Baganga, Davao Oriental: San Victor Island & Carolina Lake
Did you know that on the 1st of January 2000, the first sunrise of the new millennium here in the Philippines was first seen in Davao Oriental? Awesome trivia, right?
And there’s a lot more to Davao Oriental than sunrises and Mati City which I never even heard of until this journey. One of them is Baganga – a seaside town about three hours from Mati that offers offbeat and awesome destinations making the extra miles worthwhile.
As green as emerald and as lovely as a gem, Carolina Lake is Baganga’s bedazzling body of water in the middle of a dense blanket of trees and vegetation. It’s neither salt nor fresh water but a bit of both. Marine life thrive in its depths which can provide food and livelihood. For a community relying on nature’s gifts, Carolina Lake can certainly be Baganga’s treasure trove.
San Victor Island
Combine three full-sized football pitches together and that’s about the entirety of San Victor Island. Wee in size but it’s tropical charm makes it bigger than many beaches in the archipelago. Glittering white sands are as soft as powder. Its water is as blue as a clear summer sky. Coconut trees dominate the island. No noise, no bars, and no structures any larger than a tiny bunch of cottages built on a small parcel by religious missionaries ages ago – San Victor’s nothingness just makes it seem so full.
Some may have already heard of Baganga. The town was the talk of headlines in 2012, a year not easily forgotten by the people of Davao Oriental and its neighboring provinces. December that year, a category-5 storm called “Bophan” or locally referred to as “Pablo” wreaked havoc in Southern Philippines leaving many towns devastated, many homes lost, and many dreams shattered. Rising up from the aftermath was a tremendous struggle. But the immeasurable efforts of its townsfolk, LGU’s and NGO’s, together, brought back the life in its people, its lands and seas.
1.Directions to Baganga and Carolina Lake – If you’re coming from Davao City, there are buses going to Baganga from Ecoland Terminal. In our case we were traveling from Mati City, so we took a van from the terminal in Mati and got off at Brgy. Salingcumot to visit Carolina Lake first. The jump-off point to Carolina Lake is along the main highway, before you reach Baganga town proper.
2.Entrance to Carolina Lake is around P5.00 – P10.00 only.
3. Directions to San Victor Island – You could take a tricycle or a habal-habal from Baganga’s town proper and get off Brgy. San Victor. Tell the driver that you’re going to San Victor Island. In Brgy. San Victor, take a boat to the island. Fare is around P25.00/one way.
4. You could buy supplies while you’re in town.
5. There are cottages for rent in San Victor Island. Camping is also allowed.
6. More about Davao Oriental
7. Please LIKE Biyaherong Barat on Facebook.
8. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
9. Follow @biyaherongbarat on Instagram.