Thursday, November 09, 2006

San Vicente, Northern Samar

The town of San Vicente, N. Samar is composed of seven islands. The main town of San Vicente lies isolated south from the six other islands which composes the town of San Vicente. The six other islands which almost face each other like in a circle are Sila (which boasts of a pink sand beach), Tarnate, Sangputan, Panganoron, Maragat and Mahaba. The beautiful beaches are found in these group of six islands. In San Vicente there is only one small cove where people usually go for swimming. San Vicente was formerly known as Destacado island. When it became a town separate from Capul, it was changed to San Vicente, however one barangay in the main town retained its name as Destacado. San Vicente is not yet a parish but only a mission station although having its own permanent priest assigned. Fishing is the main livelihood of the people, hence there is not lacking fresh fish on the table. However, there are still illegal dynamite fishing being practiced. We heard two dynamites exploded when we camped there in Sila.

Last Monday, Nov. 6, 2006 together with Frs. Louie, Mony and Roy and our computer man Ronnie, we visited the island of San Vicente. When I called up the administrator priest of San Vicente, Fr. Jose Sumayop he inquired what I would like to do there. I told him that upon arriving in San Vicente we would like to go to that famous pink sand beach and stay overnight there. He had been there for six months and he had not known that there was a beach with a pink sand and he wondered where I got the information. It was of course related to me by the former administrator, five years before who kept inviting me to visit San Vicente when we visited the nearby island of Capul. And so two days before we arrived, Fr. Joesu went for an inspection tour of the beach and had it cleaned, as it had not been visited for sometime already and there were lots of debris along the beach.
We arrived in San Vicente after leaving from the port in San Isidro at 4:30 p.m. after a two hour boat ride. We were told to take snacks first before proceeding to the pink beach. What met us was not just snacks but already a heavy seafood meal of fish na kinilaw, sinugba, pusit na sinugba and calamares, camoteng kahoy, and vegetables nga pipino but the thin one like a sikwa, among others.
We left for the island of Sila where the pink sand beach was supposed to be at past six in the evening. It was a 45 minute boat ride to the island, but it was a glorious night as we saw the moon arising from the east illuminating the seas. In Sila we pitched camp there. This part of Sila is called Binantal. People from the town of San Vicente accompanied us, as well as people from Sila and Tarnate also joined us, as they were the ones who prepared the food for dinner that night. It was really the second dinner for the night. They had with them two newly catched fish and an octopus which were cooked just there. There were almost 50 people there who welcomed us that night. The parishioners coming from San Vicente stayed overnight with us, while the people from Sila and Tarnate went home that night only to return the following morning bringing food again for breakfast. Since we brought with us a portable generator set, we had lights the whole night.
After breakfast and having inspected the truly pink sand beach and done some swimming (there were lots of tiny jelly fish in this part of the beach at this time), we went for an island hopping. From Sila, we visited all the islands which compose San Vicente: Panganoron, Mahaba, Maragat, Sangputan and Tarnate.

The boat that would bring us from San Isidro, N. Samar to San Vicente.

The main island of San Vicente

The church of San Vicente.

The altar of the Church of San Vicente

Maragat Island is the second biggest island after San Vicente. Pictured above is the southern end of the island. The current here is so fast that even at midday the water is so refreshingly cool.

Sunset in San Vicente

Mahaba Island

The sand bar of Mahaba Island

Enjoying the waters of Panganoron island.
Panganoron island has the best beach for swimming. The beach is clean and white and the waters so clear.
Panganoron Island

Frs. Louie, Roy and Ronnie having the time of their life in Panganoron island.
One has not really been to San Vicente if one has not visited the beautiful white beach of Panganoron island. Our host, Joesu, on the right.

The island of Sila where the pink sand can be found.

It's really one-of-a-kind pink sand found in the island of Sila.

Look ma, the sand is really pink in Binantal beach found in the island of Sila.

We pitched our tents for the night at Binantal Beach in Sila.
The octopus that was served to us.
People from the barangay of Sila prepared our food for us.
It's Fr. Roy rock climbing, at least for pictures sake!

Sangputan Island

Chapel of Tarnate

Thursday, November 02, 2006


             Bais City in Negros Oriental has become famous for its dolphin and whale watching tours. We had that opportunity when the Executive Board of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines held its meeting in Bais sponsored by Fr. Gammy Tulabing who was then the parish priest of Bais in Oct. 25, 2005. Spinner dolphins came out during our sight seeing tour at the TaƱon Strait which is between Negros and Cebu. We did not get to see the whales.

Bais City, Negros Oriental
Founded: 1880

The 7km long sandbar stuck out in the middle of the sea in Bais was a unique way of having a picnic.

Together with Fr. Javier Gonzales, OP

Our host during our stay in Bais, Fr. Gammy Tulabing, the parish priest of Bais (right), Bishop Medroso of Borongan and Bishop Du of Dumaguete.

The members of the Executive Board of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines having a picnic after the meeting.

Fr. Boy Opalalic trying to hold a violet jelly fish that beached itself.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Digyo Island, Inopacan, Leyte

On my second visit to Digyo, I found that the island has very good coral growth.The corals come in different sizes and colors which I failed to discover in my first visit. The corals are located in the western part of the island facing the island of Apid. There are no corals in the part facing the mainland of Leyte. This time, we were with our convent personnel and parochial vicars.We also stayed overnight camping at the beach.The caretaker of the island is Vicky and the boatman her husband is Mang Pedot. Thanks Vicky who happened to read this blog, she provided us their new numbers: 0906-7058548 and 0939-4163721

The island above is Apid just across Digyo. There is an existing barangay in this island.

The panoramic view of the island of Digyo.

I have heard of Digyo Island (pronounced as Dijo) for sometime already but I never thought it would be that beautiful. It is a gem of an island that awaits to be discovered. It is the smallest among four neighboring islands popularly known as Quatro Islas which includes Apid (there are settlers here and is already a barangay), Mahaba, Digyo and Himukilan. The first three islands belong to the town of Inopacan, Leyte while the last belongs to the neighboring town of Hindang. Digyo with its white sandy beaches is a nesting site of sea turtles. An information board on the beach announces it. The island is so small that one can leisurely walk around it in fifteen minutes. At present there are some people residing on the island who are its caretakers. As the island is privately owned, they charge ten pesos a day per person and a hundred pesos for the use of the kiosk. There is a good place for snorkeling as there are vegetations and some corals teeming with small colored fishes and on another part just nearby a good place for swimming as the water is so clear and shallow.

Last October 30, 2006 together with 12 members of the Sts. Peter & Paul parish youth, Frs. John Paul and Aaron and a seminarian, we camped overnight at the island. The timing was so perfect and we had such a wonderful stay. The sea was so calm in spite of the typhoon that was raging in the north of the Philippines and in the evening the moon was shining brightly with plenty of stars to gaze at.

From the main town of Inopacan, Digyo was forty minutes away by pumpboat. The travel would surely have been cut into half if the boat was a little faster.

The parish youth enjoying their outing on an island away from the parish, which is a first after several years. Tres Marias inside one of the tents that we used for the night.

Fr. Aaron enjoying the sand of Digyo by the hammock.

Fr. John Paul who can hardly swim loses his fear of the water and enjoys the clear waters of Digyo.

The sunset in Digyo was lovely, but the sunrise on the island as shown above was just spectacular. And to think that was my birthday. What an amazing gift that was!

The picture above was taken from the white sand beach of Mahaba. The island at the background is Himukilan. There is a coral reef just a few meters away from the beach of Mahaba. The sea drops off suddenly and on the wall one can see the corals and fishes.
The youth frolicking at the waters of Mahaba