Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boracay to Bonbonon, Philippines

We left Romblon to head to the tip of Sibuyan Island for a night anchorage but  the E wind was a bit too strong for an unprotected spot like that so we diverted our course to go behind Boracay Island.  Once around the corner Boracay lights up like a Christmas tree with all the colors, blue and red sails on bancas gliding by, parachutes going by with little tiny people and their little tiny legs dangling (and we're hoping no one gets tangled in our rigging!!).   We decided to stay one day and walk along the beautiful, white beach and enjoy the festive resort atmosphere.    Boracay is marketed for mostly Filipino tourism but its a great place, pretty, with good, clear water so I would recommend it for anyone as a winter get away.

 Cruising Notes:    11 56.5N; 121 55.4E.   We anchored outside of the reef rather than try and negotiate the passage and get closer in to the shore.   Wasn't bad and we were protected from the easterlies.    Laundry, bakeries, banks (not many, so get the first one you see), loads of restaurants and nice atmosphere.

The wind was still blowing a bit too strong for us to make the easterly progression we had planned on so we decided then to travel down the W side of Panay and then Negros.    We anchored in a couple of lonesome spots along the way.    We did not go ashore for a few nights preferring to make some progress instead.   At the tip of Panay was a lovely bight where we anchored and were visited by this family.   I got a little ahead of myself with my "gifting" and gave this fellow a hat (he's wearing it in this picture), the kids a beachball and since I didn't want to leave the mom out, I gave her a very small bag of sugar.    Well, next thing, they come back with another family and another banca and the man in the banca was a bit aggressive and wanted to come aboard and for us to give his kids some toys, too.    The women handed over envelopes that apparently each family was responsible for donating a little bit per child to some playground project in the town and they wanted us to donate.    I told the man the kids could all share the one beachball, and he could not come aboard and I put a few pesos in the envelopes and sent them on their way.   I had to be a little gruff as to not encourage any more of this type of visiting.

Tibiao anchorage:    11 16.9N; 122 01.9E.     Naso anchorage:   10 24.8N; 121 56.8E

While there weren't any real highlights on this part of our cruise, we really enjoyed the beautiful, green hills on the islands and the shadows playing over them at different parts of the day.     

Cruiser Notes:   Jinobaan Bay   09 37.03N; 122 27.28E.   This bay was very deceiving.   Our chart showed a clear entry, however, we noticed a dark line across the bay and saw that it was a reef.    There was a passage on the south end of it, however, we did not attempt it and were just fine anchored outside of the reef.   We enjoyed waving to the fishermen as they went out for the night.

When we left this bay in the morning we drove right into a nest of fishermen's nets.    The bancas were out everywhere  and it was nearly impossible to avoid them.     If we got too close to a set net, the banca would come racing over with the fisherman waving his paddle in the direction the net was set.   We would turn away only to be now in the region of another net.    We were sailing so we thought it would be possible with our full keel to get over the nets,however, that didn't work.  The net was so flimsy and fragile, the thing got caught on anything that was on the keel and then shredded.    The poor fisherman looked so woeful and he obviously wanted some recompense for the damage.   First he asked for 2000 pesos, then when I balked at that, he lowered it to 1500 and we finally agreed on 1000 pesos.    We decided to make our way out and get as far beyond the bancas as we could so this would not become a financial opportunity for other fishermen.

We made it around the S tip of Negros planning to go into Bonbonon, a nice, safe harbor, but we arrived late and with a tricky entrance through the reef we decided to wait until morning when the sun would be behind us.    A man named Tom Bennett drew up some Mud Maps a few years ago and we happened to have a copy for Bonbonon.  His suggestions for waypoints worked just great and we got in through the reef, around the point and up into the harbor with no incidents (such as kissing a rock, nudging mud, etc. etc.).
I was prepared not to like Bonbonon as I kind of had a picture of a lot of dead enders kind of just hanging out there, which actually is true to a little extent.  However, we met a few really neat people there including another American couple, Deb and Doug who invited us to a party at Emma's beach side palapa to celebrate birthdays and enjoyed the food and some rock and roll that Doug and his Filipino band provided for us.    We also met a couple of young, German women who were doing a service project similar to Peace Corps and teaching in a school in Bonbonon.    Then we met Diane, another American woman on her own.  She and her husband arrived there in 1999 and pretty much settled there, starting up a school, One Candle, which helps Filipinos prepare for college and jobs by giving them some much needed skills and scholarships.

We visited a beautiful little resort just outside the harbor, KooKoo's Nest, which I can highly recommend to anyone who would want a secluded and quiet get away from the world.     It is built right into the natural surroundings with clear water and a reef that actually has some life on it.     

There seemed to be an intelligent ex pat community there with a lot of people who either owned/operated beach resorts or were retired and involved in community projects and volunteering.  I really liked the place.    The bay itself was a gem, as well.

Cruiser Notes:   09 03.339N; 123 07.479E.    This is a great place and a typhoon hole.   Getting to town is a bit of a chore as you need to approach either Arlene or Emma who each have  small businesses and can arrange for a hubble hubble (a motorbike with an extended seat which even two grain fed Americans can sit on) that will take you to the junction (10K away) where you flag down a yellow bus to take you the rest of the way into Dumaguete.  There you can find very good shopping at Robinson's (the bus will let you off there if you ask) and you can take a tricycle taxi to town to eat at the Why Not which has a nice deli style restaurant on the waterfront.

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