Heading to the unassuming beauty of a hidden Island Paradise in the tranquil town of Plaridel, Misamis Occidental was actually not in my itinerary. Perhaps because Baobawon Island or also spelled as Bawbawon Island is an Island that I have never heard of before. Truly, it is such a little-known Island that even some locals in Plaridel haven’t heard about this Island as well.
I was going over my google map, while I had my road trip in Misamis Occidental with my friend, and it just so happens, we found the Baobawon Island on the Map. And, we both find it an interesting Island to visit. Without reading any blogs about the Island, since we want to be surprised by its innate beauty, we still pursue our plan to visit Baobawon Island even we didn’t see any photos of the Island online. We embarked on our motorcycle road trip from Oroquieta City with my friend Rafael Sanchez of Raftrip then, we drop by in Plaridel to visit Baobawon Island. After visiting Baobawon Island, we went straight to Baliangao for beach hopping, and our endpoint is in the Municipality of Sapang Dalaga to visit their enticing Sapang Dalaga Falls.
Shortly after following the direction on google map for more than an hour, we made it at the junction road going to the jump off area of Baobawon Island. Hence, we follow the map, until we get to the drop off area. As we made our way, some part of the road was already concreted, but a few portions of it is not yet done. Perhaps because the road concreting project is still on-going, as I have seen a few construction equipement along the road.
Upon reaching at the jump off area, there were already boatmen waiting in there without us knowing. And, we asked them if there’s an available boat that would bring us to Baobawon Island, then a tall guy approached us, and told us that he will be the one who’ll bring us to the Island. His name is Reymund, and seemed to look like late 40’s. While he was preparing his boat, I felt so agitated, and still wondering what the Island exactly looks like. Also, I noticed the long footbridge made entirely of bamboo, only it looks like already damaged. Possibly because it has been there for biennium or even lustrum, since Baobawon Island was officially open to public in the year 2013, or perhaps it is also because of the unpredictable weather.
And later on, Kuya Reymund told us that it is actually a footbridge that connects the main island to the Baobawon Island, which you’ll require a long walk and experience passing under the big mangroves to get to the Island. Indeed, it is a bridge made of bamboo that is being constructed in the sea. Unluckily, this footbridge is no longer advisable to take, since it has already been damaged. A few years back, this bridge was used to be an option if you decide to go to the Island, but at present, the only way to get to Baobawon Island is by boat.
And in time, the boat is ready, and so we are. And so, I started bombarding Kuya Reymund a lot of questions, like is the Island gets crowded most of the time? He smiled and said, I suppose, It is only during holy week, which is only a few days ago that Baobawon Island has received a boatload of visitors. So, right at that instant, I was expecting that possibly, we can have the Island all by ourselves.
So, the boat went sailing, we passed by on the mangrove forest, which makes me really happy, since one of the most notable features of mangroves is that, it has a complex root systems that extend above and below the water line. And by saying that, the roots allow mangroves to stabilize themselves and prevent corrosion of the coastline. Additionally, they also provide habitat, nurseries, and feeding grounds for a vast array of fish and other organisms. And viewing a lot of mangroves on our way to Baobawon Island has given me an instant conclusion that this Island is surely rich in marine biodiversity.
After 10 minutes of boat ride while enjoying the mangroves scenery, we were welcomed by the stretch of white sand beach, splendid coastal views, crystal clear water and lines of wild coconut trees. Possibly, just before traipsing our feet, and just before our boat dock off of the shoreline, this beautiful scenery has fascinated our eyes.
Coming down from the boat at that time was really a struggle, since the waves were in their rage state. And upon traipsing my feet on white sand shore, I observe a bunch of driftwoods, fallen coconuts and leaves. I couldn’t see the stretch of white sand shoreline in its full glory at that time, but I nonetheless find it amazing and beautiful. There were cottages around as well, but no other visitors were there at that time, but only me and my friend, and of course, the boatman and his helper.
I thought that I would just be seeing that stretch of white sand and the coconut trees. But, to my surprise, our boatman told us that there’s actually another stretch of white sand located just a few meters from where we are currently standing at the moment. Only, since the boat can’t get to the other side because of the raging waves, we need to walk for a few minutes to get there. He was supposed to accompany us, simply because they can’t dock off at the shore at that time because of the big waves, we decided to get there on our own.
And by already seeing the stretch of white sand, which I call it as station 1 because it doesn’t have a name as of this writing. I wasn’t expecting much already on the other stretch of clean sand. We set off walking along the confusing trail, since there were tall perennial grass, shrubs and towering coconut trees. We almost didn’t keep on our trekking, since we thought that we chose the wrong trail, but still, despite our doubts – we continue hiking.
Then, suddenly there’s a heavy sound that has caught our attention. It was a huge wave kissing the sturdy limestone rock, then, whooshing water sputtering in freedom and we get it really amazing and stunning.
After that, we walk a little bit, then another horrible sound has captured our attention. There – we found a small cave that looks just like a sink hole where the water from the ocean gets in. It was genuinely beautiful that has made us speechless. Though, there were driftwoods, fallen coconuts and leaves inside the cave while the waves come in. Nevertheless, it was really beautiful in its own innate state.
