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My Island Memoir: Pagbilao Grande’s “Kwebang Lampas”

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It was a rainy season weekend of July 9-10, I had another itch to conquer, a new island out of the stressful computational studies and research in school. So I joined a group called “Wowtrippers” and set off on another hyped weekend in Pagbilao Grande Island’s “Kwebang Lampas.” There was a rarely visited and well hidden beach, blessed with a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. It’s another one of those white beach weekends I go for, that I would never forget.

Pagbilao is located about 45 minutes by land from the capital town of Lucena in Quezon Province, which is also about a 3-hour trip from Manila by land. The word “Kwebang Lampas” translates in English as “the cave that goes beyond.”

We assembled at 12 midnight at our usual meeting place at McDonald’s EDSA cor. Panay Avenue next to the Quezon Avenue Metro Rail Train (MRT) station. We loaded our stuff in the van. Then we drove to Lucena, Quezon for a bathroom break and drove on to Pagbilao thereafter.

We arrived there Saturday morning. After breakfast, we headed to a quiet port where we saw no other travellers as we were the only ones renting a boat. Charging only Php10 each passenger, the river is almost as good as just crossing through by walking. However, we couldn’t do that since we had big travelling backpacks and other bulky camping stuff with us.

 

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(LEFT) The boat that we rented to cross the small river. I joined this trip with these people not knowing them but we bonded well on the island and ending the trip as friends. (RIGHT) Magnificent view of a hill with a factory smoke vent tower making itself beautiful in the eyes of a traveller.

 

Then when we got to other side of the river, a breathtaking view awaited us without even any climbing effort to see it.

 

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How it looks upon getting off the boat.

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After taking a few pictures of the view, we started our 15-minute trek going to the beach.

 

After our 15-minute short trek we took a nice feeling for ourselves on this isolated white sand crystal clear water beach. It has fresh air to breathe in and a cute cave that the seawater flows through to the other side where we started our trek.

 

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UPPER LEFT: Left-side view of the beach. UPPER RIGHT: Right-side view where the cave is. LOWER LEFT: The view of the beach upon ending the trek and getting a glance of it for the first time, including the fun-looking flags.
LOWER RIGHT: The rocky left end of the beach when you go for a walk along the shore.

 

After 15 minutes of catching our breath we set camp on the beach and started to relax, then we had a picnic style lunch. Our travel coordinators brought portable cooking equipment with them.

 

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After lunch, we spent our free time as we pleased until nightfall. We slept in our tents, we laid on hammocks, took pictures, walked back and forth along the shore, bathed in the water, and explored the cave.

 

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UPPER LEFT: Two of my travel companions are spent time taking photos. UPPER RIGHT: Member of another travelling group who was entering the cave as he explored. LOWER LEFT: What it’s like inside the cave. LOWER RIGHT: The other entry to the cave where we also spent time bathing because the water felt great for being warm and it was only waist-deep, making it fun to swim.

 

As nightfall came, we all took showers, had dinner and spent time getting to know each other while drinking. It was a bonding night well-spent with my newly-gained friends. But as my watch hit 10:00 pm, I just went back to my tent to caught up with my sleep since I am not a big drinker.

 

The next day, I started out by relaxing myself just sitting around. We had breakfast at 7:00 am. After that, we did whatever we pleased while we still had free time on the island until 12:00 noon.

After having lunch, taking showers and breaking camp, we had fun taking group pictures.

 

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Some of my newly-found friends.

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Jala is one of our companions and regular travel coordinator. He always loved doing headstands. So in every trip, he makes sure a picture of him doing a headstand is taken. To his right is Chona, one of my newly-found friends.

 

Then when the clock hit 2:00 pm, we headed back to Manila, stopped over at South Luzon Shell station along the highway to have pizza, and got back to our meeting place in time for dinner.

Budget: When I joined this trip, it was on a package rate of Php1,600 on an overnight basis. Currently, I think the rates are now much higher.

The package includes the following:

  • round trip land transportation (Route: Manila-Pagbilao-Manila)

  • overnight tent accommodation

  • dinner for Day 1, breakfast and lunch for Day 2 while on the island (You need to bring your own packed lunch for Day 1. You also have an option to buy lunch during our stopover in Jollibee Lucena.)

  • name tag/ bag tag

 

To check if Wowtrippers has any current trips to Pagbilao Grande, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wowtrippers. Follow them on twitter at https://twitter.com/WOWtrippers or call their head organiser, Janine Manaig at (63)923-7125083. Trip itinerary and instructions will be provided upon signing up. They let anyone tag along in their trips whether it is for solo travellers, partners,  or groups and they will organise a trip for you if you have formed your own group of at least 10 or 12 people.

 

Author: Carla Pido   

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Photo source:

All photos – by Carla Pido

 

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