“Visiting Guimaras for the Third Time” – The Germans and the Monkeys of Nagarao
I could not have stayed in this place if not for the fully booked status of the nearby resorts, Raymen and Alubihod. “This is it, this is the place I’ve been wanting to stay”, I said to myself as I entered the area. An expanse of nature carefully being developed, was an experience to be followed how the development goes enhancing the place without destroying the habitat of every living animals that thrive in the area.
Mangroves are still young as it was planted on the sides of the rock enforced roadway. White painted railings and bridges strike the eyes firsthand when your sight is focused on the green rocky hills that sprouted from the sprawling ponds. They are actually islets on shallow waters not deep enough to be called as sea or ocean. They are wide stretches of shallow portions of waters with muddy bed and divided into ponds with a combination of rocks, mud, sand and gravel that serve as an amalgam dividers. Small fishes abound as the mangroves serve as its nesting place with sea water coming in and meets other water resources. The hill’s bases are built with roads lined with railings. It is further enhanced by the addition of dove population making it more lively.
Uphill rocky portions were built with cottages and rooms for visitors to stay overnight and those who want longer visits. There are camp sites for group tours. A new swimming pool is being built to compliment the existing one at the top of a hill.
The beach’s length is rather small and can handle only small batches of swimmers at the same time. At the right side of Villa Igang arch’s entrance, there’s a road leading to Villa Corazon resort which is larger than Villa Igang’s beach front and more picturesque. It faces an unobtrusive horizon of the sea. Big rocks protruding into the waters were built with concrete railings that add beauty and class to the scene. Villa Corazon looks private due to its lonely ambiance but serenity is the price for not attracting a multitude of beach combers. This is an alluring setting for “honey-mooners” who seek charming and tranquil places to spend their after-church extravaganza. At the left side of the entrance arch, the Bamboo Bridge extends deep into the mangrove’s territory not knowing its boundary limits which extends where your eyes set the horizon.
Negligible changes were seen as I travelled on a motorcycle on a sunny day. Two years is a short span of time to really spot great and imposing changes of sceneries. There were a few structures built, new road networks, and other noticeable improvements.
What is worth mentioning is the sweetness of Guimaras mangoes which was off season. I can handle three whole pieces of ripened mangoes then. But this season, I can’t believe it, I’ve eaten six. That means twelve halves of sliced ripe sweet mangoes eaten after lunch.
Before I headed for home, there was still plenty of time to spend for an island hop. My guide took me to Nagarao island. I was bitten by his sweet talk about it. What he was saying was way, way back. Years and years way back then when it was still booming with German visitors. What he told me: Nagarao island was bought at a very low price by a German national. After several years of staying in the island, he decided to sell it to a fellow German at triple the original price. This German, Martin, married an Ilonga and bore three handsome sons and are now in Germany. Martin invited fellow German friends to invest in the island encouraging them to send money for the construction of individual homes so that when they come to visit the island they have their own homes to stay in. When his German friends arrived in droves they stayed in their individually built homes and stayed long in Nagarao. They always enjoyed sun bathing naked. And the longer they stayed, the wider the personal gap Martin was creating between them. He was finding unreasonable faults against his friends that drove them away and leave the island for home. Leaving their houses in disgust meant they ceased ownership and eventually made Martin to own the units illegally. His German friends did not return up to this day. But there was one German who didn’t leave the island. He became sick and his parents sent money for his hospitalization thru Martin. He pulled him out from the hospital and brought him back to Nagarao. The German’s parents continued sending money thru Martin thinking their son was still in the hospital. The truth was Martin acted as the doctor without any knowledge of the field and his friend’s sickness. The German became very ill and, as stories circulated, amputated the legs, died, and was buried in the island. Martin became rich, developed the island extensively and became famous as a tourist destination. Mismanagement brought the resort down. Martin and wife separated and the resort was divided among his three children. He left the island and got another wife in Negros and had three children studying in his homeland.
During Nagarao’s heydays, it was populated by monkeys that were hard to domesticate. They bite people and even Martin didn’t escape the wild nature of monkeys that he decided to catch all of them and transferred to a nearby island. Those monkeys behaved like harvesters of coconut that the entire island lost a considerable harvest intended for sale. The monkey population didn’t elude the anger of coconut farmers so they finalized a decision to shoot and kill all the monkeys in the island leaving behind a zero count of the tree climbing animals.
A portion of the island is up for sale at Php 2.8M with an area of 4,000 sq. m. Nagarao island is 20 – 30 minutes away from mainland Guimaras by motorized banca.
We headed for Buenavista wharf for my departure for Iloilo. I stayed for awhile outside to look for a long lost friend I’ve met two years ago. Just making use of the chance if I could find him. The combing was in vain.
Spending New Year’s eve in a resort was a favorable and quiet experience away from the deafening sounds of firecrackers and lung-wrecker gun powder smoke.