Summer has ended and before the full force of the monsoon season kicks in, my family went out of town over the weekend – a couple of hours’ drive- to Cavite, south of Metro Manila. For the first time D was the one who booked the place we were staying at AirBnB. When he said it was within the area of Puerto Azul, I readied myself to going back to memory lane.
You see, Puerto Azul used to be well known back in the 80s. Before Boracay, El Nido, Coron even became popular, this place was THE beach to go to. The last time I went to Puerto Azul was about 35 years ago – one summer weekend with my lola and the whole extended family from my mom’s side. Every year, when I was a child, lola would bring the whole gang out for a trip to the beach. I don’t know why Puerto Azul eventually lost its fame. I didn’t realize it still existed, until D brought it up.
Anyway, I was surprised the way to Puerto Azul was not at all congested. We drove uphill through a valley and for some minutes we were the only cars in a long stretch of a drive.
When we got there, security was tight. The guards had to call the owner of the b&b we were staying at to confirm our booking. As we drove to the villas, I noticed some patches of the road that needed repair, surrounded by overgrown grass. It was a bit charming, actually. Very natural, non-commercialized. And then we saw the rows of villas, and I thought they looked pretty.
Our b&b was quite a spacious place. Three floors, a terrace overlooking the sea. Birds of different breeds were chirping (almost screaming) happily. My eyes feasted on the variety of colors and sizes of the birds.
And because school had already started and the rains were becoming more frequent, we had the beach all to ourselves. The beach was not white sand, and not as fine as the sands of Boracay, but the waters were clear and that was enough. As I floated on my back and steadied my breathing, my eyes gazed at the moon (yes, it was there even though the sun had not even set yet), and I tried to make a connection with the present moment. The water felt so good, and for the brief moment I felt at peace. “When was the last time I swam in the ocean”, I recalled. “Shocking how time flies, was it really almost a year ago in El Nido? I should do this more often… I told myself last year I’d do it more often – why did I hold off?
That weekend trip was so refreshing, it was a good reminder to myself to stop and focus on what’s more important: family, nature, peace of mind. I made a deal with my cousin last weekend as we wrapped up our trip over lunch – We have to go to Caramoan, or Calaguas – any of the beaches in Bicol, that’s been in my bucket list forever. He smiled as he said Yes. It was fantastic.