BEACH – Best Escape Anyone Can Have
Summer won’t be complete for Dlinkers team without hitting the beach. This summer of 2017, our team decided to go to another “not-so-popular” but breathtaking place in Northern Iloilo. Beach lovers out there, mark your calendars and head to Marbuena Island Resort in Ajuy, Iloilo.
First, let me take you back to our getaways in 2016. Last year, we had fun-packed getaways. From the pristine white sand beach of Bulubadiangan (Sand Bar) Island in the laid-back town of Concepcion, Iloilo for summer to the stretch of fine white sand beach of Panglao Beach, Balicasag Island and Virgin Island in Bohol.
This year, it’s a little bit different. The sand is not as white as the beaches we’ve been before. The beautiful and peaceful island is surrounded by sun-kissed sand. During sunset, the whole place glows as the rays of the sun touch the beach.
Enough with the sand and the sun, allow me to give you a glimpse of our wondrous summer getaway in a very simple town of Ajuy.
The natives originally called the town “Asui”. In another popular story, during the Spanish era, a Spaniard came to the place and asked a native who was gathering wood what the place is called. The native, who doesn’t understand the language, thought the Spaniard is asking what he was gathering so he answered “Kahoy”.
The Spaniard was able to pick up the term “Ajoy” which was later on changed to Ajuy.
Although too early than our usual morning wake up, we have no choice but to wake up early to get to the assembly place at 5am. The team was divided into 2 groups and the group will have a 1 point deduction for every late member. While some of us are lucky enough to have their relatives take them to the assembly place where our rented van is waiting, some of us struggled to get a public transportation. But still almost all of us got there on time.
It’s actually fun. It’s like we are on Amazing Race and we have to summon our competitive spirit early in the morning when most people are still in their deep sleep.
On our way to the town of Ajuy, each of us had our own way to kill the time while traveling. Some watched their favorite “K-Dramas”; others took shots of the view along the way, took a handful of selfies and had some good laughs while others took a quick nap.
For some time, the heavy rain on our way to Ajuy made us worry about how we are going to push through our activities. But luckily, it was all dry and sunny in the town of Ajuy.
We arrived at Brgy. Mangorocoro a few minutes past seven in the morning. This is where we have to wait for Marbuena Island’s private pump boat to bring us to the island. Although we waited a little bit longer than we expected, we still had a great time taking pictures and talking to the locals.
We were surprised when we a large canoe arrived near the port and the boatmen told us to get in. Most of us were wondering… “how will this vessel take us to the island?” It was later on that we found out that our pump boat experienced some glitches and won’t be able to get near the port. The canoe will take us to the pump boat which will take us to the island.
Luckily, before we sail to the island, the boatmen figured out what was the problem and fix it. Some ropes from other boats got stuck in our boat’s propeller which prevented us from going faster.
Whew! For a start, that was an experience but I think, it’s something that made the trip even more special.
The odds are in our favor when we arrived. We arrived in the island before other guests did so we got a chance to choose our cottage and our overnight rooms.
We made a quick snack, settled down and of course, took a lot of pictures.
By 9am, we are off to see other magnificent islands of Ajuy. After about 30 minutes sail, we reached our first stop.
Ginasyan is divided into two islands. We dropped by Ginasyan Dako. The island boasts its rock formations. We described it as the “island of rocks”. The shore is full of tiny bits of rocks and you’ll have a hard time exploring the island barefooted.
If you want a bit of a challenge, you can climb up the rock formation and get tons of photo opportunities (be careful not to fall on those slippery sharp rocks) or you can choose a safer way to enjoy and settle on the shore, get a nice angle and take that Facebook cover-worthy shot.
The Calabasa Island is a land full of history. Also known by the locals as the Parola, from there stands the 18th-century lighthouse (built around the 1900s). The “white iron tower” originally is at about 45 ft. high but some parts collapsed over the years and were replaced by modern concrete.
There also lies the ruin of the said house of the keeper and his family which is another perfect place for photo opportunities. The ruin reflects the Spanish era with fine details on the structure and lots of windows or doors. There is a mystery tunnel leading down the basement which we don’t the purpose.
Locals said the placed was abandoned a very long time ago. We could tell that is just by seeing the rich flora taking over the place.
Quick Tip: Get your knees and legs ready for a short hike uphill to see the light tower and the ruins.
We were a little behind schedule so we made a quick dip in the beach before we head back to Marbuena Island.
You can also go snorkeling in the clear water to enjoy the rich corals and various sea species living underwater.
The hours of fun-filled activities made us all hungry. There is no better way to satisfy our hunger than having a sumptuous lunch by the beach with the whole Dlinkers Team.
Each of one of us is assigned to bring food. That’s how much we worry about getting hungry… haha! Our menu for lunch: rice (of course), grilled pork, grilled stuffed bangus, chicken adobo, fried chicken and various tropical fruits.
After a few minutes of rest, it’s time for the team building and games. Thanks to our event organizers, we were able to fill Marbuena Island with glorious laughter.
The games are over, our team won…haha! While some of us cannot join the others for an overnight, we decided to take last one splash at the beach, enjoy the sunset and more photo ops. As I mentioned earlier, we are captivated by how the rays of the sun turned everything at Marbuena into golden splendors.
It’s sad to think that some of our teammates wanted to stay but for some conflict in the schedule they can’t.
As darkness slowly cast the island, we decided to kill the time with quiet talks and charades. We filled the place with sound laughter from our outrageous actions and answers in charades.
Then, we have dinner. We didn’t cook anymore because we have a lot of leftovers from lunch.
There is no electric supply on the island and only the generator set provides the power supply. If there are only a few guests, they turn it on from 12pm to 6am (next day). In our case, the resort is full-packed so they have to use the gen set from 6pm-6am (next day) only to supply everyone with electricity for the whole night.
Any overnight beach getaways will never be complete without the good old bonfire. A friendly staff, Manong Rodolfo, help up set up our bonfire.
That evening, we enjoyed the cold sea breeze, the warmth of the bonfire and of course, the hotdog and smores. Then, we head back to our rooms to have some good night sleep.
Fresh from yesterday’s excitement, all of us wake up early. Few of us went on a hike in the island’s nature trek. Yesterday, we enjoyed the different species of fish at Calabasa Island. This time, we are amazed by the different species of birds in the bird sanctuary. The sanctuary is filled with various sounds from different species birds. The trek also has Stations of the Cross for Catholics.
Pro Tip: If you want to go trekking, be ready for the pungent smell of bird poop and don’t be surprised if some bird poop dropped on you. That’s part of nature so don’t complain. Focus on nature’s beauty you see.
We filled our stomach with hot coffee and instant noodles and prepared to go home.
It’s always a bittersweet feeling to leave such marvelous place. We want to stay longer but we also can’t wait to tell our friends and family about our fun experiences.
We sure did learn a lot. For one, we learned the value of taking a break. As the cliché saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. In our case, all work and no play will make Dlinkers a dull company with boring staffs. That’s why we want to carry this summer tradition every year.
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