A conversation with a colleague last week, about a weekend destination that he headed to last weekend, had me and him discussing about my blog and the trips that I have gone to. He was asking for my suggestions on weekend destinations to which I directed him to me website. When he mentioned “Borawan”, I told him that I have been there and started sharing my inputs. I told him that he can check out my blog on Borawan to give him a better idea.
He came back to me and said that he and his friends could not find the actual blog about Borawan. I figured that there might be some problem with the search engine of my website so I checked and found out that there was nothing wrong with the search tab. But searching for the Borawan blog still yielded a negative result. Desperate to check out what was wrong, I went from entry to entry.
Guess what I found out?
I did not blog about our Borawan, Dampalitan, and Putting Buhangin trip.
So before the heat of summer of 2016 fizzles out, let me share with you a great summer destination that you might want to check out.
Padre Burgos is a town along the coast of Tayabas Bay that was named after one of three martyred priests of the Philippine revolution. The town, that sits east of Lucena City, is laid back and is also known to be the jump-off point to three amazing islands in Quezon – Borawan, Puting Buhangin, and Dampalitan.
It took us another 45 minutes from Lucena City to get to Padre Burgos via a non-airconditioned bus. My daughter and I had the privilege of sitting next to the driver aboard the rickety bus where we were treated to amazing views of Quezon’s farmlands and seascape of Tayabas.
Padre Burgos is a quaint and laid back town where there is not much to see except for the three islands that we were planning to visit. It is the closest jump off point to Borawan, Dampalitan, and Puting Buhangin. In fact, one can already view the famed Borawan Island from the coast of Padre Burgos.
There are a number of accomodations located on the mainland but a lot of travelers opt to head off to one of these islands and camp out. In our case, we opted to stay in Tamarind Resort, a beachfront resort in town.
Borawan Island is the closest island from Padre Burgos. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to get to the island via motorized boat. It is the most popular beach destination because the island is said to have the white sand shoreline of Boracay and the limestone formations of Palawan, hence the name Borawan, a mash-up of BORacay and PalaWAN.
Having been to both Palawan and Boracay, my expectations were up about Borawan. It was going to be our first island stop just before the day ends. As we boarded our ride, our manong scooped out a jelly fish from the waters. Now the mere sight of the jellyfish had me thinking and feeling painful stings but we were assured that these jellyfish were the type that do not sting. So I mustered up my courage to hold it and there was no sting. Just a word of caution, check with your boatman before picking up any jellyfish that you see.
The limestone formations and the cream-colored shoreline loomed on the horizon after 15 minutes of riding the calm waters of Padre Burgos. The rock formations jutted out and was complemented by pockets of sandy shores. As soon as our boat docked on shore, you would feel the different charm of Borawan Island.
I guess Borawan has a good and bad point. The limestone rock formations was impressive and it was probably close to that of Palawan. On the other hand, the shoreline was not even close to that of Boracay’s. I guess that was the reason why I was not initially impressed with Borawan. It had its own charm which is impressive since it is rustic and beautiful. I think marketing it as similar to that of Boracay and Palawan is not an effective way of promoting it as it can lead to disappointment.
Puting Buhangin / Kwebang Lampas
I started out the next day with much excitement trying to catch the sunrise. It was amazing to watch Padre Burgos come into life to welcome a brand new day. The waters of Padre Burgos is relatively shallow so one can enjoy walking along its waters. You can count starfish, fish, and even jellyfish while enjoying the amazing backdrop of Borawan from a distance.
After breakfast, we boarded our boat to go to our next destination – Putting Buhangin. The cove is within the jurisdiction of the nearby Pagbilao town. It can be accessed via land or boat through Pagbilao or by boat through Padre Burgos. It is known for its white sand shoreline bounded by interesting rock formations on both ends. One of its unique destination is the Kwebang Lampas located at the other end of the beach. It is a pass thru cave that has one side opening up onto the sea.
The beach was full of campers when we got there and finding a good spot to pitch a tent was a challenge. It was obviously the preferred destination because of the volume of people at the beach. The sand is whiter and finer in Puting Buhangin compared to Borawan and the beach is more swim-friendly. Again, the only concern was the volume of people camping along its shores.
Interestingly, I had the chance to check out Kwebang Lampas located at one end of the shoreline. You need to carefully traverse the sharp edged rocks leading to the cave opening. From there one can traverse the inside of the cave leading you to huge cavity where you can view the sea from the exit point of the cave. Make sure though that you practice caution if you want to explore Kwebang Lampas.
Dampalitan is probably my favorite among the three islands. It did not have the usual crowd and had the most amazing beachfront to enjoy although they also had a specific area for swimming that is protected from jellyfish. Like the two other coves, the way to go in Dampalitan is by setting up camp. The shoreline is lined with sea pines that people often compare Dampalitan Island with that of Anawangin and Nagsasa.
I have to admit that I quickly fell in love with Dampalitan because of its fine cream-colored sand and its clear turquoise waters. I guess I found it more “photogenic” compared to that of Borawan and Putting Buhangin. It also helped that there were less crowd that it was easier to find a spot where one can sit down and just enjoy its natural beauty. I figured that should I visit Padre Burgos again, I would prefer setting up camp in Dampalitan.
Post Travel Notes
It’s been two years since I have been to Borawan, Puting Buhangin, and Dampalitan. A lot could have changed from before to now and it is probably interesting to find out how the landscape changed in two years.
Interestingly, these three beaches in Padre Burgos is still a favorite spot by weekend warriors based from the feedback from one of my colleagues who recently visited the place. I think Borawan, Puting Buhangin, and Dampalitan have its own charm that can attract its own set of visitors that it does not need to stay within the shadows of the more popular Philippine destinations.
So if you are looking for a quick summer escape just right before the rainy season sets in, you can check out Padre Burgos and enjoy its rustic charm.
Getting There: You can take a bus bound for Grand Terminal in Lucena from Cubao or Buendia where you can take an ordinary bus bound for Unisan. You can ask the driver to drop you off at the town center of Padre Burgos. Mode of transportation in Padre Burgos is tricycle. Travel time is 4 to 5 hours.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.