Bayug Island: A Hidden Beauty Beyond the Ruins Part I

The hanging bridge was destroyed during Sendong
 and now was replaced by a banca.
It was way back 2010 when I first came here at Bayug Island. The hanging bridge is one of the coolest attraction my college friends often talk. My first time to cross a structure like that was in Agusan del Sur when I was still in High School. It really terrified me especially the motions that might outbalance you and the view below would bring your heart pumping like hell. Even though how I find myself very afraid,  I know it's just part of an adventure to overcome a challenge - just like life.
Bayug Island is situated at the side of an estuary -  a place where the water from Mandulog river meets with the salty water from the sea.  It was said to be that the first settlers in Iligan City were from Bayug Island. Now, 9 months after Sendong, what happened to this very historical place?
Rowing the boat to cross the river to Bayug Island.
My journey started with a jeepney ride going to Bayug Island. The itinerary that I made was suppose to visit the "seemingly ghost town" Orchid's Village and take some snapshots around the area. On my thoughts, there was a banca that can cross to Bayug Island, but unfortunately, its operations stopped after Sendong came. The driver suggested that I should be using the former site of the hanging bridge since there is a banca where you can pay 5 pesos for the ride.
A Sendong Survivor. She's here tending for her plants as a source of livelihood.
She lost a brother and few other relatives during Sendong.
After crossing, I met someone on the other side. She was getting some water from the river for her Pepper Garden. I shared to them why I am visiting the place and they even gave me some mangoes to take home with me. The place is very different from before. Few people were present in the area and all over were growing grasses that seemed to cover the ruins of the past - the lives that together went down with the houses that was  swept by the water filled with logs.

A stray dog around Bayug Island.
 Our conversation lasted for about 15 minutes before I finally decided to move and get some glimpse around the unfamiliar place. She warned me about her dogs and I should be careful or wait for someone to come before taking another step. When I moved ahead, there were like more than 6 dogs who tried to stop me on the path that I'm trying to trek. They were stray dogs which were offered food by the lady ( whom I just talked) , and soon,   they became her pets. Hearing them bark and seeing their eyes gazing angrily at me, I stopped for a while , walked back inch by inch in a calm state. Never should I show fear or any anger or I'll be ripped of with their sharp teeth. Few steps later, I was a bit far from them but they seemed to follow me. Finally, I was able to come back to the place where I talked with the dog's owner and had some sigh. Then I decided to cross the river again and stick to the plan.
A natural shade  near the river where I stayed while the rain
was pouring hard together with some strong winds
Unfortunately, it rained at that moment and was so lucky to have brought with me an umbrella. I waited for the rain to stop but it turns on and off. I hesitated to call kuya on the other side to fetch me because his banca is already wet and it's already trouble for him. So, I decided to go on another way inside Bayug Island and travel towards the shore. 
A view of a memorial cross near a house at Bayug Island after the rain.
Few steps, I found a house and saw this cross where I found a cemented flooring. And without any further thoughts, I concluded that this was one of the houses that didn't survive. It was such a saddening view and I admit, walking through these ruins sent me some creepy vibrations. 

Another remains of a house few steps away.
As I continued further, another view of debris could be seen. And after 9 months, you might not be able to notice some of these because of the grown vines and grasses surrounding the area.

Debris of a house where the left a cross as a mark
for someone who died  in this place.
I took a leap of faith because I was already scared by the scenery. The ghost stories I had heard and seen gave me the creeps. But more than the fear that I felt was a pain in my heart because of the lives that were lost because of Environmental degradation. After taking some shots, I paused and offered a prayer for all the families that were left here on earth and thanking God for embracing the souls that left this Island.  

I took off for another road because it was a dead end. I went back to the trail determined to reach the shore. As I continue walking the path, It came to me how similar the hanging bridge to the experience everyone had in Sendong. It was indeed very terrifying, traumatic and seemingly unbearable when its your first time to cross the hanging bridge. It was like the first thought that we can't cross it because we might fall and we might not make it. And must have been that in life, Sendong has become  the challenging bridge we have to cross.  We must move forward and move on. Yes, it is difficult. Yes it is hard. Yes... yes.. yes..We cannot stay forever on the bridge..

NOTE: If there are any information written on this post which you think is inappropriate or lacking, please email me at This is the Author's experience of going Bayug Island and some people I met along the road.

This is part of the Iligan After 9 Series. What happened to Iligan 9 Months after Sendong? A blogger report through his visit to different relocation sites and places,  and interview with some Iliganons. Like my page on facebook:

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