VISITORS and a local diver look for fish around a rock islet considered the symbol of Cabra Island. INQSnap this page (not just the logo) to view more photos. LYN RILLON
Beyond the mountains where a Japanese straggler hid for 30 years after World War II, white sand beaches, coral islets and underwater wonders beckon to the weary soul.
The shores of the 125-square-kilometer Lubang Island in Occidental Mindoro province start just a few steps from the town center. A couple may sit, talk or simply stare at the sunset in silence as egrets peer for prey on a sandbar a few meters away.
On a clear day, an early-morning cruise along the coastline is a feast to the eyes. Varied rock formations greet visitors on their way to Hulagaan Beach. Visible in the crystal-clear waters are corals growing anew.
Once, illegal fishers, possibly outsiders, lurked in the waters around Lubang, says local fisheries officer Michael Dennis Mendoza, 28. The islanders are basically farmers who fish only for family consumption, he adds.
Mendoza’s office has been strictly enforcing marine laws around Lubang since the island group was declared a marine protected area recently. Bantay Dagat volunteers have been catching and prosecuting fewer culprits these days, Mendoza says.
Hulagaan Beach can be reached in 30 minutes by a motorized outrigger boat from the shore of Barangay (village) Tumimbo, a 45-minute drive from the town center.