Similar to Boracay and or Panglao Island, minus the people and the commercial establishments, that’s Pamilacan Island. A literal paradise we’ve’ fallen in love with. Inhabited by less than 2000 people mainly fisher folks and operator of homestays. I was here last year 2016 when I join Balyena.org ”Bohol Sea Cetacean Survey”. We stayed in the island for 2 nights and 3days mainly spending the whole day in the boat looking and spotting for dolphins and whales of Bohol Sea. It was that time that I told myself to come back for a vacation and hopefully I can tag along my kids.
Recently about 3rd week of September I finally got that plan realize with my buddy and kids.
We depart Cebu to Tagbilaran via Lite shipping ferry leaving daily from Cebu at 10pm, took us 5hrs to reach Tagbilaran City in Bohol. We stayed two more hours in the boat while its docked, then we proceed to go out of the boat around 530am and took a tricycle from the port to the main town of Baclayon for about 15-20minutes ride, the boat from the cottage that we book waited to pick us up in the port.
Kuya Junior of Junior and Nemesia’s Cottages greeted us with warmth smiles, immediately assisting us with our luggage.The trip to the island took about 30-45minutes with a sighting of Rissos’ Dolphin roughly ive minutes before arriving the island, another good welcome sign.
We are booked for 2 nights and 3days in a small cottage with 2 queen size bed, they charge 1000Php/night per pax including 3 meals already, children 12years old and below they charge half which is 500Php. The room is simply made of light material and bamboo floors, the toilet is clean, although water is limited since this is tiny island surrounded by sea water, even in summer they have to fetch fresh water from the mainland of Baclayon. Please remember to conserve water once you visit here.
My two kids immediately change to swimming attire, grab their snorkel, fins and run to the beach when we arrive, while me and my buddy settled in our room and arrange our things.
It was a very quiet place with only audible chirping birds and sometimes a cry of a hungry goat you can hear. In front of our cottage is the powdery white sand stretching up to 3km long.
While walking along the beach we noticed women in their early or late 40’s sweeping the sand with a broomstick, sensing positive vibes and smiling aura of the woman I ask her if they do that every day and if the cottage owner is paying them to clean the beach, she smiles and said ”No” the local government of Baclayon is paying us Php200 daily to pick up trash and leaves or seaweeds left in the sand when hightide goes back to low-tide”. That’s a big thumbs up to Baclayon LGU.
After a brief chat with the women, I called my kids to pause from swimming since we need to grab our breakfast at the moment prepared by Ate Nemesia, she’s a very charming woman wife of Kuya Junior who runs the JR & Nemesia’s Cottages, They have at least 9 cottages for rent.
Our breakfast is a yummy pancake , sunny side up egg, Chocolate drink for my kids and coffee for us.After eating we notice a fearsome jaw hanging outside Ate nemesia’s kitchen. Without Shark biology knowledge you will immediately conclude that Sharks are really dangerous.This is caught a very long time ago in Bohol sea by Kuya Junior’s forefathers a very long time ago he was still a kid as a bycatch. In fact, before you freak out, Tiger Shark is listed as near threatened species of shark because of massive finning and fishing by humans. ”Sharks are smart animals, they are naturally shy to humans but if you stay calm they became curious and might look at you in the eye and smile” ( according to my buddy who dives with Sharks a lot of times)
We had a quick chat with the nearby resort for info about diving in the area. We pass by a huge concrete structure that is the 200-year-old Spanish fort, they try to rebuilt now after the earthquake that hits Bohol in 2013.
After lunch thick clouds covered the skies and strong winds are blowing, so perfect time to make a kite. We lost one kite and made another one. The kids obviously enjoyed it a lot.
The kids had another swim for the day. In the afternoon we decide to have a stroll in the village crossing to the other side of the island, we end up in a fishing village full of boats and fisherman having drinks, we pass by 1 school and a pathway so beautifully curtained by a flowering tree on each side looking like a canopy.
Today we decide to wake up early for the most awaited part, dolphin watching. Bohol sea is home for atleast 16 species of whales & dolphins , as well as sharks, rays and mantas.Locals in Pamilacan are known to be manta hunters for over a decade, thus ”Pamilacan” means a resting place for manta.
The sunrise for a bit but was quickly covered by thick clouds. The water is is filled with white caps.The first hour we didn’t see any dolphins, we reach further until we felt hungry so we decide to come back to the island and eat breakfast. The condition of the water probably is one reason we didn’t spot dolphins, but I am sure they are there, we just didn’t spot them.
After eating breakfast we had an hour break then we decide to go snorkeling.There is a marine sanctuary on the west side of the beach where you can pay 200Php for the local guide and a paddle boat that will bring you there.
We opted just to stay in front of the beach and see what’s beneath. My kids had lots of fun seeing clownfishes and corals. Some parts are grassy which is perfect habitat for turtles, we didn’t see them while snorkeling but my buddy spotted them from afar surfacing when we were seated outside our cottage shortly after we arrive in the island.
We end the day playing ”touching ball” with a beautiful sunset.
Another chance to spot dolphins, of course, we are all excited again , very happy and we can feel it through our nerves that hundreds of them will gonna show up. Now I don’t wanna hold you waiting, see below the dolphins of Pamilacan.
During the day we spotted 3 species of Dolphins, Fraser, Rissos & Spinners(almost a hundred of them).Another occurrence during the interaction is that 2 white hawks is seen flying by to have some bits of the tuna leftovers from the feeding Spinners.
The interaction lasted for about 2.5 hours, the spinners entertained us non stop as it jumps, breach, and bow ride closest to our boat.
We head back to the beach for our brunch and a well deserve rest, followed by last day of snorkeling on the island.
I did less than an hour yoga poses to stretch my muscles and core having my mind and body in one. It is my deep way to say thank you to the universe for letting us experience this bliss.
lace will remain a favorite in our heart , it composes all elements of a paradise that we love. Simple living , nice beach, very kind people, the sea, the corals, the fish, the dolphins, the flowers, the garden, the yummy food. Everything sums up for a very nice place to unwind, destress, relax and reconnect with mother nature.
More photos below :
Time to say thank you to the lovely locals, specially Ate Nemesia & Kuya Junior and family for being so hospitable.
We promise to come back in the future. ><(((0> 🙂 ❤ ❤
I plan to organize an event here in the fure with Geko Adventures.
So stay tune and cheers to the Spinners in Pamilacan Island.