We then continue walking to get to the other white sand shoreline. Soon afterwards, we were happy the moment we heard a voice from a group of friends who seemed to have a great chi-chat time, which means that we are now close to the white sand beach. And by saying that, a feeling of finally experiencing the white sandy shoreline is unexplainable. True enough, we were welcomed by a stretch of a long white sandy shoreline, which I think, it measures of about less than 1 kilometer.
We were supposed to swim at that time, only the waves were really big, which I guess it was so perfect for surfing. So, while the big waves kissing the coast, there – we were also busy taking photos of the place. We also noticed that, there are a few cottages around and towering coconut trees, which gives enough shade for the visitors.
Truly, it’s a piece of paradise that hasn’t visited by many travelers. And, I hope that the future visitors of Baobawon Island won’t ruin its natural state. And since this Island is uninhabited, except for a few fishermen who stays on the Island for a couple of days whenever they go fishing. The Island doesn’t offer a great deal of things to do, but if you’re a kind of traveler that loves to commune with nature then, this is a perfect place for you. Its serenity, rawness, and innate beauty are beyond compare.
We didn’t stay longer on the Island, and experiencing its natural beauty for a short period of time has given us a chance to commune with nature. Actually, we haven’t just experienced its beauty, but it affords us another reason to be proud as a Filipino, knowing that we have another beautiful Island in the Philippines. Perchance, on my next visit, I will get to camp here to fully experience its beauty.
How to get to Baobawon Island
Getting to Baobawon Island is not a problem, since it is very accessible by air, sea and land. In fact, this can be reached by a different point of entry. You can get here via Ozamiz City, Dapitan and Dipolog. Also, there are boat trips from Tagbilaran City, Bohol to Plaridel, and Larena, Siquijor to Plaridel, Misamis Occidental.
From Ozamiz City
Ride a Bus (Rural Transit) or Van from Ozamiz bound for Plaridel and tell the driver to drop you off in the junction road going to Baobawon Island. The travel time from Ozamiz to Plaridel is around 2 hours. The fare is most likely around PHP 100.00 to PHP 130.00.
From the junction road, ride a motorcycle going to the drop off area, and the travel time is about 5 to 10 minutes, and the fare is PHP 25.00. The moment you arrived at the drop off area, there are already boatmen waiting in there, so just tell them that you’ll be going to Baobawon Island. The boat fare is only PHP 60.00 (Back & Forth) including the waiting time of the boatman, and the travel time from the mainland is only 10-15 minutes. I suggest that you give tips for the boatman if you have some extra. The good thing about going to Baobawon Island is that, they will still bring you to the Island even you travel solo with the same fare. But, I’m not sure in the future, since this is their practice as of this writing.
Ride a Bus (Rural Transit) or Van bound for Ozamiz City, and ask the driver or the Bus Conductor to drop you off in the junction road going to Baobawon Island. The travel time is around 1 hour and 30 minutes, and the fare is most likely around PHP 80.00 to PHP 100.00. Then, follow the step 2 above.
Getting to Baobawon Island using a private car is very easy. You just have to drive going to the Municipality of Plaridel, and ask the locals where is the junction road going to Baobawon Island. If you’re driving in a private car from Ozamiz City or Oroquieta City, the junction road going to Baobawon Island is located at the right side just before you reach the town proper of Plaridel. And, if you’re driving from Dipolog or Dapitan City, the junction road going to Baobawon Island is located at the left side after you passed by in the town proper of Plaridel.
Baobawon Island Travel Tips
- If you’re planning to stay overnight, you can bring your own camping tent and just camp on the beach. And during my visit, there’s no entrance fee yet.
- You can spend many activities on Baobawon Island; such as walking on the shoreline, swimming and snorkeling.
- There is an available toilet and bathroom, which actually free of charge if you get a cottage, which is ranging from PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00.
- There is no store on the Island, so I suggest if you stay overnight, kindly bring your own food. And don’t forget to buy all the necessary things that you need when you camp on the Island.
- Expect big waves when going to Baobawon Island always make sure to secure all your gadgets and put them in the dry bag.
- Always remember that – Your garbage your obligation. Never leave your garbage when visiting this Island, and as you depart, kindly bring them with you and leave them on the mainland. Don’t forget to bring a food waste bag.
- Please remember to practice Leave No Trace (LNT) behind. Take good care of our mother nature. Just enjoy and be responsible enough.
Baobawon Island Sample Itinerary
07:30 AM Meet up at Ozamiz City Terminal
08:00 AM Depart for Baobawon Island Jump Off area
10:00 AM ETA Baobawon Island Jump off area
10:10 AM Depart for Baobawon Island
10:20 AM ETA Baobawon Island
10:30 AM Explore the Island (Hiking & Swimming)
12:30 PM Lunch Time
02:00 PM Swimming
04:00 PM Depart for the Mainland
04:15 PM ETA Mainland
04:30 PM Depart for Ozamiz City
06:30 PM ETA Ozamiz City
My final word about Baobawon Island.
Whatever you do on Baobawon Island, Plaridel, Misamis Occidental, it is always done in surroundings that can only be truly described as paradise. It is still so unspoiled and the isolated feel is just so real. Perhaps, Baobawon Island may not be the place for you if you’re looking for a comfortable and relaxing beach vacation. But, if you’re into camping and adventure, then Baobawon Island is one of the Islands in the Philippines that you should visit. But, of everything that this Island has to offer, the very thing that you will really enjoy is the relaxation and eschewing of the tourist trail that leads to tranquility and will bring you closer to an innate nature’s bounty.