Monday, September 20, 2010

DIGYO ISLAND, ONE MORE TIME


Got the chance to return again to Digyo after two years since I last visited the island. (For my first blog on Digyo see http://beachanatic.blogspot.com/2006/11/digyo-island-inopacan-leyte.html). The Provincial Management Group and the Board of Consultors of Gawad Kalinga Leyte went for an overnight outing on the island. Being a member of Board of Consultors and its Provincial Chaplain I got invited to join the group. There were a few physical changes on the island which I noticed at once upon disembarking from the boat. The southern part of the island has been greatly eroded. Where once there was a wide expanse of white sand beach, now even some of the trees that were there before have been eaten by the sea. The sand bar has also shifted its position. The eastern portion however, has gained more sandy beach than before. However, a bit dismayed by what I saw, it was compensated when I got to see more corals this time than before. After snorkeling for an hour in the western part of the island where I knew the corals were, I tried to snorkel at the eastern part. I was greatly surprised to see that there were also a good coral growth there. I decided to snorkel around the island since I haven't done it before. At least I was able to do something new in my third visit to the island. It took me about an hour and fifteen minutes. Since the sun was going down already, I did not bring anymore my camera and so I was not able to take pictures of the corals in the eastern and northern part of the island. The following day, I tried to go back so that I could get some pictures.I got the surprise of my life when all I could see were dead corals. It was only then that I realized that when I snorkeled the previous day it was low tide so the corals were just about a waist deep. Indeed, I had to be very careful as just a small mistake my body would get scratched by the corals and I was especially careful since there were a good number of poisonous crown-of-thorns star fish. This time, since it was already high tide, the corals near the shore were just the dead corals as the live ones were already about 30 or 40 meters away from the shore and it was already quite deep.

For the boat going to Digyo, one can contact Pedot or his wife Vicky who are the caretakers of the island at these numbers: 09067058548 or 09394163721

Recently I got a comment from Bismark who says they own the island and they gave this contact number Llany Bismark:  0917-9533384 or Marivic Bismark:   0921-7119967. 


Soft corals in Digyo looks like the yin and yang.




The southern part of the beach has greatly been eroded.



















This was how it looked two years ago when I visited the island.












































A pair of  clownfish among the soft corals in Digyo











Sunrise in Digyo


A Sunday morning mass on the beach just after sunrise.


A crown-of-thorns starfish.


Sunday, August 01, 2010

AGAS-AGAS BRIDGE AND NAPANTAO BEACH, SAN FRANCISCO, S. LEYTE

I have long wanted to go and see the Agas-agas bridge in Sogod, S. Leyte which is now considered as the tallest bridge in the Philippines. Finished in 2009, the bridge cut across the road going to Sogod which is always prone to landslide as it lies within an earthquake fault. It is 350 meters in length and 75 meters height making it the tallest bridge in the country.
However, just seeing the bridge was not worth the trip, so I decided that we will explore a beach in San Francisco, S. Leyte which is now being considered as the scuba diving capital in the Visayas. This is in Napantao, San Francisco, S. Leyte. I called up the parish priest in San Francisco who happened to be a student of mine in the seminary of our intent and asked him to prepare for us our lunch. With four other priests who were my assistants and a former assistant in the parish and two other lay friends we went for our day off to San Francisco, S. Leyte passing by the Agas-agas bridge.
One thing that I noticed right away when we passed by the bridge was that there was no vibration unlike when one passes by an ordinary bridge. If one keeps his eyes closed he will never perceive that he passed by a bridge. In Agas-agas there is a road leading down to the foot of the bridge where one can better view the magnificence and enormity of the bridge. The description of the bridge says: “ It consists of 3 span cantilever type continuous pre-stressed concrete box girder rigidly connected to hollow box-type pier on 1.5M diameter piles foundation.”
After visiting the Agas-agas bridge we continued our journey crossing yet another island of Leyte, the Panaon island which is connected by a bridge. San Francisco is one of the four towns found in the Panaon Island: Liloan, San Francisco, Pintuyan and San Ricardo. After stopping by the convento on San Francisco, Fr. Joycats, the Parish priest, who already had our food prepared right away brought us to Napantao. We went to a secluded beach in Napantao owned by an unassuming couple, Dr. & Mrs. Cerio. It had a beachfront of its own with a thatch of white sand and shady manicured garden under coconut trees. There on this beautiful spot we had our picnic. We visited first the famous Marine Sanctuary of Napantao which was further down about a kilometer away. The Coral Cay Conservation, a UK-based foundation which is mapping the coral reef in the island had its house nearby the sanctuary. Since we forgot to bring along our snorkels and we could not borrow from the people in the foundation, we decided that we will just come back some other day to do scuba. Today we just enjoy the beauty of the beach of Dr. Cerio.
Indeed, we had a very relaxing day at the beach. The place so private and peaceful it was such a stress relieving day-off for all of us.

The Agas-agas bridge at 75 meters height is now the tallest bridge in the Philippines.





The private beach owned by the couple Dr. Cerio in Napantao.


The beach house looks like one from the fairy tales.



Dr. Cerio and his wife, owner of the beach.


Our drivers having fun of their own.





The beach had a white sand to boast of.






There was a yacht that was moored nearby with scuba divers exploring the Napantao reef.


Some of the corals that could be seen nearby.