Last week, sinuwerte ang class ko na mabisita ang Pag-asa Island. It is actually classified as Barangay Pag-asa, which is part of the Municipality of Kalayaan, Province of Palawan. Another island paradise, west of Palawan mainland.
Pag-asa, also known as Thitu Island, is part of what is commonly known as the Spratly archipelago, or The Spratlys. It has a total area of 37.2 hectares, and is home to a quiet little community… and quite a few dogs. And did I mention…white sand beaches all around? Clear and clean blue waters, easy fishing, and open skies. At… malakas ang signal ng Smart! Kaya tuloy tuloy ang pag-pose at pag-post naming magkakaklase!
There is still a tiny mangrove forest on the island. Houses of the locals are built of light materials and gives you that actual provincial feel. You can do a walking tour of the entire island in about 35 minutes we were told, but of course, we got stuck eating at the Navy camp and swimming in the ocean before finishing that tour.
While the people are quite happy and enjoy their simple way of life, they do have a few necessities that still need to be addressed and which both the local government and maybe some of us can help with…a more reliable source of electricity, a continuous source of fresh drinking water, more teachers for their school, a resident physician and even a priest. Pregnant women actually leave the island for mainland Palawan on their 6th month of pregnancy in order to receive proper medical attention.
Hindi pa madali makarating sa Pag-asa Island. Wala pang runway doon, and if you try to make it by boat from mainland Palawan, it can take a couple of days (there are no commercial vessels that travel there). For now, let’s hope that Pag-asa will continue to thrive as a community, that our soldiers stationed there remain steadfast in their resolve to protect our territorial claim, and sana magkaroon na ng mas madaling flight papunta dun. Medyo nakakawindang na imbis ang marinig mo “Fasten your seatbelts” during take-off and landing, and sasabihin sayo eh “Kapit!”
Let’s keep the Pag-asa alive!