Day Trip to Jomabo Island

Finally, we were going to Jomabo. It has been a year since I last saw the island. Back then, it was only from Old Escalante's Port Barcelona, and the island looked like a tiny white speck out on the horizon. Now we were finally getting on a banca with bags, food, and sunblock galore, ready to experience the island that I have heard so much about.

We reached the pier located in the old section of Escalante City at about noon. Our Jolibee lunches were still warm, and so was the noonday sun. To my chagrin ( and everyone else's) the only banca available did not have a tarp, and so we were doomed to spend the trip to the island under the glaring heat of the noonday sun. Fortunately, we are a family of hardy optimists, ready to brave any trial, be it suntroke, drowning, or a tarpless banca just to reach our destination. So we slapped on some sunblock, donned our shades and made our way down the pier to the little boat that was waiting to take us to Jomabo.


Getting down to the banca sure was no walk in the park

The banca ride lasted for about 30 really hot and sunny minutes. Most tourists can avoid a ride under the glaring heat of the sun by making reservations with Paradise Beach Resort, the resort on the island, ahead of time for a boat ride to and from the island. Paradise Beach Resort has a couple of bancas just for this purpose, but we did not know of this at the time. Banca rides to and from the resort come as part of the package that includes the accomodations and the entrance fees to the island. A 6-8 person group can usually expect to spend about 5,000 pesos or more for an island package that includes non-airconditioned accomodations, entrance fees, plus the boat rides that will take them from the port to the island and back.

The image of the island looming larger and larger with every grunt of the boat was a welcome sight, and everyone heaved a sigh of relief when our boat finally rounded the small, narrow, white tip of the island and touched the sandy bottom. One by one we made our way to the plank and jumped off into the white sand with the help of our guides.
Getting off the banca with a little help

Jomabo Island is really something. One look at the pristine white stretch of sand and you'll feel a wave of calm wash over you in instant. And because it was Friday, a weekday, the island was pretty deserted. We would later be informed by John, the friendly island manager, that most visitors make their way to the island on the weekends, which is the reason why we had Jomabo for ourselves that day.
The beachfront, Jomabo Island
We set up camp on one of the tables near the beach, which was fortunately under the shade of trees. It turned out that we really were the only ones there, apart from John and the rest of the construction workers and staff. Unfortunately, the tide had already receded by the time we got there, which meant that swimming was already out of the question. We managed to amuse ourselves by exploring the island, which was undergoing heavy construction and didn't quite look like the island that we saw online. Most of the cottages were falling apart, and the hotel was padlocked and looked deserted from the outside. The tennis courts did not look too well-kept, either. John, the friendly manager who mans the gift shop, told us that construction is indeed under way, but they have to make frequent stops especially if the boatload of sand and gravel for the construction do not reach the island on time.

The resort has a beachfront bar, where guests can preorder their meals. It was a good thing that we brought our lunches since the bar was closed when we got there. The island has no corkage fee, which is a good thing. We didn't get to try the videoke bar, though, because it seemed that everyone was tired from the little banca ride. The videoke bar was located inside a cottage at the edge of the beach, overlooking the ocean.

John said that allappliances, the videoke machine included, run on the generator, since there is no electricity on the island. He also informed us that if there are no visitors, the staff is only allowed about 3 hours of electricity, from 5 pm to 6 pm.

at the island bar
Eyeing an empty bottle of Tanduay that previous guests have left behind

taking a walk barefoot
The resort also has equipent for snorkeling and kayaking,which we did not get to try, either. However, all was not lost. We compensated by taking pictures of everything that we saw. My cousin had a great time collecting shells, which abound on the seashore. (He found a starfish, but after some prodding decided to return the poor thing back into the ocean.)
Jaijai looking for shells

Jaijai under the walkway
The island is a really great place to take pictures in, and we made the most of our cameras by posing in every nook and crany of the resort. We also had a great time chatting with John, who happens to be a very funny and talkative guy. We got the impression that he misses having other people to talk to during the weekdays when the resort is low on guests, which is why he was particularly chatty with us during our visit.
Lolo with John, the guy who mans the gift shop

Another disappointment was that we didn't get to experience one of the island's famous sunsets, which people say is one of the best in the world. We left in the middle of the afternoon, a bit 'bitin' but thankful nonetheless that we got to experience at least a few hours on the island.

All in all, a great trip. We didn't get to go swimming, but perhaps a dip in the island's pristine waters was meant for another day. Will surely be looking forward to another trip to Jomabo.


5 comments:

licruz said...

You have nice photos here joselle. I also have my share of jomabo photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/clipics

More power on your blog!

JoSeLLE said...

thanks! hoping to most more photos soon. I also enjoyed looking at the other photos of jomabo that other people took. the island is really one great place.

kat said...

how nice your pics joselle! :) i esp. love the one where u were walking on the beach, looking back to the camera.

JoSeLLE said...

thanks kat!!! hehe that's my favorite pod. my sis took it.

hazel said...

hi joselle... i research pics of Jomabo thats why i brought up here... The day before we went to Jomabo.. We've been there.. and saw its really great..

 

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