In May 2012, I was at the point of chaotic confusion. After transitioning to a new position the first month of the year, I was at war with myself about keeping the job that I love (as well as the people I have accustomed myself into seeing every day) and in pursuing a more balance life. I was seeking another escape, similar to my first solo travel before I quit my first corporate job. Personally, it's definite to go visit some beach because it's something innate in me whenever I'm up to decide on very important matters.
Originally, the plan was to explore Verde Island, a few kilometers from the main shoreline of Batangas. It was suggested by a colleague, so I did a little research about the place. However, after much deliberation, I concluded that it wasn't the most suitable place for me to backpack solo.
Inspecting Google Earth has led me to notice a bigger land mass famously known as a part of the MIMAROPA region. Several articles have convinced me enough that the route to Mindoro Oriental's not only safe, but also convenient. The most famous stretch of beaches in this side of Mindoro was Sabang (same name in Baler and Palawan's) and White Beach, the province's counterpart to Boracay, but on my take, it's more of Batangas' Laiya. (You can check my Laiya, Batangas post here, and if you're also interested you can read a separate post I wrote about White Beach, Puerto Galera).
I contemplated on pre-booking my accommodation to lessen the hassle of finding a place to stay. I realized however, that White Beach was crowded both in the density of hotels and inns, as well as other commercial establishments and roaming tourists. That's something I find quite problematic as I planned to spend my vacation in a more relaxed, tranquil environment.
I decided to buy an Accu-map before I finalized my itinerary, it's some travel tool I trust the most aside from Google Map, of course. Since this handy map had all the information I need, from the estimated walking-distance time, to accommodations and contact numbers - I've made up my mind. I booked a one-night stay at Tamarraw's beach resort, a kilometer away from White Beach and is situated in a beach called Aninuan. The resort was at a borderline of being a budget-travel friendly, at least my room wasn't the priciest.
After having some pleasurable lunch in one of White Beach' restobar, I decided to head straight to the resort to check-in my bags before I explore the area. The funny thing I did, however, was taking a detour and following the map literally. I took the rather obvious route to the resort, naively thinking that it was the only way. The north, almost dead-end spot in White Beach marks its boundary to Aninuan. I made my way through humongous rocks which to some extent made me jump from one rock to another almost tipping my way down.
Unmindful of the waves crushing in, I made my way to what I thought was the entrance of the resort. I was informed when I checked out that I was lucky enough to have passed that way - scratch-free, thankfully because it was low tide at that time and the waves were forgiving. The resort management strictly discourage it's guests to take that route since it wasn't established and it can be fatal when the water makes the rocks slippery and the intensity of the waves can crush your very life. I did, however, took the right passage the next day, but again without getting some ride when I should have (for security purposes and convenience). Oh well, I just blame it on my stubborn adventurous spirit, but really, I have no regrets.
Aninuan beach is the only beach shore in Oriental Mindoro where one can see the sunset into the horizon without the obstruction of mountain ridges. Unlike White Beach, Aninuan was a very peaceful, almost secluded beach. With a very few resorts then, it's peaceful even during peak season, I can tell because I went there at the height of summer. A beautiful estuary can also be found here.
My time spent in this side of Mindoro was full of unforgettable first times. It was my first to have a trip in one of MIMAROPA's provinces, my first to ride a RO-RO that can only fit around 20 passengers unlike the ones in Samar and Dumaguete where it can even fit private vehicles and buses, first to spend a couple of days in an unfamiliar place and first time to realize my inner strength to be alone yet feeling complete. I discovered a new place, and most of all I discovered a new perspective about myself and life.
Aninuan beach was special. It was and will always have a spot in my travel-hungry life. It may not be the Philippines' most beautiful, but it has a mystifying allure that makes one soul comfortable.
Previous Travel Posts:
It's Not Just About the Grassy Hillocks: What Else Bohol?
Here's Why You Should Put Virgin Island's One Hectare Sand Bar On Your Travel Bucket List!