Fantastic. Spectacular. Fabulous. These are not just words to describe the beauty of Mantigue Island, but also the adjectives used by our witty guide, pertaining to the photos he took on my camera. For every click of the shutter, another adjective that makes us laugh. “Fantabulous!” he added.
We went back to Mambajao Proper from Yumbing since our next destination, Mantigue Island, is located on the other side of the province. The island, located about 4 kilometers from the mainland, is also known as Magsaysay Island.
A tourist center was established in the area to facilitate the accommodation of tourists visiting the island. For the Mantigue Island tour, everyone is required to pay for a Php 20 environmental fee aside from the Php 550 per boat (maximum of 6) transfer to the island.
During the approach, the lush vegetation of Mantigue was already apparent with the green trees swaying to welcome you. Activities that can be done are snorkeling, glass bottom boat tour, and a short forest trail. Unfortunately, overnight camping in the island is not allowed.
Another tourism booth in the island is available for you to settle the fees on the different activities you are planning to do. Snorkel gears are also being rented if ever you plan to have one. This was where we met our guide, Mang Ikoy.
Before discovering the marine sanctuary, we did the complimentary forest trail led by none other than Mang Ikoy. It started on a walkway canopied by some i-don’t-know plants. He insisted to take the camera and do the shooting. The old man entertained us throughout the short tour as he uttered random adjectives that made us laugh.
He shared some information about the trees found in the island such as Kolis (Nyctaginaceae), Pangitom/Itom-itom (Clarodendum Speciosissimum), and Alipata (Euphorbiaceae). He also said that the other half of the island is inhabited. After some Kuya Kim moves, the short and comical tour ended and led us back to the shore.
Sparkling water that surrounds the island tempted us to take a plunge. The crew of the boat we hired asked us if we wanted to snorkel on the marine sanctuary so they can sail us, with an additional fee of course. The said that the sanctuary is far from the shoreline.
Mang Ikoy reassured that we can already see a great underwater life of the nature park even just meters from the coast. With our snorkel gears and life-vest, we started to whirl towards the sanctuary. We went farther because we were not pleased by the few fishes we saw.
We started to spot some corals, natural and artificial, and fishes grew in number. We weren’t able to see the magnificent marine sanctuary the locals were saying maybe because we didn’t get to the sanctuary.
Afterwards, we decided to circumnavigate Mantigue Island to visit the local community on the other side. The creamy sand became pebbly as we walked around. We then greeted by locals preparing to go for a fishing that afternoon. A group of men even synchronized in leaving the shoreline on four fishing boats.
We went directly to our boat when we got back and informed the boatmen to prepare for leaving. It was around 4:30 in the afternoon when we docked at the mainland with us walking from the boat to the shore due to low tide.
It was just a short visit to Mantigue Island yet we maximized our stay in the nature park by discovering some of the activities that can be done. It was also a great opportunity to mingle with locals like Mang Ikoy who devotes his daily life in conserving and preserving the natural beauty of Mantigue Island.