It’s been quite a while since David and I have been able to escape for a weekend getaway, and even longer since we’ve been able to have some beach time. So, when his coworkers decided to plan a team-building retreat at Cagbalete Island, we were on board right away! Sun, sand, and sea – what more could a person want?
The drive was about 5 hours. David’s work had hired private vans for transportation, so we didn’t have to make unnecessary stops to pick up passengers or anything like that and we made pretty good time. We arrived in Mauban, Quezon a bit early to catch the ferry, which we thought was good. Turned out though that the ferry had filled up early and left early too. Our options were to either wait 4 hours for the next one or hire a private boat. Not wanting to waste the day waiting, we opted to pay for a private boat. In hindsight, this was probably a better option anyways, albeit pricier. I’d checked out a few blogs about Cagbalete Island before we left, and the ferry drops you off on the wrong side of the island so it would have been quite a trek to get to the resort we were staying at.
Unfortunately, as we neared Villa Noe Beach where we were staying, we realized we were going to get wet sooner than planned – the tide was out, which meant there was seaweed breaking the surface of the water and as a result, the boat couldn’t take us very close. We had to unload into the water and it was quite a trek back to shore. Tiring though it was, it was a neat experience and we got to see a puffer fish swimming around(click here for the video!)!
We were all a bit disappointed upon arrival that the tide was out – it meant swimming wouldn’t be possible for several hours. The beach is very shallow, even at high tide, and at low tide it’s just really not a place you can swim. This gave us plenty of time to set up and relax for a bit before we hit the water, though. Eventually, while waiting, David and I went out and explored the tide pools left behind by the receding waters and spotted some neat little fish and crabs of various sorts.
Finally, the tide was in and we wasted no time in getting in the water! Despite the shallowness of the water, we still had a great time kicking around. The ocean water was the perfect temperature for swimming, and we enjoyed it so much, right up until dinner time. Huge, huge thanks to those who were on dinner duty and gave up the first swimming session in order to prepare some delicious adobo, fish, eggs, and more!
Later on, another one of David’s coworkers prepared some delicious mojitos – in a cooler! They were super delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh, minty flavor. Soon after, David and I headed for our bed. We were super exhausted from the day already and were one of the first people to hit the sack. While the mattress itself was nice and comfy, I didn’t manage to have the most pleasant sleep as I got bit by several things during the night. I woke up multiple times with burning, itching feelings from the bites, and even after things stopped biting me, I kept waking up because I was still imagining bugs crawling on me! Morning came a bit too quickly for me, but it’s okay – no sense in wasting time on vacation! I can sleep any time.
David and I headed down the beach along with a couple of others to play an early morning game of Cards Against Humanity. What a breathtaking view we had to enjoy our game by! While we were playing a taho vendor came by and all four of us grabbed a cup. Taho is still one of my favorite Filipino foods!
After breakfast, the team-building aspect of the trip kicked in. It was time for our version of The Amazing Race! It was a short but madly competitive race. The game started with a puzzle we had to put together in order to find our next clue. Upon finding the next clue, there were three tasks to complete before moving on. One of the said tasks was to take a “groufie” with someone on the beach wearing a red shirt. Unfortunately for him, there was only one person on the entire beach in a red shirt, so he was bombarded by all the teams pleading for a photo with him! We’re just glad he was so good-spirited about it and gladly obliged!
Another of the tasks was to take a jump shot – after doing this, I wonder how other people manage to take them and look so good! It took us multiple attempts to finally get a photo where no one’s feet was touching the ground – and I know that I, for one, looked far from glamorous in the shot that finally worked.
The final leg of the race was a little bit more complicated. We were given a paper cup and a plastic spoon; the task was to fill up the cup with ocean water, using only the spoon! We had to take turns, one at a time, running to the ocean to collect seawater and bring as much back without spilling. It was fun to do; sadly our team lost the challenge.
After the games, we had the chance for one more swim and then our boat arrived to return us to the mainland. We were sad to leave, but happy with the memories we would be taking with us. Thanks so much to David’s company/account for sponsoring this awesome and unforgettable trip!