Monday, February 14, 2011

Sumilon Island Walking Trek

Never miss this walking trek for if you do, you’ll miss more than half the fun on the island. It starts at the pavilion where they give you a map of the island. The route to take has markings on what to see or expect, though I can assure you there are other things you’ll encounter that are not in the map! Then you proceed to back of the building under some fairly young trees, or they probably don’t grow that big. There is signage that says “walking trek starts here” and you’ll notice there are poles the size of ‘arnis sticks’ painted yellow and red. What are they for? Well, we were told, just for about anything you wanted to do with it while walking the path around the island, except whack your companions or other human beings hahaha!

You can walk this circular trek path in any direction, but in our case, we thought doing it clockwise would be better for us. And we think it was! Ah, Eric, one of the resort’s crews was on hand to gave us tips and instructions on how to best enjoy the leisurely 'trek'. He even asked if we needed him to accompany us. We said we could manage and he left for the pavilion to resume whatever it was they were doing. His final instruction: just follow the colored flags. You see that bright green triangular flag in the picture above? That’s what he meant. Though they are not all green, ome are orange, some are red, some are yellow or blue, but all brightly colored and hard to miss - IF they're still there hehe. Exciting!

So there we went!

Just about 20 steps on… something I thought might happen DID happen! Curled right smack in the middle of the walking path was a greenish-goldish colored snake about the size of a pen and probably a foot long. It immediately sprang to scamper away – almost at the same time as that human being behind me fled back towards where we started. Ngeh! My confused reflexes were too slow and I could not decide where to aim my camera (at a scampering snake or fleeing human being?). And when I got to decide, there was no more action. Ah, just guess where I aimed the camera at! See?! This trek is a real exciting thing! That was what I call ‘lesson 1” on when and how to use those sticks we were advised to carry.

Onwards, as we walked, we decided we would tap the sticks at bushes or lumps of dried leaves before we would pass them. Why? Because the mother or even grandmother and cousins of that little serpentine creature we encountered earlier could be hanging out at some parts of what is supposed to be a walking path for humans! Yes, we remembered too that Eric told us to also watch out for low lying branches as them snakes and other ‘residents’ of the area may want to sample a bite of our skins hehe. Except for lizards and flying insects, nothing so far, and the path goes uphill to a ravine just above the lagoon. Grand views you must not miss!

Part of this path traces the ridge (okay, edge) so you’ll have to be a bit careful and avoid looking down as the lagoon is deep down there hundreds of feet from your feet haha. If you think you can’t handle that path with nothing on the side of the cliff but air, ah you can go via the bushes and smaller trees, at least until the path becomes a bit away from that edge. Advise: ensure to let children of all edges behave when passing by this portion as there is nothing to hold on to and there are no barriers or fences (yet).

You’re still up there but the path starts to descend a bit and you will encounter signage that the ‘Baluarte’ and the ‘Parola’ are to the right (located inland). Your choice if you wanna go there, but I suggest you do. The path is a bit clear though with a lot of dried leaves and/or grass and low-hanging tree branches. But the lighthouse is a nice place to be and a good photo-op. The baluarte is historic – we learned about it after the walk – it has been there for many many years already and was supposed to be a lookout of our ancestors for oncoming pirates. This structure is nothing but a ruined tower with just the base remaining. Hey, from how it looks in terms of the material that its made of, am not even sure if indeed its been made in pre-hispanic or pre-american eras. You’ll have to seriously ask the resort’s management for that. The parola is tall and functional. AND there being no personnel on the site, you can of course climb it at your own risk. In my case, companion debated me to drop the idea. Okay, I dropped the idea. Hmp!

From this lighthouse, your choice if you want to cut your way short to the other side (southern part) of the island or return to the outer path that circles it. We did the latter and we thought it was grand. The path is amongst sharp rocky cliffs where the resort has flattened or a bit smoothened that which where people would walk upon. Still not too easy smooth so it might be apt to tell you now that this walk is better done with sturdy footwear preferably closed at front and sides – my crocs did just fine. The edges of those rocks may become tempting for photo-ops but I’ll say, be extra careful as one false move will be something you won’t like. You don’t have to fall down to the waters, but most everywhere are sharp rocks.

There are resting areas, mostly under nothing but the sun. Those benches are nice to sit at and savor the views... but don’t forget to bathe yourselves in your desired SPF of a sunblock if you are not wont to bake yourselves. There are no trees along the path. Part of this rocky place where you trod on have holes in them probably made with the constant battering of the waves. Notice there are strands of grass and other similar materials inside. We pried at some of them and OMG, those are nests! At one point while I ogled at one nest, a tiny black bird came swooping and ruffled my hair. Am not sure if it used its beak or feet, I was not hurt, but I realized it was telling me something like… “leave my eggs alone”, so I left hehe!

The south side. This is it! am not sure if this changes with the seasons, but during our walk, this southern portion was real calm with no waves whatsoever. We could see everything under the shallow water from corals to sea grass to fish fish fish and fish!! Not your simple tiny fishes but big enough for lunch or dinner. Most of what we could clearly see were green colored fish but there were others. We estimate that the waters down there would be from shin deep to just waist deep and there were already too many of them fish unmindful of our presence. I swear, when I took that upper photo, a baby-shark was in range, but I could not find to point it now. We saw at least 2 of them baby sharks just wading along these shallows. OMG really!

This part of the island is a snorkeling area while the whole surroundings are part of the fish sanctuary. See that buoy? That is the boundary and anything inside is off limits to fishermen. And how clever, the old man in that little boat opted to fish right at that very boundary. We called out to ask him asking if it he was not in an 'off-limits to fishing' territory. He also hollered back to tell us he was already out of the delimiter. We just laughed at the man’s crooked cleverness hehe. As if that boundary has signage in fish-language saying ‘don’t go beyond this point or you’re dead’! We could see though that many of the fish seemed to like it in the shallows under the protection of its being a sanctuary away form clever manong fisherman.

Warning: the wonder and excitement at this area could cause you to forget time. In our case, we were even still far from circling the island when front-desk called on my handphone to remind us of check-out time and the boat schedule to cross back to mainland. Hah! So we hurried around, passing by the western dock and circling towards the path middle of this island where the cave is. Uh-oh, we didn’t dare enter the darkness even if it seemed to be a shallow cave. I reminded myself am no caveman as I am just another son of a beach hehe. So we skipped that and headed back to our room to freshen up.

Check-out was a breeze and we were herded via the cart towards the western dock. Ciao Sumilon!

C ya’ll in my next destination folksie folks!

1 comment :