Your soul thanks you for every beautiful place you visit, inspiring person you meet, delicious food you devour, and experience you feel for the first time. Lucky me, the universe was kind enough to give my weary body and soul a break by sending me to a place that looks even better than the photos.
Malalison (or Mararison) Island in Culasi, Antique looked like something out of a dream, especially for someone like me who doesn’t get to travel a lot. Despite my toxic schedule as a sophomore in med school, I managed to squeeze in a little R&R because I could feel the stress eating me away physically, mentally and emotionally, but that’s another story. Allow me to talk about all things bright and beautiful this time. 🙂
Deneb and I have always talked about going to Malalison Island to enjoy views that looked like scenes from Lord of the Rings, only smaller and more tropical. His invitation for an overnight stay at Malalison with his friends was one I could not refuse.
We left the city at 4am so we had time to shop for food and water from their local market in Culasi. I loved how their market had so many fresh vegetables and fish I couldn’t recognize. There was little rain and a lot of wind that day so we had to ride tiny pump boats off the shore of a different barangay which was a few minutes from the port.
The pump boats can fit four to eight people but they were not for the fainthearted and non-believers of #YOLO. The waves were really strong that day so I had to cling to my life jacket and Deneb (because he couldn’t swim) extra tight. I’m more at ease knowing my little photographer is safe because that’s how love works, I guess.
We were greeted with more boats and white sand once we reached the beautiful island.
We stayed in this one-bedroom bungalow that had a bathroom, kitchen, and an outdoor dining area. A caretaker was also present to help you with whatever needs you had. The island was so windy that we didn’t need a fan to keep us cool. I was wearing my cardigan and wrapping my body with a scarf the whole time. Besides our cozy bungalow, one can always opt to live a more primitive, adventurous life on the island if you feel like camping under the stars.
Around 10 am, we decided to trek the hills everyone raved about. The weather that day had a right mix of gloomy clouds and sun, which made the short trek bearable under the 10 am sun. I made sure I put on loads of sunscreen because my eczema usually flares up after sun exposure. Also because I’m a sunscreen advocate who would always stress out how important sunscreen is regardless of gloomy, cloudy days.
According to our tour guide, Una, tourists are highly discouraged to trek the hills without a tour guide for safety reasons. The tour guides are well-trained and have undergone seminars to help them become the best tour guides they can be for wandering souls like you and me. They are taught about the different flora and fauna all over the island, how to treat jellyfish stings, sea urchin accidents, and a lot more.
Una not only holds your selfie stick for awesome GoPro landscape photos, he also holds your hand and reminds you to be careful when the trek gets a little steep. He knows the best spot to witness sunsets and sunrises on the island, takes wonderful jump shots, and knows his Antique mountains very well. Una was a great tourist guide overall!
Hey there, beautiful soul! 😉
Look at everyone doing their own thing in the photo above. That’s Fritz, Yuki, Dane, Pie, and Una! Can’t find Darlene though. A great company makes any trip worth the aching bodies and uneven tan lines. This was the first time I met some of his friends and although it’s a pretty unconventional first meeting, it sure is unforgettable!
Let’s take a closer look.
Trying my best not to nasal flare in photos. One thing I’ve realized during the short trek was how unhealthy I was and how much exercise I lacked. At least my eyebrows remained on fleek for the whole duration of the trek despite the wind and sweat!
The waters looked so calm watching it from a hilltop. My problems (a.k.a. a module exam waiting for me to get back) instantly became as tiny as the beads of sweat that trickled down my forehead–negligible for a moment. But I kept reminding myself that the trip was a chance to inhale the good things life has to offer–the good things I don’t normally inhale because I’m usually drowning in a pile of notes.
But thank God for this cutie who convinced me to take this trip.
Traveling is great for couples, they say. A friend of ours who has traveled all over the country with his boyfriend once told me that traveling allows you to discover so many things about your partner. One thing I’ve discovered about Deneb during this trip was how he doesn’t feel the need to hold my hand throughout the trek. He allows me to be the free spirit that I am and explore at my own pace, even if that pace means climbing a steep hill faster than him so he could take photos of me climbing that hill. Makes sense?
Now that I wrote this, I can’t wait to discover more things about Deneb as we cure our wanderlust together in the many days ahead of us. We’ve only just begun. <3
Cheese aside, we went back to our bungalow in time for lunch and a nice nap after. We woke up around 3 pm and I prepared for my sunset shoot on the hills. The rest of the gang went swimming while I did my make up. By 4 pm, Una accompanied us to the hills for a second time for the sunset shoot.
We climbed the highest hill which showed off a different view of the island.
Can you spot the rainbow? There are numerous waterfalls in the mountains of Antique and I believe this rainbow was right above one of them.
Somebody put up a flag on top of the highest hill using a shirt.
These are photos from my digital camera and not the official sunset photos Deneb took (although technically, he took these photos). We were lucky to enjoy the hills without huge crowds so doing the shoot was not as awkward as I imagined. Deneb always takes the best photos of me so if you want to check out his work, feel free to head over to Deneb’s Facebook profile. After the shoot, we watched and took more photos of the sunset but Mother Nature didn’t feel like showing off that day because the setting sun was slightly covered by clouds.
Still, it was a good day.
I’ve just noticed how I ended my 2015 and started my 2016 with travel posts and I’m not complaining. My January started off incredibly hectic, almost draining all of what’s left of the energy I saved up for 2016. It’s no wonder why January is deemed as the Monday of months. My blog was really dry last January.
Now I’m back blogging my adventures and misadventures! I also have a surprise for you soon, my dearest readers. I’m so excited for this new personal project but I can’t spill the beans yet. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this photodump that’s long overdue. I wish you more opportunities to see the world with new eyes and happiness everyday!