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Your Trip
You will board the banca from the beach just off Bali Hai. The banca driver and his assistant will load and stow all your belongings including your picnic lunch and ice box.

They will provide life jackets for children and adults who either can't swim or who request them. Then it's a paddle into deeper water, the engine kicks into life, and you are off on your voyage ...

The banca driver will usually take the shortest way and head straight for the headland by the end of the San Fernando airport runway. Unless you are in a hurry to get to the beach ask him to cruise along the beach. That way you will see far more.

You will pass by Ocean Breeze Resort, then the fishing village of Pagdalagan with many bancas up on the beach, usually with fishermen preparing them for that nights fishing trip.

Then, after passing what used to be Southern Palms Resort (now Captain Chill), your banca driver will veer west past Pagudpud. Here you will find a real mix of Filipino lifestyles ... little shanties built of bamboo with kids playing on the beach, the Patio Del Sol Seafood Restaurant, the occasional large mansion standing tall in stark contrast to the little shanties, and then rows of small picnic sheds also referred to as "shade for hire."

You will pass the end of the newly extended San Fernando airport runway and then head north. To your right you will pass Sunset Bay Resort with its newly built swimming pool.

The water off Sunset Bay is usually calm and shallow - ideal for kids to paddle and splash. However there are many rocks in the shallow water and the banca driver may not be able to land you there. If that's the case the driver could let you off farther along the beach and you can walk back.

Assuming you decide to continue, ask the banca driver to let you off at Sea Park Resort. This resort has a nice beach but with a steep drop off so you will have to be careful while wading ashore, especially with young children.

Sea Park Resort (previously Driftwood) is a nice open beach resort where kids can run around, play, build sand castles, and do whatever kids love to do on a beach.

You can also use one of the many beach sheds, hire small barbecue charcoal grills, or have your picnic lunch in a gazebo on the white sand beach.

While you are having fun on the beach the banca driver will happily wait for you, then take you back to Bali Hai.

Things to take/wear
It is important that you protect yourself and your kids from sunburn. Take some sunblock cream with a reasonably high SPF - 30 or more. If you don't have any you can buy some from the Bali Hai reception store.

It is also advisable to wear a hat.

Getting in or out of the banca will probably mean paddling in shallow water, so wear some appropriate sandals.

Happy trip!

Allan E Miller
30 June 2009

  Copyright © 2009 Allan Miller

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