Monthly Archives: April 2010

Zentraveler daytrips to Virgin Island, Bantayan in the Philippines!

local pumpboat

Just when you thought civilization was racing ahead at warp speed… you knew somewhere, somehow there were plenty of places on this earth where time stands still. The small island named Virgin Island near Bantayan Island in the Philippines fits the bill and it remains pristine and unspoiled….nearly the same as the original discovery. There are actually many islands named Virgin Island throughout our geography and in the Philippines I know of at least two more Virgin Islands…one located in Bohol, and one in Palawan.

We hired a local pump boat to take us from Santa Fe, Bantayan Island to the nearby island named Virgin Island! My friend Perla, a native of Santa Fe, made arrangements with one of the locals to take us there. As a great escape getaway trip we spent five hours swimming and snorkeling and just relaxing on the beach. We packed our own lunch and ate on one of the shaded table areas on the beach. Since they don’t have any facilities other than its natural beauty… its advisable to bring some extra drinks and food for the pumpboat crew… which normally consists of the boat captain and his mate.

pumpboat crew

The trip over was exhilarating as we skimmed across the clear blue waters in the direction of Virgin Island! We saw several pods of flying fish, cascading like water droplets, in front of our native pump boat! We wondered what was chasing them and immediately conjured up big tuna as we were already getting hungry with the salt air and hot sun.

owners residence

We learned from one of the native guides that the island was purchased by a wealthy Japanese man many years ago and the island has very limited facilities with no overnight lodging. You can make arrangements to have your fish dinner cooked in the cooking hut (bring your own fish) ….which will cost you 50 pesos to use the facilities.

fish fry

The other money matters included 700 pesos to hire the boat, plus 300 pesos entrance fee to go to the island.You can make arrangements with local pump boat operators in front of Santa Fe Beach Club or in front of St. Bernard Beach Resort. All in all… since we were two couples, Van and Perla from Santa Fe and Daniele and Babette from Switzerland …this is a great way to spend a day on an island that looks like it is straight out of a movie scene. You can bring your own snorkel gear or rent some from Santa Fe before leaving! Also be sure to bring either an umbrella or very strong sun block more than 30 factor …as the sun is so extremely strong you can be burned to a crisp in nano seconds.

colorful umbrella shade

clay water pots

Bring a good book or plan on doing nothing… since this is a no frills island with a built in laid back attitude, which for many in this fast paced world… is just what the doctor ordered. The owners Japanese style native house is slightly elevated with rows of large clay pots for collecting water situated at ground level like a Zen landscape. As you traverse the island there are some rocky ledge areas and amazing white sand beaches. The waters literally shimmer with brilliant blue hues as you head out toward the corals, where you can witness colorful tropical fish, swimming around the corals and close to shore. On a bright sunny day the water is brilliant, displaying multi-colored tones of bright blue… superimposed against the white sand.

primitive area

lava formation

If I were to be marooned on an island and didn’t want to do anything other than live off the coconut and eat local fish this island fits the bill. Anyone who wants to sign on to become a survivor this would be a good place to start!

hammock time

beach rock

So there you have it! Why not take a trip to Virgin Island in the Bantayan Island area and see for yourself what it is like to experience a totally unspoiled island with a very small carbon footprint. It takes less than an hour by boat and you can make your arrangements with one of the local pumpboat operators and witness for yourself a small piece of paradise…. yet to be ruined by tourism, logging, population explosion, or mans efforts.

breezy days


QUOTE: “If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden.” Ghandi

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Earth is home to over 100,000 islands. The 150 largest alone have a landmass equal to the size of Europe. One in every ten people on Earth is an islander. More than 600 million people live on islands.

Because of their isolation, islands have a disproportionately high number of endemic species. For example, the island of Madagascar has 8,000 endemic plant species, twice the number of the entire United States. The Philippines’ 7,100 islands contain more endemic vertebrate species (460) than anywhere else on Earth.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Small Islands! With global warming heating up many of these small islands will be off the map and out of sight.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Its all in zee travel! If you have Island fever you may be incurable an just need to keep searching and traveling the globe…. after all Jacques Cousteau the famous French explorer said: “Life is a journey.”

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?


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Zentraveler on the health benefits of watermelon!

In the USA watermelon becomes synonymous with summer picnics, family reunions and summer time eating!
Now with the advance of export markets world-wide you can enjoy melons all of the year from your favorite fruit stand or supermarket.

