By KC Santos
MATNOG, BICOL – A popular sidetrip of tourists plying the Bicol-Sorsogon route is a remote island in this small town famous for its pink sand beaches.
Subic Beach, also known as La Playa Rosa, is known for its rose-colored sand, considered the most unique of the four islands the town is known for.
Matnog is also vital because it connects the major island groups of Luzon and Visayas; its fishing and ferry port serves as the gateway to Northern Samar. It is also the jump-off point to Subic Beach.
The town’s name was derived from the word matunog or sound, which describes the sound the gong early Filipino chieftains used to summon residents to a council meeting.
Subic Beach can be reached via a 20-minute banca ride from Matnog. From afar, the island looks like a long stretch of white sand but the rosy color becomes evident once the boat enters the shore.
It is said that the color is due to the red pigmentation of the red corals that have corroded and blended with the sand. Other accounts say this is caused by red algae that got washed up to the shore and mixed with corroded limestone formations on the island.
A caretaker and his family tends to the beach. Makeshift tents are available for rent although visitors are advised to bring their own tents.
Blogger Lekimumu of Indieference wrote that the charm of Subic Beach lies in its seclusion. She added that on the way to the islands, fishermen would sell fresh catch which you can then ask the caretakers to cook for you for a fee.
Claire Raborar of Lakwatsa de Premera, however, wrote that the seabed drops abruptly and the water can rise and become very deep quickly. Thick foliage surrounding the island allows an excellent view of the sunrise and sunset.
Those who have visited Subic Beach rave about how relatively inexpensive it is to visit. The island, though, being undeveloped, is devoid of luxuries and other amenities found in more commercial destinations.
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