The Epic Weekend in Jomalig Part 1: Breaking The Waves


Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Unusual travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” And our recent trip to Jomalig Island was a dancing lesson that someone with two left feet like me would not forget, ever.
When my uber-famous blogger kompanyero Journeying James posted the invite on Facebook for a weekend in Jomalig way back in November I immediately signed  up. Although the island is just in the nearby province of Quezon which is not really that far from the hustle and bustle of the Metro, not a lot of people have been there and the people I know do not even know that such an island exists.
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The bus. (Photo Credit: Janeca Racho)

The bus. (Photo Credit: Janeca Racho)

So on the 14th of December, we embarked on a journey to the island municipality of Jomalig along with two other Hayahay friends, Janeca and Donna. Our starting point was the Raymond Bus terminal in Legarda and to everyone’s surprise no aircon bus was going to depart at 4am, so we had no choice but to board the ordinary bus bound for Real where we were to ride a boat off to Jomalig. The bus zigzagged through the province of Rizal and Laguna (passing by the towns of Siniloan, Famy and Mabitac) and after four hours of what seemed like a roller coaster ride (our bus driver may have been a ride operator in a theme park or a race car driver in his past life) we finally arrived in Real, Quezon.
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Woot, woot, we arrived early, maybe we can find a boat that will go to Jomalig right away? Sorry kiddos, the boat going straight to Jomalig was scheduled to leave the next day so we settled for another boat which would take us first to Patnanungan Island and there we could find a boat for our final destination.
The boat bound for Patnanungan Island.

The boat bound for Patnanungan Island.

We still had a lot of time in our hands so we decided to just eat at the carinderia (local eatery) nearby for our first decent meal of the day. The ladies decided to just try the champorado (chocolate rice porridge) while the hungry boys opt for the guisadong baboy na may itlog (sauteed pork with boiled egg). I think I only paid Php35.00 for that meal, if my memory serves me right, later you will know why I am suffering from short-term memory loss.🙂

real-quezon-breakfast

I searched online beforehand for info on travel to Jomalig and it said that the boat ride would be about 5-6 hours (Yes, you heard it right) so we bought some supplies to aid us in our journey (translation: bread from the corner bakery and some chichiria). And since the boat cannot land near the port we still had to ride a small bangka to get to the actual boat. A very short ride that costs Php5.00 per person. The actual boat ride was Php300.00 for each of us.

patnanungan-boat-interior

We were one of the last to board so we had to settle riding inside the boat. Which was a bad idea, very bad idea. I have a childhood history of travel sickness (nausea, vomiting etc.) and it still creeps from time to time  even though I am now a grown man. Just to be ready for anything at sea, I bought the handy dandy Katinko and Bonamine. (My mantra: I smell like grandpa but I do not care, live with the smell or I’ll barf in here)

Everything was fine at first, the windows were still open so we still had the sea breeze and the bright sun to accompany us on the voyage to Patnanungan. But then the effect of Bonamine wore off, the windows were closed due to the crashing waves and I got the lucky seat on the boat, the one right beside the engine (there’s is nothing like the scent of gasoline to make my day) and you get a perfect combo to make Tadonggeniuskuno totally immobile.

I tried to sleep but nah, I could not even take a short nap. I looked at Janeca and she was perfectly still, like she was just in the park watching the birds fly by. There was free lunch on board (rice and ampalaya con carne) but I did not have the strength to eat it, a shark could have attacked me right then and there and I would have stood in silence.

Happy times. (Photo Credit: Janeca Racho)

Happy times. (Photo Credit: Janeca Racho)

“Are we there yet?”, that is the question on my mind every minute that we were at sea. Finally, after 5 hours we arrived in Patnanungan; but wait, there’s more, another boat ride to Jomalig. I was surprised that the boat did not dock at the Jomalig Port, so just like back in Real, all the passengers had to ride another boat and this time in the middle of the frickin’ sea.

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We transferred to a flat boat (again, you heard it right) and it would be another hour or so before we reach Jomalig. I thought our falowa ride in Batanes was on top of my list but this one easily bumped it off. Just imagine being more than an hour in the middle of the ocean with only flatboat separating you and the treacherous waters of Lamon Bay.  We did not have a life vest and only James knew how to swim. The waves crashed down on us and and all we could see in the horizon was a glimmer of light coming from what I think was Jomalig. Not a boat was in sight and the sky was filled with clouds, even the moon hid itself, maybe it did not want to see us get walloped by Poseidon’s lair.

jomalig-flat-boat

Photo credit: Janeca Racho

Lest you think we were anticipating doom, we were actually having the time of our lives. We continued to laugh amid the rockin’ boat ride. We even had the time to take some group shots and and a video to record our experience for posterity’s sake. I did not think that something bad was actually going to happen, I still had the “Are we there yet?” syndrome and all I could wish was for our journey to end so we can finally be in our final destination. We were all soaking wet when we got to Jomalig at around seven in the evening, it was a hell of a ride and stepping on dry land after a long day at sea was like being in heaven. We got to see more of the island’s unspoiled beauty the next morning but for that night we just wanted to sleep on a comfy bed and rest our weary bodies from the long day of traveling.

jomalig 2

Now I know why Lamon Bay is called as such for it literally almost swallowed us, and now, whenever I feel sad about my life I just look back on that exact day and everything feels alright. (Wala pala akong karapatang maging emo)

Kurt Vonnegut got it right, strange travel suggestions are indeed dancing lessons from God. And sometimes the dancing lesson is a tango mixed with hip hop and some Gangnam Style in the middle of the ocean.

(To be continued)

One thought on “The Epic Weekend in Jomalig Part 1: Breaking The Waves

  1. I have been to Jomalig when I was the project engineer for the CNS ATM project of the airport there. It is so fascinating there that I would say it is paradise in the last frontier of our country. Foods are abundant and everything is fresh.

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