Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On Ends and Symbiosis in Bantayan Island

My fanaticism for Cebu can be compacted in one following micro-statement: Dito na ako mamamatay (Cebu shall be my final resting place)! But ever since I discovered Bantayan Island, I would have to clarify which of my deaths is going to find its finality in Cebu; obviously, there is now an established competition for the possessor of my terminal remnants.  As such, I grant Cebu my physical remains - where my morally abused once-sumptuous body shall lay rest; my potent psyche (imagination, thoughts, intellectual being, fantasies) to Manila; my regrets to Los Angeles, CA.   And my impervious soul, ladies and gentlemen, shall claim its peace at Bantayan Island.

Spot the X where my grave shall be.

Ok, I'm exaggerating. Know that I am such a sucker for beaches and, as of this writing, Bantayan Island has simply charmed my sun-sand-and-sea fancy. Go see my video previous to this post as I displayed unabashed shamelessness. Nonetheless, knowing my unfaithfulness, I reserve the right to change my judgment on Bantayan when I get to Amanpulo and Shang-Boracay (aside from elevators, I lately fantasized on fornicating in one of those outdoor balconies perched on cliffs atop emerald sea levels).

Excuse me, Sir, is there a balcony here somewhere on top of a cliff or the likes? How about symbiosis?

There were so much to write about my first trip to Bantayan Island.  It has only been a little over a month but the details are starting to fade out owing to the many events that since marked my so-called life.  Yet some memories clamored to be configured in words and in blog.  

Bantayan the Overstated

I may overstate this but my curiosity of the island went awry when I heard that the island is the south's Puerto Galera during Holy Week. That is, Cebu City's population is in virtual collapse resulting from the exodus of inhabitants - from The Island - to the island. Compared to Puerto Galera though, where the attraction is at the level of Sodom and Gamorrah, Bantayan has the religious offering of a celebrated procession featuring life-size Passion scenes.  In fact, I read that Bantayan is the only place in the country granted dispensation by the church from fasting and abstinence on Good Friday. The rest of the adventure is left to a vacationer's inclination, whether good or evil, between benign and profane.  But don't quote me on that. Besides, I also heard that the local government has made efforts to curve the partying in the island during the country's holiest of seasons. So, harlots, beware!

Ahm... well... really... honest... we didn't party. You have no evidence!

Bantayan the Understated

Compared to Boracay, Bantayan is still magically blessed with respite and calm. That's because in Boracay, only the water is calm; there's so much partying in the evenings and the carousing is inebriating; the emerald shores is faked by green algae. Ok, the sand in Boracay is powdery but I can still afford talcum. In my last visit, I went snorkeling to see bombed corals at the bottom of the sea. In Bantayan, one needs goggles to avoid stepping on sea urchins.  That's just part of the adventure and awe. Hop in a banca and take to the neighboring Virgin Island. Aside from reminding you what you don't have in terms of morality, you will find this island at par with those you can visit in Honda Bay, Palawan. And compared to Honda Bay, you can play with the wilds at Virgin Island. Put a little simply, you can pick anything edible and throw them in the fire for eating. Otherwise, just throw them in the fire and revel like the deranged kids in Lord of the Flies. Joke.

Though one is free to eat what they can pick in Bantayan and neighboring islands, I admonish my readers to observe concern for the environment. Or you can wait for fishermen to pass by and buy anything loaded in their banca to eat.

You can't do this in Honda Bay and Boracay. But don't abuse.

At Virgin Island sleeping like a virgin... as if!

While we were in Virgin Island, my friend Prof bought a variety of shellfishes from the fishermen. We had them grilled and discovered that some variety comes with a kind of crustacean living in them. I amused myself by discussing with Prof the principle of symbiosis. The shellfish grants the other creature a home and protection while the crustacean does the housekeeping. Not to be outdone by my knowledge, Prof expressed romantically how symbiosis could also be detrimental to the survival of each as both wills to die with the other such as exemplified by those that we were eating.

I must agree. I have never seen such commitment among humans.

But Prof went further by raising a legitimate question. Is it still symbiotic when a shellfish allows another crustacean to take over the housekeeping from the first?

Hmmmm... That’s not symbiotic. That's rather opportunistic.  And I have only observed such commitment among humans.

And so I digress.

And so both shellfish and crustacean die... in our guts.
I could continue on and on as to the highlights of my Bantayan adventure but I now relegate such to future tales of anecdotes. Suffice to say that I have already planned year ahead to be there next year (redundant?) to witness the procession.  And, yes, practice symbiosis with the locals.

I suspect malevolent questions forming in my readers’ minds.  My answer is “Secret…”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Crazy Birthday at Bantayan Island

Before I write about what transpired in Bantayan Island on my birthday last week, let me simply post a video that could sum up what tops a summer at 42.