The waves slowly buried my feet on the fine white sand of the island. I chanced upon the varying colors of the horizon in front of me. The heavens, grey and thundering with all of its might, the cerulean blue sea blending with the sparkling turquoise hue, and the cotton-like white clouds floating above me were my view into reverie.
We set off before dawn in the small town of Culasi, Antique, for a three-hour boat ride to Seco Island. The stars were still twinkling, the local wet market was quiet, and the street was ever so motionless. At 4:30 in the morning, we loaded all of our things in the small motorized outrigger boat, strapped on our life vests, and fought our droopy eyes on a trip that early.
The engine was initiated and away we went offshore. People around me were rejoicing with eagerness as we were about to see and experience Antique’s hidden jewel in a few hours. Camera flashes like lightning, bouncing light from the boat to the dark waters. Chuckles and laughs echoing from the other end and the calm sea cradling our presence. The journey to Seco Island began.
Oasis of Serenity
“Bioluminescence!” Marcos said.
“Bio what?” With sheer curiosity, I responded.
While crouching at the side of the boat, he was pointing at the glimmering light in the water. As it curls away from the exterior, those tiny spots followed the undulation. Perplexed with the existence of such minuscule wonder, I fixed my eyes at the dark sea. It was my first time to see something glow from the waters. Unlike stars, they vanish.
The cold blow of the wind from the west sent chills down my spine as I relaxed my head on the wooden back rest, still staring at the flickering lights beneath me. The whole boat went noiseless as every single passenger was in slumber. Only the sound of nature and the reverberant motor pervaded.
As the morning’s first light came into view, the eastern mountains framed the glowing orange sun as it slowly made an appearance. The commotion startled everyone on board. People opened their lens covers and fired away to capture that stunning rising star. It was a glorious start for a Monday adventure.
“Perfect weather!” One of us exclaimed.
I sat there in silence, studying the vastness of the sea, its placidity and the reflection of the sunlight that embraces the waves around us. I looked down on the boat’s bamboo floats and wondered how its nozzle could pierce through the crashing waters so effortlessly, gliding smoothly on the ups and downs of the deep sea. My thoughts linger.
Almost halfway to the destination, the clouds floating above the horizon began to darken, shielding our view to the other side as rain heavily poured from the distance. While we were getting closer and closer, the gloom steadily swallowed our vessel. The wind was growing stronger, spewing tiny drizzles everywhere creating chains of ripples before our very eyes.
When the sea decided to rock our boat, we were all in it for an unexpected splash. Up and down we bobbed on the choppy waters, holding on to the side shafts to keep our balance. Lo and behold, upon touching the surface, saltwater flurried. All drenched, we unstrapped our life vests, raised it over our heads, and prepared for another battering from the cold waves.
“Not so perfect, anymore!” I sarcastically said to myself while giggling.
Minutes later, amid the torrent, the waters gradually lulled. Seco Island, an indigo silhouette across the tranquil sea, beckons to us. The waves, so smooth, so glassy, so still, slowly vanished as we passed through it.
“Wow! Waveless! Life of Pi!”
Astonished by the mysterious feeling of floating in serenity, our eyes widened as a small creature emerged from the surface. Spreading its wings and flapping its way several meters in less than a second, it was a tiny fish rapidly escaping the deep. Zigzag lines were etched on the horizon as that organism sprouted once more from the waters.
There was an eerie silence.
Adrift in Dreamland
Nearing the island, the waters surrounding us varied in hue. Precious corals sitting beneath us were visible as the sea remained clear. Fishes swimming around, yellow, orange, and green, wiggling their tails for us to marvel, welcoming our arrival to one magnificent gem tucked away from the eyes of man.
Seco Island, isolated from the other islands in the province of Antique, situated between Panay and Cuyo islands, untouched, pristine, and exuding with elegance and beauty, was only a foot away from the soles of my feet.
As I stepped on the sand of the island that flawlessly emerged from the horizon, I felt the tiny grains filling the gaps of my sandals. At last, we arrived safe and sound from the long journey. Of shallow waters and placid seas, we were finally there to be captivated by her splendor.
Of lush green bushes and shrubs, growing talisay, screw pine, and coconut trees, the colors of life that thrive in that small island. Baby crabs creeping through the fine white sand and birds soaring above the sky, surrounded by crystal clear waters, Seco Island, blessed with its quiet coast and lagoon, a slice of paradise for everyone to take in.
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Seco Island is named after the Kinaray-a word for ‘elbow’ because of its shape. A must-visit island paradise if you’re in Antique. It boasts a 1.5 km beach covered with fine white sand and cerulean sea water that is 21 nautical miles away from the shores of Tibiao and could be reached by boat around 2-3 hours.
Indeed it is a perfect destination for camping and beach outings. An ideal location to be one with nature and to get away from the chains of modern day living.
Day and overnight tours to the island are made available by Katahum Tours. For more information, please read about their Seco Island Tour Package at www.katahum.com.