Exactly how many islands are there in the Philippines? This was the question directed to Ms. Universe contestant Charlene Gonzales during the Ms. U Pageant in 1994. Her answer was classic, “High tide or low tide?” Well , the published figure is 7107. Personally I think this is the high tide tally. Because when the water recedes, man, oh, man, SO MANY islands appear out of nowhere! My family had the privilege of visiting a group of relatively unknown islands off the coast of Surigao del Norte during the Christmas holidays. At this point, I would like to mention the name of the person who was not only a BIG help in arranging the trip, but was an untiring tour guide and leader.. Kap. Mero Ajoc. Thank you, Sir!
The original plan was to visit only Bucas Grande (literally translated into The Opening Grand), an island group consisting of just over 50 islands, where Palawan, Boracay and Bohol meet in one awesome presentation. We were a group of nine (Mama, Nen, Vic, Pia, Danny, Joseph, Ed, myself and Buzz) and all of us were going there for the first time. Nen’s family had a double purpose — to have a vacation and to get raw material for a great website project that is ambitioned to be the mother of all Philippine tourism websites. Ed and I were on semi-work mindset, since this tour might soon become a regular one for us, if we just figured out how to market it. And Buzz and Mama, well, they were on vacation, period.
We stayed at Hidden Island Resort, which turned out to be the best resort within the vicinity of Sohoton Cave. It was literally built on the water and had no beach but the place was obviously developed for privacy and pleasure. Some of it was even still under construction. We spent two nights there.