Borawan is one of the many beautiful islands in the province of Quezon. It is located in Barangay Lipata, Padre Burgos, Quezon, Philippines. It’s name derive from the word ‘Boracay’ one of the most visited and famous beach in the Visayas region which is known for it’s white and fine sands and “Palawan” an island province in the eastern part of Luzon region famous for it’s underwater cave and rock formation remindful of limestone cliffs.
I’ve been wanting to visit this island for quite some time and haven’t got the opportunity and resources to cross this out from my bucket list. Until, a friend from photography club posted an invite last March 2015 on our Facebook page for a group summer getaway and at the same time do a photo shoot in Borawan. I already passed an opportunity to go along with them at the Fortune Island, Batangas last March 2015. Since, I haven’t travel anywhere last year so I decided to push this one.
Backpacking is my usual ideal travel wherein you can minimize your cost and maximize the opportunity. For me, I prefer traveling using public transportation and as much as possible I avoid traveling by private vehicles especially an old van wherein sometimes or most of the times air-con temperature is hot while stretching your legs is quite stressful during long travel.
How to get there by public transportation:
- Ride a bus to Lucena City (Lucena Grand Terminal). There are many bus terminals in Metro Manila that travelers can choose, we decided to go to JAC Liner Buendia bus station. Fare is P209.50 as of April 25, 2015 and estimated travel time is around 3 hours.
- Once in Lucena Grand Terminal, find another bus going to Unisan (ask the driver to drop you off at QCRB Bank, Barangay Basiao, Padre Burgos). Fare is P35 as of April 25, 2015 and estimated travel time is 1 ½ hours.
- Ride a tricycle going to Aplaya (inform the driver that you intend to go to Borawan). Fare is P35 each as of April 25, 2015 and estimated travel time is 5 minutes)
- Once in Aplaya, inquire for any boats for rent or much better contact Ate Vanessa (09151067594) to pre-arrange boat transportation details. These boats can take you on an island-hopping tour with stops in Puting Buhangin (Pagbilao), Dampalitan Island and Borawan Island. Since were just going to Borawan we paid P800 only for back and forth trip.
Here are some of the important details when you plan to visit Borawan:
- No electricity during day time and it runs only from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm (sometimes it extended to a few more hours).
- You can charge your gadgets at the store for only P20 until fully charge from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm only.
- If you’re into photography, no sunset shots available but the best place to capture sunrise shots.
- Low-tide time usually starts in the morning and started to rise during the middle of the day until midnight.
- Dressing room is separate from the comfort room and no fees being charged or collected nowadays. Shower is available outside the comfort room. Looks like the cleanliness of the comfort room is well-maintained.
- I literally saw at least a 2-inch jellyfish so be careful when swimming in the non-netted part of the beach.
- Beach sand is not as impressive compare to the sand of Boracay. One should wear at last a slipper to avoid being hurt or injured from the scattered broken corals or pointed stone.
Day 1: April 25, 2015 (Saturday) The day we’ve been waiting after almost 2 months of research and preparation. Travelers consists of 9 photographers, 2 models and 1 make-up artist. We separated the group into two batches since some of us are gonna time-out from their work at 6:00 AM. 1st batch will leave at 12:00 AM and the second batch at 7:00 AM. Since it is much more convenient to travel at night I decided to join the 1st batch. Our meeting place is at JAC Liner Bus terminal (Buendia). No high expectation have been set in terms of photography output details but simply to gain the camaraderie of being with your friends and fellow hobbyist who share the same passion and interest in photography. At the same time, enjoy and experience the summer getaway in one of the famous islands in the Quezon province.
We departed Manila at 12:30 AM and reached Lucena Grand Terminal at around 3:00 AM (our trip was such a breeze.. no heavy traffic). Luckily, there is already a non-aircon bus waiting at the terminal for the 1st trip of the day (there is no available air-con bus and it will only leave the terminal when the bus is almost full or full of passengers). Our travel time is almost 1 ½ hours until we reach our jump-off point at Brgy. Basiao wherein you must take note and be specific where will you get-off the bus otherwise you will go beyond your jump-off point). Funny thing is we did go beyond our supposed jump-off point at least 500 meters and instead we contacted Ate Vanessa for an advice. Ate Vanessa managed to arranged 1 tricycle for 6 persons ride (yes… believe it… we managed to pull it off and squeezed in) to fetch us to her place.
