I always wanted to blog about Bacon Beach, also known as Tolongapo (3 rocks can be seen on the coast of Brgy. Caricaran during low tide), not because I find it comparable to Caramoan or Boracay – but this more for sentimental reasons.
It’s the first beach that I got to know when I was growing up with my cousins. This is where I learned how to swim and almost drown – once on a neck-deep water, but it’s another story for another time.
The beach is located in Brgy. Caricaran, just after Brgy. Poblacion. One can take jeep from the makeshift terminal near the Sorsogon National High School. One can either wait for the jeep to get full of passengers or one can take the jeep who takes the route anytime. For those in a hurry, anyone can ask any tricycle driver to take them to Bacon; last time I did this it cost me PHP50.00.
Back then, one would pass by the wet market (it’s a corner lot near the sea and it still standing) since the other roads were full of potholes. But nowadays, you can have several options, nonetheless, you end up on the road going to Prieto Diaz.
One of my favorite landmarks that I would always remember is the old house in the corner near the seawall.
The beach is also known as Tolongapo because of the 3 protruding rocks during low tide. But as I grew up, another couple of rocks showed up but the name stuck.
Along the shore of the resort, one can find the staircase of the old municipal town of Bacon back in the Spanish time (at least, this is what I’ve heard from the old timers). During my high school days, we needed to climb it to reach the top. Nowadays, one doesn’t need extra effort.
Another good thing about Bacon beach is its manageable current due to the location of Rapu-Rapu island (it was formerly under Bacon, but for some reasons, it was transferred to Albay in the old days) – the beach is not exposed to the open sea, unlike Rizal Beach in the municipality of Gubat.
Available Resorts and Ameneties
Along the beach, there are several resorts. It’s common to find resorts that offer overnight accommodation like Boanerges Hideway or the Fisherman’s Hut down the road. Or one can rent the cottage for a whole-day stay, though, I can’t remember how much it costs nowadays.
If you want freebie accommodation, just leave your stuff in the sand and simply go dip in the water; just be sure somebody is watching your valuable things. There are no guards or life guards for that matter.
Water-based activities are not yet popular. There’s a hotel down the road that caters to foreign tourists. One time I’ve seen their scuba equipment and jet ski, but I am not sure if they rent it to their guests. I am not even sure if there’s good diving sites in Bacon; the last time I checked a topo map of Bacon, most of the places nearby are muddy or sandy unless you go several hundred meters from the shore – the depth suddenly drops to more than 50 meters.
One can play beach volleyball. I would say it’s more challenging than the real one since the beach is inclined, though, I haven’t heard anyone sprained his ankles yet. Another creative sport that we would play back in high school was some sort of American football – instead of the normal, elongated football, we used coconut – blessed those who have quick reflexes for their feet wouldn’t be crushed by the heavy coconut. Expect some cuts and bruises when playing this sport (if you can call it one).
Author’s Interesting Experience
Here are a couple of my weird experiences in Bacon: I almost drown saving one of my friends by walking under the water while she was tightly holding on my shoulders and her head was above the water; another one was I got a mouthful of the sea urchin (it’s another story for another day).
Even with the lack of white sand, I think Tolongapo Beach offers a lot of potential – a beach is a beachz. For example, by simply having a regular community clean-up of the beach from sea grasses, that makes a lot of impression, not to mentioned the commitment of the community.
Any one can volunteer as life guards, perhaps, the local community can tap the reserve force in Camp Pabilani (in Balogo) or the local BSP (Boy Scouts of the Philippines) troop. One can always argue about the need for funds, but somebody can also argue about the volunteerism spirit of some that can be contagious if handled accordingly!
Another idea on my mind is to have some sort of a helpdesk nearby wherein a coordinator can facilitate assistance to the guests or tourists. The barangay officials of Barangay Caricaran can be leveraged on this initiative. And every resort can provide detailed information to the barangay what they can offer to tourists, including pricelist of cottages, just like list of available hotels when you land in Chep Lak Kok Airport. Finally, it can put signs on each resort where to ask for local assistance – it’s one stop shop.
I am sure there are other bright ideas out there. I really believe that Bacon, even if it’s not comparable to the famous Boracay, it still has something to offer. The local community has just to start somewhere, however small it may be.
Signboards of different resorts:
Note: One can wonder why that most of the resorts start with letter “D”. Those surnames that start with “D” are common in Bacon (and Casiguran). There’s a story behind this why certain towns would have common first letter on the surnames.