The sand was brownish black, the waters a dark shade of blue; the sun was shining and the morning was beautiful. I was at the town of Linamon, the so-called beach capital of Lanao del Norte and except for a local family having a morning dip, I have the whole stretch of the beach to myself.
I still have a few hours left before travelers participating in Iligan’s Waterfalling Adventure 1.0 arrive. Not wanting to waste time, I asked L if she knew any good beach around the area where I can while away the time. She mentioned the town of Linamon and I immediately knew what she was talking about. I passed through the coastal town on my way to Mukas for my roundabout trip to Ozamiz City the day before.
Locals collecting worms by the beach greeted me as I dropped my bag on one of the rocks protruding near the shore. Using tahop sa mais, they lure out worms from the sand which are then used as fishing baits. I tried to start a conversation but they were either too shy or simply too intent on what they were doing. I let them be.
Mago-ong Beach, a local said as I asked the name of this particular beach at Linamon. There’s no entrance fee and even though it was empty that day, locals usually flock the area during weekends. I saw some thatched huts along the beach; I’m pretty sure the ones maintaining those make a killing in collecting fees for the weekend crowds.
I held off swimming as long as I could, taking the requisite photos first. But resistance, as they say, is futile. I finally took off my shirt and dove down the blue green waters of Mago-ong Beach in my boxers. The waves were mild and the water warmed my bare skin.
Most of the seafloor is sandy aside from the few coral-like rocks littering some of its parts. I was hoping to shoot a few fishes but I can hardly see any. I’m not sure if it was because of the poor visibility of the water of there really wasn’t any.
A truck rumbled and I surfaced from the water. My underwater reverie and solitude was broken as a platoon of Marines unloaded. Hurriedly taking off their shirts, they hollered and ran to the beach; their Black Labrador dog, leading the way. I was suddenly surrounded by soldiers taking a breather from their duties.
I guess it was time to move.
I headed westwards where I can have Mago-ong’s waters all to myself again. I greeted a few good mornings to locals I passed along the way; they returned my gesture with friendly smiles. Being alone in Mindanao ain’t scary after all, well as far as Lanao del Norte is concerned anyways.
The sand became finer as I progressed westwards, its brown color now suffused with a darker variety. The seabed at this portion of beach is better for swimming too, having almost no rocks at the bottom. I spent quite sometime here simply floating and swimming along the almost non-existent waves.
Drying up ashore, a local sat next to me and asked why I was all alone. His single question soon turned to a long conversation about his hometown in Camiguin and how he came to Linamon. Mang Canoy can’t see much due to old age but what he lacks in sight, he makes up with his talkativeness and friendliness; shifting subjects from the Manileños aversion to Mindanao to volcano eruptions to anting-antings, without missing a beat.
With the sun rising higher, I bade farewell to the old man and continued walking. A slew of resorts rose at western side of Mago-ong Beach. The shoreline became rougher and the waves stronger. An artificial marine sanctuary with good underwater life is located within the area according to Mang Canoy. He should know, he helped install them himself.
I took one last photograph of Linamon’s Mago-ong Beach before turning my back and heading back up the highway. My time roaming around Visayas and Mindanao on my own was about to come to an end. In a few hours, I’ll be meeting travelers from around the country and the chase for waterfalls around Iligan City would commence.
Mago-Ong Beach | Montanier Beach
Address: Brgy. Mago-ong, Linamon, Lanao del Norte
Entrance Fee: Free
GPS Coordinates: +8° 11' 7.23", +124° 9' 24.12"
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