Beach. Sea. Puerto Galera ’15.

Here’s the backstory:

Our college tropa was supposed to come home this January. A week later after we booked our Puerto Galera Trip, plans had changed and she wasn’t able to come back. But generous she was, she told us to go ahead and enjoy our stay there.

So we did.

January 23, 2015

7.30am

We were off to Batangas Pier. I was the last one to arrive at the bus station, because I got home late from work the night before and was dead tired that I unintentionally shut off my alarm. But the bus driver was patient enough to wait for me, who was around ten minutes late, or else, we would have waited for the next trip and would be an hour delayed. Not a great idea, seeing that the weather wasn’t at its most preferable state.

As we were getting near Batangas Pier, the clouds became more apparent and so were the winds. Not a good sign for our boat ride. And it was a chilly morning (up until night and the following day).

At Batangas Pier, we bought roundtrip tickets and paid the terminal fee. 10am was when we boarded on the boat (mini one… don’t know how to call it). We waited for the other passengers, eating and laughing so much the other passengers kept glancing our way (smiling, which was a relief haha). After half an hour, the anchor was pulled up and we were on our way to Puerto Galera.

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As (not) expected, the boat ride was like a rollercoaster. Literally. Halfway to Mindoro, where Puerto Galera was located, everyone was silent. Which meant all of us were probably concentrating hard not to throw up. No one did, thankfully. Hahaha. Or that would be embarrassing.

Since the waves were rough and the boat couldn’t make it to our destination, White Beach, we were dropped off at the terminal. Or I think it was the terminal. It started to rain when we got off the boat, and we were more than eager to go by land from there. That was how seasick we were feeling.

A minivan picked us up from the terminal and brought us to White Beach. The ride was longer than expected, and there was a guy in front of us who kept on talking about his almost throwing up and it made my stomach uneasy again. He seemed to get the idea that everyone else was feeling uncomfortable with his portrayal and very convincing way of storytelling, and he talked about some other things instead. Something about commercials and the actors and how much it cost the company, including one famous actor and commercial endorser.

When the car had stopped, what we saw were houses. Concrete two-storey houses. We were like, ‘Okay, we don’t see any beach around here.’ The locals smiled at us. After a minute of walking, we finally saw the beach, and it was beautiful.

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It was smaller compared to other beaches I’d been to before. But this one was lively, in a sense that a lot of people were around. I got used to serenity when it came to spending time at the beach, but the flip-side wasn’t that bad.

Stores and restaurants lined-up the beach shore. People were walking to and fro everywhere. And it was only Friday.

First thing we did was enjoy the beach. Of course! Haha. We went to our very accommodating mini-hotel, Blue Water Lodge, put down our bags, picked some clothes, and quickly headed outside.

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The sun was hiding behind the clouds, but the drizzle was also refreshing. We were approached by locals and asked if we wanted to do some activities and tours. We’d decided to do the snorkeling the next day, and settled to a body massage for that day. Two of us went kayaking. I once did that when we were in Quezon and I bet the arm pain would feel the same, so I said no. So did the other two, having the same reason as I did.

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For the first day, it was mostly photoshoot. I really had fun filming them and taking pictures.

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Taking a crablet video:

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(see vlog for cutie crablet)

It was an hour before sunset when we had our body massage. And we saw a rainbow after. It was beautiful.

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Then we took some sunset shots. Haha. I really had no idea what we were supposed to be here.

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Shocked feet.              Shy feet.

After some delicious dinner, we finally called it a day and fell asleep right after our heads hit the pillow. That was how tired we were. We were snoring before we knew it.

January 24, 2015

7:00 am – wake up! wake up!

So this is where the fun starts.

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I personally didn’t expect much with the snorkeling tour/ many more activities. When we went to Quezon, I didn’t see a thing when we went snorkeling. Given the fact that I had a pretty bad eyesight and wouldn’t risk wearing contact lens underwater. But this time, snorkeling was the real thing, so it had caught me off guard. And thank you to the water droplets inside my goggles, I saw half of the beauty the experience had to offer. It wasn’t even that vivid for me, but I was already blown away.

Bad news is, we weren’t able to take pictures of the snorkeling experience. So let me describe it to you by words, like the way I usually do in my stories.

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We went on board a semi-boat. Medium one, compared to the one we boarded in order to get to Puerto Galera. And from the semi-boat, we were transferred to an even smaller boat. Now this was where it had all started.

After several minutes of travel in the water, the small boat had stopped and we were handed our snorkeling device. And then Kuya said to get down into the water. Equipped with life vests, that was easy to do. Then Kuya said to hold on to the raft and he would slowly drag us in the water, across the promised enjoyable experience with the fish and the sea and giant clams and the corals.

We went along and did what he told us to do. He taught us how to use the snorkeling device and what not to do – breathe through your nose, because that would make water go inside your goggles. It was hard at first, but we figured out how to use it. Then after several minutes, we saw what they called as giant clams. Plenty of them. So beautiful. I was in awe, so much in awe that I was squealing.

There were fishes. Lots of fishes. Different color fishes. And it was so amazing.

There was this big fish, like the size of your arm and it was bluish green and it was so beautiful! Nemo giddy feeling all over. We were like, ‘There’s Nemo! Look! Nemo!’ Okay, so we called every fish as Nemo, but we got to admit that that guy was popular. Anywho, so yes! it was so amazing. What was running in my head during that time was this: The closer you get to nature, the more humbled you will be by its Creator. God truly made the world so beautiful.

