Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016
Guinanayan Island in Rapu-rapu





BANCA CRUISE

A memorable Albay vacation is more than an ethereal view of the elusive Mayon Volcano. If you happen to have had a close glimpse of the province's most famous natural attraction already, then you certainly need to satiate that craving for more wanderlust by venturing into its less explored parts. Fortunately, the scenic towns of Bacacay and Rapu-rapu offer tourists a tropical experience of island-hopping that has only taken off in recent years after tourism advocates actively started promoting secluded places in this part of Bicol. Maria Ana Banadera is one such Bicolana who owns and operates Tabaco Travel Adven-Tours which currently has a so-called Love Boat Tour that takes guests to the white sand beaches of Pinamuntugan Island and Guinanayan Island, a vanishing sandbar dubbed as Vanishing Island, and Misibis Bay where the famous Cagraray Amphitheater is located.

A Tabaco City-native, Maria Ana probably decided to name her banca cruise as such because the place where she hails from is also known as the city of love. I've previously joined one of her mainland Albay tours of Tiwi Philceramics and Vera Falls not too long ago, so this chance to see her again was sort of a reunion for us. With a new baby on the way, she let me join her brother instead as the latter was scheduled to lead two groups of tourists -- one from Manila and another from as far away as Davao City -- during my two-night stay at Facade By Hotel Fina.

Relaxing at the side of the boat for scenic views of the Cagraray Pass
Beach-bummin' on Guinanayan Island
The Cagraray Amphitheater
The white sand beach of Pinamuntugan Island in Bacacay
Arriving at Pinamuntugan Island

With the jump-off point scheduled at San Lorenzo Beach in Tabaco City, the Love Boat Tour commenced on a pleasant morning at 9:00am after the tourists started arriving. Aboard the huge MB Maria Ana Banca Cruise, we left the beach to sail for the open waters of the Lagonoy Gulf.

According to Maria Ana, a successful island-hopping tour relies on a well researched tour schedule that's based on the combination of standard weather reports and a portal that specializes on oceanographic and sea state forecasts that she uses for gauging the best, tourist-friendly date. She's always after the safety of her guests, especially since the area of the adventure cruise is part of the country's typhoon belt.

Here are five reasons why an Albay island-hopping banca cruise is worth having for your vacation in the province even without seeing Mayon Volcano's famous silhouette:

A massive rock formation on Pinamuntugan Island
Albay's white sand beach via Pinamuntugan Island
Pinamuntugan Island



1. The White Sand Beach of Pinamuntugan Island

Just off mainland Albay in the town of Bacacay, Pinamuntugan Island only opened itself to visiting tourists in 2014 although a few locals in the province have already seen its pristine white sand beach beauty before. Untouched by the modernizing hands of swank resort and bar operators, the island is a beach paradise where one can basically beach-bum for epic hours and even see a faint view of Mayon Volcano from the shore on a good day.


"Untouched by the modernizing hands of swank resort and bar operators, the island is a beach paradise..."


A local based abroad who saw latest photos of the beach even opined online that it looked basically the same as it was thirty years ago the first time he saw it as a kid.

Arriving at Guinanayan Island
Guinanayan Island's beach is great for sunbathing and swimming.
The camp site of Guinanayan Island
Guinanayan Island

2. The Tropical Paradise That's Guinanayan Island

The town of Rapu-rapu was once a location for a showcase mining site that almost left the area a wasteland until the project was finally halted and outlying parts of it slowly became open to tourism. With this new sense of hope for environment care in the area, Guinanayan Island also opened its shores to visiting tourists in late 2014.

"There are several open cottages for relaxation and dining over local food."

Located in the mouth of the winding Cagraray Pass, the island paradise sits next to the Pacific Ocean where the weather can be erratic eleven months of the year. On a good day, though, the beach can be sensational for sunbathing, camping and swimming while the waters can be surprisingly placid for kayaking and stand-up paddle board. There are several open cottages for relaxation and dining over local food. Inland, just a few steps from the beach, a grassy site is set aside for guests who want to pitch tents.

