That’s Piñahon for you, a little patch of land on the sea. It’s so small that you can walk (or swim, if you like) around its perimeter in ten minutes, five if you’re quick. And its waters are so clear and pristine that you would wish your stay would never end.
Of course, I am saying that because my stay was actually very short, though not by choice. An hour in Piñahon breaks the heart, but it’s better than nothing.
Yes, I am back from Dapitan. :-) And boy, do I have a lot of pics to show! (And some stories too.)
My first adventure in Dapitan was travelling to Piñahon. And yes, the journey was just as fun as the destination! Gim’s neighbor initially offered us a package to the tiny island. We were excited because we thought, well, he’s a neighbor, we could get a great deal! But he was a fraud!!! :-( He offered to bring us to Piñahon, for, get this, P3000!!! Hello??? Who did we look like? Paris Hilton??? (OK, well, he did say he’d also bring us to Aliguay and Silinog but still.)
No, thank you, we said and so we headed for the market in Dapitan’s quirky little tricycle. On the way, Gimmi my Bisaya boyfriend used his tabian (Visayan for talkative, which is what his elementary teachers called him) powers to find out how to get to Napo (the barangay nearest Piñahon) and for how much. Thankfully, the tricy driver was an honest chap and told us all he could. When we got to Mercado, the marketplace of Dapitan, he even hailed us a habal-habal, another common transportation in Dapitan, which is a motorcycle modified to run on rocky terrain. The driver of our habal-habal was a young man who looked to be in his twenties.
Gimmi haggled with Greggy (that was his name, Gimmi was powerfully tabian like I said, and at the end of the day he and Greggy were great friends) and we got a great package. We’d pay Greggy P500 for the entire day and he’d bring us to Napo, find a pumpboat to take us to and back from Piñahon and then bring us back to the Poblacion (the center of Dapitan). Our reaction? Yes! Yes! Yes!
That was before we got on his motorcycle. To be fair, it was very stable. A Honda XRM with modified shocks and wheels and I don’t know what else, Gimmi did the man talk with Greggy, I just listened and enjoyed the view! :D But man, oh, man, the ride was scary as hell!!! Talk about driving on slippery slopes and rocky cliffs!!! I’d show you some pictures, but I was so scared to even move any part of my body for fear that a little shift could throw us off the mountain and get us all killed!!!
That didn’t happen, thankfully. Greggy was a great driver. He did let me stop once in a while to take some pics. Like the ones I’ve placed here. Yup, he was very considerate. But once I was done with the picture-taking, we’d hop on back to his bike and brace ourselves for the daredevil ride.
The ride was for the most part uncomfortable. But it was funny, too. See, we were crossing mountains, and so the ride was mostly up-down-up-down. Our seat plan was this – Greggy on the front, Gim sandwiched and me rounding up the threesome. Everytime we’d ride up a mountain I’d hold on to Gim fearfully coz I’d practically be falling off the bike. Then when we’d be going down, we’d all also be slipping down and everytime we’d hit flat ground, Greggy’d make us move back so he’d have some space on his own bike too. :-P Heehee, my back hurt real bad after that trip!
When we got down to Napo, we were exhausted! But still up for the exhilarating pumpboat ride to Piñahon. We paid 100 for the trip back and forth (and a P50 tip), and as you can see, we rode on this tiny little pumpboat but it wasn’t scary at all. It was very pleasant, and you could just put your hand in the water whenever you felt like it. And the water was sooo clear you could see everything, we saw a school of fish, we saw lots of starfishes and shells and seaweeds and even a water snake! (Gim’s bad experience, tell you about it later!)
We reached Piñahon 15 minutes later, around 3 PM, very happy and excited. It was a very pretty island, very small, very clean. Construction was going on, obviously a DOT project. We also noticed a sign saying Fish Sanctuary Rehabilitation, but I don’t know what that means.
We had a blast bathing in the beach. The “safe” area was very tiny and the water was very shallow. But we could go past the “safe” area into deeper waters, at our own risk. I didn’t dare, because it was open sea, and there could be sharks. But Gim did, while I salivated in envy.
There was a tiny canteen in the middle of the island, but they only sold some softdrinks and some bread. We were very hungry since we hadn’t had lunch yet but we settled for that; the experience was too beautiful to complain. :-)
We took a lot of pics, as you can see. Since the island was very tiny, what you are seeing in the pics actually account for about two-thirds of the island. (What I didn’t take a pic of was the ongoing construction which was ugly and the canteen which was just an ordinary hut on the sea)
A funny sight we met on the way to Napo was a group of five old women in goggles and duster dresses. One moment they looked like they were talking easily (though weirdly, coz, hello, it was the middle of the ocean!) and the next they were lost beneath the sea!!!
When we asked Manong what they were doing he told us they were looking for kinason. We didn’t understand him coz we had never heard of it and he wasn’t very good in describing what it was. We thought it was starfish, or seaweed, or a type of fish, or a hermit crab. And he kept saying, kinason, oo, kinason.
But no, it was a big snail with a pretty shell. We found out in the market, where we saw the shellfishes and asked what they were. Kinason, the people told us. Ahhh.
We also saw some starfish, the first time in my life that I really saw live starfish, and Gim was so eager to show me that he jumped off the boat and took one starfish and gave it to me to hold!! (He’s so sweet hehe.)
A moment later, though, he shrieked in that little shrilly girly voice of his and jumped right back into the boat! And when I say jumped, he flew like he was Superman into the boat, it was so fast I hardly saw him do it!!! And why??? There was a big poisonous snake in the water that brushed him on the leg and if he hadn’t felt it it would have bit, and he’d have died from poison in less than an hour!!! (Now, Gimmi you can’t blame THIS near death experience on me, you brought it on yourself!) Needless to say, Manong and I broke out in laughter once we found out what had happened!!! :D I didn’t know my baby was a Superboy in training! :P
We took around two hours going to Napo and two hours going back to the Poblacion. And we spent only about an hour Piñahon. But you know what? It was all worth it. The journey was beautiful, the sights of the open ocean from up Dapitan’s peaks were breathtaking, Piñahon itself was just perfect and wonderful. White sand, green waters, everything clean and clear and deliciously untouched. And what’s more, we made a friend along the way, who also brought us to our next adventure, which I will blog perhaps another day.
Back in the boarding house, Gim and I were red and raw and extremely tired. But all in all, deliriously satisfied. :-)
More pictures here.