THE FALLEN SEVEN by Christian Yuson Dequita
In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous. Aristotle
Our team is extremely inexhaustible. Since we rented a private boat for our unlimited island tour package everybody is pack with energy. It is past 20 minutes in the hour of 3:00 in the afternoon. We have already visited some of the prime and sought after islands in El Nido. As much as we all wanted to see more of the remaining islands on our bucket lists. Ms. Cherry-a tourist guide, advises the whole team that it would not be good to sail back late afternoon especially when sunset is driving. Besides that the month of June is a rainy season, waves aren’t good for the small boat that they could not sustain and perhaps will endanger us all. So we all endeavor to settle with our last and final island stopover, The Seven Commandos Island.
Why among the island I visited in El Nido? What makes me write an article in particular with the Seven Commandos Island? The place has nothing extraordinary. It is in fact not interesting by mere looking at it. The same kind of stuff like what other island has. The limestone formation, crystal clear water, and cream like sand. It took me somewhat like almost a week of completing this article. I would like to compel pertaining to the knowledge that are basically written and publicized and to correlate with words of mouth. I read some previous articles. I browse some reviews. And evaluate story from people I speak with in the island and write them on my diary.
Seven Commandos island is one of the many landmarks of El Nido. It is a main part of El Nido, Palawan or currently known as the Bacuit Bay. The island is only accessible by boat due to gigantic limestone formations bordering the island perimeter from the town proper. The most primitive stop over location for the most tourist in the island.
What makes me complete this article is my utmost desire of finding something to feed my uncertainties. The feeling of peculiarity during that moment in time. I feel some kind of uneasy.
As I am trying to divert my attention, I looking around the island take some photographs. Until I spotted a nipa hut cottage with two foreign ladies drinking cocktail. A perfect spot to relax a bit. I walked towards the direction where the nipa hut cottage is found. It is on the right side of the island facing north and an approximate of 8 to 10 minutes walk from the center of the island. When I am about to take a seat, a woman approaches me and handed a menu? Kinda funny though but the cottage I seen from a far is actually a verranda of the hotel. There is a hotel in the island. Well, I did not recognize it at all, take a look of these pictures. Who would have thought that up on the giant rocks and behind the woods stood a hotel?
Hotel Vellago is owned by a Cebuana Entrepreneur married to a British national. The hotel is capable of accommodating limited guests only. Walk in hotel guests are only applicable if there are available rooms. The hotel design is a native inspired nipa hut and accentuated with modern interior and lighting. They have café on the beach front and serves dinner by the beach upon request.
Hotel Vellago is situated at the heart of Seven Commandos, El Nido Palawan. The first that was granted a permit by the local government of Palawan to construct an establishment in the island. The Government of Palawan is strictly mandating rules to observe in requiring business owners in constructing buildings and establishments. In compliance to their advocacy of protecting the national habitat of the island and its area of responsibilities. If you may have the chance of visiting Palawan, you will observe that buildings have limited floor plans. They are not allowing high-rise establishments.
At the café, I have met Ate Vilma a chambermaid at the hotel since it was operational. We had a talk and some story telling. I asked her few questions about the island. As what she learned about the island like anyone else who were native in the land, several stories been told with various interpretation are inhibit throughout generatiosn of Palaweneo. But there are no profound data to construe better understanding about its epic, legend, and might as well its history.
The story behind was written in the book of history. The island traces its roots and has been a geographical attribution of the island and publicizes to become its foundation. Seven Commandos Island is said once been a refuge of many Japanese Soldiers during the World War II. El Nido is called Tagbanwa literally means “village”. The island is surrounded with several caves and known to be once an excavation ground during the Spanish regime. Seven Commandos Island was named after the seven Japanese soldiers who have been found in the island with names written on the rocks. This is the concise description of the island brief background of history that are provided for reading publications and also published on internets.
A couple of days before I published this article, I came to see a retired public teacher. She teaches Sibika and Araling Panlipunan back then. The subject is talks about major history which includes people, landscape, and event as well. I just asked 3 questions anyway this is basically to feed what seem to be lacking behind Seven Commandos. Well, she replied straightly and with conviction, ” Seven Commandos are Japanese soldiers. They are battalion commanders. They are sent by the Japanese government to take over the ruling from the Spaniards. More than 10,000 people died during the Bataan Death March in World War II. And when American defeat them over a conquering battle, they were all reprimanded to evacuate the country. But these Seven Japanese soldiers dispute in taking orders to withdraw and hide themselves in the island known Seven Commandos. These soldiers have been found over the years with names are encrypted on the rocks of the island.
On the foot ridge of Hotel Vellago is this sculpted stone art. This was rumored that it was the original rock where their names where last seen.
Also, she decline about hearsay of having the seven Malays fishermen who have been astray in Sulu Sea and found dead in the island of Seven Commandos.
The place I called “the fallen seven” is absolutely not the best beach my tropical country can offer you. Among the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, Seven Commandos may probably be the least. But, what makes it stand from the rest? Seven Commandos can hold on to its own even if it is a bewildered paradise. The mythical story has been told over the years till generations. The fact is unsolicited and story is still untold. They might have risen to unwrap the truth behind the epic. Several has already talk about but there are no profound conclusion to put an end behind the puzzle. The island could no longer drawn what has been deeply drowned long time ago. The rest of the story remains history. The island of seven commandos stood tall against story befall.
At this current times, the island is under a development project. Another hotel accomadation is soon to rise. Seven Commandos is building its way to become the first of its own in the island of El Nido to construe with a modernization project.
The Seven Commandos Island l El Nido, Palawan l June 27, 2015