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A Real Get Away
In a world where connectivity is a normal part of our daily lives, there’s almost practically nowhere you can go these days where you will not be tethered to your office or your work, your business associates, your relatives, etc. with all the attendant problems associated with them either via landline, the internet or their wireless counterparts: cell phone service and Wi-Fi connection.
This concept of connectivity renders useless the idea of “get-away paradise” for how can you really get away from it all when, no matter where you go, your office, your work, your business associates, your relatives and practically everyone and everything you want to get away from can easily reach you with a push of a button or a click of a mouse?
It doesn’t help that the remote places you used to go to have decided to level up and developed their facilities as if their modern facilities are the reasons you are leaving the metropolis for. Sure, some basic amenities are necessary like abundant food supply, safe drinking water, a nice bed, a clean restroom but... well, okay you got the point.
It is a good thing therefore that there are still a few remaining places where you can truly get away from it all like Pandan Island in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.
The fact that this island is heart shaped probably doesn’t matter - though it is. You would only notice the shape of the island when you are airborne, not that it is going to be immediately within your flight path when you decide to travel to the island by plane. You will only have a good look at the island’s shape when you are looking down at it using Google maps.
What is really nice about this island is that the concessionaire running the most popular resort in this tiny bit of real estate does not allow cell phones, or anything that connects to a wireless provider, to be brought in by its visitors. Not to mention the pristine water and white sand beaches that surround it and the nearby dive sites.
The last time I was there, the owner who allowed us the use of their boat, told us rather nicely that their guests will have to deposit their cell phones upon landing on the beach from the mainland. They confiscate those that were not voluntarily surrendered. Either that, or they refuse entry to those who are not willing to abide by the house rules.
The resort's waiting list is about six (6) months and the guests are mostly Europeans.
So the things to consider if you are planning to go through the hassles of waiting for six months to get your slot for your much needed vacation is: one, do you re ally want to be in a secluded place like that where your contact with the rest of the world will be temporarily disconnected and two, can you make your stay there long enough so that your slot will be worth the long wait?
The administration office has its own facilities that enables it to get in touch with their office in the main island, and the guests can make arrangements if they need to communicate with the outside world, but if you want full access to communications facilities that you can hug to yourself for any length of time, you will have to go to the main island. Don't worry, it is only about fifteen minutes away in small outriggers and the fare doesn’t cost that much.
Obviously, it is not exactly the place people flock to at any given time, especially if you consider the waiting list, but getting to Pandan Island is easy once you already in the Philippines. All you need to do is take a connecting flight to the town of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro and then take a bus or jeepney ride that will bring you to the town of Sablayan where you’ll find the boats that will bring you to the island.
To those who are more adventurous, you can take one of those buses that has a terminal in Cubao, Quezon City. That bus will make a two to two and a half hour drive to Batangas City Port then board a roll-on roll-off vessel for some two hours of sailing to Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro where it will disembark.
From there, it will be a three to four hour trip to Sablayan passing thru most of the northern parts of the western side of the island of Mindoro.