Aside from watermelon’s thirst quenching taste it has many health benefits. It is green on the outside. It is part of the cucurbitadae family. The edible part is inside the watermelon and has a red pinkish color. Watermelon comes in many forms. You can buy seedless, baby, and regular watermelons at your local supermarket.

Health Benefits

energy production
protects against macular degeneration
fights heart disease
loaded with antioxidants
reduces the risk of cancer
prevents erectile dysfunction
good source of vitamins and minerals
Energy Production

Watermelon is concentrated with b-vitamins. B-vitamins are responsible for alot of your body’s energy production. This means eating watermelon can give you substantial energy. It also has high amounts of the the energizing nutrients magnesium and potassium. Eating watermelon is a safe alternative to taking energy drinks prior to exercise. It also hydrates you due to its high water content as opposed to caffeine filled energy drinks that dehydrate you.


Watermelon is a natural source of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. It is a good source of the antioxidant vitamins C and A. It is also a good source of the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene. Watermelon’s antioxidants can help prevent a number of things. It reduces the risk of colon cancer, asthma, heart disease, osteoperosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate cancer.

Antioxidannts should be a staple in everyone’s diet. They provide health benefits that other nutrients cannot. When it comes to things that are benefiticial to your health antioxidants are at the top of the list. They are better than vitamins, minerals, protein, carbs, and any other nutrient because they have so many benefits. If you do not take some sort of antioxidant whether it be through food or something else you should consider incoporating a food that contains antioxidants or supplement with them. You can buy all sorts of antioxiant drinks. This is one of the biggest health benefits of watermelon.

Macular Degeneration

Eating watermelon can protect against the negative effects of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is just a fancy word for loss of vision. It fights the age-related symptoms of vision loss. Studies show that eating watermelon is actually healthy for your eyes than eating carrots. That is true in both short-term and long-term vision loss.

Cancer Fighting Properties

Supplementing watermelon into your diet can help prevent and fight cancer. It does this because of its rich antioxidant profile. The antioxidants of the watermelon are very concentrated and kill the cancer causing free radicals. They especially help prevent heart and colon cancers. Of all health benefits of watermelon this is probably the most significant one. Any food that fights cancer provides great health benefits.

Nutrient Profile Per Serving

Vitamin A: 10%
Vitamin C: 25%
Vitamin B6: 10%
Vitamin B1: 10%
Magnesium: 7%
Potassium: 5%
The health benefits of watermelon are largely attributed to its nutrients. Vitamin C is the main nutrient of watermelon and is one of the strongest antioxidants of any kind. Magnesium is one of most important minerals of the human diet. Magnesium diffeciency has negative effects.


The watermelon was first cultivated in Egypt. It was a very sought after fruit in egypt. Some heiroglyphics suggest that it was put in the tombs of some pharoahs. It is thought that the watermelon was so heavily sought after in egypt because of its high water content. The hydration that eating watermelon is probaly the reason it was so heavily regarded due to egypts hot weather, lack of water, and deserts. Many people probaly depended on watermelon as a primary water source. After all watermelon is 92% water. The health benefits of watermelon have been know about for a long time. It is not just a recent find.

QUOTE:”Once you have tasted watermelon you know what the angels eat” Mark Twain

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: China is now the biggest producer of watermelons in the world.
Contrary to popular belief, eating the black seeded watermelon seeds does not cause a watermelon to grow in your stomach! Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide. All parts of the watermelon are edible including the skin and the seeds.

Watermelon skiing is just one of the many wild and wacky activities undertaken at the Chinchilla Melon Festival in Queensland. Chinchilla produces 25% of all the melons sold in Australia and celebrates every two years with the now well known Chinchilla Melon Festival. Over 1000 watermelons, rockmelons and honeydews are provided throughout the festival for melon skiing, melon eating and melon games.

The Melon Games which include Melon Bungy, Melon Bullseye, Melon Feasting and the hilarious Melon Skiing are held on the Saturday of the festival weekend.

The highlight of the watermelon festival was an attempt at the world record of “Splitting Watermelons” which was adjudicated by Mr Chris Sheedy from Guinness World Records.

29-year-old John Allwood, a local melon picker, head-butted 40 watermelons in less than a minute to claim the title of world champion.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: watermelon seeds! My friend bob from Florida claims the easiest way to making a million dollars is to plant a field of watermelons! Of course you must purchase the land or lease it, purchase a large tractor, put in an engineered irrigation system, hire workers to pick the watermelons, have a huge truck to haul the watermelons, sell the watermelons to large establishments which requires a food broker, commission
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Eat more watermelon!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?


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