Shortly after lunch at Entalula Island, we noticed that rain clouds were fast approaching. Afraid that the rain clouds will get to us and spoil all the fun with all those photo ops, we quickly boarded our boat and headed to our next destination – Simizu Island.
We, somehow, outran the rain clouds and found the beach, sunny and completely empty! All the other boats filled with tourists have also already boarded their boats in pursuit of another sunny destination and we had the entire beach all to ourselves for the rest of the afternoon.
Lovely still wanted to go to Vigan Island (also known as Snake Island) on this trip but we spent hours doing all kinds of things much to the entertainment of our other friends Janice and Lors who were just there sitting under the shade of trees, that before we noticed it, it was already four in the afternoon.
Here is a panorama of the beach:
Simizu Island, named after the Japanese diver who died in an underwater cave exploration, has always been one of my favorite destinations. I cannot count how many times I have been here, though I was surprised that I did not see a lot of photos of it when I went through my archives.
The island is popular for 1. picnic lunches on the beach, and 2. snorkeling and fish feeding.
Indeed, when I first snorkeled here in 2005, it was absolutely breathtaking! The sheer number and variety of fish were overwhelming. Through the years though, the effects of the El Nino phenomenon, coral bleaching, and extensive tourism have taken its toll on the coral life on this island, and that first snorkeling experience became just a memory that have never, even to this day, been replicated. I would now say that the best snorkeling experiences can be had at the snorkeling sites in Coron (North Cay Island, for example) and Balicasag Island in Bohol; lowered expectations for El Nido.
My very first camera was a Pentax Optio WP point-and-shoot camera that I bought in 2005. It was waterproof and I could take it to depths of 1.5 meters. I took it with me on every beach trip until 2010, when it took its last underwater video in Balicasag Island. I found these photos (above and below) and video clips from my May 2007 visit to El Nido.
(I apologize if in the video above, I would get carried away with the zoom function. I couldn’t really see what I was recording.)
I went out once on a dive clean-up to Simizu Island and went to depths of 20 feet, the entire time with my waterproof camera. We thought we could take it to depths of 5 meters! Hahaha! It didn’t come out damaged though and I was real proud. We took this photo of me though. (I can’t find the original files of these anymore.)
So, going back…. we arrived in Simizu Island shortly after lunch and it was empty!
I always take a photo of our boat, above is a photo taken in August 2012, and below is a photo taken in November 2005.
At first glance, the boat looks the same, but the original, smaller boat was replaced in 2006 with the one we use now.
Simizu Island is apparently, also a very nice beach to take a lot of photos at.
I took a quick snorkeling trip around the limestone rock right in the middle to see how the corals and the fish are, and was glad to see that they were looking better already. Not a lot of improvement from its state in 2007, but still, better. If you are coming to El Nido and plan to go snorkeling (and you really should actually) in Simizu Island, with this view in mind, get into the water and outwards from the left because this is where the beach is deep enough, sandy and you won’t risk scraping your chest on corals; swim around that rock, go as far as the steep drop because that’s where the schools of fish are; swim towards the right but swim back the way you came from when you want to go back to the shore. The right side is just too shallow, though this depends on the tide of course, for swimming, that you would not be able to use your feet if you have fins on.
Also, just a tip, since I read this, it’s not good to go during the months of March and April, because that’s when the jellyfish, tiny, huge, white, blue, pink, all kinds really, come out. 😛
The sun played peek-a-boo with the clouds, and I had to wait for the times it was not behind the clouds to take photos.
But the girls had this idea of climbing that rock and having photos taken.
And I’m always game for that.
Lovely, who was a member of her school’s cheering squad back in college, could always be counted on to pose for shots like these.
We took a LOT of photos that day! I went home with a full 8GB sd card. We had TONS of fun! We entertained not only ourselves but also our friends, Janice and Lors, who were just watching us. I can really say we girls know how to have some fun.
…rolling in the beach
…just laying around and sunbathing
…and this too
And the girls had so much fun making faces. I love these photos. It gets me teary-eyed every time I see them.
We had such a wonderful time.
We’re back in Manila now and we don’t know when we are coming back but not a day goes by that Lia doesn’t say to me, “Mama, you miss my friends? And our things? It’s alright. Don’t worry, we’ll come back…”