What do you think: Moana or Pocahontas? No, I actually prefer Matabagka, a beloved character from a Filipino epic that originates in Mindanao. Markus took this candid photo in 2018 at Ocam-Ocam Beach, Coron, Palawan.
You are probably familiar with the magical lakes of Coron but off-radar Ocam-Ocam Beach made this trip for me. On this side of the island, there is no phone signal, no internet, no restaurants, no transport, not even a functioning toilet.
Yet, it was the loveliest part of our trip.
It was infinitely refreshing to be in this simple, quiet town, digital detoxing, far away from the mess that is the main town of Coron. It was just us, the locals, the birds, and the glowing planktons in the sea.
We lived in a tiny nipa hut with a small balcony, a bamboo bed, and a toilet without a shower or flush. I know many people would complain, but we were okay. Our house was clean, the beach was spacious, and our food was fresh and honest.
The difference between Ocam-Ocam Beach and Coron mainland made me pause to consider the harrowing effects of mass tourism on islands that just suddenly exploded into the world tourist map.
Sure, it is good for the money, but if the people and the place are not prepared correctly, there will be chaos and ruin – and I am not being dramatic here, I mean it literally.
Fortunately, there are places like Ocam-Ocam Beach that remain pure and raw. How long it will remain this way is a big question, but I am just glad we were able to experience it authentic and unspoiled.
This travel challenge prompt is from Ariela, the coolest kid on the internet I know.