Silently enjoying its serene spot, Bayangan Island in Labason town of Zamboanga del Norte, a beautiful island rimmed with creamy sand, clear waters and teeming marine life, an off the beaten path destination.
HOW TO GO TO BAYANGAN ISLAND:
To visit here, you must coordinate through the Labason LGU Facebook page prior to your intended date of visit.
You have three airports of entry:
- Via Dipolog Airport is about 6 hrs (take Labason bound Van or alternatively, take Ipil/Zamboanga bound bus/vans, alight in Liloy Terminal, take jeep/minibus to Labason terminal)
- Via Pagadian Airport is about 8-10 hrs (take Ipil/Zamboanga bound bus, alight in Ipil. Then take bus/van bound to Dipolog, alight in Liloy Terminal. then take van/jeep/minibus to Labasan Town)
- Via Zamboanga Airport is about 6-7 hrs (take Dipolog bound bus/van, alight in Liloy Terminal. Take jeep/van/minibus to Labason)
Upon arrival in Labason Terminal, take a tricycle ride to the port. Ask where the Coast Guard office is and advise them of your intention.
At the port, there are many boats you can charter. Travel is from 20 minutes to 45 minutes depending on sea conditions. Best to travel in the early hours of the day.
What to expect on the island?
You are required to register at the tourism desk, which is actually a barracks. Tell them your intention to stay and your prior coordination with the LGU. This is for security purposes.
The island is rimmed with white sand beach of varying fineness.
There is an existing community on the island. There are actually a handful of stores where you can buy food, beverages, and even booze. You can also purchase seafood from their catch at an amazing deal.
Water is an expensive commodity since the supply of fresh water limited and coming from mainland Zamboanga Peninsula. Bring enough drinking water supply during your stay.
You can stroll around the island in less than an hour
On low tide, you can walk next to the neighboring island, however, be careful as poisonous sea snakes which they call “walo walo” are present in the nearby island.
I chose to spend a night here to enjoy and experience fully the island. Arriving after a rough afternoon transit to the island, I rested for a while and walked inside the resort premises. Before sunset, the island “caretakers” invited me to stroll around the island. With the sky dramatically changing due to the golden hour, the landscape on my side seems to be ablaze. There are interesting driftwoods also along the beach that is good for photography subject. There is a portion of the beach which is of pebbles and rocks.
At the other side of the island where the community is, we saw two locals organizing their dried seafood. Also, by chance, one of the fishermen offered me his fresh catch of the day that is stored in an ice box. I chose to purchase small fish, which name I forgot, and a large squid to share with island caretakers.
Upon arriving back at the registration, we fired up the coal stove and started to prepare for dinner. We boozed up the night before sleep. I just slept to whatever bench I found fit for lying flat. The following morning, I was greeted with a gentle and peaceful sea. A local family offered me a ride back to the mainland – for free.
The island also offers one of the spectacular sunset viewings, thanks to the expansive seas surrounding it. The cloudless blue sky dramatically turned to warm hues slowly to mauve until the blue hour sets in. This amazing change of colors certainly I would never forget.
Despite its beauty, the island is haunted by its past history. Militants once harbored this island as their barracks. Today, military personnel are actively patrolling within the island.
Bayangan Island is part of the Murcielagos Islands Protected Landscape.
Despite its distance to the airports within the Zamboanga region, Bayangan Island is one of the promising destinations of Zamboanga del Norte province. The long commute is worthwhile.
From my experience, the entry point is via Dipolog. then travel bus up to Liloy junction which took 5 hours. From there, I took a minibus ride bound to Labason town proper for about an hour. From Labason town terminal, I chartered a motorcycle to Labason port where the boats bound to Bayangan Island are.