Monday was the Lunar New Year so we decided to take the day off from visiting churches and instead visited the interesting and picturesque Nogas Island.
The Island is accessible from the Sira-an Hot Springs Resort just a few kilometers before arriving at Anini-Y from the Iloilo/Oton area. The drive is about an hour and a half long and takes you over a newly, well paved and quiet road. We were practically the only one on the road. Now, remember this was a weekday and a holiday at that.
The scenery along the ocean shore is ‘to die for’.
The friendly folks at the Hot Springs will arrange for your ‘pump boat’ transfer to the island for about 100 pesos per person – the maximum capacity is 5 persons per boat and the trip takes about 10 minutes. The boat captain will drop you off at the island and return to pick you up 2, 3 or more hours later, just as you wish.
Nogas Island is a 24 hectare marine reserve. It is uninhabited and surrounded by flourishing mangroves swamps and white sandy beaches. The marine life includes colorful corals reefs and many different species fish in the shallows around the island complex. There are venerable Banyan trees, which have to be over 100 years old and several other varieties of trees which are becoming rare in other areas of the Philippines.
The walk to the lighthouse on the island is lined with Calachuchi trees making it an arbour like walk.
We explored the island and saw some really interesting things, not to be revealed here, ‘you gotta see ’em to believe it”…But we had good company: Dave “The Cano” DeWall and Joe Marie Atallar (our travel Guardian Angel). Here they both are contemplating the Light.
There are a few things that you must know when planning this trip.
- There are no ‘tourist facilities’ at all on the island. If you’re bringing the family on an outing for a picnic and swim, you have to bring everything, you could possibly need, in yourselves. That includes: the barbeque, any seating you might need, shades/umbrellas/parasols, blankets or towels, water shoes (good sturdy water shoes are recommended) etc…
- Don’t let the sandy beaches fool you, once in the weater you find out very quickly that the beaches are sandy but once in the water the bottom is covered with rocks and coral. The water is still very refreshing and enjoyable, especially is you snorkle or even dive.
- You must take out all your leftovers and garbage – make sure to bring enough garbage bags to do the job. Unfortunately, not enough people pick up after themselves and the place when we were there was littered with other peoples wrappers, bags, bottles and other assorted litter.
It’s a real shame that more people don’t take care of the environment around them and leave it littered for others to clean up…
Nevertheless, a very worthwhile day trip. It was a very enjoyable day at the beach which we ended with a fabulous lunch at the Bantayan Beach Resort on the way home!