Slices of Boracay, Palawan beaches in Quezon
Dreaming of strolling on the powdery, white sand beaches of Boracay or spending a day marveling at rock formations of Palawan?
In Padre Burgos town in Quezon province, some 160 kilometers from Metro Manila, this “dream vacation” can be had without busting one’s pockets.
Padre Burgos, a quiet coastal town in the Bondoc Peninsula, has been steadily attracting visitors to its serene beaches and modest accommodations minus the boisterous crowd.
Beach lovers can explore three destinations along the Tayabas Bay—Borawan, Dampalitan and Puting Buhangin—in a single package tour.
Jose Nañola, boat dispatcher at the pier in Barangay Campo, says more than 20 boats ferry 10 to 20 tourists who want to enjoy beach-hopping for P1,800.
Most tourists prefer visiting the Puting Buhangin (white sand) first, which is an hour’s boat ride from the port, followed by a 30-minute travel to Dampalitan. The final stop is a 15-minute travel to Borawan before guests are ferried back to the port.
For those choosing a single destination, the boatmen charge a lower fare.
“Tourists can even stay overnight in one place and they would be fetched by the boatman the next day using the same rate,” Nañola said.
A trip to Borawan costs P800 while beach-hopping to Borawan and Dampalitan costs P1,200. A direct trip to Puting Buhangin, the farthest of the three destinations, costs P1,800.
Borawan, one of the popular destinations located in the village of Lipata, got its name from a combination of its white sand beach and rock formations likened to the features of Boracay Island and Palawan. Locals say its name was coined by three Catholic priests who came when it was still unheard of among tourists.
The place, being operated by the Metro Manila-based Borawan Island Resort, is a 15-minute boat ride from the port.
For P150, a guest can experience a day of strolling along the white sand beach and dip in its crystal clear seas. An overnight stay would cost a visitor P220.
Students and senior citizens are charged P115 and P180, respectively. Children aged 4 years old and below are free of charge.
The resort has 22 huts, rented out for P850 to P1,200 each. It is divided into three stations: an area for huts and cottages, the “tent city” where guests stay in tents, and an area where eight air-conditioned hotel rooms featuring a restaurant and bar.
At Station 2 is a small variety store selling soda, bottled water and other food items.
A tent can be rented for P500 for 24 hours. A guest who wants to pitch their own tent would have to pay P200 to P250 for the space.
“The place may look costly for ordinary beach bums. But having a slice of Boracay and Palawan in one place is a thrilling experience,” said Ronald Garcia, a resident of Metro Manila who visited the Borawan recently with his friends.
A generator set lights up bulbs at the resort at night. Campfires are prohibited.
Beach lovers have started to notice Borawan in 2010 after a television show featured its natural charm.
The more adventurous can trek and explore the four caves in the village overlooking the Tayabas Bay. Local tour guides are available for a modest fee.
An ideal place to commune with nature is Puting Buhangin beach in Pagbilao town, where the rock formation called Kuwebang Lampas (roughly translated, “see-through cave”) is among its iconic features.
The cave, partially submerged in clear waters, has another entrance at the other side of the rocky cliff.
Most visitors stay inside the cave for photo shoots and snorkeling. A guest is charged P80 for a day trip and P160 for an overnight stay. The place is being operated by Pagbilao Development Corp.
The beach, located in Barangay Ibabang Polo, can also be reached through an 18-km trip from the Maharlika Highway. Guests have to park their vehicles far from the beach and walk for 15 minutes to reach the area.
The resort offers free tent space for guests. A tent can also be rented for P400 for a day.
For P60, a visitor can experience Dampalitan’s fresh air and pristine waters.
Its shoreline features 20-year-old agojo trees that provide shade to visitors.
The family-owned resort in Dampalitan offers simple amenities to their guests—huts with bamboo beds (papag) at P1,000 for an overnight stay; mobile phone charging at P30; and free use of toilets and shower rooms but guests have to pay P400 for a drum of water.
Tourists are also allowed to pitch their own tents in any part of the island. A picnic table can be rented for P300 a day.
Local fishermen offer their fresh catch to resort guests. The resort staff can cook these for visitor or they can grill them beside their picnic tables.
These beach resorts are secured by private guards assisted by local policemen, barangay watchmen and local radio communication groups to ensure the safety of visitors.
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