From the moment I saw the photos of Alibijaban from Manong Unyol, I always to wanted to visit the island – even if it means going alone. I made several attempts the past weekend, but a lot of things happened that eventually delayed my trip. So I marked Alibijaban Island an elusive destination.
Last Saturday, I pursued my Alibijaban conquest. I boarded a Lucena-bound Jac Liner Bus in Buendia and then transferred to Barney Auto Lines in Lucena Grand Terminal. Exactly 06:00AM the following day, I arrived in San Andres, the dropoff point to Alibijaban Island. From the bus terminal, I hired a pedicab to San Andres Feeder Port.
While waiting for an outrigger banca to Alibijaban, an unfamiliar guy approached me and asked, “Are you the visitor?” (in tagalog, of course). I had no idea how to react, I mean, how could he knew? I did not inform anybody that I am coming. “Hmmm, no, I come here without advising anyone. Do you have any other guests coming?”, I answered with humility.
As the conversation continued, I learned that his name is Ronnel; he work in the local DSWD office in San Adress; and he lives beside Kuya Randy’s house in Alibijaban. Kuya Randy was the one given the task to accept the island’s guests. Ronnel talked a lot of things, promised to show me around, and briefed me about the transportation schedule. He also helped me arrange my boat transfer to the island. It was a big thanks, bro!
After 15-20 minutes of boat ride. “Hola! There you are Alibijahan”, I exclaimed in silence.
The beach was white, the water was so clear, and the people were so welcoming. I did not expect the third actually. But when I talked to Ronnel, meet Kuya Randy and his wife, and the rest of the neighborhood – I thought – the rumors weren’t true at all. Or, could it be that everything in the past, changed. Ian Limbonis talked about people being speculative. Also, the townsfolk, previously, would warn visitors about poisoning in the island. However, I hadn’t heard a single caution during that visit.
Since Kuya Randy had an appointment in the town, he left me to his kids. The twin Eman and Emak, and Raniel.
Eman was assigned to show me around. With his friend, we walked to the mangrove area and showed some beautiful sceneries nearby. There were concrete bridges installed to connect some areas separated by water channels.
We also walked to the southern tip of the island to show me the cave. Since it was really far, we made several stopovers. And, since my guides were kids, the gauge with distance wasn’t reliable. Perhaps, the uncertainty was broader than the actual distance itself.
I was really tired and thirsty when we returned. To vent out the heat, I napped on the bench under the small tree along the beach. The gust of the breeze was exceptionally relaxing.
While I was sleeping, Eman took a hand of my camera. When I got awake and scanned the gallery, all I saw are photos of him, his siblings, and friends. Some of which were mildly outrageous. Kids these days…who taught them!