Bagumbanwa Island

Island Name: Population: 728
Major Occupation: Fishermen
Sea Shore Details: Shallow Coral, Sand is Found Near Shore, North East to South East of Island is Sand
Tourist Accommodation: No Cottages
Snorkeling: B/A
Diving: No Place to Dive – 100 meters around western part of the island is shallow coral 1-3 meters depth. Southwestern part 500 meters around the island 1-3 meters shallow coral. Western part is sand depth
20 meters.
Distance Estimate Travel Time: 2 hours 30 minutes from Maribago
Attraction: View Nearby Islands
Comments: Excellent Hospitality of the Fisher Folks and a Peaceful Fisherman’s Village and
East Side Has Perfect Sand.

Bagumbanwa: A Day on a Small Philippine Island

by: Arthur Q. Villordon


Bagumbanwa is one of many small islands that dot the Philippine archipelago. This island, as with many similar islands, do not have a source of electricity; artesian wells are salty and earthen pots or steel containers are used to save rainwater for drinking and cooking. When the rains are few and far in-between, the island residents, riding the sleek motorized outrigger "bancas," fetch water from the big island in the horizon, not more than 1-2 hours away. Bagumbanwa is on the Bohol strait, and no more than 1-2 hours away from the nearest point on either Cebu or Bohol coasts.

Bagumbanwa is not visible on Cebu’s eastern coast. Within one hour of sailing due east, this island becomes a speck, and then a large mass. Approaching the island from the leeward side, the coconut trees become visible first, then the small houses with the tin roofs, then the outrigger boats on the shore, then human activity. In the early morning, everything is quiet on Bagumbanwa. Few residents are about, mostly women mending nets, their children playing about, throwing petrified starfish back into the sea.

One can walk across this island in fifteen minutes. Jogging on Bagumbanwa can make one dizzy; swimming is a better exercise and the waters are very inviting. Coral-hunters have been kept away and the coral population in the island’s vicinity is rich and teem with marine life. On the island itself, no more than thirty households call Bagumbanwa home. A couple of "sari-sari" stores sell rice, corn, canned sardines, kerosene, "transistor" batteries, and other essentials. In the afternoon, fisherfolk gather and plan the night’s fishing trip. Gasoline has come in from Bohol, and the noisy engines are being cleaned and inspected for the trip. The boat’s lamps are also inspected and the hoods cleaned; a good light source means a good catch. As shadows lengthen, kerosene lamps are lighted; the pot of rice is already boiling and supper will be served before the first stars appear in the twilight.

The boats cast off in the leeward side, near the old cemetery that is now under water. Bagumbawa’s shore line is in a flux: the wind and the tides cause this, eroding the island’s windward shore, depositing sand and debris in the lee. The wind changes direction with the monsoon, and the island’s shoreline shifts again. Shortly after the fishermen sail into the night, the women linger for a while to exchange village gossip. In the distance, a thousand lamps light up and fish seek out their destiny.