I write about what I perceive from my senses and what I can think of...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

ISLAND OF ROMANTICS



Isla Romantica: A brief background

Is.la – island
ro.man.ti.ka – romantic
isla romantika – romantic island, island of romantics

Isla Romantica is a little man-made island located offshore in Alegria, Cordova. The owner, Mr. Benjamin or Noy Ben, shared a little history about his island. He told us that he built the island for five years. Whew! IMO, that’s quite an accomplishment from a single individual not to mention an old man. We then asked him as to how he built the place. He replied that Isla Romantica was naturally a coral island. Noy Ben only improved the edifice. Still, his effort to improve nature’s rough handiwork merits commendation. I’m still not sure why it’s named Isla Romantica. Maybe Noy Ben is a romantic gentleman who wooed a lot of damsels during his time. Based on our conversation, we noticed that Noy Ben is a really kind, humble and down-to-earth individual. With these qualities, no doubt he was able to capture women’s hearts.:D Another reason for the name may be the history of the island. An artist sees beyond what is real and puts his interpretation for something he had perceived. An artist strives to evoke emotions, ideas, and thoughts as well as improve something uninteresting to something fascinating. Noy Ben is certainly such an artist. Nature provided the materials and mold while Noy Ben created something based on his imagination and perception.  His creation is a romanticized version of nature’s work. I praise his creativity and industry in making the Island of Romantics a reality.



Getting there:
 Isla Romantica is situated in Alegria, Cordova. If you’re from Lapu-Lapu City, you can just ride the multicab bound for Cordova either in the Opon market or along the M.L. Quezon National Highway. If you’re from Mandaue or Cebu City, you can ride a multicab headed for Opon, Lapu-Lapu City. You can find the multicabs across the San Miguel Brewery near the gasoline station (I think it’s Petron) or in front of Rose Pharmacy near KFC Mandaue. The fare is only P 7.50. An alternative would be to ride the ferry. Those from Mandaue, tell the driver that you’ll be getting off near the ferry wharf or in front of DepEd Lapu-Lapu or at the side of the Birhen Sa Regla Church. Then, ride another multicab bound for Cordova.

If it’s your first time and you don know where to stop, you can tell the multicab driver to drop you off in Alegria or you can just mention that you’re heading for Isla Romantika. The best advice is to enjoy the ride. If the driver drops you off and you’re uncertain whether it’s the right place, here are the landmarks. The letter signifies where the multicab drops you off.



When you’re certain that you’re in the right place, you can look for a trisikad. They are usually parked across Nicey bakeshop. Just tell the driver that you’re heading for Isla Romantika and they’ll take you there. The fare is only P10.00. If you’re observant enough, you’ll notice that the trisikad will turn right before reaching barangay Gabi near the Alegria Outpost. Upon reaching the drop off site, you can ask the locals as to where Noy Ben is. Tell them that you intend to go to the Isla Romantica. Don’t fret, they will help you. They will tell you to go ahead and wait for Noy Ben near the shore especially if Noy Ben is at home. If you want to stay and wait, you can.  But if you’re feeling adventurous, you can walk towards the shore.



Follow the red line and go around the gate. You will see a well treaded path which will lead you to the shore.





So green:)
Keep walking...you're almost there.
Ah! The sea. I can almost taste it.

Across the shore, you can see the island already.


View on the left side
It's the island!  
View on the right side
When a kind but silent old man approaches you, do not be alarmed. He is Noy Ben. When we met him, he wore glasses. He is the owner of the island as well as the person who will steer the motorless boat (banca) to Isla Romantica.



The glamour of simplicity

If it’s low tide, you will have to walk through murky waters and muddy sand.


Aw...my poor, poor  cheap slippers.
The 5-10 minutes boat ride will take you to Isla Romantica. Noy Ben uses a wooden pole to steer the banca through nearly shallow waters and a trench. It’s quite amazing.:)


The trench is really distinct.

Isla Romantica
The Island fee
The boat ride is worth P20.00 back and forth. You will only pay P100.00 for the use of the island and its tables and lone cottage. No, I don’t think it’s P100.00 per person because there were two of us and we only had to pay that amount. Pretty cheap huh? Your very own island to use for only a hundred Pesos. If other people will use the island on that same day, you will have to share.:) There’s no first come-first served policy. If you’re feeling generous, you can give a tip or bonus to Noy Ben. He will refuse but if you will insist (in our case, strongly insist), he will oblige. I really think that the island fee is a great value for you money. Unlike other destinations, they will charge exuberant fees for everything (even the use of toilets, entrance, table and water for flushing). Although later on you will discover the simplicity and lack of certain amenities but you get my point, right?


The lone cottage. It has withstood storms, heat, and intense humidity.

Isla Romantica: The Reality
After the boat ride, you’ll then set foot on the small island. You’ll climb up on rocks fashioned like stairs. You may be pleased or disappointed by what you’ll see. The reality is that it’s not a paradise. On the left side is the poorly maintained (for others, shabby) cottage. On the right side are three tables beneath the shade of the Talisay trees. The island’s foundation is made of coral rocks.


The lush leaves of the Talisay tree

Birds enjoying a moment's respite

It's quite shady here:)

The Pros
It is an isolated island. It will offer you a setting depending on your preference. It is a good place for a romantic date, a comfortable family outing or an enjoyable chance for a group bonding. The island also offers a breathtaking view of the sunset. The vivid colors contrasting in the sky presents quite a picturesque vista. The sun’s heat won’t bother you that much because the place is breezy and the Talisay trees serve as a good shade. Staying on the island gives you a chance to reconnect with nature, spend a quiet day alone or with your loved ones, sleep while enjoying the cool breeze and of course, frolic on the warm waters.


clean waters

white sand
tables beneath small Talisay trees
A picturesque sunset
The Cons
The island is still undeveloped with regards to its amenities. The cottage as what I have mentioned is poorly maintained although the bamboo chair/table/bed served its purpose. There is no electricity, no proper waste bin and no toilet.


The skeleton
the view above....
Leave nothing but footprints
Guidelines before going to the island
  1. Bring lots of food and water since there are no stores in the island
  2. Secure everything you need because it will be quite a hassle getting off the island and going back for something like ice for example.
  3. There is no electricity so you’ll have to charge your batteries at home---your mobile, camera, music players, PSPs, electronic books, and other gadgets.
  4. Bring plastics for your wastes. Do not leave your trash on the island.
  5. Lastly, enjoy!

Expense:
P15.00 (7.50x2) - Fare from Mandaue City to Opon, Lapu-Lapu City (two-way)
P22.00 – Fare from Opon, Lapu-Lapu City to Cordova (two-way)
P20.00 - Trisikad fare (two-way)
P20.00 – Banca fare (two-way)
P100.00 – Island fee
---------
P177.00 – total
Experience – priceless!

It's time to go...:(
I shall return^^

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
Rabindranath Tagore 

The sweetest stolen moment is spending it beside a loved one; holding hands, feeling each other's warmth, while watching the sunset. ---renkei

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