Cateel, as you know it, was hard-hit by Typhoon Pablo last December of 2012. It was the most devastating calamity that flattened the whole town and spared nothing including the many beautiful natural wonders we have there. Like our very homes destroyed completely by the ravaging typhoon, these natural attractions are like our own homes where we find joy and pride everytime we visit there. Thus, our great sadness seeing them in awful state. But a year after that dreadful catastrophe, these natural wonders are getting back to their beautiful shape like our people there getting back to their feet – this time with a great promise of become more beautiful, more enticing.
Last holidays, I spend my whole two weeks break there celebrating the Christmas and New Year with my family and friends. Like an old practice, vacationing there is never complete without roaming around visiting the places I grown up loving with. And the best way to make love with these magnificent places is though my lenses – frozen and cherished!
HERE ARE SOME OF THE PLACES THAT RECONNECTED ME THERE AGAIN.
If the province of Surigao Del Sur boasts of the now famous Enchanted River in the town of Hinatuan, my province of Davao Oriental takes pride of our hidden treasure called Carolina Lake in the coastal town of Baganga.
The Municipality of Baganga is situated in the eastcoast part of Davao Oriental facing the vast waters of Pacific Ocean. It is endowed by Mother Nature with startling coastal wonders and stunning islands that make the town a great destination for beach adventures, weekend getaways and short city breaks. More than the beaches, Baganga teems with vast rivers, flowing lagoons and tidal creeks considered as eco-adventure sites of the town. The most favorite place among those is what the locals called Carolina Lake.
Carolina Lake nestled inside the thick verdant vegetation of Panghugan in Barangay Salingcomot, one the coastal barangays of Baganga sharing an estuary and water passage going to the seas of the Pacific. It is 15 minutes away from town proper and very accessible from the national highway. In fact, motorcycles can go directly to the Lake’s vicinity while four wheeled vehicles can park at the entrance. From the entrance, going down to the Lake it is about 5-minute walk.
The Carolina Lake is not actually a lake. It is more of a tidal creek or lagoon where a portion of a stream is affected by ebb and flow of ocean tides. Thus, the cool waters of Carolina are brackish and fishes that plentifully thrive there are those that live in marine waters. According to the locals, some giant eels can be found here.
More than the cool brackish waters, Carolina Lake is beauty in itself. The green and clean colors of the waters superbly complimented with verdant hues of green life that surrounds it. At times, the water sparkles once touched by the rays of the sun peeping from the century old trees covering it. Looking at it from afar, it looks like a perfect painting creating an appealing setting of untouched nature. Slowly, it has gained a good reputation as one of the must visit destinations in Baganga.
Most loved by the locals as their secret paradise, Carolina Lake is an ideal place to cool down especially coming from a whole day of beach hopping. Whether you’re taking a plunge to its cool waters or you’re just there sitting at one corner staring and relishing its natural beauty, Carolina Lake will never fail you!
As I have mentioned, Baganga is the Coastal Wonder of my home province of Davao Oriental, a place where untouched white sand coasts can be found. You may frolic in these white sands or simply relish the spectacular seascape of this coastal town but your visit to Baganga will never be complete if you never see and experience the enticing brackish waters of Carolina Lake. It used to be a secret, now it can be your all yours!
HOW TO GET TO BAGANGA, DAVAO ORIENTAL: From Davao City, one may take either public utility buses or L300 vans to reach the Municipality of Baganga. Public utility buses coming from Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) in Ecoland travel to the town daily. Once you arrive at Baganga’s Poblacion, you may hire a motorcycle or habal-habal to bring you to Carolina Lake.
FOR ASSISTANCE, you may call: MR. NICHOLEREY DAPITANON
Municipal Tourism Officer
Municipality of Baganga, Davao Oriental
I am blessed to have been born and raised in a province where pristine beaches, untouched coves and unspoiled islands are within reach. I owe that to the three major bodies of water surrounding our Province – the Pacific Ocean in the East and the Davao Gulf and Celebes Sea in the South. With its 448-kilometer coastline, my home Province of Davao Oriental is regarded to have the longest coastline in the whole Region XI.
Among the 11 municipalities of Davao Oriental sharing these untouched coasts, the Municipality of Bagangasecretly possesses long beaches and lengthy coastline teeming mostly with captivating white sand shores. Secluded from crowded commercial tourism, these coastlines remain exquisitely unspoiled keeping its old world magic that exudes quaint setting of untouched nature – the kind of beach so perfect for me. Thus, whether you’re on the other part of the globe and you’re planning to visit the Philippines, come to this part of the country and relish for yourself this paradise I considered the Coastal Wonders of Baganga, Davao Oriental.
