July 2, 2017

Train of Thoughts (Masbate Travel Notes)

Day 4. Comfort or Courage - You cannot have both.

One step at a time.

I calmed myself as I walked on the creaking wooden bridge. I looked around for help in case of emergency, I was alone. The sun almost set. I must have walked almost 1km already.

Pawa Mangrove Park

I held my bag firmly and remembered the valuables in it - cellphone and camera.

One step at a time?
It's almost dark, I won't see the faulty parts of the bridge anymore.
There is not a single soul out here if I fall.
My phone and camera aren't water proof.
It would be very troublesome if I needed rescuing because of bad judgment.

I continued walking further into Pawa Mangrove Park's boardwalk, but alas I came upon a part with detached railings, and sliding or missing planks.

Pawa Mangrove Park

I have to jump.
But what if ...
I have to..
But.

I want to jump.
But I'm scared.
I really want to jump...
But I'm really scared...


Pawa Mangrove Park

Pawa Mangrove Park

Day 2. You can't lie. Not to the sea. Not to yourself.


The boat pierced through the sea, splashing away little droplets, that in turn create ripples, that go round and round and round. I was hypnotized.


I've always liked the sea
Sometimes it scares me,
But I dive into it anyway
I stare at it as if I will miss something important if I take my eyes off of it.

I guess I love the sea
Despite my fear of its vastness.
I lose and find myself in it.



It accepts no lies, and washes away all pretensions. 
Like the night, it intensifies and unravels buried thoughts and emotions.

So it is love.

Lightning struck on the other part of the sea.

"Don't worry, that's not where we're headed," the boatman said.

I let out a smile, "Yep, I thought so too."

...

We arrived at Halea Nature Park after about 2-3 hrs of boat travel. I snorkeled a bit, okay a lot :D There were sea urchins, clown fish, starfish, tang fish, brain corals, staghorn corals, acroporidae, etc. It was beautiful!

Halea Nature Park

Our group decided to swim to the rock formation on the opposite side of the shore. On our way back, my companion struggled as she wasn't comfortable in water. She was panicking and exerting excessive efforts which made her exhausted immediately.

"Relax. I'm here, I'm here, It's okay." I tried to reassure her.

But I guess seeing just the 2 us left on the farther part wasn't very reassuring.

Midway, a guy helped us pull her back to the shallow part. To be honest, I felt guilty for asking her to come with me, when I wasn't even skilled enough to take her back safely on my own. Ah it reminds me of Ely.

You're still as immature and irresponsible as ever, Arlet.

Afterwards, we stopped by Burobancaso Island and Rock Formations to take some photos, and then headed to Catandayagan Falls right after. Both places were beautiful, but sadly there were trashes all around :( Since Catandayagan falls had no docking area, we just took a quick dip and continued to Buntod Reef and Sandbar. The sandbar was slowly disappearing when we arrived.

Burobancaso Rock Formation

Catandayagan Falls

Buntod Reef and Sandbar

The day was over. Finally the sea's spell will break, but the night will fall soon. Game over, Arlet.

Day 3. Be Open to Changing Your Mind.

I was supposed to enroll to an open water dive course, but (1) I was afraid.... of a heck lot of things, and (2) it was expensive. So instead, my friend and I went to a place that we overheard from the locals.

Palani beach is a quiet beach in the town of Balud. Its shoreline gradually deepens so kids can enjoy the water without fear of suddenly getting drown due to uneven shore. As for me, I mostly enjoyed staring at the trees, the sky and the sea - as usual.

At Palani Beach

There are no restaurants or food houses in Palani, so you'll have to use your charms to ask locals to cook for you, or you can take a habal habal (local motortaxi) to Balud, but even there, there isn't much choice.

I like this town because it is quiet and unassuming. It lets me be - all of me, no questions asked, no explanations needed.

Day 1. I do not seek support, but I hope for understanding. And in cases, those cannot be given, I just want to be heard. 

"I understand, " my companion said as we both lie down on wooden benches.

Masbate is one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. When I landed, a province-wide blackout just ended. There were only 3 major fast foods in the whole province, and all have no cold beverages because of the blackout. The inn we stayed out were a little run down, and there was not a single mall around. You could say that in terms of facilities and infrastructure, the place wasn't built to please tourists.

But the people were vibrant, and seemed happy. The tricycle drivers didn't overcharge us. The locals were chatty, and seemed contented with their lifestyle. And the cowboys in them surfaces in little interactions.

The people were heartwarming.

...

My companion and I went to Sese Brahman's Ranch after lunch. We were the only people around so instead of continuing with our itinerary for the day - we decided to stay here, and talk, and understand.

Sese Brahman's Ranch - Up the Hill

There is a little trek up the hill, with warning signs for bull. We were sooooo quiet because we fear the bull may hear us and chase us. Thankfully, there was none of that. On top of the hill is a guesthouse with a cafe, but it was closed and no one was around, and everything was locked.

It was just quiet. 
All silence. 
Then there were questions.

Sese Brahman's Ranch

To be honest, I may never understand things that way things are meant to be understood. There may never be correct answers, but maybe the questions will suffice. Sometimes, our questions are just as important as our answers.

Day 0. Circle of Life

Four years ago, I briefly met a park ranger when I solo traveled in Taiwan. He spoke about the grand canyon, and his travels gleefully. He made me want to travel, and not be afraid of people. He made me feel like I really could.

And so I did travel, little by little, on my own, with friends, with family, with strangers. I traveled. I still travel and continue to do so.


One droplet may be insignificant to the ocean, but not to the other droplets it affected. Same with us humans, we may think we are insignificant to the world, but there are people around us whom we affect dearly. We create our own ripples. We always count.

Travel Notes and Tips

- I got a 1k/ head daytrip from Masbate island to Ticao islands, food included. See Day 2 for the itinerary. Contact Maru at 0995 465 3176. Going to Burias from Masbate was waaay faar (and expensive) so I just excluded it from my plans.

- P650/night at Sampaguita Inn for aircon room

- Tricycle rides in the city costs around P8-P10 depending on distance

- Ride FX from grand terminal to Balud (to go to Sese Brahman's Ranch or Palani Crossing) for P120/head or hail a habal for P300 one way.

- Sese Brahman's Ranch entrance fee is P50

- Palani Beach's aircon rooms are around 1k, but the prices can be negotiated down during off peak season.

- Tricycle ride from Masbate city to Pawa Mangrove Park is P30/head (don't haggle pls, since it's far.) Tricyle back to city is just P15/head

- Terminal fee from Masbate airport is P100. They were strict with baggage allowance. I had to transfer some of my stuff to my companion's bag because it exceeded my allowable baggage allowance.

Di na ko galit. #Masbate na tayo, #Ticao lang naman e