Lying at the northern tip of Cebu province is another island away from the list of commonly abused tourist spots in Cebu. Carnaza Island sits right at the very tip of the Cebu province’s boundary. The island is under the jurisdiction of Daanbantayan municipality.
I’ve heard the name of the island before, but haven’t recorded any story on my head yet. Aside from the images that can be searched over the internet, I have no idea of what the island looks like. Luckily just this late April a set of my adrenaline junkie buddies decided to set forth and go on for a trip on the northern most part of Cebu. The whole trip includes Carnaza Island as the second leg of the itinerary.
Straight from our Guintarcan Island trip on our first day, we headed to Malapascua Island to camp out and spend our night by the beach. Turned out we rented accommodations just to address our personal hygienic needs. It was too hot to sleep inside the accommodation rooms and so some of us opted out camping by the shore where we star gazed throughout the night before our bodies demanded their long due rest.
Morning by the seaside of Malapascua
The sun gave us a soft kiss on our skin inviting us to rise from our deep sleep inside our tent by the beach. Greeting us with her pleasant smile, the sun flaunted with glamor as I basked on her flashing rays. The soft lapping of the sea waters and the early hustle of the locals and the fishermen flashbacked some of my childhood memories when I spent few months living with my uncle who is a fisherman. The salty smell of the sea acted like a caffeine waking my mind from the state of trance. It was already 7 in the morning when we started preparing our breakfast. Right after we had our meal, some of us went out and enjoyed the island for a while and at the same time looking for a boat we can charter to take us to our next destination which was Carnaza Island.
I did not get to enjoy the island that much because it was too hot and I cannot afford to get sunburned again. I still have too many travel-getaways ahead to toast my skin too early. Aside from that, the beach was swarmed by visitors and tourists already that it seemed like I couldn’t get a piece of silence and serenity. So I spent the whole day on our rented room helped in preparing our meals and slept for couple more hours to recharge my body for the next adventure ahead.
The uncanny waters
It was already mid-noon when we departed from the island. Another hour of boat-ride to endure before arriving at the island we’ve been longing to land. It was a no bore though, as random craziness sprouts from our brains and spews out to our mouth, creating loud peals of laughter overpowering the piercing sound of the boat’s engine. We had fun! We were like thrilled kids ironically enjoying amidst the dangerous consequences ahead as our boat sliced our way through the ocean waves. Eventually, the cool wind and the soft waves of the ocean got us in a trance that put some of us into a catnap.
Distance away and in the middle between the islands of Mapalascua and Carnaza, the ocean started becoming eerie. The ocean was so calm. Not even a single hint of disturbance can be seen from the surface. We were like cruising over a glass mirror. Our boat was slicing through the silk like water. I could not help my mind but imagine disturbing images. It could have been that we entered a mysterious section of the ocean like the Bermuda Triangle. Might be a spooky giant creature silently observing us from down below, waiting for the right time to put us into peril. But these images were overpowered as I was marveled by the unusual beauty of the peaceful ocean.
Carnaza Island at last!
Few more minutes and the island of Carnaza emerged from the horizon. We were all ecstatic. The kids inside us have re-awaken from the lull of the ocean. It was already afternoon when we arrived on the island. We disembarked at one of the coves of the island’s section named “Kang Elena” which means “owned by Elena” in Bisaya. The island is sectioned and named by the locals according to the name of what was traditionally believed to be the first owners/discoverers of the island. The fine sands and the crystal clear water of the island greeted my eyes. I was a little too excited that I hurriedly got out from the boat. Waiting by the shore were the rest of our group who went before hand. They were Dilon of Chasing Wonders PH, Gly Gly of Chasing Potatoes, and Kevin who went straight from Daanbantayan, catching the daily boat ride straight to Carnaza Island.
My heart was frolicking knowing that we own the cove for the entire day. There were only us in the area and we can freely move and do whatever we want. With no time to waste, we unbuckled our bags and hurriedly changed to our swimming clothes. That moment I did not care if I get roasted by the sun’s heat. All I ever wanted to was to feel the sands between my toes and to plunge straight into the clear waters of the island. Everybody was doing the same. Leaving our things behind as we enjoyed the waters. We felt secured anyway since no one else was around except us.
Golden Hour and The Thrill of Sunsets
The sun has started to set and everything was glowing in a different hue. The golden hour is approaching. We got out from the waters to explore and look for a perfect spot to capture the beautiful sunset of the island. We found a perfect spot but it’s considerably too distant from the cove we were in. Every minute counts so we have to hasten our pace. We climbed through hills and passed through the villages on the island and asked the villagers for the right trail towards the spot we were aiming to get to. Time ticking, hearts pounding and sweats dropping our feet were treading on unimaginable pace. At last! We arrived on the spot right on the nick of time. With no time to waste, I quickly positioned my camera and *snap* *snap* it went.
As the sun slowly kissed the horizon, I was dumbfounded by how the skies changed its colors. Skipping from one hue to the other. The sea reflected the sun’s rays, magnifying its beauty. One word I can describe the view, surreal. Everything was perfect. I was left speechless. It reminded me of the astounding sunset view I saw when I visited Malalison Island. I reflected how blessed are the locals living on the island. With the simple life they have, they are blessed with the abundance of nature’s beauty. How I wish my life could be just as simple as theirs.
Drifting Through the Billion Stars
The sun bidding goodbye and the sky have unfolded its blanket, we went back to our camp area before it gets too dark. It was still around 6 in the afternoon and everything was already pitch black. Good thing that we brought ourselves flashlights and headlamps. We hurriedly pitched our tents and ready our meals.
The whole place transformed into an ethereal realm as space turned dark. Embossed from the dark mantles, we can clearly see the Milky Way. Our eyes glittered as we stared at the bejeweled skies. The buzzing of insects orchestrated the night. The surroundings played with the tune as the fireflies revealed themselves dancing on their own ball while encircling the trees around. The wind played its soft strings of notes as the sea water perpetuated its aria. Algae glowed as we stepped on the sands. Like unbridled horses, we stomped and ran through the long stretch of sands. It was all magical. Can’t help but wish the night was long. But all we could do was to immortalize the moment by taking photos of the skies. I was in a state of oblivion until my eyes started to feel droopy. We slept by the beach outside our tents basking with the light from the stars. Who wants to sleep in a 5-star hotel when you can relax and dream under the billion stars?
Carnaza Island is so beautiful. But the natural beauty of the island is facing danger as people start swarming the island. I can only hope that the visitors would take their part in preserving the beauty of the island. Hopefully, the visitors, as well as the locals and the government would take action in protecting the island. As always, let’s practice and observe LNT (Leave No Trace) principle.
Leave No Trace.
Leave Nothing but Footprints, Take Nothing but Photos, and Kill Nothing but Time.
What you bring, take it back with you.
Dispose waste properly.
Leave what you find.