A number of us availed of a package tour to San Antonio Island consisting of a visit to an underwater cave and snorkeling the spots around the Coral Garden, the premier snorkeling area of Puerto Galera, looking for a meter long giant clam underneath —all for PhP300. Our outrigger boat was small carrying, aside from the boatman, just me and Sheena as big boats cannot go near the shallow area of the Coral Garden. Though I dabbed lots of sunblock on my skin, I forgot to bring a hat and my sunglasses, sorely needed as the sun was way up in the sky..
Our boat made landfall at another resort to pick up our snorkels then proceeded to the Coral Gardens. Here, we donned our snorkels, dropped into the water and clung on to a nylon cord, between the boat and the outrigger, as the boat slowly dragged us along as we snorkeled. At some parts, the water was so shallow the corals almost touched my belly. Tourists here are encouraged to bring bread to feed the fishes.
The underwater cave, our next destination, was just a 10-min. boat ride from Coral Garden. It was located on one corner of a small coral rock formation beside a small white sand beach called Munting Buhangin. There were a lot of boats parked along the beach and we could also see a long queue of tourists lining up to enter the cave. As such there were stalls, manned by locals, selling refreshing halo-halo (PhP25). Not waiting to see our boat parked, Sheena and I alighted from the boat and made our way to the rock formation.
Getting up the rock formation was difficult as we had to carefully find our footing as the rocks were quite sharp and jagged. Its a good thing I brought along thick slippers. The top of the formation has a panoramic view of the beach, the emerald green water of the sea and various rock formations nearby.The entrance of the cave had a bamboo stairs where we could climb down.
The underwater cave was not totally drenched in darkness, thanks to some rays of the sun beaming through a natural skylight. The water inside was now deep, it being high tide when we arrived, but it wasn’t so cold. High tide also prevented us from seeing the cave’s opening to the sea. Sheena and I alternately took each other’s picture inside the cave and through the skylight as we weren’t able to bring our boatman with us to take our pictures.
Back at our boat, we continued on towards the Coral Garden where we could find the giant clam. The place was almost in the middle of the bay. We again donned our snorkels and dove in. The Coral Garden obviously was littered with colorful corals plus different variety of fishes. However, even if I kept my eyes opened and peeled I still couldn’t find the giant clam.