It was already 4 in the afternoon when we arrived in Banica Port in the city of Roxas, the port where boats going to and from Olotayan Island departs and arrives. Heavy, dark clouds were looming over the horizon and a cold, strong wind was starting to blow on our faces. These signal the coming of a thunderstorm, and when there is a thunderstorm, boats are not allowed to depart from the port as per the local coastguard’s pronouncement.
Well, we traveled all the way from our home province in Iloilo to spend a weekend in the island of Olotayan and we found out that we couldn’t cross the sea going to the island. What do you think we were feeling that very moment? Yes, you’re right; weariness and disappointment. Our hearts sank like lead in water. But our disappointment didn’t last long thanks to Mr. Rophine Visorio from the Capiz Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office.
Earlier that day, Sir Rophine took us to a tour of the budding complex, Pueblo de Panay, in the heart of Philippine’s Seafood Capital and a couple of river cruises. Good thing we mentioned to him that we were looking for other places in the province of Capiz we could visit; places that are worth-visiting. Basiao Beach in the town of Ivisan is the top most recommendation he gave us. Before we parted ways in one of the shopping malls in Roxas City, he gave us the contact number of one of the best resorts located in Basiao Beach. We never thought that it would be our salvation later that day.
Without further ado, we called RBM Beach Resort in Ivisan and booked a room for the night. Our transaction with the owner, though done in the last minute, was easy as a breeze. Because there were no cabs to take us directly to the town of Ivisan and then further to Basiao Beach, we asked the help of the locals to help us get there using the public transportation.
From Banica Port, we took a tricycle going to the jeepney terminal en route to the town of Ivisan. Then we took a jeepney going to the town proper of Ivisan and took another tricycle ride going to Basiao Beach. Less than an hour later, we found ourselves pitching our tents in RBM Beach Resort.
How to enjoy Basiao Beach
Walk the Boracay-like sand. Many people, both local and foreigners, say that the sand in Basiao Beach is as fine as that of Boracay’s. And we can also say that it is true. Fine, yes, but not as white as that in Boracay though. We personally recommend going a relaxed walk with your friends and family in the kilometer-stretch of white, fine sand especially early in the morning or even late at night. The surrounding is calm, safe, and truly relaxing.
Pitch a tent for the night. Although RBM Beach Resort provides plenty of rooms and cottages for guests to spend the night, we decided to pitch our tents in the sand and spent the night under the starry stars and the soft lapping of the waves lulling us to sleep. You won’t regret doing these things for sure. Moreover, you can talk and drink with your friends and family until the wee hours of the morning without being interfered.
Go island hopping. Early the next morning, we crossed the sea between the stretch of Basiao Beach and the islets dotting the sea. We were very fortunate to spend a couple of hours in an uninhabited island, untouched by human drudgery. You can take your own food and have a picnic in the sandbar. The warm, emerald water will surely take your hangover from a drinking spree the night before.
Enjoy the seafood. For reasonable prices, you can arrange a seafood galore meal with the resort’s staff. You can expect shrimp, crabs, oysters, and all kinds of fish cooked to your liking all day long. One thing we learned about oysters that day is that they don’t taste very good when harvested during rainy season. So if it rains the night before, better not to eat oysters.
Interact with locals. It is always our belief that the people residing in a place we visit are the most essential element of our overall experience. In Basiao, we felt the generosity and welcoming spirit not only of the resort’s staff but from the locals as well. We were offered logs for the bonfire and tips on where the best spots to snorkel are located. Well-intended advice from local people are mostly, if not all the time, the most helpful and smartest tips every traveler can get. So wear your best smile and strike a good conversation with the locals you meet not only in Basiao but in every place you visit.
Our visit to Basiao Beach in Ivisan, Capiz was unexpected but worthwhile, we would say. Basiao Beach may not be as touristy and popular as that of Boracay in Aklan or Isla de Gigantes in Iloilo, it is, however, a gem in its own right. The calmness and serenity of the place, the warm hospitality of the locals, and the unblemished, natural beauty of the islets taken together make Basiao Beach worthy to be called “Capiz’s Hidden Gem.”