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Swim at the Less Traveled Waters
Story by: jovy avisado ( Member ) on 2016-10-14
Lenten Season, aside from being a holiday for religious devotees, is also a moment for those who seeks relaxation and enjoyment. Booking flights, connecting to online travel sites, going to swimming pools and beaches are the usual activities at the time. However, if you're looking for a different kind of swimming experience, far from the famous beaches like Boracay and El Nido which expectedly get crowded and congested during the season, try going to the underdeveloped ones, but are also as beautiful as the well-known beaches in our country.

1. Dampalitan Island -- Padre Burgos, Quezon

Among the underdeveloped islands in Quezon Province, Dampalitan Island is the most famous. Your eyes will be drawn to the pine trees that lined its white sandy shores. If you're looking for a simple and laidback environment, then  going to this place is just right for you. There are few cottages available but you can set up a camp at the designated areas. When you're going to take a swim, you'll surely notice a net barrier in the water. This is to protect the vacationers from the jellyfish so make sure to stay afloat within the "safe" area.

The challenge on this island are the absence of electricity and phone signal, and lack of comfort rooms. There are less than five restrooms in the whole island. Long queues in these comfort rooms are a common sight in Dampalitan. If you're a faint-hearted, then make sure that you'll finish your "serious business" at the restroom before sunset for it gets pitch black at nightfall. There are vendors that sell sticks and other needed materials if you plan to build a bonfire.

Dampalitan Island
(Dampalitan shore lined with colorful flagposts)
How to get there:

- Ride a bus to Lucena City and get off at the grand terminal. Take a bus going to Unisan and tell the conductor to drop you off at QRCB Bank (Padre Burgos).

- Take a tricycle going to Aplaya where you can rent a boat. Instead of asking the boatman to just take you directly to Dampalitan Island, you can also ask him to take you on an island hopping tour (Dampalitan, Borawan, and Puting Buhangin Islands)

2. Borawan Island -- Padre Burgos, Quezon

In just 30 minutes from Dampalitan Island, you'd be able to come across this small but attractive island -- Borawan. The name Borawan sounds peculiar and familiar right? The local folks named the island after Boracay and Palawan due to its white sand and spectacular rock formations which can be also found in the said beaches. Though it has shorter shorelines than Dampalitan Island, its limestone rock formations attract much attention which are good for rock climbing and rapelling. The place has nipa huts available for rent but also has no electricity and phone signal.

Borawan Island
(Small rock formation in Borawan)

3. Anawangin Cove -- Zambales

Compared to the other two islands, Anawangin Cove is quite developed. It is owned by a local family, who lives in Pundaquit that makes sure that the place is well-maintained. The place is a good alternative if you want to go to Boracay when you're on a short budget. Anawangin has an off-white sand and evergreen forest near the shore. However, it has no hotels and restaurants around so make sure to bring your tents and a good supply of food if you plan to stay overnight.

After taking a good swim, you can try hiking up Anawangin's two beach cliffs to have a good view at the place. Or you can trek your way to a hill that is located behind the forest if you're up for an adventure. Just be cautious to the wild animals that lurk around the area. If you're a no adventurer, then you can spend the hot afternoon lying on the hammock under a tree's comfortable shade.

Anawangin Cove
(shore of Anawangin Cove)
How to get there:

- Take a bus to Iba, Zambales or Sta. Cruz, Zambales. When nearing the town of San Antonio, ask the conductor to drop you off at the town's public market.

- Call a tricycle going to Pundaquit where you can rent a boat that will take you to and fro Anawangin. Just make sure to instruct the boatman when he will fetch you.

These beaches may not have the basic comforts and amenities that you enjoy in developed resorts in the Philippines -- electricity, phone signal, clean and conventional comfort rooms; but what is Holy Week without a bit of sacrifice? Go out of your comfort zone and spend and enjoy the holiday with a meaning.

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