“Hey look!” Cian exclaimed, interrupting our jump shots against the pristine shore. His eyes were fixed on a colony of fruit bats scattered above a craggy cliff. “They’re huge! I thought they were eagles.” Cathy grabbed my camera excitedly, but the bats quickly disappeared into the dense forest fringing Puka Beach. “There are plenty of those here. Malapit lang kasi ang Bat Cave. I can take you there if you want.” Manong ice cream vendor, one of the few who patrols regularly on the beach, offered. “Sayang, we don’t have much time.” Mike refused.
Like a shattered glass under the bright skies, the sea sparkled with different hues of blue and green. “Wow. I can look at this all day.” I mumbled under my breath. Tiny puka shells pinched my feet softly as I walked towards the beckoning water. I lay down on the warm white grainy sand, facing the sun. The sea’s frothy ends gently massaged my back. Like birds’ wings, the colorful sails of the boats parked on the shore flapped in the wind, drowning the boisterous laughter of the girls nearby. Mitzi, lulled by the gentle waves washing ashore, fell asleep under the wavery shade cast by the thick shrubs sprouting from the ragged cliff.
“Togs, teach us some yoga poses.” Fel, her tanned body submersed in the glassy water, waved at me. “Sure.” I nodded.
“I’ll join! Mitzi should not miss this. I’ll go wake her up.” Cathy, splashing in the shallows, said excitedly.
Small chalk-like corals and bright seashells nibbled my elbows as I struggled to stand on my head on the loose sand.
“Teach us something easier.” Fel complained.
“Okay, no headstands. Let’s do the pigeon pose instead.” I laughed.
Manong Eddie, our boatman, gladly offered to take photos of our yoga poses against the stunning backdrop.
One by one, the boats on the shore sailed towards the wind. We had Puka Beach all to ourselves.
Fel strewed a tub of toys on the sand as baby Noah watched, her face glowing. Cian nestled his face affectionately on his daughter’s velvety head. For the rest of the morning we swam, laughed and floated on our back. Our skin drank in the sunlight until they were red and drunk.
“Watch out!” Mitzi blurted, pointing at a tiny sea snake gliding towards us. Its striped body glistened on the water.
“I’ll toss it far away from here.” Mike said as he grabbed a small pail from the boat.
“No, don’t touch it. It can be deadly.” The boatman warned.
A few seconds later, small foamy waves rolled towards the shore. As the waves slid back, the sea creature was flung into the depth.
“Thank God it’s gone.” Fel sighed. Baby Noah curled up into the safety of her mother’s neck.
“Tara na guys. We’re hungry.” Cian called out.
“Me too! Let’s go feast on some fresh lobster and shrimps at D’Talipapa.” Mike concurred.
The coarse sand clung to my hair and skin, so I ran to the sea once more to wash them off.
As we sailed away, the clear water glinted silver in the noon sun, as if dazzling me to come back. “Yes definitely, next year.” I thought.
In 2013, Puka Beach has been recognized by CNN as among the 100 best beaches in the world. Also included on the list are Palaui Island in Cagayan and El Nido in Palawan.
How To Get There:
1.) Puka Beach is usually included in the island hopping tours in Boracay, but boatmen would skip it if the water is rough. Island hopping starts at Php 1500 for a small boat as of this writing.
2.) You may also visit Puka Beach via tricycle. Fare is Php 30 per person. Travel time is approximately 15 minutes.