And after a while and so many fishes and school of them!, the mini boat had stopped and Kuya told us to feed the fish. We were like, ‘What if they eat us alive?’ Okay, that was an exaggerated thought, but we did ask Kuya questions like that somewhere between that line. And then he said that the fishes didn’t have teeth and they needed false teeth if they wanted to eat us. That made sense haha. I mean, they weren’t piranhas. They were aquarium fishes haha.

Still, when Kuya handed us the pandesal (bread) we brought, nobody wanted to feed the fish. Seriously, what if they would eat us instead? Hahaha. Or at least that was what I was thinking. After several minutes of Kuya persuading us to feed the fishes, one of us did. Not me, of course. I was still thinking that they were so plenty they could have made us their meal lol. And when someone did feed the fish with the bread, they swarmed around us. It was a momentary panic attack for me. They were everywhere and they were so many and they were so unknown hahaha.

But they didn’t eat us or anything. Confession: I still couldn’t feed them in the end, so I just threw the bread underwater. Catch the bread, fish! I actually made them fetch.

After the fish feeding experience, which was an epic fail for half of the group, we went to the coral reef. This was when I lost it. Seriously lost it. The corals were so arms-length that Kuya told us to keep calm and stay afloat and don’t squirm around. Even with a bad eyesight, the corals were so near. And no words could describe the feeling of getting that near to them T.T So beautiful. I was so afraid that we would harm them or touch them accidentally, but we didn’t. We just had to stay still and the corals would be fine. There were so many of them, different kinds and shapes and colors and all of them were beautiful. This bursting happiness in your heart, it happened as I was looking at the corals.

And we ended up on an island with an underwater cave. We really didn’t know what we were going to see, so we took our time at the shore. The group who came before us said that we should try eating the raw sea urchins.

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No one wanted to do just that. But as their boat was leaving, the group who came before us convinced us that we should try it. Definitely, must try. And then it became some sort of I-dare-you challenge among us haha. And you could see that we actually enjoyed the experience.

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The taste of the raw sea urchin (with vinegar) was actually pretty good for me. That was why they said we should try it. I agree with what they said. It was a good dare. You guys should also try it sometime.

No one brought a camera, but Kuya volunteered to get it from the medium boat. That was really nice of him. And when he came back, we finally knew why he insisted that we should have a camera with us. Because we wouldn’t want to miss taking pictures here.

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There was a rock there and we stood in circle and we were trying so hard not to fall and at least get a shot. Kuya was a pro haha. His shots were great.

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The underwater cave was a perfect spot for soul searching. It felt like you were one with the ocean and it was so peaceful down there. We wished we could have stayed longer.

We weren’t in any form of hurry, so we took our time at the beach shore and enjoyed the view some more.

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Just imagine leaving it to memory and having no pictures. No justice at all.

So thank you Kuya for getting the camera for us and for being so patient with us.

After that memorable underwater cave experience, we went back to the medium boat and on to island hopping. The first island had a restaurant, but we only ordered fresh buko (coconut) juice. After finishing the very tasty treat, we headed off to another island. This one looked deserted. But it turned out to be an ideal place to take pictures.

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And then we’d decided to stay and have a chat about what we’d just experienced.

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And the waves kept on bothering us.

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Like bothering us throwing us back to shore.

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Which made us laugh.

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And laugh.

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And laugh.

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After the tour, we went to the market. The ride to and fro answered the question of why it was costly to go there. Yup, there were no streetlights and it was already late at night. After buying things, we ate some food. Then after that, we went back to White Beach.

On our way back, our tricycle driver told us stories. Of course. I mean, what was the use of the night and no streetlights? Time for some spooky stories. I wouldn’t tell you what he told us. Instead, I would tell you that he turned off the lights of the tricycle and we all thought that it was the end. Final Destination the end. Hahaha we thought it was unintentional and the tricycle broke and another car would hit us or someone would appear and kidnap us and man, it would be the end of everything. But the tricycle driver only wanted to see our reaction. This was when he started telling the stories. It was a nice spooky chat. And well, at least we didn’t go all Final Destination during our trip.

This was Day 2 dinner. The feast:

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Okay, here’s another funny story that night. We misheard that there would be fireworks display hahaha. So we kept on waiting for it.

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It didn’t happen. Because there was none. A vendor confirmed that there was no fireworks, just fire dance. We were like, ‘Oh.’ Very expresionless.

And then called it a night and there was a horror movie when we turned on the TV. Scared as most of us were, we slept it off. After that spooky chat with our tricycle driver, we weren’t in the mood for horror stories. Or for me, for any other day.

I slept with so many layers of clothes. Brrrrr.
January 25, 2015
7:00 am – wake up! tears because we’re going home
Then came the sun. Striking and hot and sunny.
Our third day was mostly spent looking for pasalubong.

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When the weather’s nice and sunny, the beach looked a lot like a beach.

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We played a little volleyball while waiting for the boarding time.

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Then water Iron Man came:

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And the time had come to say goodbye.

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We would surely miss this place.

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Here’s a vlog I made:

Until my next blog entry (which I hope will become frequent),

F.L.

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