Secret no more, let me bring you to some of the most pristine beaches, undiscovered coves, unspoiled estuaries, well-preserved islands and breathtaking coastlines tagged asBaganga‘s Ecstasy By Seaby the Provincial Tourism Office of Davao Oriental. GRAB YOUR BEACH TOWELS NOW! The sand is warm, but the ocean is cool. I’m saving a special spot on these beaches just for you.
THE BEACHES OF BAN-AO Barangay Ban-ao is the furthest Barangay of Baganga bordering the coastal town of Cateel. Facing the Pacific waters, Ban-ao is endowed with some pristine beaches with sands that vary from white, cream and orangey. Most of these beaches are along the national highway, thus, it can be easily reached and accessed. During low tide, locals would flock the rocky sea bed of Ban-ao Beaches to catch seashells and other marine resources that abound the place. With the presence of vast mangrove forest that thrives along the waters of Ban-ao, a part of this Barangay is considered Marine Protected Area.
THE TREASURE ISLAND OF BAN-O Passing the paved coastal road of Barangay Ban-ao, there you can find one tiny islet locally called Treasure Island. It is dotted with a small portion of white sands and a number of rock formations. Some vegetation covers the islet while shallow water surrounding it is a perfect spot for swimming. From the mainland, going to the islet is very accessible. You can paddle a boat on high tide or just walk across to the island during low tide. Legend has it that the islet possesses one of the buried treasures by the Japanese soldiers, thus, called the Treasure Island.
THE SAN VICTOR ISLAND Bestowed by Mother Nature with pristine pearly white sands and crystal clear seawater that exudes an ambiance of a real tropical living, San Victor Island located in Barangay San Victor is considered as the Island Jewel of Baganga. This 3-hectare Island is rich in marine life and resources. Seaweeds and clams abound the sea bed. Underwater, its unscathed corals are playground of the multi-colored fishes. While the sea surrounding the island teems with rich marine life, the island on the other hand is covered with tall old coconut groves, some talisay trees and other tropical plants enhancing a real tropical feel. Sightings of dugongs and dolphins have been recorded visiting the waters of the Island.
DAANG LUNGSOD BEACH OF BACULIN A secret cove situated in the far flung coasts of Barangay Baculin, Daang Lungsod Beach is yet another beach worth going when visiting Baganga. It has a long stretch of powdery white sand shoreline and cool emerald sea waters. Unlike the beaches of Ban-ao and San Victor which can be accessed from the main highway, Daang Lungsod Beach is hidden in the vast coconut farm of Baculin, around 10 minutes habal-habal ride from the highway. Although private, beach goers and nature lovers are welcome to come and experience the old-fashioned beach life of this Baculin beach.
LANGUYON BEACH Languyon is a vast estuary shared by three Barangays of Baganga namely Baculin, Bobonao and Salingcomot. It is a water passage where sea tides of the Pacific meets a river current, thus, the brackish waters of Languyon are mixed of freshwater from rivers and streams and the seawater. While Salingcomot houses the vast mangrove forest, both Baculin and Bobonao share the vast shoreline of Languyon which is endowed with powdery white sands, amazing rock formations and coconut trees lining up the upper shores. For the locals, Languyon Beach is the most precious secret beach paradise of Baganga. The best way to get to Languyon Beach is passing through the same way with Daan Lungsod Beach in Barangay Baculin.
BAIT BEACH OF BOBON, SALINGCOMOT In addition to the many coastal wonders of Baganga is the Bait Beach situated in the coast of Bobon in Barangay Salingcomot, about 10 minutes habal-habal ride from the highway. Like its neighboring beaches, Bait Beach boasts of its lengthy undisturbed white sand beach bathe in the tranquil view of the blue waters of the Pacific. This is among the many beaches of Baganga that until now retain its natural beauty and infectious serenity.
THE WHITE SAND BEACH OF LAMBAJON Among the many beaches one can find in Baganga, the White Sand Beach, as they call it, is one of most preferred beaches frequented by Bagangeños. It is located on the shores of Barangay Lambajon, too accessible from the town center of Baganga. True to its name, the White Sand Beach boasts of its refined white sands abounding the lengthy coast of this part of the town.
