Monday, July 9, 2012

Sayao Bay's twists and turns

Sayao Bay embraces the rocky shores of barangays Guisian, Paye and Sayao. There are just a few and brief stretches of white but not powdery sand beaches providing relief to those who'd set out to explore the entire length of this rugged coastline.  It was extremely low tide (the moon was 99% full on that day according to the moon chart), when we pursued a mid-afternoon, spur-of-the-moment decision to take a trip to the bay.

Boat appears to have been marooned in the middle of mud and coral bed.

The trip would give us a chance to also validate information conveyed to me about the forgotten existence of an intriguing corroded defense installation there now used apparently for other everyday practical purposes (more on this later).

All the boats were sitting on the muddy, rocky parts of the mangrove shores, really a bay within a bay,  where water has receded up to a distance of 100 meters from the shoreline. 

Children going home from school.

The low tide revealed rocky beds, seaweeds and grasses, and the local folks wasted no time to pick up all edible shellfish and, with bare hands, easily catch some fish apparently helpless to escape.

The sea was calm, air was crisp. Now and then, we could hear the laughter and inaudible conversations of the shell gatherers as we waded our way westward through huge and smaller boulders, protruding rocks and shallow waters in-between that has become so crystal clear you could see forms of marine life moving through the water.

Our first turn away from the shell-gatherers.

Occasionally, you just couldn’t resist checking what might be inside the crevices and shallow caverns some of which revealed smaller holes you’d wish you were a creeping creature enabling you to discover what’s inside those holes and where they would lead you to. 

Some who lived there had childhood memories of being forbidden by their lolos and lolas to ever dare go inside the caves as these many holes inside such caves would only suck them in and take them in another world.


Walking through these rocks could be daunting, but fortunately they're not slippery.

Hard blue stones, probably opal, that formed underneath brown iron stones are another of the pleasant surprises.

Three fisher folks each with a buslo, bamboo basket ready to catch fish from the sea using their salapang, homemade spears.

Brief stretches of sandy beaches such as this one called Bilaran offer some relief after hiking through the twisting and turning rocky shores.

Paye offered something more gentle. It was absolutely tempting to walk barefoot on firm clayey sand as you don't get that feeling every day. So firm it was that no footprints are ever left behind. Momentary streams of water running to the sea cut our path and revealed black urchins, the nasty variety, hiding under sea grasses, you'd just decide to wear your sandals again or risk getting your tired feet pricked.
Large boulders also dot the shores along Sayao Bay.
Resting atop ancient coral rocks they really look to me like megalith blocks. 
Who knows?

Cora, our lady guide couldn't resist harvesting some seaweeds of this variety, that she says are turned into gelatin after thorough washing and drying in the sun.

Evening was setting in so we decided to find the road going to Guisian from Paye. The narrow road paved with concrete going uphill was surprisingly more steep but shorter than the one in Guisian that I thought was the longest steep road on the island. But walking down towards Guisian was easier this time as the farm-to-market road portion now paved covered a considerable distance from Paye.

Nevertheless, our feet were tired of leisurely hiking and wading for more than two hours.  Mang Eddie, our host, had not expected us to come that day, but was happy to see us. So were some of his neighbors who were soon knocking on the door bringing liquor and fish pulutan. After thinking we were ready to sleep after a simple rice and fish dinner, they were insistent on seeing us, and it was considered bad manners there to turn down simple welcome efforts like that. 

That included listening to their own adventures which later zoomed in on the village’s folk stories and oral histories that, surprise of surprises -  led to new, stunning discoveries...

Susong Dalaga Hill

Susong Dalaga Hill
Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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