A day at Sundang Island
Yesterday, TJ and I went on the first of hopefully many mini-trips for 2014, in line with my goal to go to at least one new place every month. Our destination: Sundang Island in Cavinti, Laguna. I heard about the place last year, and of course, the thought of having a whole island to myself is alluring. I wanted to stay overnight or for a couple of nights, but I’m currently out of leaves at work, so that will have to wait until another month or so.
So I wrote to them to ask if it’s possible for me and TJ to stay there only for the day and take pictures. Fortunately, they said yes, and we were given a guests’ guide to the island, including rules and regulations and directions. The directions had me rattled for a few days prior to the trip, as it recommended taking the Manila East Road, a road on which I’ve never driven. The directions mentioned “go down a zigzag road” and “winding mountain road,” too. I have a strong fear of downhill roads (whether I’m walking, biking, or driving), but what the hell, it’s a new year, let’s try something new.
At 6:30 a.m., TJ and I were on our way, immediately getting stuck along Katipunan; we had no idea traffic in that area gets so bad so early in the day. Once we got past that, we headed up to Antipolo and made our way down to Teresa on the aforementioned zigzag road. The entire drive was interesting and an adventure in itself, as it took us around areas we’ve only heard of but never been to, like Pililla, Tanay, and Morong, and saw signs to other places we’ve only just heard of, like Jala-Jala. We also saw lovely views of farms, mountains, and Laguna de Bay. It was tempting to stop and take photos, but there wasn’t much by way of parking, as far as we could tell. A great deal of roadside stalls sold jugs of vinegar 1, jugs of lambanog, furniture, baskets, and an awesome array of knives. “Knives” doesn’t do them justice–itak and tabak are much better.
We didn’t go to Sundang Island immediately upon reaching the landmark in Lumban. Not having had breakfast yet, we ate at Jollibee in Pagsanjan 2 and bought chicken and rice from Andok’s. Then we drove back to Lumban and up to and past Lake Caliraya, where Tony, the caretaker of Sundang Island, was waiting for us at the parking area. The boat ride took about 10 minutes, and we were greeted by two dogs, Panda and Big Boy, when we stepped off the boat. Panda seems to be at an advanced age, still friendly and keen, but not quite as energetic as Big Boy. We were directed to the house, where we settled in and hoped for clearer weather.
Long story short, it was a very gray, gusty day with a bit of drizzling all throughout, dashing our plan to go on a boat ride to take pictures of the area. Given the weather, we were both very happy we brought jackets, because the place is a lot colder than Manila.
We ended up spending the day just walking around the island, taking random pictures 3, eating, chatting, and napping on the hammock 4. The island is easy to explore, and you’ll find a fair number of plants and unusual insects there, including a butterfly that looked like a leaf. There were also some interesting decor and details around the house.
The house itself is very roomy and homey, and it has everything you would need if you’re staying there for a day or more. We weren’t allowed in the bedroom, but we had a good nap anyway in the living room.
It may not have been the photography trip we planned, but it was a very relaxing day, and the island was the perfect place for it. Definitely looking forward to coming back and staying longer.