We were facing a dilemma every traveler is handed once in a while: the struggle between white sand and majestic views. We had to choose a destination fast, the weekend was quickly approaching. Shall we go for Puting Buhangin with its hidden white-sanded (as the name strongly suggests) paradise or do we opt for Nagsasa, though with waters not as pristine as the first choice, offers a panoramic view accessible with a short hike.
We have been served with lots of white-sanded beauties so we went for Nagsasa. Good thing we contacted locals and found out they weren’t accepting guests as the waves are not at all friendly and they wouldn’t want their guests’ safety jeopardized. So we were stuck with Puting Buhangin which was not a problem. Until we get there.
I was with my highschool friends on our annual summer trip (which is a few months short) and we decided to go with a private van. It was convenient since we were 14 including the driver which fitted us comfortably at a HiAce. The trip took 4 hours including stops.
Upon arrival aka upon waking up at the jumpoff point, we were greeted with a parking lot equipped with a sari-sari store. This is your last chance for supplies. Grab it and don’t tell me I didn’t tell you so. Potable water at the beach is scarce and costs quite a fortune if you are running on a tight budget.
The sand was powder-fine on some parts but are scattered with rocks across the shore. The water had the perfect tint of blue if it weren’t for the huge waves which made us feel like we went on a trip to 8 Waves, not the beach. July is definitely not the time to go beach bumming. Summer is there for a reason.
We immediately pitched our tents upon arriving so that we won’t have any problems at night. Choose your tent spot carefully as there are a number of coconut trees ready to target your soft heads with its produce. We got a spot on the left side of the beach, right after the last kubo. The wind was not friendly that day, we definitely were not welcomed with opened arms.
The beach had basic toilets, showers and changing rooms. Water looks like it came from the sea, manually carried to water drums. Bring your own food, water and tents if you decide to stay overnight.
We even had this joke of “Kuwebang Lampas pa gusto niyo, eh ni hindi man lang nga tayo nakaabot ng kuweba.” It’s true though, with the big waves, we weren’t even able to go far. Not even 10 meters away from the beach’s attraction, the cave. But the stars at night certainly did not disappoint. We ended up with tired necks after the long time of looking up. Stargazing is an activity you shouldn’t miss.
Island hopping is a possibility, of course. What with Quezon’s number of astounding beaches, we recommend exploring nearby islands as well. Standard rates start at 1,800PHP for 8 pax which will marvel the beauties of Puting Buhangin, Dampalit and Borawan. Tip: haggle.
Traveling is but a hit and miss. I remember going to Hinatuan for its famous Enchanted River but ended up witnessing a river not as clear as the ones I see on the internet. I was devastated, of course. But I got over it quickly and promised myself I would return one day. What’s important is seeing it for myself in the flesh with the best travel companions, my best friends. Do not consider yourself a traveler if you haven’t experienced the bad days.
How to get to Puting Buhangin via public transport:
Ride the bus to Lucena Grand Terminal. JAC Liner offers routes and has stations in Gil Puyat and Kamias. Buses leave every hour (or whenever it’s full). It will take about 4 hours to reach Lucena.
Jeeps en route to Pagbilao are available in the terminal. Ride another jeep again bound for Isla Polo. Lastly, ride a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you off at the jumpoff.
But the moving doesn’t stop there. Trek a rocky road for 10-15 minutes and you will be lead to a lake (do not get excited, this isn’t Puting Buhangin yet). It’s a short 3-minute ride which will cost you 25PHP back and forth.
Breakdown of expenses:
xxPHP – fare (we took a private van)
25PHP – Boat ride back and forth
60PHP – Entrance to the beach
100PHP – Overnight fee per person
Note: tent pitching is free.