Sun, Sand, Sea & Smiles
A weekend well spent giving back to the children of Jomalig Island.
In the wee hours of the night, my family and I wandered the silent street heading to the port in Real, Quezon; searching in the dark for the boat that would take us to the promised unspoiled beaches of Jomalig Island. In this 9 hour quest involving land vehicles and a fisherman courier boat, we wanted to set our sights on this majestic place in hopes to help promote the sluggish if not uncertain tourism of the community. Same as what other backpackers have been doing on their way to this lesser known sweet spot to bask in its beauty but this time, our journey was a different one. We were en route to not only help promote, as bloggers, the tourism of this island but to also share a few blessings to the less fortunate children of the community.
VolunTourism – this is what the idea revolved around when our event head blogger Jungie invited us to join this project. Gathering sponsors to help fund this like NutriAsia along with volunteers and 4 other bloggers, we were all determined to go in, see the beauty of this place, give back to the community and leave with an untainted impression that big or small, all efforts to extend a helping hand are merited. That literally anyone can bring joy to a remote community far from the comfortable lifestyle of mainlanders and to spread the word of what others are missing out on.
And so we set sail…
The boat ride itself was an adventure. My daughters C & B did not know we were to sleep on the flooring of the 2-story fisherman courier boat, being swayed like babies for 5 hours. The boat crew were friendly men who knew how to take care of their passengers. They offered coffee at dawn and a simple yet sumptuous lunch after 2 hours had gone by. This was a welcome surprise but an adventure nonetheless. The idea of drifting out into the sea without a sight of land was pretty daunting to us but we knew that the destination and purpose of it would be all worth it.
Finally after hours of swaying and waiting, we landed on the pristine shores of Jomalig Island. We were welcomed by the locals as the kids swam carelessly beside the boat oblivious to how we were all in awe and envy that they had this treasure all to themselves.
We took another short 10 min boat ride going to our resort. Our stay was at Jojomalig Beach Resort which was stunningly beachfront and catered delicious meals throughout our stay. A word of advice: one shouldn’t expect extravagant accommodations but more of an immersed feel of how one should rest on this remote island. ‘Kubos’ or Nipa Huts awaited our tired bodies and served as our abode for the weekend.
There was solar power in the daytime and generator electricity at night. Soft whispers of the wall fan can be heard as we were lullabied to sleep by the waves crashing on the shore. The night provided a cool breeze of island salty air that made us chilly in the middle of the night. No aircon, no problem indeed.
We were able to see the beauty this island had to offer right upon arrival. You can choose to go island hopping via the regular small boat ride or by habal-habal which is just riding at the back of a motorcycle. Our group chose the boat trip because we somehow couldn’t get enough of the sea plus we had our 2 daughters with us (safety reasons).
We were also told that the boat ride would literally have us going around the shape of the entire island so that would give us an unobscured view of the outskirts. With this, we found out that Jomalig Island boasts of not just one beautiful shoreline type but many different kinds at that. There were rock formations of great proportions, pebbled shores, glistening yellow sand and even white sand beaches reminiscent of the old Boracay pictures we see circulating on social media. All of this without the hustle and bustle of too-commercialized tourist island spots in the Philippines.
Serenity at its finest.
The following day was focused on the outreach program that we were all honored to be a part of. Our daughters helped with the sorting and packing of school supplies the night before while we all discussed and strat-planned the program to entertain the children of Jomalig Island.
As the kids arrived one by one, we couldn’t help but notice how excited they were to start and we later found the excitement creep up on us as well. It surely banished our nervousness as amateur helping elves to these 60 innocent faces.
My hubby started with a prayer followed by some words from our event leader Jungie then proceeded to the games proper.
The children enjoyed the morning with games like ‘Open the Basket’, ‘The Boat is Sinking’, ‘Hep Hep Hooray’ and gleefully accepted their prizes afterwards.
Their faces showed of pure happiness and innocence, not tainted by the outside world. It was no doubt, an amazing thing to witness.
Hot Sopas and Puto as snacks were provided as they rested from the high-energy fueled activities.
We then handed out the school supplies packets (generously provided by NutriAsia) to the children and reminded them to always study to their best ability because nothing is greater than proper education. We figured that anyone can actually supply what they can even in small quantities to help children in their daily school activities.
They gave their thanks and flashed their smiles that in the end, we found ourselves to be the ones who gained more from this experience. Our hearts were so full and grateful that the kids enjoyed the day with mere Manila bloggers like us. It goes to show that even the smallest effort can send a ripple unto one’s stream of happiness.
“No act of kindness no matter how small, is ever wasted.” -Aesop
The entire experience was something quite hard to fully put in words. I met new friends whose hearts were made of gold, toured a fabulous island, spent quality time with my family and was even able to bring out the smiles from the children of Jomalig Island.
I personally found myself ambivalent to the idea of commercializing the island. But if you really think about it, this island needs to be seen and experienced. The calmness of the beaches, the friendliness of the people, the crystal clear waters and the overall serenity it bestows on you is priceless and worth every minute of voyage. There just needs to be a balance between preserving the environment and developing the livelihoods of the community through tourism. I hope that more and more travelers will get to bask in this hidden treasure off the southeast coast of Quezon Province but still be responsible enough to keep the island in its pristine condition.
Final Beach Vibes 5/5+ 100 more!
’til our next getaway high… c’est la vie!
- Van from Legarda Raymond Bus Terminal en route to Real, Quezon Php 220 (bus is Php195)
- Boat from Port Real, Quezon to Jomalig Island Php 400
- Environmental Fee Php 170
- Jojomalig Resort Php 250 per head overnight [Php 1000 (nipa hut good for 4 pax) or Php 500 (good for 2 pax)]
- Jojomalig Resort food service Php 400 per head (2 lunches, 1 breakfast, 1 dinner)
- Island hopping Php 300 per head (Php 3000/boat which can accommodate 8-10 pax or Habal Habal Php 600 / head )
- Boat pickup from docking area to Jojomalig Resort Php100
- Resort entrance fee Php 100
- Attractions fee for the island hopping Php 110 total
- Boat going back to Real, Quezon Php 400
- Van going back to Manila Php 220 (bus is Php195)
Total budget per head for our trip : Php 2670
NOTE: We will be continuing our efforts to help the Jomaligins with another trip focused this time on personal hygiene come September 2017 (exact date TBA). If you would like to extend your blessings in any way, you may get in touch with me via email: email@example.com or Facebook: @cestlaviecharisse
or through our coordinator Jungie www.thetravelingmarketeer.com
More volunteers are also welcome to join us on our next VolunTourism getaway.
Lots of Love and Hugs to these amazing bloggers who made everything possible:
- Jungie thetravelingmarketeer.com
- Lance lancepost.wordpress.com
- Mark thelonebudgettraveler.wordpress.com
- Glen instagram.com/the_travelhanker
#jomaligisland #beaches #roadtrip #outreach #helpingothers #sunsandsea #itsmorefuninthephilippines
#magKAMAYANtayo #KAMAYANbarkadatrip #TAAPSEA #TravelEnjoyRespect #SoleSearchingSoul
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