Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wonderspotting at Leling Beach - Hagonoy Davao del Sur

We love just sitting quietly beside the rushing of the waves, watching the few people walking along the peaceful promenade by Leling Beach. Quiet is such a luxury these days and we appreciate these moments of serenity. It clears my mind, and seems to blow away all the negative energies that pile up as our everyday activities shake our soul.

Location: Leling Beach, Hagonoy, Davao del Sur, Mindanao Island

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Fry collecting fisherman

Washing away the sand


Dawn's early light adorns the horizon as she
lends her warmth to the storm-ravaged sea.
Tempestuous waves of the fore-night, now tame,
roll their way to the shore, then in silence recede.
I stand alone with bare feet in the sand and seek
comfort from the cold ocean water's caress.
By turns, my troubles I cast to the surf and then
pray that this time they, too, will regress.
The salt of my skin meets the cool ocean spray;
they unite as warm tears stream down my face.
I walk away quickly, leaving behind sorrow and
my memories for the sea to erase.

- Tanya Lee

Watching the colors of the sky change... is like experiencing autumn in the skies.

Leling Beach as the night takes over.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Luxury of Serenity at Leling Beach - Hagonoy Davao del Sur

Along the eastern coast of Hagonoy, Davao del Sur is a resort not often visited even by the locals. They call it Leling Beach (pronounced Lee-ling).

This serene enclave is part of the municipality of Hagonoy, Davao del Sur which has seen a glimpse of growth under the stead of newly re-elected Mayor Calida. From Digos City, Leling is some 20 kilometers left turn from the main highway. The road may not be asphalted, but it is serviceable (though I'd imagine a rather muddy journey when it rains).

We passed by a smattering of shanties that slid by into placid stretches of fish ponds at both sides of the road. Not long after, there was an entrance block that collected a measly PhP10 per vehicle. Then we were ushered into a row of pink colored cottages (PhP100). You could park from the small spaces right in front of the cottages or find your way closer to the beach, though it's going to be crampy between dwarf coconut trees.

The promenade directly facing the beach is well planned - a side railing has been in place, as well as a concrete breakwater - which must have cost a lot. (The government of Hagonoy is said to be footing the bill for these improvements.) I was told that this used to be a neglected hole in the wall, with very few visitors. But this has to change very soon. The concrete promenade is not quite finished but the paucity of people is a pleasure to behold!

During our visit, the waves were harsh as they slapped hard against the breakwater. From a distance, you could see the docked cargo ships from Malalag Wharf. There were fishermen trying to collect bangus (milkfish) fries that they collect for culture. I was in awe of their ability to do so. How do you really spot 2-5 cm "baby fish" from a raging sea. That has to require talent and expertise. Leling Beach was one of my favorite places in the province of Davao del Sur.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

The promenade

Pink cottages

Mad rush of ocean water against the breakwater.

Placid waters of fish pond

The road to Leling Beach

A new resort beside Leling Resort is almost ready to open.

New resort beside Leling Beach

Up next: More images from Leling Beach.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Images From Villa Isabel Resort - Malalag Tales

These are images taken during our visit at Villa Isabel Resort in Barangay Balasinon in the town of Malalag, Davao del Sur. We will let the images speak for this post. Please visit the previous post for necessary information and contact number.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Villa Isabel Resort - a hundred meters or so from a dried up shore. it was low tide when we visited.

Low tide

Life in a sleepy fishing village.

The road less traveled.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Villa Isabel Resort - Little Piece of Serenity in Malalag

Villa Isabel Resort peacefully rests at a sleepy fishing village in the town of Malalag in Davao del Sur. I was told that there used to be a sign board to advertise the resort's direction from the main road, but this is nowhere found. I stopped a couple of kids bearing candies they were to peddle, but they didn't have an idea what I was talking about. It was surprising because from there, Villa Isabel was just a 50 meter turn. When I saw the gate, I looked around. No one seems to be visiting. I reached down my pocket for a peso, and started knocking the gate with it. The door bell didn't seem to be working.

When someone finally peeked, it was such a relief; I thought I'd have to leave. The compound is an oasis of peace. There's a 2-story bungalow that functions as the main hall. At the center of the complex is a swimming pool, with the statue of a white lady carrying a vase.

The resort, which is a part of Barangay Balasinon, is owned by a Dr. Golinggay. And the resort's famous guests include singer-actress Vina Morales and her younger sister Shaina Magdayao whose faded photos are on prominent display at the check-in counter. Earlier talks circulated that the Morales sisters are relatives of the owner, but this doesn't seem to be the case.

I actually loved roaming this small compound. It had an acute sense of intimacy. The seas were nowhere to be enjoyed as it was low tide, and for a hundred meters or so, all you could see was a puddle of dark sand. You could buy soft drinks at their canteen, but don't expect anything else. The clincher is, you're not allowed to bring in food, though they don't even sell them - thus if you're planning to stay through lunch, you'd end up hungry. It was fun roaming the resort on my own though.

The good news: ridiculously cheap entrance and use of swimming pool.

PhP10 for adults, PhP5 for kids - entrance fee
PhP50 per person for the use of the swimming pool

Once inside, you are free to use the lovely cottages facing the sea. Didn't I say "cheap"? Just a kilometer or two is Eagle's Eye Beach Resort where a cottage with no amenities will cost you PhP250. Of course Eagle's Eye's owners will have you believe that they have everything from a shower hall, short order service, to the requisite toilet, but if you're the day tourist, you would need a bit of sleuthing to find these so-called amenities for they are nowhere in sight! When I needed to pee, I was pointed to the bushes! :)

This is not the case in Villa Isabel which provides more than the basic requisites of a resort. Their facilities are quite impressive - they have spotless shower halls and very clean toilets, not to mention the fact that they have a swimming pool! "Simple rural life" here translates to a mere P10 entrance and P50 pool fee and you can frolic all around a very safe and cloistered resort. Now compare that to Eagel's Eye (just 1 to 2 kilometer south of Villa Isabel) which asks for P150 for a roofless concrete table - and nothing else! You don't need half a brain which option to choose!

If you'd rather have the place to yourself, for parties and the like, contact +63-918-5993590 for reservations, although I do not think you'd need a reservation for a simple visit. Cottages - AC, with cable televisions - are available for overnight stays.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Cottages for overnighters

The entrance gate

Facade - you'd miss it if you're not attentive.