By: Nickson Garcia
For the month of June 2016, and as part of Untold Adventures Philippines (UAPH) vision to explore places or destinations in the country which are uncommonly visited by many, went to Ticao Island in Masbate.
Ticao Island is one of the three (3) major islands of Masbate province in the Philippines namely: Burias, Masbate (main) and Ticao. Why did I choose Ticao? Simply because compared to the other islands, Ticao is the most unspoiled and uncommonly visited. Moreover, it is a perfect diving and snorkeling spot amongst the three. Being recently an “underwaterworld” enthusiast, it has captured my inner excitement to once again experience the beauty below.
Everything was fully coordinated with the tourism office of Ticao prior to the scheduled event. Although, I really had a hard time coordinating and finding the right contact persons for the event since there were rare write ups regarding Ticao. Still, I manage to successfully find people who would help us on our untold journey.
We were eight (8) in the group when we went to Ticao Island and we were accompanied by surprisingly a young looking tourism officer (which I didn’t anticipate by the way). Ticao Island is divided into four (4) municipalities of Batuan, Monreal, San Fernando and San Jacinto and for this untold trip, our area of concentration were Batuan and Monreal.
First on the list is the Municipality of Batuan and we were scheduled to explore Snake Island Gibraltar.
True to its word, Snake Island is not called as such because it is shaped like a snake but barely because it is home for numerous (maybe hundreds) of snakes. Now, you may be wondering why would I include in our itinerary a placed that is homed by snakes? My answer is…ADVENTURE. Prior to visiting the place, I’ve seen the cave island from a well known travel documentary show on television which gave me the idea that the place could possibly be explored.
I was really excited to see the cave island, although I felt a little scared for my friends and not for myself because the burden of responsibility is within me for bringing them there. Upon docket at the entrance of the island, long and behold there was already a sea snake laying in the rock we entered. Sea snakes, as some may know, is considered to be a poisonous kind of snake and when bitten you can easily die within hours from the time bitten. Scary? Oh yes it is! According to our local guide, there weren’t any reported incident of snake bite since it was first visited by the television show (or maybe it was not reported). Regardless, we still continued inside the cave island.
Numerous sea snakes were seen swimming, peeking and crawling as we crossed to the other side of the cave island. We were very cautious in our every step since we never know where the snakes could appear. As we reached the other side of the cave island, a magnificent view surprised us. Clear green water inside the cave! Above it were hundreds of bats circling around. It was picturesque view to remember and as others say, “instagram worthy!”
According to our local guide, we can swim until the end of the cave island. However, in order to achieve that, we have to swim with sea snakes and to cliff jump. Did we do it? No! Therefore, we had to go back to where we entered. Apparently, the unexpected happened to me. An experience I never imagined that could ever happen to me. And the least possible thing I want to happen inside the cave island…I slipped and fell down on snakes! I immediately got up and stayed on the rock.
Our weekend at Ticao gave us one of the most memorable experiences in terms of exploring the beauty of the underwater world and one of the most underrated destinations in Masbate or in the country. I must say that Ticao would be best appreciated by those travel junkies who’s into swimming, diving, snorkeling and just simply loves the clear deep blue water.
By the start of the weekday and while I was at work, I felt pain at my left arm coalesce with a severe headache. I noticed that I have scratches and two marks which look like an animal bite. I immediately sent a picture to my friend who had it confirmed to be a possible animal bite. Being optimistic, I was never worried that it could be a possible snake bite although I previously fell on snakes, I still considered that the headache might be due to lack of sleep and the two marks were just scratches. By middle of the week, I still haven’t had myself checked but I am still feeling the same symptoms of a possible snake bite. On the following day, thru the eagerness of my close friends, I had myself checked and the doctor confirmed that that possible bite was not poisonous or the snake bite failed to inject any poison.
Whether it was a snake bite or not, the most important lesson I learned for the experience was to never delay any consultation with a doctor who is much knowledgeable about the subject matter because an optimistic person needs consultation too.
And for my Ticao Island experience, will I still go back? Oh Yessssssssssssssssssss!!!
Other tourism destination we visited:
Photo Credits to:
Note: Untold Adventures PHilippines went to Ticao Island Masbate last June 25 and 26, 2016
For Ticao Island, Masbate Itinerary, click here.