Have you ever visited a place that took your breath away instantly?
Do you love basking in the sun on a white sandy beach?
If the answer to both questions is yes, then you’re in for a treat.
A Paradise Where I Took My Very First Breath
Sicogon Island, a concealed luminous gem in the coast of Northern Iloilo, Philippines. A paradise where I took my very first breath. The island was one of the popular tourist spots in the Philippines back in the 1970’s. This remote island was famous for its crystal clear water and long white sand beach lined with coconut trees. Unfortunately, because of the declaration of martial law, my sweet home town was forgotten, and I wasn’t able to see how it was once, until this picture was shared by its owner.
My Sweet Home Town Has Been Reborn
Today however, after decades past, my sweet home town has been reborn as a tourist destination in Western Visayas. Since I left my hometown, every time I came to visit my family, it’s beauty still remains. Every year, the Island surprises me. It’s unsurprisingly stunning scenery offers an exciting Island experience. From the iconic mountain, warm sandy beaches, natural inlet bounded by mangrove trees. Its unique flora and fauna, coves that are dotting the coastline, promising more secluded escape and various nature-driven activities.
Things I love to do on the Island:
1. Watch the sunset
From Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines going back home to the Island takes almost the whole day. I would leave from home (here in Pampanga) about 5 o’clock in the morning, my husband would drive me to bus terminal. I will get the bus to Manila that would take me 3 hours to get to the airport. I would then wait for the plane to leave at 10 in the morning, if I’m lucky that the plane is not late, as most of the time it is late. I will get to the Island about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Although the flight from Manila to Roxas Airport is only 1 hour, my travel took 12 hours before I can make it home. Yes, it is really tiring, it’s just like I traveled half a world already (over exaggerating here). However, all that time spent in the car, bus, plane, bus, and finally boat were all worth it. I get to see my family especially my daughter. And sunset is my favorite scenery. When the sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught on fire.
Who wouldn’t appreciate this beautiful scenery? Sunset reminds us that there is beauty in the darkness.
Who doesn’t want to go jump around the beach and dip in the water if your house is just few feet away from it? (the beach is my backyard). The next morning, after breakfast, my daughter, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, will all go swimming. This is what I missed, living in the city. In the Island, I just need to walk few feet and I’m at the beach. In the City I need to drive for 3 hours before I can enjoy the beach.
In the afternoon we would go to the other part of the Island to meet with relatives and have some time catching up. My sisters and I would prepare food to bring and of course, beer and brandy won’t be missed. We would spend the whole afternoon by the beach, have some beer or brandy, and talk a lot until sundown.
Our Island does not only offer its white sand beach and crystal-clear sea water. It also offers us our drinking water, from the top of its mountain which we called Mt. Opao. Your visit to our secret paradise will not be complete if you don’t go for trekking. I don’t like doing this all the time as hiking for up to 2 hours is really exhausting, but the view on the top is exhilarating. From the top you can see the whole island from any direction. (my nephew Mac Shane, conquering Mt. Opao)
“The best view comes after the hardest climb”.
These are only a few activities among many that I love doing on the Island. Today, as the development continues, many people from other parts of the Philippines have started discovering our hidden paradise. It has been visited by local and national TV. My only hope is that this paradise won’t be ruined in the near future because of the development.
How to get there:
1-hour flight from Manila to Roxas City (although our Island belongs to Iloilo City, Roxas is the closest). From the City, about 2 hours bus ride to Estancia, the closest town to the Island. From Estancia, it will take 30 to 45 minutes to the Island. There is a newly built resort that offers a real Island experience to enjoy your Island adventure. http://www.sicogonisland.com.ph/balaykogon
Must do while in the Island:
Here are a few activities that you must do when visiting Sicogon, besides the things I have listed above:
3. Seafood feast, (boodle fight)
4. Island hoping
The development of the Island includes revival of the airport and the seaport. In the coming future, there will be a flight directly from Manila to the Island where I wouldn’t have to travel half a day to see my beautiful paradise.
Crisly Zerrudo is an entrepreneur, blogger and writer. She loves sharing knowledge and motivating people who are going through challenging times. She is the co-founder of Empowering and Uplifting, a growing community of people who are inspiring and empowering others to overcome difficulties in life.