SORSOGON 2011: PAGURIRAN ISLAND - A lake through tides

In the far north coast of the Sorsogon Province in the municipality of Bacon, is the Paguriran Is. 

Commuters may take a jeepney from Sorsogon City plying the Sorsogon-Bacon-Sawanga route. Travel time is less than 1 hour due to delays in picking up and dropping off passengers. But this shouldn’t be a worry, because a view of the mountain ranges and the countryside should keep your eyes busy throughout the trip. Take the topload seat for best appreciation. Tell the driver to drop you off where the resort signage is located (left side of the road) and just walk right into the resort.
Cottage rental ranges from 200PhP (bare cottage) to 300PhP (with videoke). Ms. Lani Nogales attends to the resort guests’ requests and collects payments.  The place is already a Sorsoganon popular tourist destination. Only a portion of the coastline is developed as a resort, but it boasts a long stretch of white sand comparable to that of Boracay. It has more of what Boracay has with its unique mangrove sheltering the forefront of the beach to the left of right.

Although I’m comparing it to Boracay, I don’t want this place to be developed like Boracay. The aura of the pristine beach and laidback setting is the charming aspect to this place. I don’t want a party house and thousands to millions of tourists out there during holy week like so many beaches nowadays. There are news of insurgencies in the Bacon area, so I think this alone would limit the appeal to tourists of the Paguriran Island. In general though, it is a great place to visit. But according to locals, be sure to be on your way back to Sorsogon City before nightfall just to be safe.

We arrived at the beach around 11:00AM, chose a vacant cottage, and set out to prepare our lunch. We had our rice cooked for us by Ate Lani (for a very cheap fee), while we tend to grilling fresh fish, eggplant and pork cuts we bought from the market. Kuya Pablo and Kuya Raymund took charge of the grilling task, so Val and I were free to explore the rest of the island. 

Across the white sand beach of this part of Bacon, is the destination highlight - Paguriran Island. The sea is almost always shallow enough to allow a safe crossing to the island via a waist-deep sand path. On a clear day, a distant but distinct Mt. Mayon on the left side can be seen.

The cherry on top of the island is a saltwater lagoon which recharges its water with the turn of tides. There were a handful of tourist on the island. All of them left a little (for lunch) so we have the lagoon to ourselves. But Val was determined to stay away from the deeper portions of the lagoon, so I went alone (not too far) while he takes my photo from the side. It was better for me that way. Haha!

A few photos and a hungry stomach later, we returned to the main island for lunch. It was a very satisfying lunch for the weekend island tourists.

I had a 30 minutes siesta (after eating my share of the biggest grilled fish in the bunch), while Val makes sand castles nearby. Afterwards, we crossed again for the island, the water was a little shallower this time and more people were enjoying a dip at the lagoon. On the island, I was hoping I could convince Val to join me in climbing up the boundaries of the lagoon to see the other side of the island, but I failed. So I left Val at the comfort of the corals shade and set out with Penguini instead. I packed Penguini inside a plastic bag, and floated on my back to get past the deeper portions of the lagoon. On my way, there was a commotion about the local kids seeing a snake on the other side, where I intend to go. It scared me off, because water snakes I know it to be venomous.  But seeing the kids coming and going to check on the snake, I decided the snake is something I can handle, with caution of course.
Curious, I asked the kids where the snake was. I saw the snake nesting on the hollows of the coral formation and peeking from time to time to see what’s outside. Then the snakefeels our presence, sneaks back to the crevice and out of our view. Told the kids (some few advise I learned from NatGeo) to leave the snake be, and try to not do anything to agitate the snake. I moved on with the snake fuzz to do what I was there for – take a photo of Penguini.

I took this shot of my penguin and thought I’d head back already. Penguini was so close to the edge, a little boy (aptly concerned) warned me of the wind blowing in and pushing Penguini off the cliff. I did not attend to him and took the photo. As I was just grabbing the penguin, the wind came, and Penguini dived to the side of the cliff. I screamed… The little boy jumped a few good meters to the water to save Penguini in time and threw him back to me. The hero of the day was Christian, and to him I am very grateful.

As Christian climbed back up, he headed unwittingly to where the snake was. I warned him and he laughed saying he forgot about the snake as he dodged to the side. I decided I’d take a peek at the snake again from the other side of my view earlier. Then I noticed, there were two (or more) snakes coiled up together as if in coitus. I took a photo although I couldn’t get a better view that was safe enough for me to back down if there would be any snake movements. The dark space where they dwelled in contrast with the noon glare of the sun above made it more difficult. I took my own advice earlier. I went back to the lagoon and let the snakes be.

Back at the lagoon, the kids from the snake viewing grew fond of me, as I grew fond of them. They loved Penguini and wanted to have their photo taken with him. ^_^ 

They noticed the waterproof camera, and asked me if I could use it underwater. I gave them a demo, and asked one boy to dive and I took his underwater shot. I loved seeing their eyes glow in fascination of things us from the city were so unappreciative of. Their happiness was genuine and that was priceless…

The kids were very very natural in the water. I envy them. They were jumping from the rocks to the lagoon as they scream, taking turns, and doing it again and again. I got the best shot of one kid (AJ) jumping off the lagoon’s centerpiece coral and that was the finale shot to my day with the local kids.

All the while, Val was still at the shade taking an occasional dip… We walked back to the resort talking about the current and the ripplemarks formed on the sand. Haha!!

There were other good spots in this small island which the kids told me to be picture worthy, but I don’t want to be too adventurous in a place where a venomous snake might be lurking around. I will be going back to this place anytime soon being assigned in Sorsogon, so I’d take it one adventure at a time.

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