Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wisdom from the Road #40

On staring
It is rude.
Except maybe if you're staring at an inanimate object.

We all know that staring is rude. I was reminded of this while snorkeling in Gilutungan Marine Sanctuary. I saw a fat titan triggerfish, maybe 20 inches long, with bulging eyes, languidly swimming in the bottom of the sea, some 30 feet deep. It was the biggest fish in the area and I was fascinated by it. I stared at it from above, followed it around.

You know how you can sometimes feel when someone is staring at you? The fish probably felt my eyes drill a hole on its back that it turned around, glared at me with its bulging eyes, bared its Mater-like (but sharper!) teeth, and angrily darted straight for me. Thrice. After its third attack, I got to my senses and swam away as fast as I could (which is not fast at all).

Yes, sir, do not stare. It is rude. Even the fish thinks so.

Photo of a titan triggerfish by Enric Sala/National Geographic

Gilutungan Marine Sanctuary is one of the destinations when island hopping from Mactan. Snorkeling fee for Gilutungan is Php 100 per person. Other island hopping destinations (see green pins on map below) are:
  • Nalusuan Island and Marine Sanctuary (Php 200)
  • Caohagan Island (Php 200)
  • Sulpa Islet (Php 100)
  • Talima Marine Sanctuary (Php 50)
  • Pandanon Island (Php 150)
Island hopping trips usually cover just two or three destinations and the price would depend on the size of the boat and the destinations (starts at Php 2500; the bigger the boat or the farther the destination, the more expensive). Agree with the boat operator before embarking on the trip!

Boats for island hopping can be rented in Cordova Wharf, Maribago Wharf, or Punta EngaƱo Port (see red pins on map), or arranged through companies like Islands Banca Cruises and Fun & Sun (see yellow pins on map)—these two companies give great service (comes with the price!). There are other local tour operators that offer a higher level of service than just picking a boat docked at the wharf but are not as expensive as the two mentioned tour companies. One I would recommend is Sunrise Island Hopping (jump off point is in Cordova Wharf), a local tour operator based in Cordova. For Php 550/person (minimum of 10 persons), you can island hop to three spots without the hassle of preparing food—lunch is already included (book ahead because they need to prepare the food)!

PS. A little bit or research told me that it wasn't my staring at the triggerfish, but my invasion (unknowingly!) of its territory, which extends like a funnel from its nest up to the surface of the water, that made it go berserk. But this doesn't mean that staring isn't rude. It still is. Remember that.

Photo from FishiLeaks

For more lessons from the road, please visit Go Learn.


  1. Always thought I've got a slight case of thalassophobia. If it was me, I wouldn't stare, I'd quickly get off the water. :D

    1. Nafascinate ko sa iyang ngipon mao dugay kaayo ko nakareact heheheh