THE CAROLINA LAKE After luxuriating oneself from the old-fashioned charm of the Beaches and Coasts of Baganga, the best way to cool down is to dip into the cold brackish waters of the Carolina Lake situated in Panghugan, Barangay Salingcomot. The Carolina Lake is not actually a lake. It is more of a tidal creek where a portion of a stream is affected by ebb and flow of ocean tides, thus explain the salinity of the water. Marine fishes abound the waters. According to the locals, some giant eels can be found here. But more than its cold waters, Carolina Lake is a natural beauty in itself. It is surrounded by lushes of vegetation and century old-trees creating an appealing setting of unhurt nature. Slowly, Carolina Lake has gained a good reputation as one of the must visit destination in Baganga.
There you have it – the Coastal Wonders of Baganga, Davao Oriental. These are just among the many unexplored beaches and pristine coastal havens of the town. There are more to see there, more to relish.
HOW TO GET TO BAGANGA, DAVAO ORIENTAL: From Davao City, one may take either public utility buses or L300 vans to reach the Municipality of Baganga. Public utility buses coming from Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) in Ecoland travel to the town daily. Once you arrive at Baganga’s Poblacion, you may hire a motorcycle or habal-habal to bring to these beautiful beaches of the town.
FOR ASSISTANCE, you may call: MR. NICHOLEREY DAPITANON Municipal Tourism Officer
Municipality of Baganga, Davao Oriental
Lying on the seas of the Pacific in the coastal town of Baganga, Davao Oriental, there find one sparkling Island bestowed by Mother Nature with pristine sands so pure and pearly white, seawater so clean and clear and an ambiance of a real tropical living. They call this little paradise – San Victor Island.
The San Victor Island is one of Davao Oriental’s unique islands facing the Pacific Ocean. It is 3-hectare Island located in Barangay San Victor about 20 minutes drive from Baganga’s town proper and 40 minutes ride from its neighboring town of Cateel. The island is very accessible from the highway and about 5 minutes boat ride from the mainland.
The island is considered as the Island Jewel of Baganga as it landed on the list of the must-visit top tourist spots of Davao Oriental and the Davao Region. Thus, if you are a tourist visiting both Baganga and Cateel, your trip to both towns will not be complete without basking onto the powdery white sands and soaking into the cool turquoise waters of San Victor Island.
More than the white sand beach and the crystal clear waters, San Victor Island is rich in marine life and resources. Seaweeds and clams abound the sea bed. Underwater, its unscathed corals are playground of the multi-colored fishes. While the sea surrounding the island teems with rich marine life, the island on the other hand is covered with tall old coconut groves, some talisay trees and other tropical plants enhancing a real tropical feel.
The Island’s exceptional beauty and sublime tranquility top the reason why it is frequented by beach fanatics. It is the reason why visitors, not only from Baganga, would travel far to indulge and relish the Island’s irresistible inviting splendor.
Visiting San Victor Island is always part of my vacation in my hometown. Although it belongs to the Municipality of Baganga, it is greatly accessible from my hometown of Cateel. For the many times that I’ve come here, I’ve learned to love everything about the Island’s allure – the sun, the sea and the sand. But there is one thing I learned about it that I have yet to see. According to the locals, the island’s turquoise waters are favorite playgrounds of sea cows or Dugong. They say it is between months of June and August that these sea cows are spotted playing and dancing at the waters of the Island. It is a good reason to look forward to.
San Victor Island is owned by the Diocese of Mati and managed by the Catholic Parish of Baganga. It is open to visitors and tourists who want to experience extraordinary encounter with nature and the tranquility of the surroundings. It is not commercially developed but it has cottages for rent, nipa huts to stay and manicured lawn for camping available whether for day tour or for overnight stay. And yes, there is electricity and fresh water.
If you are an island lover and you love everything about the island – San Victor Island is for you! Whether you’re up for frolicking on the beach or just basking on the sand, the island will simply embrace you. After all, just like other lovely islands, San Victor Island is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the daily living.
HOW TO GET TO THE SAN VICTOR ISLAND: From Davao City, one may take either public utility buses or L300 vans to reach the Municipality of Baganga in Davao Oriental. Public utility buses coming from Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) in Ecoland travel to the town daily. On the other hand, L300 Vans Terminal servicing Davao-Baganga is located at Gaisano Mall of Davao in Bajada. Once you arrive at Baganga’s Poblacion, you may take a motorcycle or habal-habal going to Barangay San Victor. Worry not, San Victor Island is very familiar to the locals.