Excerpt from Crossing Wild Quezon by Mini Van, InFlight July-August 2012 Issue cover story written by Oggie Ramos.
Back To Basics in Alibijaban Island
“Plan B means spending the late afternoon hours exploring Long Beach with our local host, Dina Lopinac Dela Torre, a school teacher. Towards sunset, the shoreline recedes some hundred meters, exposing areas planted to mangroves. Fishermen were hauling in their fresh catch of small sapsap (slipmouth/pony fish), my favorite, which ended up on our dinner table, fried to a delicious crisp and paired with pinakurat (local vinegar made from fermented coconut water). We had a quiet dinner in the open air dining area of Dina’s house under a huge mango tree. There was no shark or ray available due to the weather but there was kinunot na isda (fish cooked in coconut milk). Ahh, the simple joys of visiting a place untainted by commercial tourism.
“We woke up before sunrise to cross over to Alibijaban Island, 15 minutes away, on a small motorized banca. We got glimpses of the simple life on the island mainly populated by families of fishermen. School children come to school either by banca or walking through patches of mangroves as the men sail to shore with their catch. ”
Setting Out for Cagbalete Island
“We woke to a bright, clear morning. Fueled by a hasty breakfast of coffee and peanut butter cookies, we hiked 20 minutes through grassland to the eastern side of the island. Emerging from the windbreak rows of she-oaks (trees that resemble pine trees but grow in drier land), we found a shoreline littered by seaweeds and a deserted stretch of beach with fine, fair sand all to ourselves.
At Villa Cleofas, we watched the copra workers as they went about their business, shucking coconut and preparing them for drying. After an hour, we went for the hammocks by the beach to watch the birds and survey the empty beach.”
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