PROJECT SITE DESCRIPTION AND LOCATION
NARANJO ISLANDS (also known as San Vicente Islands)
The Naranjo Islands lie 12º 13' North, 124º 02' East in the east central periphery of the Philippine archipelago. This group of islands is bounded by Sorsogon in the North, Ticao Island in the West, Masbate in the Southwest and Northern Samar in the Far East. It is approximately 10 nautical miles from the Pacific Ocean and sits near the entrance along the Paso de Acapulco, otherwise known as San Bernardino Strait.
Naranjo Islands consist of six islands formed in a circle cluster with Medio Island at the center. The other islands are San Andres, Rasa, Darsena, Aguada and Escarpada. This group of islands lie within a volcanic belt that has been active for the last 5 1/2 million years and stretches from Southeastern Luzon to Southeastern Mindanao. This volcanic belt includes the active Mayon volcano in Albay.
The circular pattern of the islands and the volcanic composition suggests the group represents the remnants of a submerged volcanic cone which may have formed during the last ice ages when sea level was lower. On the other hand, it could have formed underneath the ocean itself. Medio Island, the center of the group of islands, could be the dome of this extinct volcano.
This group of islands have been the last stop for victuals by the Spanish galleons before their long journey to Acapulco, Mexico.
Naranjo Islands previously belonged to the municipality of Capul. It was later transferred to San Vicente when Destacado Island was renamed San Vicente in the early sixties. Naranjo Islands belong to Region VIII and are part of Northern Samar.
The islands are presently utilized as coconut plantations.
In May 2007, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9458 [H. No. 786] - An Act declaring the island towns of Biri, Capul, San Antonio and San Vicente, all in the province of Northern Samar as ECO-TOURISM ZONES, was passed.
Medio Island has many natural assets that would make it an ideal first class island beach resort. It is a 40.1123 hectare island of gently rolling hills, mostly of coconut vegetation and shrubbery. The highest point of the island is on its northern portion with a maximum elevation of 65 meters above sea level.
Medio Island is approximately 1,300 meters long (SW to NE), 550 meters wide at its widest point and some 330 meters at its narrowest portion. It is blessed with 3 beaches that could serve a variety of purposes. Its main or South beach of fine white sand and corals is about 300 meters long and 60 meters wide. The North beach on the opposite side of the island is approximately three quarters long compared to the main beach and is more secluded. The West beach on the far end has a small extended portion on the West side and is about as long as the main beach. It is separated from the main beach by a lava rock formation. This beach has the best coral bed among the three beaches.
The Southern portion of the island has the least vegetation while the Northern part has the most number of coconut trees. Small trees, shrubs and cogon grass also on the North and West side of the island. Volcanic and lava rocks are visible around the islands.
Medio Island is best accessible from Manila to Catarman, Northern Samar or Calbayog, Samar. It is also accessible from the provinces of Cebu and Sorsogon.
* Philippine Airlines flies from Manila to Catarman 1 time a week and Calbayog 3 times a week. Cebu Pacific flies from Cebu to Calbayog 4 times a week. Flight time is 1 hour and 15 minutes. From the airport a 45 minute land trip to Allen after which a 30 minute speedboat ride or 2 hour motorized boat ride to Naranjo Islands will take the guests to Medio Island.
* Cebu has become an international gateway to Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Australia. A night cruise from Cebu may be arranged to bring the tourists to the island giving them enough time to rest before indulging in the beaches of Medio Island.
* Manila - Sorsogon may be the longest route (about 12 hours by car or bus) if one travels by land but it is definitely one of the most scenic routes as one passes through the many idyllic towns of Southern Luzon. This route shall allow a short visit to the hot springs in Tiwi, Albay; Mayon Volcano (the volcano with the perfect cone) and the Cagsawa church ruins in Legaspi. The road ends in Matnog, Sorsogon. A ride in a motorized boat may take about an hour and a half from Matnog. For those who would like to take a plane, a Manila-Legaspi flight is available. Travel time is approximately one hour.
The climate in the general area of Samar is typically warm and humid. Local land and sea breezes prevent extremely high temperatures at the beaches, so that a maximum often occurs just before the onset of the sea breeze. The minimum temperature is reached just before dawn. Mean annual temperature is 27.5 degrees Celsius and relative humidity is in the low eighties.
The prevailing winds are the Southwest monsoon which begins about the end of May up to the middle or end of September; and the Northwest monsoon which generally starts towards the beginning of October. The winds are normally light to moderate with an average velocity of about 2 or 3 meters per second (5 to 7 miles per hour).
There is no weather station in Naranjo Islands. The nearest weather stations are in Masbate and Catbalogan, Samar. The weather condition of Naranjo Islands may be an approximation of those of Masbate and Catbalogan. Based on the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Climatological Normals Naranjo Islands' annual rainfall is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year and may range from 2,000 mm to 2,600 mm with 35 percent occuring during the months of October, November and December.
Samar has always been mistakenly identified as synonymous to typhoons but the statistics of PAGASA (1941-2001) indicate that Region VIII ranks only 5th among the 13 regions with regards to the frequency of tropical cyclone passage. This may be attributed to the weather station in the East coast of Samar, Borongan, where storms forming in the Pacific are usually monitored. Most of these disturbances usually re-curve to the Northwest and spare the province from the path of the storms. Those that do not re-curve pass through the North and East coast of the province leaving the Naranjo Islands safe from the destructive tracks of the typhoons.
In the area of Naranjo Islands weather disturbances seldom pass through. The surrounding waters of Medio Island are generally calm most of the year although the North beach of the island experiences swells during the Northeast monsoon season. PAGASA data indicate Ticao Island, which is just west of Medio Island, had only one tropical cyclone crossing its general area in the over 50 years.