We went to Canigao Island in Matalom Leyte last 17 & 18 September 2016 for a vacation and relaxation trip. On the first day until the time we were about to go home was really awesome, however when we were about to leave the Island to start the long journey back to our place in Pastrana Leyte, the bad experience started and this is what happened.
Between 9:30 am and 10:30 am, not sure about the exact time, we called the contact person for the boat to ask for the schedule of boat trip back to Matalom port and then she replied that the vessel that we used wasn’t able to operate that day (18 September 2016) and she said we can just ride any boat back to the port of Matalom.
By the trust for what she’s saying, at 11:30 am we proceed to the place where the boat docks and after few minutes one of the boat arrived and then we ask if we can ride the boat back to the port of Matalom. The boat crew told us that they cannot accommodate us because they are waiting for other guests that already booked for their trip back and that time and it was fine for we understood.
Then another boat (Island Rose 1 Bluewater Transportation, the same boat company that was registered on our ticket) arrived at the docking area and we ask again if they can give us a ride go back to the port but they told us that they would go back to Matalom port at 5 pm, which the time at that time was only around 12:30 pm – too far from the current time.
Then another boat arrived at the docking area and then we asked again to hitch a ride, but this one is different. They are asking for P300 for the other people that wanted to board the boat too and asking for 500 for our group which is composed of 9 adults and 3 kids (the 2 are below 3 years old and below, that is free according to the Local Government Staff’s) despite of our 2 cottages and round trip ticket paid from the Port of Matalom through Local Government Employees.
Then the fourth boat arrived in the docking area, we ask the same thing but they are also asking for additional P500.
Despite of our Round Trip ticket paid amounting to P533 and based on their classification in the ticket as 9A 1C, I think it’s referring to 9 Adults and 1 Child.
And with the assurance of the LGU Staff’s that our ticket is Back and Forth because they charge us for P533 according to the boat ticket.
We are thinking that we don’t need to pay anything and we can just go back to the Matalom port easily. From this point it just like we held as a hostage because if we don’t pay for additional fare of P500 pesos, we cannot go back to the Matalom port.
The 2 groups composed of 4-6 person on each group tried to board one of the 4 boats that is going to sail but their attempt was not successful because the boat crew asks for P300 on each group that result to their disembarkation.
It sounds very disappointing to us and from that point, so we ask help from the LGU staff in the area to help us back to the Matalom port.
The LGU Staff’s in the Canigao Island are very accommodating in our entire stay, they assist us with their best to help to send us back to the Matalom port, however they don’t have enough power to enforce the boat operators to accommodate us without paying for additional fare.
During this disparate moment, I tried to Psywar the LGU staff’s perhaps of their efforts to send us back. I told them “Paano man ito ma’am, mag kita kita nalang kami nito sa Facebook” (In calm voice) and my intention is to push them more if they can do something about the bad situation. However, it seems that they are powerless.
So, it come to my mind if I can ask help from other possible Government Employees, I ask them if there is a Tourist Police in the area but suddenly none.
And I ask, how about Baragay Tanod or anything. And they answered me that there is a Philippine Coast Guard in the Island.
From that point, we went to the Coast Guard stationed in the Island to ask for help, the Coast Guard personnel is very accommodating and then we tell them about the incident and Coast Guard officer on duty (Around 1:45pm to 2:20pm 18 September 2016 Canigao Island Station) told us that the boat operators are not supposed to asks for more because they are already paid for back and forth, however they are still doing that.
The Personnel/Officer in Charge in the area asks his junior comrade to talk to the boat operators in connection to the incident however when the junior coast guard personnel went back, he told us that they really asks for P500 to enable us to sail back.
Due to frustration because even the Coast Guard and LGU knows about this modus, they can’t do anything about this hostage style fare scam. We’re confused whose responsibility is this to regulate and implement the rules if ever they have existing tourism or fare rules.
