Aguirangan Island: 18 years later

Unfortunately, I don’t have a digital copy of the one photo that I took on this tiny island when I first visited it 18 years ago. I would love to show you how much it has changed since. This island is so small that you could walk around it in about 20 minutes. One side faces towards the mainland while the other side faces out towards the sea. One side is sandy while the other side is all rocky.

Perfect day for swimming

(shot with Canon Powershot A620)

It was high tide when we reached the island. You can’t see it in these photos but further out, you can see the really big waves coming in as they hit the coral reefs. The island’s sand is actually made of the crushed coral from these reefs. 18 years ago, the sandy side of the island was covered completely in shells! You would literally be walking on seashells till you reached the water! So many exotic shells! I had spent that one afternoon years ago just collecting as many shells as I could. I even found 2 giant shells that I was able to bring back home to Memphis! This tiny island is where I got sunburned for the first time in my life! Stupid me didn’t wear sunscreen on that day! But this time, I was smart and slathered on the SPF 60!

Now, when you walk on the sandy part of the beach, there aren’t many shells. 18 years ago, only locals that lived near this island knew about it. Many in Camarines Sur still didn’t know about this little jewel. But over the years, people discovered the island and the shells started to disappear. You can still find shells during low tide but you probably won’t find the giant conch shells I found long time ago. I was still able to gather a giant ziplock bag of various shells but mostly broken coral, pumice rocks and smaller shells.

The beach at Aguirangan Island Coral reefs,... Hut on Aguirangan Beach View from Aguirangan Island Bury your toes in the sand Tropical waters off of Aguirangan Island

The water is warm! It’s just the right temperature! My mom and me spent as much time as we could in the water until the waves got too rough for us. After that, we spent the rest of the time seashell hunting and walked around the island.

There is a lot more vegetation on the island too! Aside from the little huts you see in these pics, there are much more in the wooded area for those that want to picnic. They have also built a small dressing area and installed running water. I read online that you should NOT drink the running water on the island as visitors have gotten sick from it.

Not sure what this fruit is

Heh, no one was sure what fruit this was and if it was actually edible!

Every year my mom comes back to the Philippines for a visit, she always makes an effort to go to this island for swimming. She said her vacation isn’t complete until she has swam at Aguirangan Island. I totally agree with her! While at this island, there were only 2 other groups swimming at the beach and they were mostly high school/college kids (in groups of 5-6) on summer vacation. You can’t get that by going to Boracay!

My first panoramic

(shot with Canon Powershot A620)

Please excuse the messy panoramic! It was my first time stitching together with Photoshop. Shooting the pano was easy with the panoramic feature on the small digicam tho!

Aguirangan Island up close!

(Shot with Canon Powershot A620)

Alas, we had to leave the island and head back to the hotel. We spent about 4 hours at the island. The 45 minute bumpy jeepney ride to Maangas and the 15 minute banca ride to the tiny island was so worth it! This is one of those MUST DO excursions if you come to the Bicol region!

All pictures, except those where I’ve specified, were shot with my Canon 20D. I used the regular kit lens with a polarizer. With the Canon Powershot A620, I used the Scenes feature and selected “Beach”. I wanted to show the difference between shooting with a point/shoot and DSLR when going to the beach. Which ones you think came out more true to life?