Imagine waking up to the sun kissing your face as you hear the waves greet you a good morning. The tukos (geckos) are ready for the day as well, while they stare at you from the bamboo lined ceiling until you’re convinced to get up and get your day going. A typical morning in the island of Danjugan.
Danjugan Island is a marine and bird sanctuary located at the southwestern part of Negros Occidental. It was once an area highly threatened for dynamite fishing, but it’s now protected and ran by PRRCFI (Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc.). According to its website, the island has five lagoons and is home to 572 fish species, 244 coral species, and 72 bird species. To be fair, my photos don’t give justice to show how amazing the place and the experience is.
Getting to the island means a four hour bus/car ride from Bacolod City, and a 15-20 minute boat ride from Barangay Bulata. The island runs on solar power and fresh water is brought daily from the mainland. The eco toilets and open air cabanas in Moray lagoon are fun parts of the experience as well. If you’re more into the comfy stuff, they offer private rooms on one side of the island too.
A day in Danjugan usually consists of snorkeling (lots of it) and exploring its rich marine life. Bird watching (eagles are frequent here) is mandatory too; it’s not called a marine and bird sanctuary for nothing. My afternoons there were often spent lazing out on the sand with some musical instruments and real conversations with people who have the heart for the environment, while waiting for the sunset. At night, you’ll notice that the stars are indeed brighter and shooting stars aren’t rare at all; fireflies light up the mangroves too.
Being in Danjugan is more than just a vacation; it’s a learning experience. Since its priority is to spread environmental awareness in the youth, Danjugan organizes marine and wildlife camps to give you the full experience like taking a bath with a limit of one timba (bucket) of fresh water a day, and make you appreciate how accessible a lot of things are in the city. You’ll be surprised by how much knowledge about our ecosystems and environmental conditions you’ll gain after your stay; it may even change your perspective on how you see our environment and make you understand why a lot of people fight to save it from harm. (In my case, I questioned all the times I used disposable plastic.)
Danjugan is far from the crowded beaches with loud EDM. It’s a sanctuary, an escape from the city, a distress from all the technology, a place wherein you don’t care if your outfit’s on point, and simply a place to bring you closer to Mother Nature. It’s either you’ll leave your heart at Danjugan or you’ll find it there.
For more information you can visit their website: Danjugan Island