How do you spend your last day in Bicol? Do you… A) have an amazing boat ride touring the small islands off the coast from Legazpi; B) Gorge yourself on a massive barbecue filled with crab, pork adobo, and other amazing foods; C) Spend most of the day swimming on secluded islands where you’e the only ones for miles around; D) Catch sea stars, identify algae, and follow tiny fish in the near-bathtub-warm waters?
Trick question: the answer is E) All of the above.
The day started at 5 am with a short ride to Boracay, a community just slightly north of Legazpi proper. Then, we rode an outrigger called the Love Boat over to the Cargaray Island to hike up one of the final pit stops in The Amazing Race (Asia Edition). After selfies and explorations, we hopped back on the love boat and headed off our first swim spot: Guinanayan Island.
This place was gorgeous! It was a narrow strip of an island with a wide base and a sandy point. There are, maybe, 3 families on the island, so we had the island to ourselves. We swam in bathtub-warm water for hours, before we had lunch.
Lunch was a feast: a pile of rice, pork chops, cooked whole crabs (in shell), pork adobo, and taro leaves with pork. We ate with our hands (which is an actual thing, and why on Earth would anyone want to use utensils, anyway?) and then jumped back into the water for more swimming fun. I gave an impromptu biology lesson on algae species: I found sargssum, 2 different species of turbenaria, and some padina. I also found some living sand dollars, which was super-cool. Then, we hoped back into the Love Boat and island-hopped to secluded rocky cove for selfies and relaxation before finishing out the day at Vanishing Island.
Vanishing Island is a sandbar in the middle of a lagoon. Its surrounded by floating bars that are open at times that we weren’t there. So it’s also a Sand Bar. Heehee they’re so punny! We same for a few hours, hunting for sea stars and different kinds of fish before finally calling it a day and heading back to Ligao. It was a perfect way to spend my last Sunday in Bicol (and the Philippines, but I’m trying not to think about that). I came home exhausted, relaxed, refreshed, and sunburned. I’ve never felt better.
While I was relaxing in the waters with the others, I came up with a plan: I want to try to connect my aquaponics students with the students at Bicol Regional Science High School. We can send recorded videos to each other on questions, aquaponics practices, or even research ideas. Perhaps, it could grow into actual joint research between our respective schools. I certainly wouldn’t pass up a chance to return here for a “technical visit” :).