Upon reaching Ate Vanessa place, we bought our supplies like food ingredients, vegetables, fruits, pork and live tilapia in the marketplace first before heading out into the calm seas. However, fresh seafood’s like squid, shrimp and other fishes will not be available until 8:00 AM onwards. Ask the locals, contacts or hire any tricycle driver and let them know that you wish to buy fresh supplies in the marketplace. I suggest you should buy all you need before boarding the boat because prices are much higher in Borawan.
We started our voyage and sailed out into the peaceful seas in the early beautiful Saturday morning. Travel time just took us around 15 minutes to reach Borawan. I was surprise to see that the shoreline stretches more than 1 kilometers long. Far from what I had picture in my mind when I’m still browsing pictures of Borawan online.
We started our day by scouting a good location where we can setup our tent. One of the reason we chose to leave early in Manila is to get a sweet spot and a comfortable space during our 2 days and 1 night stay. Indeed, we found a gold mine so we started setting up our tent. Half of the day we spent is by just trying to recover sleep, relaxing out on sunny day, eat by the seashore, and/or by just simply being a beach-bum.
Boredom strikes after a well-rested mornings so we started to pick-up our camera gear and explore the beach. Each one of us started to peek into my viewfinder and took a test shot for possible landscape and travel shots settings. Scouting possible location for our open shoot and trying to capture other perspective of this place. We even started taking initial shots of our model even without make-up.
Second group of buddies arrived at around 3:00 PM including Christina, our make-up artist. They rested for a while as we started to prepare for our open-shoot. We are just doing this type of activities just for fun and improve our skills through hands-on experience. I’m sure everyone is looking forward on this day so each photographers is trying to compose what they have previously compose in their mind. Below are some of the shots I took on Day 1:
After dinner, most of the guys huddle outside our tent. Enjoying the moment, chatting and kidding around. Before boarding our boat we bought local alcoholic drink called “Lambanog” for P100 (P20 per bottle) contained in mineral water drink. As they say, this local alcoholic drink can make you drunk but it will never have a “hang-over” effect in the morning. Drinking session started and pass around until last man standing. Everyone is joking around and having the time of their life. Unfortunately, I already have more than enough and did not last long. I went inside my tent and succumb to sleepiness.
Day 2: April 26, 2015 (Sunday) Some of us woke up as early as 4:00 am in the morning to capture the sunrise burst of color across the sky. As mention earlier, Borawan is one of the best place to capture sunrise on this part of the world. After getting some sunrise shots I notice most of us converge in one specific area only so I moved to another part of the beach trying to get different perspective of sunrise in Borawan. I was surprise that there are a lot of unique focal interest that one can include in your composition. Below are some of my sunrise shots taken in Borawan:
My visit to Borawan would not be completed without trying to swim into the open seas. Water is warm around 7:00 am and perfect time for me to swim. However, I’m having difficulty or it’s kinda hurt walking from place to place due to scattered broken corals and uneven pointed stone in some areas. Pau, Aldrin and I were swimming in the non-netted beach until Aldrin, a fellow photographer saw at least a 2-inch jellyfish. We move in the netted (jellyfish free) part of the beach to continue our swimming. I stopped swimming around 8:00 am when I already felt the scorching heat of the sun all over me.
I rinsed and dress up to join my fellow buddies in their photo shoot. I think it’s not quite easy to do an open shoot because most of the beach shorelines are filled with tourist and travelers. We spotted a nice and secluded location for our open shoot to conclude our last part of our summer open shoot. Below are some of my shots taken:
Aldrin and I went to other end of the beach to explore. We walk around the beach to capture some landscape and travel shots for the last two hour of our stay.
After eating our lunch, we wrap-up our gear and dismantle our tent. We had a blast during our stay and looks like everyone is looking forward another activities like this one. Being out in nature with your friends gives one the pleasure of what life is all about. As they say, your photos are memories of your travel but sad to say all good things must come to an end.
Kudos to everyone especially to Gen and Tom for making this summer getaway and great club bonding experience!
Thank you Lord for a great summer getaway and keeping everyone safe!!!