Escape from Mosquito Island – Tao Expeditions (Day 5)
Our fourth and final night was spent on Tapiutan Island, which was really a quintessential deserted island getaway – a secluded camp built at the base of towering and jagged limestone cliffs in a shallow and secluded bay area. In my mind, this was “the beach” that all travelers are looking for. The only issue was, the mosquitoes were beyond relentless; The only time bugs were a problem the whole trip. I shot some early morning photography and tried to hang out with coffee and fruit like every other day, but it was too rough. Before half the group had even woken up, I retreated back to the Balatik anchored offshore for some reprieve.
I started this ‘Tao Expedition’ series out by saying that Tao seemed to provide that true ‘off the grid‘ experience that so many travelers crave. Although it didn’t really involve actually doing anything at all, by the fifth day, that routine of nothingness had really set in and bring off the grid was just the norm. We had swam in secluded coves, walked across deserted islands, ate lunch in remote bays, slept in local villages, and for the most part, only had interactions with everyone on our boat. As far as we know (that I could remember), we had really only seen another couple of foreigners since leaving Coron. It really did feel as if we had experienced that glimmer of true exploration.
But as we left Tapuitan Island on that fifth and sadly final morning, we knew that was set to change; We were back in relative civilization, albeit spectacularly beautiful civilization. Bangkas from El Nido rambled by the Balatik escorting guests along the standard “Island Hopping Tour C” route for day trips that included Secret Beach on Mantiloc Island (just across Tapiutan Straight where we camped), Mantiloc Shrine, and a couple of other small beaches. Our first stop for the day was Secret Beach; Along with 6 other Bangkas. Our course our first jesting reactions were, “Who the f*ck are these people?!”
Even still, it was the best scenery of the whole trip.
(You actually have to swim through a small cave to get to it…)