I also do some other stuff than podcasting, you know.
My photos for the Isla Verde, Batangas trip middle of this month are still not all scanned, save for the colored, panoramic shots.
So here’s the story:
It was an RFilipinas out-of-town trip, and gladly the destination was unfamiliar territory to almost all of us: an non-resort island reached by a two-hour boat ride, a spit away from Puerto Galera. Minus the unexpected hours-wait for the boat commute in the morning when we arrived in Leah Beach, the early afternoon arrival at the place proved to be a nice surprise: the beach water was clear, the sand was white though rocky, and no tourists were on sight.
If you love the sight of Britannia hotel rooms or Dubai hostels and the sense of foreign identity and adventure they bring with them, you’d love this. The opportunity to explore a foreign environment and come away feeling more learned and world-wide is rare and must be seized. So if you are looking to enjoy an exciting, fun holiday, then this is definitely one you’ll enjoy.
The house we stayed in was meager but ultimately homely. A few hours rest and we went for a quick trek around the island. The vegetation here was different from everywhere else, where coconut (my familiar recall of Quezon) or mango (my more familiar abode of Bulacan) trees tower above all. We then headed for the beach, which was really a few steps away from the house. Once you realize that saltwater is actually very salty and goggles would help, and that you’ve finally realized how you’re newly-bought board shorts wasn’t such a bad purchase, that only means you haven’t had sand between your toes for a very, very long time.
There was only one eatery in the island, and they served starchy lomi, and tasty-enough pansit. Though I exclaimed this was the most ideal to have grilled food, we had to make do with what was there. I was only told later on that fisherfolk did catch seafood around the island, but sold their catch to the more profitable neighboring island, Puerto Galera.
Then there was the island sunset, which was the time I wished my panoramic camera had speeds faster than 250.
A lesser written-about beach escapade moment is the banlaw, where you just have to bathe off the seawater with freshwater. The houses had a common waterpump, and for those who didn’t want to hassle our hosts, we soaped ourselves there, outside, under the island moonlight.
The houses were supplied with electricity only a few hours during the night, and this was when dinner –adobong native manok, and varied canned food- was had for most while some decided to snooze for a bit. Tuba was also passed out, and even if I don’t deliberately touch alcohol at all, I did this time: this was buri-type tuba, and will soon be self-fermenting and will become vinegar, and that’s how it tasted, like raw vinegar.
Those of us who decided to stay up later than everyone else went for the beach again. No swimming, just a half-hour of moonlight-immersing. We called it a night, and slept on the house’s second floor with a pillow on our heads and the wooden floor. No one complained, and I don’t think anyone did had a hard time sleeping.
Next day was Palm Sunday, and I woke up earlier than everyone else. Wanting to catch some morning beach air, I skidded over to the beach again: goddamn this is glorious. Being low-tide, a stone formation on the corner of the beach can now be reached on foot, where a solitary tree was located.
Before lunchtime, we found ourselves on the other side of the island. This was after passing areas called Ayala (a small housing community with electricity) and MalacaÃ±ang (someone’s guest house). I fine-tuned my tan some more there.
Tummies full with halo-halo, and the pakaskas -sugar-candy made from buri, much like panutsa– pasalubong already bought, some napped, some took some more snaps. Mid-afternoon, we cramped ourselves on a small boat back to head home. After my Batanes trip, strong waves don’t scare me much anymore, though there was a good reason to be scared, especially the part when the boat stalled still far from the shore.
Arriving at Leach Beach early evening, the sunset was painfully scenic with the silhouette of all things against its light.
View the photo slideshow here.
Oh, and for that rare me photo?
Shot by Jay Javier