TABLAS ISLAND:  A WEEKEND IN AGLICAY BEACH

ROMBLON, 
June 2, 2004  (MALAYA) By RHEENA PARUNGAO  -  MY friends and I love going out on a weekend travel adventure. It is long enough to escape from work, not too expensive and the places to go to are countless. One weekend in March, we went to a not-so-discovered beach resort in Romblon.

The Aglicay Beach Resort is located in the municipality of Alcantara in Tablas Island. It boasts of powdery white sand, corals, coves, hills and calm waters. It is perfect for those who want to get away and relax - even if only for a few days.

We left Manila Friday afternoon via MV Virgin Mary. and the 10-hour trip didn't seem all that long. We had dinner while watching the sunset on deck. It was the perfect time for what seemed to be day of endless girl talk. By 9:00 p.m., we headed to our bunks and slept. By 4:00 a.m., we were in Odiongan.

Our hosts (and resort owners) Dr. Guillermo "Doc" and Glenda Martinez were already waiting for us at the port which is an hour-long drive from Aglicay. But don't worry if you don't have this kind of arrangement. There are jeepneys at the port that go directly to the resort for P40. Just look out for those marked with "Survivor" in front. The resort is partly hidden so make sure to tell the driver you want to reach Aglicay Beach.

Once there, we had Romblon's famous suman, fried rice and large pieces of danggit for breakfast at the cabana. The place is so tranquil. One can either sleep under the shade or get started with an adventure and trek the surrounding hills. The climb is easy as there are built-in stairs that lead to two peaks from where you can admire a 360-degree view of the nearby islands. You can even see the Sibuyan Islands and Caratong Island that local folk describe as an "enchanted island."

The water of Aglicay is so inviting, calm and not too cold. There are hidden coves and niches perfect for honeymooners or for those who just want a quiet time alone for reading, writing or even knitting. Sometimes, the only sound you can hear is Julius begging for some attention from Doc. The huge German shepherd, who also acts as the resort's resident lifeguard, treats the beach as a big playground. He's friendly dog but his size is quite intimidating. There is also Hubert, the yellow-naped Amazon parrot who speaks in English but is slowly learning Filipino. He was able to imitate my laughter immediately after hearing it.

A cottage for four persons is pegged at P1,200. It is clean with lots of windows. There are no air-conditioned units but the evenings in Aglicay are cool enough. You can also pitching a tent by the beach for a minimal fee. The public comfort rooms are well maintained.

Doc and Glenda are still experimenting on how to operate the resort so their prices are still negotiable. They do not have any set meals yet but they are willing to serve home cooked meals for P400 a day. It is cheap considering they serve Romblon's finest catch, succulent crabs and shrimps, not to mention the endless servings of suman, fresh buko juice and bukayo.

There are a lot of other things to do in Aglicay like snorkeling, kayaking, volleyball, board games and fishing. You can even rent the owner's Hagibis, a motorized-banca, for a day of island hopping. Just don't miss the sunset in Aglicay. On some nights, the moon can be so bright and low creating the perfect mood for some beer, coffee or tea.

If the quiet becomes too deafening, challenge Doc for a round of videoke or ballroom dancing (but I bet you will lose on this one as the couple is so into it that Doc even took formal dancing lessons while in the US). Or be more adventurous by traveling to nearby Looc town and taking the daily pump boat ride to Boracay. You can party all night then go back to serene Aglicay in the morning.

We left the resort a little after lunch that Sunday to catch the 5:00 p.m. ferry trip to Manila. We reached North Harbor at about 4:00 a.m., just long enough to rest and get ready for another busy workweek.

For more info on Aglicay Beach Resort you can log on to the net and visit http://geocities.com/aglicaybeachresort, or call 0919-3452729 or the Manila office at 937-5064.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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