Because of the desperation, I just told the Coast Guard personnel, “Okay, sige, wala na kaming magagawa nyan sir, mag babayad nalang kami ng P500 sa mga tiga bangka”. Then I thank the Officer for their best effort and the junior personnel accompanied us to the boat operators to enable us to sail back to Matalom port.
My group and the two other group able to sail back to Matalom and I pay for P500 to the same boat company that we pay on the 17th of September 2016 for BACK AND FORTH ticket.
When we arrived on the Port of Matalom, (in a polite way) I asked the LGU desk staff for the contact number of the Officer in Charge for this tourist site to get their side about this incident and we contact it right away after arriving in Pastrana Leyte, however until this time we aren’t able to get their response about the incident.
Actually after asking the number and explaining what happen to us in the Island and I think because the LGU staff in the island also relayed the message to the Matalom port about the incident, the LGU staff ask the boat operators to return the P500 but I refused to accept the money anymore because it has been done already, and I’m sure returning the money will not solve this issue.
And also, we informed them that we will create an article regarding to this incident, to be able to warn the public about this modus to make sure they have extra money so that budget tourist can cross from the Island back to Matalom port.
Opinion regarding this incident:
Actually as a traveller, Canigao Island is one of the best tourist destinations in the Country. The food and boat ride is so cheap, the beach sand is white and there are a lot of fishes to see if you do snorkeling and with very accommodating LGU Staff’s.
These are the view that you can see in the Island:
View of the Island from the boat:
The Canigao Island Paradise welcome sign:
The white sand beach:
A lot of trees for Shade:
Relaxing Nipa huts or Cottages:
And the kids can enjoy because it doesn’t have a high tides, most the time, the sea is calm which is safe to swim:
Greenish, clean and crystal clear sea:
It has an amazing sunset view when the sun hides behind the mountain:
And you can see how calm is the sea during night, where you can even do night swimming: (This picture was taken around 9pm but using 15 seconds shutter speed that’s why it does not look like 9pm)
You can see a lot of fish even for only few steps from the shore:
So overall, this place is so amazing; it just happened that there is some issue with the fare charges. Actually it’s fine just to pay the P500 as long it’s stated during the ticket payments. So that, everybody can budget it.
This article purpose is not to jeopardize the tourism in the area, but rather a challenge to the management to make services better. What if, this incident happened to other writers that write harmful contents? For sure it will deliver a negative impact to Canigao Tourism.
So, the challenge now is to the proper authorities to strategize, regulate and implement rules that will give a hassle free vacation and relaxation and if the tourists are happy, the good experience will be shared naturally online that will help the Canigao Tourism to be more progressive that would positively affect local employment.
We are hoping that the Canigao management will address this issue and we are happy to travel back to your Island.
My group, and I recommend traveling to Canigao despite of this issue; actually it’s only P500 issue, where you just add up as your extra budget. So, if you want to experience this real paradise and relaxing feeling, add Canigao Island in Matalom Leyte to your bucket list.
You can check this blog how to get there:http://www.selflesstravels.com/2016/04/quick-guide-to-canigao-island-in-leyte.html
If you have questions, comments or argument regarding this article. You can comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: (Response from Mayang Tan Pamugas, LGU Staff assigned in Canigao Island)
Thank you for visiting and appreciating Canigao Island. Thank you also for bringing up the concern to us to avoid further incidents like what had happened.
As one of the Local Government Unit staffs assigned in Canigao Island, I would like to express my sincerest apology for the inconvenience.
Early this morning I did call the attention of the owner of the said motorboat so that she can follow up and discuss the concern and prevent it from happening again. I had also called the operators and crews of the motorboat to answer the incident. I will bring this matter to the SB Tourism In-Charge for her to study the incident and take immediate actions/response regarding the matter.
Rest assured that the incident will not happen again.
Again thank you for the very nice comment on Canigao Island and for bringing up the issue. This will be our guide and of big help for us in making and maintaining Canigao Island a tourist destination worth-spending for.
Strategic Online Marketing / SEO Specialist / Manila Channel Contributor