Saturday, December 1, 2007

Pujada: An island adrift in time

"Beware of quicksands.."Our guide warned but his voice faded into nothingness as we excitedly jumped from the patrol boat of the BFAR into the ankle-deep blue water and made footsteps in the unspoiled fine white sand.Wow! At last my long-time dream of coming to this island was fulfilled. Time seemed to stand still as we entered a totally-secluded territory.Here was an island totally unblemished by coarse tourism, adrift in the Pujada Bay, undiscovered yet by the mass market, and yet is accessible provided one gets in touch with the owners through the Mati Tourism Office.

Forgetting about time and quicksands, I ventured farther from the group with the enthusiasm of an amateur photographer, straining my hands from holding the battery cover with my palm while trying to aim and shoot.Ben's digicam looked like it figured in an accident and just came from the hospital, wrapped with surgical tapes but it didn't stop me from capturing the magnificent and unsullied view the island has to offer.To add to it, the eight batteries I took were all 'low-bat' that I had to turn off the camera for a second for every shoot I took, turn it on again before shooting the next picture.

Next in my wish list was to see the dolphins but no matter how hard our guide whistled, not one showed itself to us. We learned later that dolphins usually show up from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. It was already 3 p.m. We were too late.Pujada island is approximately 156 hectares only accessible by more than an hour's boat ride from Mati wharf. We sailed past two smaller islands- Waniban and Oak island, an oblong-shaped sand bar connected to Pujada Island which disappears during high tide before docking at Pujada island.

The three islands boasts of one thing in common- fine white sand and pristine blue waters around it.Mati mayor's wife Edith N. Rabat said plans are on the way to develop Pujada island, one of the municipality's main attractions to entice more tourists to visit Mati."We are just waiting for the go signal from the Angliongto family, the owner of the island before any development will take place to make it as one of the prime tourist spots not only in Mati but in Mindanao," Rabat said.

Mati councilor Allan Andrade said the island is one of the 42 tourist attractions in the province of Davao Oriental, mostly natural attractions that include hot springs, islands, beaches, lakes and waterfalls.There's nothing like an hour's journey by sea giving that would give you a sense of leaving things behind than visiting this strip of paradise in Mati- and if you're lucky, you might just get a chance to see the dolphins in their exhibition.*