LOVE is in the air. This is the season when malls and public places are decorated with hearts to celebrate Valentine’s Day. But for nature and beach lovers, do you know that there’s an island in the country that is shaped like a heart? It’s the beautiful Bonito Island located in Mabini, Batangas.
I vividly remember staying in this beautiful secluded island found right at the mouth of Batangas Bay, where boats to and from Puerto Galera in Mindoro Oriental often pass through.
Taking a boat that could accommodate 10 to 20 people from the Mabini port in Batangas (where boats ply to Tigloy); we headed to Bonito for a weekend escapade.
The sun was up as we docked at Bonito’s white sand beach. First thing in the agenda was lunch at the restaurant overlooking the bay. The sea was enticing as we feasted on the food prepared for us. While sun, sea and sand filled the landscape from the restaurant during the day, the night view was more on the lights from the mainland Luzon, where the coastal Batangas towns glowed like fireflies at the horizon.
At the tip of Bonito Island, right in front of the resort is a sand bar that appears during low tide. Within the vicinity is a good spot to do some snorkeling.
There were portions beneath the waters where we could only find sea grass, while in certain areas a few corals and some fishes become visible. However, it is not advisable to swim further as the seabed suddenly turns deep and the current can turn out strong.
Bonito Island is a diver’s destination as well. They provide introductory training to diving and assist divers to the rich nearby diving sites in Batangas. It has a large swimming pool where visitors can practice diving or guests, especially children, can swim safely in the confines of the resort.
One can sunbathe at the beach during the day or have a bonfire during the night, while enjoying a drink or two beneath the stars. Apart from swimming, snorkeling and diving, Bonito Island Resort also offers other activities like island hopping, kayaking, fishing or wind surfing. At one point during our stay, we hopped on the boat and headed to nearby Balahibong Manok Island where a lighthouse can be found.
But apart from swimming, we also walked around the whole coast of the island, exploring the rocky portions and even the lush forest-like areas.
Be careful though because you can never tell what’s there in the wild.
Spending a night or more in Bonito Island is very convenient because it has rooms and cottages with private bath and toilet. We had a choice among the Duplex Rooms, the Beachfront Cottages, and the Mangyan Rooms.
They have a native feel to it, making the ambiance even more enjoyable and relaxing.
We went there as a group and we had a summer blast in Bonito. But it can also be ideal for families and couples. At the time when we were there, there were guests from other Asian countries who opted to do diving in the area.
If one can some up what it’s like in this heart-shaped island, it’s definitely a stay that one can say, “muy bonito!”
All photos are by this author. Claire Marie Algarme blogs at http://firsttimetravels.com. Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and Instagram and like her Facebook page First-time Travels blog.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on February 16, 2018.
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