502_145123Icing on an island

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Those cottages one of few that give shade

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IMG_0743As afternoon was approaching, tide was getting low

From this..

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IMG_0772.. to this

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IMG_0773Now almost like a garden

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The island seemingly was losing its water as day-end got nearer. Similar to my experience with Thailand beaches from a recent trip, there is really this high from being able to see and step on part of the sea that I could not reach when water was there.

IMG_0835Too much water lost now

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IMG_0852Ear and feet

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IMG_0855Checking out what used to be hidden

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IMG_0865Roots exposed

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IMG_0870That boat’s color my favorite

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During my late afternoon walk, I was approached by this friendly girl who asked me why I chose to go to that place instead of going to Boracay. She shared that she lives in a nearby town and she came as part of the big group renting one of the cottages. She told me they always wanted to visit this place but they had to save money because the boat rent was expensive. (And then look at me, almost paying Php1,500 for a boat. Hmm, but then I did not have much choice really). It was a quick chat as their group eventually had to leave.

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IMG_0783Last man standing

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IMG_0787Almost did not notice the starfish

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IMG_0792I am shallow but I am fascinated by this!

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IMG_0797Abandoned for I shall brave the rocky sand

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IMG_0804No shade

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IMG_0809Where is my tent?

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IMG_0819Their territory

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IMG_0877Temporary homes

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I was sitting waiting for sunset when this little boy who apparently lives on the island with his mother during school break approached me. He was first ‘forcing’ me to play with the dogs – which I did not like because far from the beach dogs at Magalawa, they seem to be always fighting with one another. The boy said though that they were just playing so he kept on uttering “touch mo na! Mabait ‘yan!” (you touch the dogs. they are good/nice). They were always so ‘angry’ though that I did not dare.

IMG_0878Their brutal love

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IMG_0883My eager tour guide

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IMG_0891A starfish shell

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IMG_0894A catch

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IMG_0897Round tip starfish

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IMG_0899More

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IMG_0906I had to literally chase that sunset from the other side of the sandbar where we were ‘touring’

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IMG_0918Star

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IMG_0919I had to come closest

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IMG_0923Miki House

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IMG_0930Walk to someplace

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IMG_0936One of the “mahaharot” (too much playful) dogs

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IMG_0939You can hide from me but you cannot run

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IMG_0940Where is it now?

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IMG_0945From the other end of sunset

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IMG_0950Silhouettes

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IMG_0954Darkness envelopes

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IMG_0960O

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IMG_0964Invaded

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When it was dark, I spent time in front of my tent drinking my beer and sleeping when I felt like it. I snoozed inside the tent but it was hot that when I was given the mattress, I thought I would rather sleep outside.

I woke up before 6 in the morning but by then, the sun was almost already up. I tried to read but the little boy approached me again so I ended up chatting with him with the dogs and that rainbow. When he was called by his mother, I went to the sandbar which I finally had to myself. I was having fun in my solitary wade when this group of guys came and they were rudely asking my name and when I was not responding, they were laughing and thinking aloud that I could be deaf. I kept on pretending not to hear until they gave up and leave. (Haay. What is it with people who cannot stand people going solo. Tsk)

IMG_0972No to a rainy day! 

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IMG_0983Early morning play

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20150503_071952Because there is a rainbow before the rain

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20150503_072000Tide still low

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20150503_073028An attempt to read

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20150503_075446Check out the shape of the sandbar against the shape of the clouds!

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20150503_081740Popoy and Basha Fans’ Club invades this  lovely

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20150503_084132Where they meet

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I was about to leave the island on another rented boat – arrangement of which I did not know yet. I was offered option to island hop but price was initially too hurtful on my pocket that I said I would have to think about it.  I realized though that since I am already there and I am going to rent a boat anyway, the best plan could be to island hop then go straight to pier.

IMG_1003While waiting for my boat

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20150503_092623Shrine

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20150503_093110Three little  human dots

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20150503_094621Tiny boat

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I had some last-minute chat with the boy and swim before the boat came which would take me to islands of Agho and Sipol. Read my separate entry on visits to these two.

HOW TO GET THERE:

From my inn, I walked to main road near the church in Jaro and rode a jeepney bound to Tagbak Terminal (label could be Tagbak, Jaro Liko or Leganes) where I took Ceres bus to the town of Concepcion which was two hours from the city. There is main terminal near Concepcion called Sara so I suppose another option is to take a bus to Sara then transfer to another transport to go to Concepcion.

Target to go down at the public market which is very near the pier. Municipal Tourism Office is near that as well, attached to the covered court.

From the public market, boats can be arranged for Php1,500-2,000.

OTHER PRACTICAL DETAILS:

There is Php25 entrance fee to the resort.

You may opt to rent a cottage (both for overnight and day trips) or pitch a tent. For latter, if you have your own to pitch, fee is Php300. If you are borrowing from the resort, fees range from Php300 (good for 1-2 people) to Php500 (big tent).

Electricity in the resort is only from 6-10 PM. You can charge your phone during this time only. Could not remember the fee but it’s below Php50.

They sell beer, chips and other instant noodles but if you like eating during beach trips, I suggest you buy all your supplies in the public market. If you are in a group, you may buy beer in cases at the public market too. No selling per bottle though.

There is water for the toilets but you need to bathe, you need to buy water for Php20.

Based on online articles, Sandbar Island Resort is the only resort in the island. There is, however, another one but apparently, the owners are relatives of the one managing the former.

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