MACTAN'S LOST BEACHES

July 20, 2015


"Where's the nearest and cheapest beach around here?" someone asks. Do you end up scratching your head, too? 

Sometimes I find it ironic how a supposed island girl like me has to ride 2-3 hours to get to a decent beach, or have to spend thousands of bucks just for a day-use in some of the nearby ones. That is why one Sunday, we embarked on a trip to search for Mactan's lost beaches.


Everyone knows Mactan is the historic resort city. So how hard was it to find a free beach in the island? What does a local have to do to get some decent sea around here? We heard of sightings near Punta Engano, Mactan's northeastern tip.



We tried for a place near Movenpick, because I think I saw some sort of wharf there before. There was a wharf there alright. No beach, though. Just a wharf and some Korean tourists chatting away. So onward we went.



We walked further down the road, trying to see if there was some gate or entrance to a beach anywhere. Most establishments we found were quite high-end though.


We were hungry, and lacking both horn and money, we opted for some good old roadside banana cue instead. You'll find there are lots of them along the road. 



We asked Ate if there was any free or cheap beach around and she pointed us to a place called Maxima, just right ahead. at some alley, can't miss it. We thanked her and continued our journey.


And I kind of wondered how these people are benefiting from the influx of high-end resorts and amenities in the area. Surely, most of them must have grown up here, right? Most of the residents must have spent their childhood taking dips in the water and enjoying the sand.


 I wonder how they felt when their beloved play grounds were boarded up and gated and and then developed, coming out complete with a price tag too high for their budgets. I wonder if the big resorts gave them decent jobs, or if the most of these locals were under qualified for it. I really hope it's the former.


And what of the kids now? Will they ever get to see how wonderful living in the island is? I found my musings kind of sad. Thankfully, my eye caught a store with lots of junkfood so we stopped and asked for directions again.


Just like everywhere in the island, the folks were friendly and told us that we just missed our eskina. 


I bought some SuperCrunch and some of that pink round chewing gum too, just for good measure. :)


Our feet led us to a tiny, tiny alley with a bumpy path. 


I was quite hesitant at first, being the usual sissy that I am. But we found some old shells on the path so I guess it was worth they try.


And sure enough, we found Punta Engano's free "beach".





Technically, it functioned as some sort of mini wharf too, but I guess it's clean enough for some people to taking dips.



There was no sand, no beach towels and tiny drinks with umbrellas on them. So this was what the supposedly last free beach in Punta Engano looked like. Quite underwhelming, to be honest.



It's definitely not the usual Mactan I grew up in. Me and my fellow 90s children, we had Marigondon for five pesos and it was enough. Hadsan or Vano, if we were feeling fancy. When we got older, we could always count on Portofino, and it was the cheapest at that time at around 90 bucks. Now, I don't really know where to go to anymore.

I don't even think it would qualify as a legit beach. I'd hate to think that this was the very last free beach in the island. I really do hope there are other places out there.




Maybe on some other weekend, we'll go exploring again and discover a hidden place locals can still go to and enjoy. Maybe there is still one somewhere in the island.


It was kind of bittersweet, finding this. It was a nice long walk, but also really kind of sad that we didn't find the beach I had in mind. 


The world's changing, I know, and stuff can't stay as they were back in the day. I just wish we as a city made a more sustainable development plan for the island, one that will benefit both tourists and locals.



One that won't leave the islanders with scraps of what the others have.


The resorts in Mactan are beautiful. I just wish everyone could enjoy them or at least have a piece of the island that we could all enjoy without breaking our piggy banks. What can we do about this?


We'll see. For now, it was time for us to come home. Maybe next weekend we'll find another beach just hiding away. How does Cordova sound to you?




Til next time, 



K x


@krishafromtheisland

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