The Cagraray Church at the Cagraray Eco-Park
Tourists at the Cagraray Eco-Park



3. Cagraray Amphitheater Stopover

Before returning for mainland Albay, the banca cruise can make a stopover in Misibis Bay where the dock to the Cagraray Amphitheater is located. A short stroll from the dock is Cagraray Eco Park where a sprawling amphitheater and a church can be visited for photo opportunities.


"A short stroll from the dock is Cagraray Eco Park where a sprawling amphitheater and a church can be visited for photo opportunities."


For those who want to visit it straight from one's booked hotel in Legazpi City, it can be reached through Albay's scenic coastal road via the Sula Bridge in Bacacay.

This tourist destination is just a short drive away from the luxurious Misibis Bay Resort where its guests are also ushered by its attendants for exclusive tours.

Snacks on board the MB Maria Ana Banca Cruise
Boodle Fight for lunch

Stopover at Misibis Bay



4. Delicious Island-hopping Lunch and Snacks

It's always easy to have a DIY (do-it-yourself) island-hopping tour of Pinamuntugan Island, Guinanayan Island, and Misibis Bay, but one is always risking the chance of spending more money when it's not done correctly. This is where Tabaco Travel and Adven-Tours' Love Boat Tour comes in. Its banca cruise makes the experience streamlined to the schedule and sensibilities of the guest, so the resulting experience will still be unique and satisfying.


"Its banca cruise makes the experience streamlined to the schedule and sensibilities of the guest..."


What's more, the inclusion of a Boodle Fight lunch and on-board snacks will guarantee that guests are well taken cared of even if the tour is a great distance away from the nearest dining establishment.



Scenic views at the Cagraray Pass
Sometimes the best spot on the boat is not in front
Cruise passengers enjoying the scenic views of Albay's shoreline
One of the many scenic views to see at the Cagraray Pass
5. Scenic Views of Albay From The Banca Cruise 

Perhaps, the most underrated reason why an island-hopping banca cruise of Albay is worth your time is because you can only get to see a different, scenic side the province from the boat and not on land. Where cars or tricycles can't ply, the banca cruise can let you view island slopes and cliffs in different times of the day during the tour.

"The huge MB Maria Ana even has a fancy walkway on both of its sides for passengers to relax in while the boat sails on calm waters."

The huge MB Maria Ana even has a fancy walkway on both of its sides for passengers to relax in while the boat sails on calm waters. Simply remove your sandals or aqua shoes, sit down, and see the shoreline of Albay from the side of the boat.

Excited to see a different Albay for your next vacation in the province? Book a Love Boat Tour with Tabaco Travel and Adven-Tours soon and find out for yourself!

Book a hotel in Albay.


Watch A Short Video of Pinamuntugan Island:


Watch A Short Video of Guinanayan Island:


Aboard Love Boat Tour's MB Maria Ana Banca Cruise




Tabaco Travel and Adven-Tours

Official Facebook fan page of Tabaco Travel and Adven-Tours

Contact Person: Maria Ana Banadera
Address: Tabaco City, Albay, Philippines
Mobile: +63947-690-9098 / +63916-293-8743
Email: tabaco_travel@yahoo.com

Facade By Hotel Fina in Tabaco City









Where To Stay In Albay?

• The newly-opened Facade By Hotel Fina in Tabaco City
• Tabaco City's Hotel Fina
• The budget-friendly JJ Midcity Inn
• Bacacay's Dorotea Resort & Spa
The ApplePeach House in the old district of Legazpi City
• Legazpi City's Gio's Majestic View







View the Turista Trails E-Zine featuring Albay:



More Photos Below:

Cruise passengers having a group photo on Guinanayan Island
Bacacay can be this beautiful!
Cruise passengers enjoying Pinamuntugan Island

Leaving San Lorenzo Beach aboard Love Boat Tour's MB Maria Ana Banca Cruise
With cruise operator Maria Ana Banadera
Pinamuntugan Island

Happy and excited cruise passengers from Manila and Davao City
The white sand beach of Pinamuntugan Island

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