Over the weekend, we shunned the city, went someplace remote and hoped for a sabbatical, if but for two days and a night. It was a vacation entirely overdue that kept me in high spirits while making the marks in the calendar. I needed it, in the hope that I will be able to bounce back and gain resilience from being flustered in the weeks past.
Seeing the stretch of sea ahead of us made me forget all the internal noise.
When we arrived, the welcoming committee outdid all I had imagined. I saw them, three or four dogs frolicking in the waves, playing in the surf and heralding our entry before we stepped down from the small, mastless boat. I wouldn’t have chosen anyone or anything else as retinue on our way to our temporary dwelling. The dogs left as the humans proceeded to assist in showing our rustic hut. We were six when we arrived: Jem, the muse, Tennie the sunshine, Jed the bandit, Andy the intoxicator, AJ the wisecrack and myself.
I adored the weather, the sand and did everything cliche while at the beach except for making sand castles and baking in the sun. An hour or two was spent waiting for our rendesvouz with our friend Billy, whose hands were tied and had to flee the office as soon as he was off from duty to join us.
The cottage was quaint and had electricity. We were anxious with the security of our belongings because there was no way to lock up a nipa hut but no one dared to mess with other’s things. Whenever we had to explore, we made sure someone maintained a close distance anyway. I guess all the visitors were busy with their own little revelry.
The view adjacent our cottage, 2nd day, when all the dirt from the low tide was already washed away leaving pristine waters
The beach facade, where visitors stay in tents and spend afternoons sitting under hammocks and tree trunks
The company I keep
The island’s face before we hopped the boat to go snorkelling
The island’s edge
Could the horizon be any more breathtaking?
Jem admiring the clear waters
Jem and Tennie (tempted to dive in?)
The meals in the island were superb. You wouldn’t be able to deny that they were cooked with happiness in the hearth. I ate with relish and resisted the urge to scrimp on rice with all the seafood in provision.
At night, when it seemed that it was not an option to reflect among my peers, I was badgered into drinking. I thought it defeated the idea of being away into a semi-paradise. It was not the most tasteful activity in mind (to binge drink) and I hated that I kept silent about it. But then it seems, not any of these peers really knew my agenda. I had to disguise my inner protest and drown it with tacky jokes and loud conversations. I have to make it up to Tennie who endured all my puns, being the best sport among our friends. I retired early into bed, knowing full well that they would harangue the next day with prickly comments about me having an untarnished reputation for being a sleepyhead.
The next day, I woke up later than I intended. I did not get to see the change of the palette of the sky, did not observe whether it had tints of saffron or was able to chant my Sanskrit mantras at dawn. I failed ultimately to get what was appetizing when I planned this vacation. But, I would rather put a wider smile than to let this ruin my temporary escape. The snorkeling activity left my doldrums a bit diminished. I gave everyone the best I’ve got as a companion and hoped for no reciprocation. I know I am bigger than a small amount of failure before breakfast.
We left for the snorkeling spot at 8am. The little city of corrals underneath the bamboo raft was a world on its own. I could see massive formations that would have engulfed me had I been on the ocean floor. I swam past by a big brain corral and got goosebumps while underwater (all the creature-feature movies I saw as a kid made me imagine it opening up and swallowing me while overhead).
Patrick lost his shorts.
Alone, afloat, adrift
the best we can make do for synchronized swimming
a little banter while afloat
still mesmerized by the underwater view
I won’t let go. Just stop kicking me.
Seriously…furrowed eyebrows on a day like this?
Float and smile!
Everyone woke up at the right side of the bed.
Who lost what?
The remainder of the day was spent basking in the sun and seawater, traversing on the shallows, taking pictures like there’s no tomorrow. Lying on a bed made of bamboo under a canopy, with gentle, lapping waves took the afternoon siesta to a different level. I wanted to make a mental snapshot of the scenery but got a backup using my phone’s camera lest I forget.
If I would choose the best pic that would depict how content I was with the island and all it had to offer, it would be this:
sitting on a makeshift stool (tree stump) with a nearby island and cerulean waters as a backdrop -SIMPLY PRICELESS
I insisted on spending the last few hours swimming but nobody obliged to keep me company. Over their game of cards, while the ladies’ laughters overtook the island, I tapped away on my laptop which was another aberration for a nature-related activity. I tried to blog but couldn’t.
When it was time to pack, my arms felt heavy. I knew I would come back and hope to be with other friends or with my family. My dogs would love to play with all the canine residents and plans would have to be made for this second visit.
Tired as I was, reaching back the city, I had to refocus and know that in this head which gets pretty occupied with nonsensical trifles most of the time, I can recount and take that experience which allows me to be that traveler and tourist at the same time, ever excited for more adventures, never allowing myself to get stuck in a rut.
(Note: The place described in this entry is called Armada Resort in Magalawa Island located in Palauig, Zambales.)