Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Puerto Galera 2015: The Twofold Charm

Work brought me back to Puerto Galera for some play time. Oh, how we played under the sun.

Puerto Galera was still Puerto Galera – beautiful, rich, colorful, alive.
Since jet skiing was a first for me, I took every chance I could to enjoy it. By pair, we all took turns riding along the waves. It was exhilarating, especially when we were opposite the direction of the waves, and we had to fight and bump it. The nerves and adrenaline mixed with all other emotions. We circled around with our heads looking up at the beautiful scenery of green hills and azure clouds then our eyes leveled at the rest of the vacationers ashore, the others also riding a jet ski and the strip of shops and restaurants resting from afar. Those few minutes made me smile and marvel at life.
To visit and leave this place without island hopping would be a waste. No way in hell would I do that. As part of the basic tour package, we trekked to the cave then lunged to see the giant clams (which I didn’t see clearly since they were situated so deep), snorkeled long enough to appreciate everything beneath, and fed fishes so they could munch on the bread and be closer to us. 
As usual, snorkeling had still been the best part. And though it was already the second time I did it here in Galera, my fascination for its underwater world was unfazed and unchanged. I noticed that I saw fewer sea creatures, though. (Maybe because our snorkeling was shorter also.)
I was glad all my officemates, most of whom were first-timers, got to experience all of these because they just had to. Some were thrilled; others were quite uneasy about the activities, but we all managed to be over everything with delight and relief on our faces.
I was also fortunate enough to spend some quality time alone with my love. My favorite parts of the whole trip are all the times I got to spend with him, all the sneaking out for dinner, breakfast and quick beach strolls, but most especially that long talk we had by the shore that midnight with the Puerto Galera night life in our background and that refreshing you-and-me morning swim we took after island hopping before heading home. Though it was a company outing, I still somehow felt like, for some precious moments, it was just also us there, as we made the most of the bonding we could do. It was our date trip (sort of) without the worries about expenses. Lucky you say? :)
I had been here twice with different sets of people, but it would be unfair to compare. I had fun on both counts, that’s for sure.
Lesson of this trip: Travel is necessary for relationships to grow and open up, may it be with a special someone, family or friends.
It’s been raining cats and dogs the past four days. I am not sure if this already signals the start of the wet season, but I am feeling a little nostalgically sad. Though the heat has been creeping up on me, ruining my mood, I enjoyed the satisfaction of those times when this hell would slap me on my face, but I could just give it the finger because I was on the beach, you see – on the beach, and it would never win over me because I could just dive in and be merry again like, “In your face, Sun! In your face!” Those times, just aaaah!
Puerto Galera will always be Puerto Galera – beautiful, rich, colorful, alive.

I wouldn’t mind going back again.


*Photo sources: Housing and Settlements Department, City Government of Calamba and yours truly :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Caramoan 2015: Where The Clouds, Sand and Sea Meet

I think I may have left my heart and soul in Caramoan.

As what has become a prized tradition of ours, I ventured with my college trip buddies again in search for the perfect adventure. We found ourselves nestled in our summer shell in Caramoan Island after travelling and transferring from ride to ride for 15 hours straight. We spent an entire weekend living like somewhat nomads disconnected from the rest of the world who have nothing better to do but restlessly boat around from island to island to island just to bask in everything that makes up this piece of heaven on earth.
Lahos Island 
We were fortunate enough to have gone to six islands, namely Lahos, Matukad, Cagbalinad, Cotivas, Manlawi and the other one with a name I forgot, since, according to our tour guide, one or two of these are already closed to the public right now for an upcoming international television show.
Cotivas Island ~ Where the sand and the sea and the clouds become one (The sandbar in the middle was everything)
All the islands we visited boasted sands of white, each having a quality apart from the rest but equally beautiful. Lahos and Cotivas Islands both house the powder-soft, polvoron-like kind which easily embraces the feet once they step in while Matukad has the flat and compact kind which doesn’t easily make the toes sink. It was the best feeling – knowing that when you dip your feet in the sand, you will feel something that is not just pure, but also different in a good way. 
Manlawi Island ~ Where lunch in a floating hut on a summery day with the best people happened
The water scattered gradients of white, green and blue shades. It is at a cold temperature just right for the hot weather. True bliss. The rock formations seem to just have taken their own unexplainable shapes and become effortlessly breathtaking. How?
Matukad Island
Cagbalinad Island
I would catch myself lost in the view, spacing out for long moments while looking at the wide seas. For once, I felt like our boat was floating on a huge, endless gelatinous form of blue water. It was more amazing than nerve-wracking in spite of knowing the water’s very depth by how much we were seeing (or not) underwater. While in transit, there were parts where despite being above water, we could still see the beautiful paradise beneath made up of corals, jellyfishes and reefs with utter clearness. I was in awe. It was also during that particular boat ride that, for the first time in my life, I saw the sea and the clouds come together seamlessly. It was like God would come out any second then, what an astounding view. It was indescribable and something photos will never be able to give justice to because it’s just beyond capturing. That particular scene would stay with me long after we have left Caramoan.
Planning this trip was a first for Jusz and me, and it made us realize how much hard work coming up with something like this needed. This further showed us that before all the adventures lies a rollercoaster of drama and excitement which only made me even happier and more accomplished when everything finally fell into place. Thank you to Jusz and Jerome for their patience and determination to make things happen. We did it, huzzah! One down!
Escapes to the beach always lead us to an open and comfortable outpour of emotions, may it be through revelations or open forums, which in return, despite all the craziness, only strengthens the bond we already have. This trip witnessed some extremes in the form of misdirected infuriation, outbursts, torrential nerves, and uncontrollable sobbing (or involuntary shedding of tears for that matter) caused by personal life struggles, love loss and family matters. All these emotions we saw through together in the middle of all the fun in the best place we had ever been, and it somehow felt alright. I guess this is what friendships are really about.
St. Michael The Archangel Church of Caramoan before heading home. Thankful!

***

Budget Breakdown:
P2300           - Food, Accommodation (3D/2N) and Island Hopping
  (Caramoan Travel and Tours Services c/o Mr. Victor Avilla III)
P1600           - Two-way fare
(From Turbina to Caramoan with bus-van-boat-jeep transfer and jeep–boat–van transfer from Caramoan to Turbina)
P600            - Snacks/Other Fees/Pasalubongs/Allowance
P4500         - TOTAL


*Photos by Justine, Aileen, Jerome, and yours truly.

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