|The trek to paradise|
One of the nicest things I experienced in the Philippines was the “Virgin Island” as it’s still called by the locals, even though it was recently renamed Isola Di Francesco. All of which, I’d love to give you the history of but I was too busy ogling the beach and being overwhelmed by the concept of something entirely free…in the Philippines…or anywhere else.
|The sign that greets you as you wade towards the island.|
It’s a private island, according to our boat captain, owned by the Filipino people. Besides the incredible natural beauty of the island, it’s sand is manicured and beautifully cared for grounds house a huge statue of a padre (I’m assuming St. Francis but that’s just my guess) and a grove of trees sharing space with the Virgin Mary and a bevy of angels.
|Mary and the angels|
Hold on for the truly amazing part: they have a snack bar there that is solely supported by donations. You are welcome to anything they have and you won’t be charged a penny. If you are so moved, a donation is welcome.
The bathrooms are also free of charge and in a country where most public restrooms are pay as you go (see the little joke there?) this was a lovely surprise and the ladies room was absolutely beautiful!
|The fantastic ladies room|
The sandbar surrounding the island would have been submerged at high tide, but as it was we passengers hopped off and waded through the sea to the high ground and we were allowed about a half hour to stroll around the tiny refuge. It was a soulful experience on many levels.
|The beautiful golden padre|
Wouldn’t it be lovely to find something completely free to the public, including a meal, in every part of the world? Probably impractical but lovely.