Either the wind wanted me naked or it just hated that shade of pink on me. The latter, if the wind were friends with the band of alpha male tourists that stood just a couple of yards from me. My pink polo stood out in a sea of greens, prompting them to quip “confirmed” when they thought I could not hear them. It must have been their first time to see another man in pink. Poor souls.
But whatever. In a place as beautiful as this, nothing and no one could ruin my mood. From afar, a pink dot — me, the pink dot — dashed across the grass-covered waves that peaked and sank softly across the rugged seaside landscape. Locals call this Racuh a Payaman. Tourists have another name for it: Marlboro Country.
The view here was nothing short of spectacular. I could clearly see Tayid Lighthouse, crested on an opposite hill, competing for attention. But even a lighthouse as bright as Tayid pales in comparison to the grand and gracious manner the virid cliffs plummet to Diura Beach, where they meet the overzealous waves in a splashy embrace. In the middle of all the action is a rocky pinnacle, a pointed islet, that breaks the waves in half.
Narrow foot trails snake around the crumpled land, ushering visitors to other corners and viewpoints. The angle changes but none of them any less stellar than the previous. And what is Marlboro country without
horses cows? If they’re not grazing, they are resting comfortably in one of the shallow holes on one of the slopes.
Of all the stops on the Batan Island South Tour, this is probably where I stayed the longest. Getting from the jump off point to the popular viewing area alone demanded a lot of time (and energy). Photographers perched on a hill with their tripods waited for their money shots unfold, while others held their jaws in place, lest they fall and roll down to a small pocket of sand below.
How to get to Marlboro Country: From the Basco Airport or Basco Town Proper, you may reach Honesty Coffee Shop by tricycle (P200-P220, 30-40 minutes). You may also rent a tricycle for a SOUTH BATAN TOUR, which makes a stop at Marlboro Country (P1500, good for 2 pax).