The 25-hectare island can be toured in 30-45 minutes, depending on what you'd like to see. Aside from going to the Lighthouse and Watch Tower, you can have a glimpse of the community structures, have a feel of the simple living of Balicasag folks, and see the flora and fauna of the island.
After we placed our things in the picnic shed and ordered our food, our dolphin spotter/guide led us to see things around Balicasag. We just walked; there were no tricycles in the island. He brought us first to the Lighthouse and Watch Tower. Then, he brought us to their church which I imagined to be an old picturesque structure, but it turned out to be an ordinary looking chapel. He kept on walking and we kept on following him;-) He showed us their public school, basketball court and "Bahay Pulungan" (Community Meeting Venue) of local officials.
I thought, what's the big deal, what's extraordinary here? But I checked myself as I saw how kind and patient our guide was. I thought he might just be thinking how he could impress upon us that they also have a school, basketball court and Community Meeting Place there. In the province, it meant a lot to have those structures in their village.
The centuries-old Balicasag Watchtower served as beacon to sailors and watchpoint for possible island marauders. The original tower is no longer in use, but it still stands beside the new Lighthouse as a monument to the Island's history.
Standing close to the old Watchtower is the modern Balicasag Lighthouse. Since the old watch tower is no longer in use, the new lighthouse now serves as beacon to fishermen and boatmen.
My youngest daughter loves to go snorkeling. This time, she went with my grandson to the Balicasag Marine Sanctuary. White floaters marked the area where tourists could snorkel to see the live corals, sea anemone, sea urchin, exotic fishes, starfishes and other marine creatures. They were not allowed to go beyond the markers.
We worried what took my daughter and grandson so long to return, but we were assured by our boatman that their snorkeling guide and boatman was very skilled and wouldn't bring them to dangerous spots...As it turned out, they enjoyed snorkeling so much, they forgot that they haven't eaten lunch yet.
Equipment: Snorkeling Gear- I suggest you bring your own, but you can rent for P150/set
Lifevest is provided by the snorkeling guide.
It is really a wonder that while Balicasag Island is teeming with marine resources, the island maintained its rustic lifestyle.
Fondest memory: The charming rural scene along the shore of the island
Some would say that the diving/snorkeling sites of Balicasag Island is one of the best in the whole world. For me, I could just say that it is the best snorkeling spot in the Philippines. There are just too many fishes, corals and marine life even at the shallow part of the island.
Fondest memory: I am not an adventurous person when it comes to aquatic activities. The most that I will do is snorkel with life jacked and someone watching over me the whole time. I regularly check how far am I from the shore and always mindful of the color of the sea, clear means it is still shallow and bluish means it is deep or nearing the drop off point. In Balicasag Island, however, I broke my self imposed threshold.
I was too pleased with what I was seeing then and I noticed that the volume of fish and the color of the colars are increasing and I know that a drop off is somewhere near. Instead of turning around, I was lured by the number of colorful fish swirling and circling around. Never saw such number of colors swimming in front of me. I ventured forward and the water is turning blue. I broke into the phalanx of colorful fish and for a considerable I length, I allowed myself to venture into the part of the blue sea where I could no longer see the ocean floor. It was only when I saw big objects moving below that I decided to turn around and head to the shallow part.
On my way back, I could see part of the wall and the overhangs teeming with corals and fish. As I reach the drop off point, I could see the colorful fishes coming towards me, though not in a menacing manner. It would seem that the fishes were congratulating me for what I have done. When I reached the shallow part and I looked back and said to myself "What was I thinking then?"