An hour of sailing from Carnaza Island, we arrived at the inviting stretch of white pebbles of another island listed on our itinerary. In the middle of the ocean, at the southern part of Masbate, lies a simple yet elegantly alluring small piece of land. Divided into two and connected by a stretch of pebble bar, La Manok (Manocmanoc Island) serves as the resting stop of local fishermen. Contrary to most beliefs, the island is not under Cebu’s jurisdiction. Instead, the island belongs to the Masbate province.
It was years ago that I happened to see the island the satellite view provided by Google Maps. From then, I wanted to visit the island since it looks very remote. Judging from the satellite imagery, the island proclaims a great stretch of a white sand bar which enticed me more to visit the said island. It so happened that late April of 2017, one of my friend organized an island hopping event on the Northern part of Cebu. The island hopping covers some of the islands including Guintarcan Island, Malapascua Island, and Carnaza Island. So I introduced and quickly suggested that if possible, we could also add La Manok (Manocmanoc Island) on the itinerary. The island was included on the probationary section of our itinerary.
It was when we were on the island of Carnaza that we were able to get a boat we can charter that would take us to La Manok (Manocmanoc Island) and back to Daanbantayan of mainland Cebu. I was so happy that I was leaping inside my head. At last, I can finally visit the island I’ve been eyeing to step on. I have zero ideas on what to expect from the island. Everything was just a painting on my head. It was already late in the morning when we left Carnaza Island for La Manok (Manocmanoc Island). We were all excited and everybody has their own set of expectations of the island.
Charmed by Manocmanoc Island
Enchanted by the aquamarine colored waters, we were eager to disembark from the boat. The pebbles sang as the boat’s bow thrust and sliced its way through the shore. Hearing the sound of the shore’s friction, my feet shivered frantically. I quickly grabbed my camera bag and leaped out from the boat down to the shore. With no care, we went off from our chartered boat and felt the pebbles on our feet. It was noon and the sun was scorching that time. But nothing can stop the excitement we felt. I, myself, did not bother to get toasted by the sun’s heat. As soon as my feet felt the shore, the pebble bar lured me towards her seducing waters.
Expectation versus Reality
Seeing the from afar, the pebble bar that connected the two main land mass of the island looked so white and I thought it was made up of fine white sands. Upon seeing it in real, the white long stretch is made up of pebbles and sea shells. The island indeed is very remote as expected. There were huts on the island but I think that nobody resides on them. The huts may just serve as temporary shades for fishermen. It would also be impractical to live on the island since the island is very small and is surrounded by the unpredictable ocean. It would be very dangerous to stay on the island especially during stormy weather. There is also no fresh water on the island and getting food supplies would need one to visit any nearby main islands which would take around more than an hour of boat ride.
Danger behind Beauty
Right when we disembarked from the boat, we quickly headed straight to the tempting and beautiful pebble-bar of the island. Because the bar is made up mostly of pebbles, the water does not get murky. It always stays clear. The tide was already up when we arrived, so the bar was already submerged by the water. Just when we plunged into the water, we felt the strong current from both sides of the island dragging us either of the sides. The current is so strong that you can feel it even when standing with waters on your hip-level. We were warned by the fishermen to never attempt to cross to the other side of the island even though you are a skilled swimmer, as the current can really get merciless.
As we enjoyed the waters, we took several photos and videos until one moment when the water started to feel itchy. Lai of The Little Lai actually got stung by a jellyfish right on his upper leg area, next to his crotch. LOL. That cued us to go back to our boat and transfer to the back side of the island where we stayed for a while and had our quick-lunch. At the back of the island, still the waters are so clear but luckily the current isn’t that forceful. There we got to enjoy the waters more. We swam like there’s no tomorrow. Few minutes passed, we already had our fill. We had our lunch and we satisfied our adrenaline rush and then we decided to head back to the main island of Cebu.
Let’s preserve the island
I must say that the island is indeed very beautiful and raw. Hopefully, the future visitors of the island would take care and be responsible enough as to not destroy the cleanliness and the ecosystem on the island. As always, I hope for everybody to practice and observe LNT (Leave No Trace) principle not just on this island but also to anywhere you go.
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.