THE moment the sea level ebbs and the tide dips for a rest, you can see the pristine sandbar that appears like a pure maiden. You need to see it, give attention to it so that you won’t regret it for the rest of your life.
The white sandbar is called Campalabo Islet. Estimated to be about one hectare, it can be experienced in Barangay Tajao in the municipality of Pinamungajan, Cebu, the same local government that has been protecting the pureness of this attraction.
The word Campalabo is derived from the word “kampana,” which means a big church bell, according to stories passed on by forefathers.
The same stories include one that tells of a time in the Spanish colonial period when the treasured kampana of Pinamungajan was stolen and thrown in the middle of the sea.
Many residents in the town still believe that for some mysterious reasons, a sandbar surfaced in place of the church bell in the same area where it was thrown.
Reasons to go:
• Campalabo Islet is the pride of Pinamungajan because it is the only sandbar you can find in the entire third district of Cebu Province.
• The Campalabo Islet is a sandbar surrounded by deep waters with abundant marine life. This will delight visitors who want to go snorkeling.
• Surfacing in Tañon Strait, it is a small island from where you can see and appreciate the splendor of Mount Kanloan in Negros Island.
• You cannot see Campalabo Islet during high tide, but you can experience it during low tide. You will appreciate it more during broad daylight.
• It is a sanctuary for various types of fishes from storms.
How to get there
Barangay Tajao, Pinamungajan, Cebu is estimated to be a three-hour drive from Cebu City.
For those who prefer to go by public transportation, you can do so via the South Bus Terminal in N. Bacalso Avenue, Cebu City.
At Barangay Tajao, ask where you can rent a pump boat. The pump boat will take off from the Community Fish Landing Center.
The sea travel to the Campalabo Islet will take around 20 to 30 minutes.
Rent for the pump boat is estimated at P1,500, but you can try negotiating with its owner for a lower price.
There is an environmental fee of P50 per passenger.
• Buy or bring your food and drinks before you ride the pump boat.
• There is no cottage at the Campalabo Islet, but there is a Bantay Dagat structure in the area, if you need shade.
• Putting up tents in the sandbar is prohibited.
• Don’t leave any trash before you leave the islet.
It has been 20 years since my first visit to Campalabo Islet. I recently visited again. After both visits and to wherever I go, my pride in this magnificent place will always be with me.
Phil Bert Undalok, 39, a native of Poblacion, Pinamungajan, Cebu is a freelance sales agent whose hobbies include music and travel.