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Cagwait White Beach: Boracay of CARAGA

When he discovered Cagwait White Beach, dubbed as the “Little Boracay of CARAGA”, John Ryan Mendoza said he automatically expected to feel the powder-like consistency of Boracay’s sands. But he was dismayed. Here, the sand is… coarser. But the initial dismay was overshadowed by the fact that Cagwait offers what Boracay couldn’t: serene isolation.

Cagwait White Beach

After our whole day habal-habal adventure to the Tinuy-an Falls and Enchanted River, we all felt that we needed a lazy day at an isolated beach.

“Cagwait White Beach!” exclaimed our friend, a local of Bislig.

It was off-peak season and she said we would be treated to a tranquil stay at the “Little Boracay of CARAGA.”

Cagwait2And so we took the early morning bus from Bislig and got off at the town of Barobo. At the Barobo bus terminal, we took the 85 peso van ride to Cagwait, a fourth class municipality of Surigao del Sur; and which faces Mount Diwata on the west and the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the east.  It is approximately 32 kilometers southwest of Tandag, the capital town of the province.

Locals in the area say that a young traveler who escaped the Spaniards in Leyte saw this horseshoe shaped white sand beach. “Mura og wait,” he was said to have mentioned, likening the beach to that of the human mouth; thus the name, Cagwait.

Cagwait White Beach is also the venue for the Kaliguan Festival, held every third week of June to honor St. John the Baptist.

Cagwait White Beach – with its lush backdrop of coconut and vegetation, and its expanse of aquamarine waters – was also referred to as the “Waikiki of the South” by American aviator Charles Augustus Lindbergh after his chance discovery of the area on his visit in Surigao.

When we arrived, my mind automatically expected to feel the powder-like consistency of Boracay’s sands, but I was dismayed. Here, the sand is… coarser. Nevertheless, the view that welcomed us did not disappoint. The white sand shores embraced a portion of the great Pacific Ocean and invited us to its pristine, cool, and clear turquoise waters. My initial dismay was overshadowed by the fact that Cagwait offers what Boracay couldn’t: serene isolation.

I didn’t expect what I discovered next.

We rented non-aircon rooms for 300 pesos a night and the window view was just a spectacular display of the white beach and its gentle blue waves. I just immediately thought of endless days of waking up to the sights and sounds of this view. Spending lazy mornings and afternoons writing and just gazing up to the multitude of stars and seeing their reflections on the bay at night. All the more perfect with my partner.

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The whole day was just pure indolence. After feeling hot under the sun with the book I have longed to finish reading, the cool blue waters soothed my sun-kissed skin. The gentle sea breeze was my companion in the long and slow barefoot walks in the stretch of white sand.

I was in a dilemma of writing about this white beach. I was like a little boy unwilling to share my discovered hiding spot. The peace was just too rare to risk for it to be overtly commercialized as what happens to a lot of our island beaches. Yet still for those who truly love beaches, Cagwait offers this true unspoiled experience.

Written By

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).


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