Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kinatarkan: This One Goes Out to All the Sweet Filipina Island Gyal

I’m so mainstream. When everybody on earth started going to Guintarcan Island after PinoyApache posted an article about it at, I went too. I took my Jeck Pilpil and the Peacepipes playlist with me on that tour sponsored by hers truly, Chyrel Gomez (“hers truly” because she is so self-indulged). Anyway, I do not have to give out a whole lot of details about how to get there because PinoyApache already did a great job on it. Redundancy is boring, unless it’s financial redundancy. I’d like that. But I want to add some stuff.

Side note: If you’ve read the comments section of that page, a lot of people have been asking how to get there when he did write how to get there. I don’t know why people would ask about something that’s already written at the very same article they’re commenting on. Anyway, on to my story.

We got on a fishing boat that sidelined as a passenger craft (the guy was on his way home from delivering fish to the market) at 11am in Daanbantayan. The wharf to Kinatarkan (as Guintarcan is known to locals and to GoogleMaps) is very easy to get to via habal-habal and trisikad. Just tell them to get you to the pantalan or slawter house.

We got to the wharf at 8.30am and passed the time waiting for a boat talking to locals about the new mayor, the new guys who’ll be hired at the slawter house now that they have a new mayor, and how to get there without having to swim all the way. I asked them if someone has already swam the whole width but they said no one is that senseless in the area. I’m not Latvian either so I’m not gonna try. We paid 40 pesos, there was just me, Chyrel, a local, and the fish delivery guy. The waves did a really amazing job of getting me soaked (I sat at the front, I don’t know what’s the called in boat terminology). At some point while at sea, it seemed that the island wouldn’t get any closer. The unchanging seascape or probably its lack of landmarks makes any estimate of distance a wild guess.

As we moored out of Daanbantayan, we could see rain fall on the eastern end while the rest of the island was soaked in sunlight. The gloomy and sunny parts seemed like time zones apart.

From afar, the island seem uninhabited, just a green mass of land trimmed by white sand and dark-walled cliffs. But as distance subsides, houses unveil themselves and you’ll get a clue that there’s a whole bunch of people living in there. Took us 54 minutes to get to shore on a small, single-engine rig.

We got off at sitio Dapdap. Then we rode a habal2x to the house of Hagdan’s barangay captain to rent bicycles. Those were made-in-China BMX and we regretted renting them, although the captain is a really nice lady. We spent about an hour trying to put the bikes on riding condition before we’re able to roll them.

There is a guy who rents bicycles in Sitio Dolphin, Kinatarkan and he has better stuff. Although I bet Chyrel would still complain because she’s used to riding professional-grade mountain bikes. The weather during that bike trip was bipolar, and rabidly so. Rain fell and stopped and fell again, in a crazy cycle that made me wonder why I didn’t stay home for the weekend.

I got a lot of unsolicited attention going around the island mainly because of my dreadlocks (I don’t know if it’s the dreads or the fact that it’s all messed up and needs some repair). Kids wherever I pass would debate if it’s real or not.

Kinatarkan is more populated than I first thought, although the sight of outsiders in their island is still relatively foreign. Where we had lunch, the lady asked us why we’re there and if we were selling anything. The explanation of going there just for the heck of it is not very sufficient for most people we’ve talked to. Forest Beach is probably the only commercial resort in the area, and people who go there are mostly locals. The best beaches are the ones you find on the side of the road but Forest Beach has a dive board and a slide which is why kids love going there despite the five-peso entrance fee.

The beach photos in this entry are taken near Sitio Pasil. There was no one there to ask what the place was called. If you go there I’d suggest bringing a folding bike or renting some decent bike, you should be able to find it if you just go around the island.

Locals get their water from one of the few wells and water pumps in the island. The rainy season brings an added blessing—their tadyaw (clay water jars) would be filled with extra water. Those who can go the extra financial mile buy distilled water from the mainland. I hardly think that’s necessary since we survived the night and the morning after drinking rainwater, although I am happier to not know how that water looked like before they packed it in cellophane.

The island’s mainroad (which is only a vehicle’s with since only motorbikes go around the island) are littered with plastic trashes on the side. You know that one plus one equals two and adding another one to two all the time creates a huge bunch. It’s the same math that works with garbage and I hope people will soon realize that they can’t just litter the roadside or anywhere else.

The island is only twice the size of Malapascua, you can’t get lost there. You gotta know though that the regular trip to the island is only once a day. It usually leaves the island at 8am and goes back at 12noon. There are two or three rigs that keep that sched everyday, but they pretty much have the same schedule. We had no choice but to spend the night at the island. Did I mention there’s no commercial resort in the island? I guess I did, I’m a touch-writer, I write as a type. We spent the night at Berlito Mantao’s crib, he’s a retired teacher who hosts visitors in his crib. Food and lodging for the night and the trip back to Kawit included, he asked for 350 pesos for the two of us. We got discounted rates because electricity was down when we went there.

Maybe Manang missed the fact that I’m underweight or she took personal responsibility for it, that’s why she cooked right that was good for the Philippine Dragonboat Team. Either way, we had really great dinner and breakfast while we’re there, especially that the fish we ate were still swimming freely before they hit the frying pan.

I’m debating whether to post any more info about the island or just let you guys find out about it. I’ll just post photos and let’s just keep being mainstream you all!


Lakbay Diva said...

peacepipes ftw! nahan unta pod ko adto'g guintarcan tungod sa post ni pinoyapache hahahaha

slowter house? lol.

Kikit said...

Dreads? Mao sad akong unang napansin sa imong pics. Kabalo siguro sila nga bago na nimo nga hairstyle! hehe

Bal Marsius