Badoc Island in Ilocos Norte is an island gem.
It has a long stretch of white-sand beach that you can enjoy to yourself, allowing you to experience some peace and quiet.
Badoc Island has fewer tourists because, unlike other beach destinations in the country, it is not commercialized.
HOW TO GO TO BADOC ISLAND
Those coming from Manila can drive straight to the jump-off point at La Virgen Milagrosa Cove, which is located at Sitio Pagetpet, Brgy. La Milagrosa in Badoc, Ilocos Norte.
For those who don't have a private vehicle, you can ride a bus going to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. The price of bus tickets starts at PHP1,150.
Ask the bus driver to drop you off at Badoc Detachment or Badoc New Market. From there, tricycles are available to go to the cove.
A 25-minute boat ride takes you from the cove to the island. Small boats are available on standby at the cove and can be rented for PHP1,200 going to the island. These boats can accommodate six persons, including the boatmen.
In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Ilocos Norte tour guide Ka Ren Ski said, "Ngayong pandemic po is limited pa lang po yung [buses] namin dito. Limited in a sense na yung may oras-oras pa sila."
She added, "Kapag yung normal tours po, yung mga van and yung naka-bus, puwede pumunta doon. Halimbawa, yung mga taga-Manila, puwede na sila dumerecho sa Badoc Island."
Tourists are required to sign a waiver and wear life vests during the boat ride.
Tip: Bring a waterproof bag to protect your stuff as seawater can easily enter the boat.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE ISLAND
Since it is not commercialized, Badoc Island is bare. There are no hotels, inns, or similar structures on the beach.
You can pitch a tent by the beach or place a picnic blanket under the trees that line the shore.
Although the island doesn't have any structure on it, a lot of activities can be enjoyed. The island also has a lot of Instagrammable spots.
Ka Ren Ski said, "Snorkeling, free diving, pwede rin silang mag-hiking dun kasi dun sa pinag-dropan sa atin, magha-hiking ka pa para mapuntahan mo yung rock formations."
For now, overnight stays are not allowed on Badoc Island and at La Virgen Milagrosa Cove, which overlooks the island.
Ka Ren Ski explained, "Wala naman kasing cottages doon. Walang mga toilets doon. For safety na rin siguro.
"Kahit sabihin mong mag-tent ka doon, ang problema kasi is yung necessities natin."
She added, "Hindi pa pwedeng mag-overnight sa Badoc cove and island since wala pong lifeguard na nagduduty doon. Hindi safe."
FUTURE BALESIN OF THE NORTH
Nature lovers should take the chance to visit the island now, while it has not been developed.
Ka Ren Ski told PEP.ph, "Ang mas maganda pa kasi ngayon, kung nature lover ka, talagang nature pa lang yung makikita mo dun. Pure nature, walang mga buildings, walang mga kung anu-ano.
"Sa talaga mae-enjoy mo yung nature dun sa Badoc Island."
The 36.256-hectare privately-owned island has been put up for sale over the past few years, in the hopes of being developed as a luxury island resort with private villas.
Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Manotoc told PEP.ph, "It's a private island that we're hoping to facilitate the sale para maging luxury resort yung island."
No official reports about the price of the island are available, but there are some property listings on Facebook saying that the island is up for sale for PHP160 million.
For now, the local government of Ilocos Norte has included the island on their latest tourism campaign titled Ilocos Norte I'm IN.
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