Third day. We were all so thrilled to finally, after two failed attempts, reach the elusive Calayan Island. We woke up after merely an hour of sleep (blame it on the videoke machine and the beers) and got ready for what I heard was a rough boat trip.
We hopped on a lampitaw, used to transport people and cargo to and fro Calayan Island, in Lakay-Lakay Lagoon. Seats were unavailable and you just have to look for a perfect spot and endure the 7-hour ride to Calayan. Half of the group chose to be near the bow of the boat where I became friends with the veggies and other produce. Sun protection was unheard of at that time. The boat leaves at around 6 to 7 in the morning and you need to shell out 500 pesos for
|never a bore chino|
|dinaing na carla|
The almost 7-hour boat trip was generally relaxed that I dozed off a few times under the intense heat of the sun. I was never bored (especially when Chino’s just a meter away) on the course of the trip. And then finally, we reached Calayan Island. Upon seeing the island, I wanna just throw myself to the clear blue waters and swim to the shore but then I restrained myself from doing that.
|oh there you are...|
Calayan is an island town in the province of Cagayan. It is one of those small islands that you see on maps at the northernmost part of the country. A poor man’s Batanes on my mind. But Calayan is such a unique town and comparing it to Batanes is such a disservice (well I’m not a fan of comparisons). The vibe was so relaxed and all I wanna do is to just chill somewhere and listen to good old music on my Ipod - with a beer perhaps. I saw some motorcycles and kuligligs as the main mode of transportation. I also heard them speaking my Dad’s native dialect – Ilocano.
We checked in at San Jose Inn which is managed by Ate Connie Agudera’s family (0921-5349231). It is in the heart of Calayan and is one of the famous homestays in town. There are 3 rooms available for sharing and two shared bathrooms. We were charged at 200 pesos per person, per night. Power supply in the town starts at twelve in the afternoon up to midnight. It is not that reliable during bad weather conditions although the homestay has its own generator set. They also have a mini grocery which serves as the town's market (they don't have public markets around). From simple snacks, beers, freshly baked breads, fresh produce and all sorts of stuff that you'd probably need - they have it there. Very convenient.
Food was never a problem for Ate Connie provided us with sumptuous meals everyday. Like lobster and curachas for lunch and grilled seafood at night. We were charged at around 50-90 pesos per meal. And mind you, every meal was so fantastic that I am still slobbering from the photos I have. What’s nice about it is that you can request for a replenishment of a certain dish if you want to. Or is it just Ate Connie’s dedicated service to us? We never had problems of any sort at the inn. The favorites were the lobster, curacha, sitaw, and the saba con yelo dessert.
|every meal is a feast|
My favorite part of the inn was the bahay kubo. For all our meals, for those catnaps and the tambay-inuman sessions at night, the bahay kubo was the perfect place to chill, we've probably spent more time there than in our rooms. Sleepless nights and countless stories about anything. Five nights of fun inuman sessions. Tambay. Steady. Swabe.
The incurred bill for 5 days was 1,600 pesos only (excluding beers and snacks which probably were much higher). Such a bargain for everything we had. But Ate Connie’s effortless managing skills were the best part. She was like your good old tita that truly cares for all your needs. Salamat Ate Connie.
Leisure time (after some island hopping activities) were spent on swimming and snorkeling at the town's docking port. The clear waters and the beautiful underwater scene should never be missed.
|ano ulit yung lifevest? :P|
|inggit sa cam ni Harold :(|
And sunsets will always be beautiful no matter what. The humble town of Calayan is so unpretentious and relaxed that I sometimes forget that I am a stranger to this town. It felt like my own hometown. Calayan is so beautiful that every moment spent was such a precious one. Maybe it's the place. Or the group. Or the experience itself. I love everything about Calayan. Such a sweet place. Always on my mind. Smooth and steady.