Hagonoy Island is one of Mother Nature’s ideal prototypes for a refreshing commune-with-nature getaway from the mainland, less than an hour away by boat.
Not as publicized as other island retreats, this tiny paradise is idyllic in its simplicity and tropical atmosphere. Sans any advertising, people discover it through the locals or by positive word of mouth. The word hagonoy is said to be a type herb abundantly growing on the island.
Nestled in the waters of Bislig like a tiny blob in the ocean, this privately owned islet which you can cover around in a few minutes by walking is blessed with a fringe of fine white sand and abundantly covered by a healthy vegetation of coconut trees swaying in the breeze.
The resort offers simple amenities while providing a safe haven for nature trippers within its undisturbed natural environment. Entrance costs P50 per person, while cottages vary from small (P100) to big (P200). Tents are also offered while a store is open for picnic needs. Clean comfort rooms are available, with an area for sports like volleyball or badminton. Amenities are all free for use, including the cooking grill.
A round trip pump boat fare for ten persons costs P2000, and a bigger boat for 30-50 persons cost P4000, while boat parking for overnight stay is P100. Group discounts are given during booking (tel. nos. 086 853 1553).
At night, campers enjoy an unhampered view of the sunset’s reddish glow as it sinks in the horizon, while fishing boats bob in the calm sea. You can sleep in a hammock or on the shore, if you want to welcome the sunrise on the other side as well. The place is practically a photographer’s delight in my picky point of view. It is also an ideal spot for exclusive beach parties, corporate or family outings.
During my recent trip as the only female among the Nature’s Light, a group of landscape photographers mentored by good friend Epong Soliban, we set our tripods on the beach strip by dusk while Vice Mayor Conrad Cejoco (also a photography buff) prepared a delicious buffet of crabs, prawns, kinilaw and tuna for us. A lone male firedancer set the evening’s serene mood as cameras clicked away.
Bislig City is most known for Mindanao’s little Niagara, the Tinuyan Falls. A component city of the Province of Surigao del Sur in Region 13, it is at the Southeastern coast of Mindanao facing the Pacific Ocean, 158 kilometers south of Butuan, 152 kilometers south of Tandag (Surigao del Sur Provincial Capital) and 208 kilometers northeast of Davao City. It can be reached by land from Davao in 5 hours, and in 3 hours from Butuan City. Midsea Express operates a small plane via Cebu to Bislig Commercial Airport every Saturday. Know more about Bislig in its official website.
Note: The next day when we left, storm clouds were gathering and rain fell in torrents, but the island still looked beautiful.
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