BURIAS ISLET: The Secret Gem of Banaybanay

Had I not spent my weekend at Bonhomie Leisure and Resort in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental, I would have missed discovering a secret local haven truly a gem of its own – the Burias Islet.

Not known to many, the town of Banaybanay is home to this 8-hectare marine protected area sometimes called Burias Island. Contrary to the locals’ description, Burias Islet is more of a vanishing white sand bar heaving with various untouched corals and rich marine life. Situated in the waters of Davao Gulf, Burias is a marine sanctuary of cultured and endangered Giant Clams locally known as Taklobo, Conch Shell more popularly known as Budyong and the different species of starfish.

When I heard about this place from a friend, I immediately included it on the list of my must-discovered places in Davao Oriental. Thanks Bonhomie Leisure and Resort, seeing it was a real pleasure!

From the beautiful sands of Bonhomie in Puntalinao, we took the resort’s outrigger going to the Burias. I was accompanied by no less than the resort’s Operations Manager Ms. Marietta Andrade-Gantuangco in visiting the place.  Since it was high tide when we left the resort, I was told that the whole sand bar is submerged in waters. I was quite sad when I learned it because I already pictured out myself walking on barefoot on the vanishing sands of Burias. But instead of getting sadder, I soaked myself to the beauty of the vast blue waters surrounding me.

Nearing the Burias Islet, the sea waters turned from the deep blue to turquoise green. Down, I can clearly see the rich marine life thriving abundantly. Different corals of different colors, sizes and species abound the sea bed. Had I known this rich, I could have brought my snorkel set. But seeing them, I came to believe that truly the whole place is protected and preserved.

There are two stilt structures built in Burias Islet. These structures were built as quarters of the local Bantay Dagat that keeps a 24-hour watch over the whole marine protected area. One of the stilt structures also serve as guest house for visitors visiting the Islet. This is where we stayed the whole time we were at Burias.

Since it was high tide and all white sands were submerged, it was a perfect time to swim and enjoy the pristine waters of the Davao Gulf. The charm of the crystal clear sea here is just so irresistible I took a plunge instantly. I swam and dive until I got tired. It was just so awesome.

According to my friends from Bonhomie, there are times the giant taklobos and budyongs can be seen around the sands. Though I wasn’t able to see one, the pristine waters and the rich marine life I saw there were already enough to make me appreciate the beauty and tidiness of this haven.

Having gone romancing the untouched beauty of Burias Islet, I felt there is a need to really protect and preserve marine areas like this. I am pleased to know that somehow the townsfolk of Banaybanay understand the necessity of protecting these sanctuaries. I am looking forward to go back to Burias and hope to see the same unharmed feel like what I just saw in this local haven.

For those who want to visit Burias Islet, Bonhomie Leisure and Resort arranges special boat trip to this sanctuary. At Php 1,000.00 good for 5 persons, guests can already enjoy the pristine waters and encounter the rich marine life of Burias Islet. But please remember, this is a Marine Protected Area. Let us do our share – be responsible! Take nothing but pictures, go home only with unforgettable memories with the Islet.

For guided tour to the Burias Islet, you may contact:

National Highway, Puntalinao, Banay-Banay, Davao Oriental
Telephone Number:  +6382 284 1847
Mobile Numbers:  +63933 112 3067
Website: www.bonhomie.zetzab.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Bonhomiebanay2davor