Growing up as a grade school student in my home province of Camarines Sur in the late 1970s, I only knew of one beach that my family went on summer outings. This was Pasacao, in the west coast of the province.
Later on, when I entered high school, I got introduced to the beach in Balatan, also in the west coast. Now that I am in my 40s and very much into running, I get to discover another beach in our province. This is the one in Minalabac. The barangay of Bagolatao, to be more specific.
I got to “discover” the beauty of the beach in Bagolatao courtesy of my running buddies Ric and Allen. We went on an adventure thru provincial roads passing ricefields, rivers and then going up a 200-meter ridge and down to reach this lovely beach. But instead of riding jeepneys or motorbikes, we reach Bagalotao via our own motor of running (http://www.bicolanopenguin.blogspot.com/2013/05/bagolatao-adventure-run-broke-back.html#more).
The run was tiring, especially given the humidity and heat late in the morning of May 4 but after almost 3 hours of run-walk from the town proper of Minalabac, our expeditionary group was rewarded with the cool blue image of the Ragay Gulf. More than the azure delight, we were gifted with the purifying sight of the pebbles of Bagolatao.
Yup. You read me right. The white beach of Bagolatao is made up of pebbles and not sand. I wonder why this is so considering that the more known west coast beaches (Pasacao and Balatan) in the province are made up of sand (more of gray and not white). Doing some google research, I came up with this. “Sand grains are formed when rock or other hard material is broken down by waves, a process that can take thousands of years. Beaches with pebbles or course sand are very young while beaches with fine sand are older. The color of sand grains comes from the original material that formed the sand. For example, white sand on tropical beaches is pulverized pieces of dead coral. (Coral skeleton is white because it is made of calcium carbonate, a mineral also found in chalk and human bones.) In Hawaii you can find black sand beaches, because the sand comes from eroded basalt – lava from the volcanoes. Beach pebbles are formed gradually over time as the ocean water washes over loose rock particles. The result is a smooth, rounded appearance. The typical size range is from 2 mm to 50 mm. The colors range from translucent white to black, and include shades of yellow, brown, red and green.”
Enough of the research part.
Best thing to do on a beach is to enjoy it and cavort in the waters. Mind you, the clear water in Bagolatao beach gets deep fast as this is because the waves easily flow through the coarse, porous surface of the beach, decreasing the effect of backwash erosion and increasing the formation of sediment into a steeply sloping beach.
But this did not stop us from enjoying nature with a lot of swimming. Afterwhich, we satiated our hunger in one of the nipa cottages that abound in the beach area (they can be rented for Php 300 for the duration of the day). Our running group had brought food, lots of them. Ric and Allen brought pork chop and liempo for grilling. I had with me two buckets of chickenjoy. Belle toted several green delights ranging from her salad to local delicacies like laing, sinanglay and gulay na santol. Mariano had bananas. We also consumed a bucket-full of mango-flavored ice candies.
On Bagolatao Beach, there isn’t much real estate development going on in the form of fancy hotels or air-conditioned resorts. And I guess it is just right. Why make nature pricey?