Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nagarao Island

Situated just fifteen minutes off the coast of Guimaras, coincidentally home of the world's sweetest mangoes (stock up, they're served in Buckingham Palace!), this ten hectare island is a pristine paradise. A postcard-perfect tropical island - all to yourself? Imagine that! Escape the mundane, escape the everyday - on Nagarao you can do both. It's a temple of isolation, not desolation, and well worth a visit for anyone in the area.

The fragrant scent of frangipani welcomes visitors to the island, and the resort staff all follow suit. Due to the small size of the resort, meals feel a lot more like dinner at a friend's house. Expect the cook to greet you by name and suggest activities for you during the day. The food is fantastic, and can be suited to fit any diet, even vegetarian (thankfully). Just be sure to let them know when you make your booking.

You can go for a jungle walk and try your hand at living off the land a la Bear Grylls, with coconuts and papayas readily available for harvest - providing you can scale a skinny tree. This little patch of perfection is the definition of serenity. The only sounds you'll hear at night are the crescendo of waves crashing down upon the shore, itself a soothing tonic to the stress of city life. The air is sweetly scented, and as there are no motorized forms of transport on the island - remarkably fresh.


After dark and armed with nothing but a flashlight, I explore the coastline on the lookout for nocturnal life. Hermit crabs of varying sizes shamble awkwardly on the sand. I pick one up and it instantly retreats into its shell. After taking a couple of steps though, it makes an abrupt exit from home. Looking more like a prawn than a crab, it quickly scuttles into another abandoned shell. I reflect how handy it would be to hide in your own shell, whenever someone you didn't like approached you. These hermit crabs have it easy.

Activities during the day include; swimming, sunbathing, sailing and snorkeling, although the latter is somewhat restricted by weather. If Mother Nature decides to smile upon you though - you're in for a treat. Nagarao Island is surrounded by a coral reef, and with that comes a multitude of marine life. Fishing trips can be arranged, as can island hopping but it's important to remember not to overfill your schedule. You're here to relax after all =)

The island is also a haven for birdwatchers the world over, with many species calling it home. The surrounding waters are home to some truly strange creatures too, like squirting sea cucumbers, and skinny-armed starfish, not to mention small crabs that are either translucent or camouflaged (it's impossible to tell). 

Scattered along the coastline, there are sixteen individual bungalows. Rustic, yet romantic, they each come with a private bathroom and a choice of air-con or electric fan (for bookings and info, check out

If swimming in the sea is not your cup of tea, a swimming pool is provided. If you'd rather stay active during your stay than slumped on the beach, there's also a tennis court. Don't worry though - it's not mandatory ;)

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